The moment has finally arrived, it’s draft day New York Jets fans! After enduring another painful heartbreaking season that resulted in a 2-14 record, we’ve reached the fruit of that particular labor.
Before we get all serious with x’s and o’s talk, let’s sit back and have some fun. Back in 2014 one of the greatest, if not the greatest film in cinematic history was unveiled: ‘Draft Day’.
If you’ve never seen it, shame on you, but here’s the gist.
The fictional general manager of the Cleveland Browns has some tough decisions to make regarding the team’s first-round draft choice. He’s dealing with a bunch of politics, owner breathing down his neck to make a splash, the recent death of his father (who he fired), his pregnant girlfriend who he happens to work with. Long story short there’s a lot going on and the cast is littered with stars.
This movie is for NFL Draft fans! While it wasn’t necessarily a box office hit according to Hollywood (the movie grossed $29M against its $25M budget), it is now considered a cult classic among die-hard NFL Draft fans.
New York Jets 2021 NFL Draft targets as characters from the movie ‘Draft Day’
Let’s start off with the easiest one and quite frankly the genesis of this article: Zach Wilson is literally Bo Callahan from ‘Draft Day’.
In the film, Callahan is the can’t miss quarterback prospect with all the potential in the world. Then the Browns start digging in on him and they find some flaws. The biggest question being did his teammates attend his birthday party?
For Zach Wilson, the question this offseason leading into the 2021 NFL Draft, was he actually a captain?
The narrative first started when ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay said that Wilson wasn’t voted a captain by his teammates and that it raised a red flag.
McShay plays the role of Ralph Mowry who works for the Cleveland Browns and brings up various questions about Bo Callahan.
Mowry in the move is also an adamant defender of Brian Drew (the Browns starting quarterback the previous year) which draws familiar comparisons to Sam Darnold who Todd McShay vehemently defended prior to the Jets trading him away to the Carolina Panthers for a 2021 sixth-round pick and a 2022 second and fourth-round picks.
Unlike Callahan where his teammates didn’t actually go to his birthday party, Wilson actually was a captain.
After the McShay captain controversy went viral I spoke with BYU quarterback coach and offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick who said the report that Wilson wasn’t a captain “wasn’t true”:
— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) February 12, 2021
Speaking of coach Roderick, he clearly is the Sam Elliott/coach Moore in this situation. In the movie when the Browns are trying to dig in on whether or not Callahan’s teammates actually attended his party, they call up the head coach at Wisconsin.
Coach Moore emphatically denies the reports and says you’d be crazy to pass on Bo Callahan. The same thing happened when we called up coach Aaron Roderick of BYU. (You can catch the full interview talking Zach Wilson here).
The star of the movie, Kevin Costner who plays Cleveland Browns’ general manager Sonny Weaver is obviously New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas. It’s interesting how many parallels there are between them.
Douglas has a ton of pressure on him to get the quarterback pick right. If he screws it up he’ll be fired. If he gets it right he can bring winning football back to the New York Jets who haven’t been relevant for a long time. Which is eerily similar to the Cleveland Browns in the movie.
Vontae Mack, no matter what…
At the beginning of the film, Sonny Weaver writes a note to himself regarding what he should do in the NFL Draft. We find out at the end of the movie that the note said, “Vontae Mack, no matter what.”
Basically no matter what ensued with the craziness of the draft (all the trading back and forth), that Weaver was convinced he would take his player “no matter what” at the end of the day.
That player for the Jets in this draft, if he’s available, should be USC interior offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker. He’s a perfect fit, obviously fills a key need, and would help out the team’s rookie quarterback with some much-needed protection.
Getting back to the ‘Draft Day’ cast, there’s another similarity that we have to capitalize on.
In the movie a running back the Browns flirt with during the draft process is Ray Jennings (who is played by former NFL star Arian Foster). That player in the 2021 NFL Draft is definitely Travis Etienne of Clemson.
During the craziness of NFL Draft week, NFL insiders Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano shared that if Etienne was still on the board at 34th overall (Jets’ second-round pick) that he’d be a “dream fit” for New York.
They also reported that he may not make it to that pick, which could “make the Jets rethink its pick at No. 23.”
"#Clemson RB Travis Etienne at No. 34 would be a dream pick for the Jets, but he might not be there, which could make New York rethink its pick at No. 23."
— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) April 28, 2021
This is one of two things:
- A major smokescreen to get a team like the Buffalo Bills who have been heavily rumored to have a man-crush on Travis Etienne to trade up ahead of them so a better player falls to the Jets at 23.
- Or where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Several reputable analysts have reported that we shouldn’t “count out” the Jets taking a running back early (whether that’s at 23 or 34 in this draft).