Jets general manager Joe Douglas has two first-round picks and a variety of roster needs entering the 2022 NFL Draft.
Douglas can attack the draft in a number of ways with the Nos. 4 and 10 picks. Will he move to shore up the offensive line first? The pass rush? The secondary? The wide receiver position?
Here are the possibilities:
Offensive tackle. If Douglas wants one of the top offensive line prospects, he has to move fast. He could have his pick of Alabama’s Evan Neal, N.C. State’s Ikem Ekwonu, and Mississippi State’s Charles Cross at No. 4, but it’s unlikely any of them get to No. 10.
The Jets have to protect quarterback Zach Wilson next season and they have many questions at tackle. Mekhi Becton, a 2020 first-rounder, hasn’t lived up to the hype and missed 16 games last year due to a dislocated knee cap. His weight is also a major concern. George Fant is entering a contract year and might be gone after 2022.
Defensive back. The Jets’ secondary was horrendous last year, allowing 259.4 pass yards per game in 2021 (third-worst in the NFL) while the overall defense was the league’s worst in yards and points allowed. Cincinnati cornerback Sauce Gardner has been a popular mock pick at No. 4 for this reason. But if that’s too high for Douglas to get a corner, he could wait until No. 10 where LSU corner Derek Stingley Jr. or Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton could be available.
Defensive end. The Jets (unlike the Giants) have made significant investments in their pass rush. But with Carl Lawson coming off a serious injury and with the possibility for John Franklin-Myers to move inside, it would not hurt to add. The Jets likely would need to do so at No. 4; Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux will likely be a top-5 pick and Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson may not make it to No. 10.
Wide receiver. If the Jets take a receiver in the first round, they figure to do so at No. 10. It’s a good wideout class, but no one is worthy of the fourth pick. The question is who will be on the board at No. 10. The presumed top receiver in this class also seems to change every day — one day it’s USC’s Drake London, then it’s Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson; Alabama’s Jameson Williams has been the trendy name of late.
London may be the best fit for Gang Green. His 6-foot-5, 209-pound frame will allow him to be an effective red-zone target for Wilson. But if the Jets can finally find a trade for a guy like the Niners’ Deebo Samuel, the calculus chances dramatically. And Samuel might be worth the No. 10 pick himself.
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