New York Jets Can Fill Keanu Neal-Sized Void During NFL Draft

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Notre Dame

Getty Notre Dame's Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah displaying his athleticism on the football field.

It happens every year. New York Jets fans want their team to sign player x or draft player y and they’re met with the inevitable disappointment when those moves don’t materialize.

This offseason every Jets fan penciled in free-agent guard Joe Thuney into the starting lineup. One of the team’s biggest needs was along the interior. The general manager, Joe Douglas, is a former offensive lineman. It was a match made in heaven until it wasn’t.

Thuney shocked the football world and signed a record-breaking five-year contract worth over $80M with the Kansas City Chiefs.

That was a bit of a bummer for Jets fans, but they quickly shifted gears and were hoping to land former Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal in free agency.

The two finalists for his services were the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Jets, per NFL insider Josina Anderson.

Ultimately it led to more disappointment for fans of the green and white when Neal picked America’s Team.

Atlanta Falcons Keanu Neal

GettyFormer first round pick Keanu Neal delivering a thundering blow to a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

This Leads Us to a Random Dilemma: Would You Rather Lose In a Close Contest or Get Blown Out?

Only sick people would say a close game. As a former athlete, I want my teeth kicked down my throat. Never being titillated by the chance we could’ve won that particular game.

Feel the same way about free agents. But that’s neither here nor there.

The point is while the flirtation period of free agency was happening, Jets fans dreamed of what Keanu Neal on this defense could look like.

The former first-round safety excited football fans even more with the report emerging he was willing to switch positions and play “Will” linebacker in a 4-3 scheme.

That versatility would’ve been a perfect puzzle piece fit in this Robert Saleh scheme. Unfortunately, much like life, everything doesn’t happen the way you would’ve wanted.

The Jets Should Pivot and Fill That Keanu Neal Sized Void in Their Heart During the NFL Draft

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Notre Dame

GettyNotre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah displaying his athleticism on the football field.

The most underrated need for the New York Jets is at the linebacker position heading into the 2021 NFL Draft. After thinking of what Keanu Neal “could be” on the Jets in a dream world, it’s time to add something real in the draft to fill that void.

Say hello to Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

This versatile linebacker is exactly what the NFL is today: fast, athletic, versatile, and explosive. The former Butkus Award Winner would make Jets fans say, “Keanu who?”

Close your eyes and imagine this: CJ Mosley reverts back to his All-Pro form and plays middle linebacker. Former first-round pick Jarrad Davis adapts and slides outside. Then you insert JOK on the other side. Open your eyes, that’s a super athletic linebacking corps that can compete on the highest level.

If the Jets were going to go all-in on Owusu-Koramoah, it would likely cost them the 23rd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Gang Green originally acquired that selection in the Jamal Adams trade from 2020.

While the team has an overflowing amount of needs heading into the NFL Draft, it would be wise to consider putting linebacker near the top of that list. It’s the heartbeat of a defense.

JOK is a unicorn prospect that can be utilized as a versatile chess piece on the defensive side of the ball. His limits are your imagination. Bleacher Report NFL Draft analyst Connor Rogers watched the tape and logged Owusu-Koramoah playing in the box, on the defensive line, in the slot, and yes even outside cornerback, per Badlands Jets centric draft guide.

Joe Douglas, the ball is in your court.