There are a lot of unusual things happening to the New York Jets in the middle of November this season.
Gang Green is 6-3 on the year and only a half of a game out of first place in the AFC East. With that record, not a single person affiliated or loosely connected with the Jets has even thought about a mock draft.
Since we are in the bye week, it’s a perfect time to dive into one with a renewed perspective.
Jets Get Their Version of Fred Warner
PFF released a dueling mock draft featuring two of their experts going back and forth making selections in the first round.
With the No. 23 overall pick in the first round, Mike Renner linked the Jets to Clemson Tigers linebacker Trenton Simpson.
“After a hot string of drafting, the Jets will roll into the 2023 NFL Draft without a lot of holes to fill. Linebacker will qualify as one of them, though. Simpson can be head coach Robert Saleh’s New York version of Fred Warner with his ridiculous range. Simpson’s 28 targets faced this season have resulted in only 144 yards for opposing offenses.”
The unusual continues here with the Jets picking at No. 23, they haven’t picked that late in an NFL draft since the back-to-back AFC Championship runs over a decade ago.
Renner said in his explanation for the pick that the Jets enter the 2023 NFL draft “without a lot of holes to fill.” When was the last time that was the case? Normally the Jets have entered the draft with too many holes to fill and not enough picks to fill them.
This is a brave new world and a fantastic first-world problem to deal with in the midst of this magical season for the Jets.
Trenton Simpson’s Fit on the Jets
Renner is right in his assessment that linebacker will be one of the very few needs for the Jets heading into the offseason.
However, two of those three are set to be unrestricted free agents this offseason in Williams and Alexander. Maybe the Jets are able to retain both moving forward but that is totally up in the air at this point.
While the final guy in Mosley is much closer to the end than the beginning. The former Alabama standout reworked his contract before the season and that will likely keep him in a green and white uniform through the upcoming 2023 season.
Simpson would provide the Jets an option for the present and the future. Head coach Robert Saleh is known as a linebacker whisperer and he’s been getting it done with cheaper ingredients.
Williams was initially acquired off of waivers and Alexander was an available free agent up through the beginning of training camp. If Saleh was able to make chicken salad out of that, just imagine what he could do with a first-round draft choice.
The Clemson Tigers star stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs 230 pounds. The folks over at PFF described him as the perfect modern-day coverage linebacker. The Tigers used him in the slot last season but have moved him into the box in 2022.
That is the kind of versatility that Saleh often looks for in his linebackers.