The first two days of the NFL draft have come and gone and most New York Jets fans are ecstatic with the work of general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh.
Here is a look at the 2022 class with two picks still on the board (for now):
- Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, cornerback.
- Garrett Wilson, wide receiver.
- Jermaine Johnson II, edge rusher.
- Breece Hall, running back.
- Jeremy Ruckert, tight end.
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Top Needs on Day 3
The Jets crossed off a bunch of their team needs over the first two nights — and some earlier than expected like depth tight end and running back. Having said that, they could still use some offensive line depth, help at linebacker and wide receiver, and potentially another defensive tackle or safety.
With John Franklin-Myers most likely moving inside and Solomon Thomas entering the fold, it’s unclear if Saleh feels he needs a true run-stuffer in the draft. Safety is another position that could be ignored after the franchise brought in Jordan Whitehead and re-signed Lamarcus Joyner.
That leads me to believe that offensive line could be the first target of day three. The Jets currently have two picks to work with at 111 and 117 — selections six and 12 of round four — so a trade down for more capital could also be on the table.
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Potential Targets to Keep an Eye On
Three prospects that make sense at offensive tackle are Daniel Faalele, Zach Tom and Kellen Diesch. Faalele is the 6-foot-8 behemoth and we know Douglas loves size, while Tom is more technically sound as a pass protector but could be undersized at the pro-level — reminds me of Cameron Clark.
Diesch could be the best fit of the group. He’s an athletic OT out of Arizona State that Michael Nania of Jets X-Factor highlighted as the only one left from this class that ran a sub-4.47 short shuttle. This stat has been very accurate in determining NFL success.
Darian Kinnard, Marquis Hayes and Lecitus Smith are a few interior offensive linemen to add to the mix if Douglas trades down.
This group will encompass two of the defensive positions I mentioned above (DT, LB) and one wildcard. The one with the least depth is linebacker, and there are still a few good ones available.
Brandon Smith definitely stands out. The former Micah Parsons running mate could be the next in a recent trend of Penn State linebackers turning into NFL starters. Some had him projected as a second-round pick.
How about defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey? The Jets showed a ton of pre-draft interest in the explosive interior D-lineman and he could be on the board for Douglas at No. 111.
You could always double-down on EDGE and bring in Kingsley Enagbare out of South Carolina as well. The long defender has been criticized for his lack of punch and explosiveness, however.
The Jets already drafted Garrett Wilson but they’re still a bit thin at wide receiver. They could always re-sign someone like Keelan Cole next week but if they choose to attack positional depth with one more youngster, this is the class to do it.
There are still so many receiving talents on the board but one the Jets appeared interested in during the Senior Bowl was Khalil Shakir out of Boise State. Known for dynamic athleticism and hands that “caught everything” according to NFL draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, Shakir feels like an underrated possession receiver for Zach Wilson.
There’s also local product Bo Melton out of Rutgers, whose best traits might be his football IQ and leadership — a two-year captain with special teams ability. Clemson’s Justyn Ross and Nevada’s Romeo Doubs are two of the downfield threats that are still available.
It would be smart to bring in one more wide-out to push Denzel Mims in 2022.