joe douglas jets

The Jets have not been shy about their pursuit of a No. 1 wide receiver to pair with quarterback Zach Wilson. They almost pulled off a trade for Tyreek Hill and they’ve been connected to names like A.J. Brown and DK Metcalf. General manager Joe Douglas has made it clear he will take a big swing if the opportunity presents itself.

ESPN analyst Todd McShay believes that will happen in the 2022 NFL Draft. He projects the Jets will land Ohio State wideout Garrett Wilson at No. 4 after an early run of defensive ends leaves Douglas with his pick of offensive prospects.

McShay writes:

The Jets have to find a true No. 1 receiver for second-year quarterback Zach Wilson, and a Wilson-Wilson connection could be fun to watch for a long time in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Garrett Wilson has elite body control and can regularly make contested plays downfield. New York’s offensive skill position group — which already includes wide receivers Corey Davis, Elijah Moore and Braxton Berrios, running back Michael Carter and tight end C.J. Uzomah — could be sneaky good if its key players stay healthy and keep developing. And yes, it’s yet another spot where an offensive tackle would make some sense, so don’t be surprised if the Jets delay adding to the receiver room to lock in a potential upgrade on the line.

McShay then has the Jets passing on the offensive line again at No. 10 — despite Mississippi State’s Charles Cross still being available — and addressing another need with Cincinnati cornerback Sauce Gardner.

There are probably three realistic options here in this scenario: Gardner, Jermaine Johnson II or Mississippi State offensive tackle Charles Cross. But the chance to get Gardner — my No. 5 overall prospect in the class — is too good to ignore. The Jets signed D.J. Reed in free agency, and both Brandin Echols and Bryce Hall are capable starters. But Gardner is the definition of shutdown corner. Consider this: The Jets allowed 116 passing plays for at least 15 yards last season, the second most in the NFL; Gardner didn’t allow that many yards in a single game all year.

The two-round mock concludes with the Jets grabbing Penn State defensive end Arnold Ebiketie at No. 35, adding a much-needed edge rusher.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.