2021 NFL Draft Class Can ‘Turn Jets Franchise Around’

Jets Zach Wilson

Getty New York Jets QB Zach Wilson after being selected No. 2 overall.

The 2021 NFL Draft is officially in the books and it’s time to take a look back at what the New York Jets accomplished.

On Sunday evening May 2, we recorded an interview with NFL Draft Analyst Jon Ledyard exclusively breaking down the Jets draft class. We transcribed some of the best quotes from the interview for your reading pleasure.

Exclusive interview with NFL Draft Analyst Jon Ledyard breaking down the Jets draft class

On Zach Wilson:

“I certainly understand the allure. The ability to throw off-platform with the velocity he has but the accuracy too. That’s not something you always see. One concern is sometimes he plays too calmly. In the NFL he’s going to have to move through his progressions quicker. In the NFL everything is going to be a tick faster so he’s going to have to make those decisions a tick faster. Ultimately how Wilson performs and how good he is will determine how this class is looked at.”

On the narrative that the Jets made a “bad move” trading up that high for Alijah Vera-Tucker (guard):

“Yes I think in a vacuum I would agree that trading up that high for a guard is questionable, but I do think the context is important. Sometimes we get too caught up in all the numbers which do matter and I support them fully. I think we do have to look at the full picture.

The Jets could’ve used the extra picks no question. Although I don’t think this is the best draft ever as a whole. I don’t think this is the deepest draft class ever. If you felt like you could get two of the best players in the class and there were only a handful of them, you do it. Plus they kept their second-round pick (No. 34 overall).

Even if you disagree with the move in principle, I think it’s easy to understand why the Jets did it. He was the sixth player overall on my board. I had him pegged as the best offensive lineman overall in the 2021 NFL Draft class.”

On the Jets stealing Ole Miss wide receiver Elijah Moore in the second round:

“Elijah Moore was the 15th overall player on my board, I had a first-round grade on him. He’s a beast. People are going to look at him and say small receiver, but he plays so big at the catch point.

The dude got hit all the time and still made the catches. He never drops the football and he’s so terrific at becoming a runner before he even finishes the catch. As soon as he gets the ball in his hands he’s in YAC (yards after catch) mode.

I love that about him, his game is so clean already. Moore is pro-ready. He can play in the slot and I think he can play outside too. Still had over 100 snaps at outside receiver this past season for Ole Miss.”

On the Jets resisting the urge to take a running back early and eventually landing UNC RB Michael Carter:

“He’s really good man. Michael Carter can pass protect right out of the gate. He’s a smart intelligent player that brings experience to the Jets backfield. Definitely not the biggest dude so maybe he doesn’t carry the rock 25 times a game, but you probably aren’t doing that anyway.

Carter can just help you in so many ways: running the ball, catching the ball out of the backfield, and even make catches on vertical balls down the field. A very talented player that is going to be productive at the next level. They got a great player at a great value where they did in the NFL Draft.”

“I think we’ll look back at these picks as the ones that really started to turn around this Jets franchise.”

On Joe Douglas’ strategy to just go all offense early:

“It makes complete sense to me because this was an offensive draft. So why not just address the strength of the draft? I thought Douglas just did a great job. I mean honestly, all four of his first picks were just great picks there’s no way around it, he got four studs.

If Zach Wilson can make the leap to the NFL level and there’s no guarantee of that. Rookie coming in with a new system we haven’t seen yet, but if he can, I have no doubts about the first four players the Jets took in this class. I think we’ll look back at these picks and those moments in the draft as the ones that really started to turn around this Jets franchise.”

2021 NFL Draft grade for the Jets:

“Definitely an A grade from me. I mean obviously, it’s all going to come back to whether Zach Wilson works out or not. I had 17 first-round grades, the Jets got three of those. I mean just wow. I only had 80 players graded from rounds one through three, somebody else could have things graded differently, but that’s up to them.

In my rankings, I had Zach Wilson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Elijah Moore, Michael Carter (running back), Hamsah Nasirildeen were all in my top 80. So they got five players out of my top 80. I don’t know if there was another team in the NFL that got that many. I can say for sure that there wasn’t a team that got three players in my top 17. Hats off to the Jets they had an unbelievable draft.”

Full interview talking 2021 Jets draft

If you’d like to watch the full interview with NFL Draft Analyst Jon Ledyard breaking down the entire New York Jets 2021 draft class (click below). If you enjoy the interview please consider hitting that subscribe button on YouTube for exclusive, entertaining, and informative New York Jets content:

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