Buckle your seatbelts folks, this is going to be a wild draft day. The New York Jets have 10 total selections in the 2021 NFL Draft, but two of those picks are squarely in focus on day one (first-round).
The team has zeroed in on its choice with the second pick in this draft. There’s no drama there. While at 23 there’s been rampant speculation on what’s going to happen with the Jets’ second first-round draft choice.
Although according to ESPN NFL Draft host Mike Greenberg, a die-hard Jets fan, “he doesn’t expect New York to be sitting there at 23.”
“I’ve got a lot of people telling me and I like this, that the team is considering packaging up some of their assets and aggressively moving up in round one. Somewhere in that 16 or 17 range rather than waiting to see where the board falls to you at 23. There’s a really good chance the Jets trade up (from 23).”
Greenberg, who is hosting ESPN’s coverage of the 2021 NFL Draft made a guest appearance on his radio show Greeny live from Cleveland to share some of the intel he’s been hearing from people he trusts ahead of the festivities.
Since 2010 the Jets have made 19 draft-day trades (12 of those scenarios involved the team trading back and seven of those scenarios involved them moving up), per Max Wroblewski (football stats and analytics for Cover 1).
The New York Jets are preparing to move up in the draft, but for whom?
It makes sense that the Jets wouldn’t want to be complacent with their 10 picks and just wait to see what falls to them. Controlled aggression should be the mentality for general manager Joe Douglas on Thursday night in Cleveland.
If we use ESPN NFL Analyst Todd McShay’s latest mock draft as the backdrop, here are some of the players that could be available in that mid-teen range.
Alijah Vera-Tucker, guard, USC
This is a name you’ve heard over and over again throughout this process for the New York Jets. The Vegas over/under is hovering around 15.5 overall. If the Jets want him they’ll likely have to move up based on the latest information. Guard is one of the top needs for this team heading into the draft.
Jaycee Horn, cornerback, South Carolina
In the latest McShay first-round mock draft, Horn fell all the way to No. 16. That is well within the range for the Jets to potentially move up. When you watch Horn on tape he reminds me of a young Darrelle Revis. A physical in your face corner that would fit what Robert Saleh looks for in his defensive backs.
Also, another interesting parallel: back in the 2007 NFL Draft the Jets traded up from No. 25 to No. 14 to make sure they got Revis. The Jets may have to make a similar jump if they want Horn.
Micah Parsons, linebacker, Penn State
The Jets need linebackers desperately. A name you’ve rarely heard tied to the Jets is Penn State linebacker, Micah Parsons. His over/under ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft is 13.5 overall according to the latest metrics.
There are some legitimate character concerns that could lead to a potential fall into the late teens or early twenties. But you can’t question the talent. At No. 2 overall the Jets could land their quarterback of the future. If they trade up for Parsons, they could acquire the quarterback of their defense for the next decade.
DeVonta Smith, wide receiver, Alabama
Finally, the last player that could slide is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama. A lot of concerns have emerged regarding DeVonta Smith’s weight (sub-170-pound receiver). Some people are going to give that a lot of thought. While other teams are just going to watch the tape and fall in love.
Since 2008 the New York Jets have only two 1,000 yard receiving seasons and they both came in 2015 (Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker). It’s time to inject some talent into the skill positions for the Jets. Smith provides a legit No. 1 weapon for whoever is playing quarterback.