Jets Predicted to Add Star ‘Do-It-All’ Defender in 2023

Robert Saleh, Jets

Getty New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh reacting on the sideline ahead of an NFL game.

The New York Jets could be adding some more youth to the roster in 2023.

ESPN NFL Draft Analyst and Insider Matt Miller released a two-round mock draft on Monday, February 6.

In his column, he predicted that Gang Green would select Texas A&M defensive back Antonio Johnson with the No. 43 overall pick in the second round of the 2023 NFL draft.

Jets Could Fill Safety Void With Antonio Johnson Selection

Miller called Johnson a “do-it-all” safety that possesses some impressive measurables at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds.

One of the feathers in his cap that could intrigue NFL teams ahead of the draft is his versatility. Miller says he can play both free safety and nickel cornerback. Some NFL scouts told Miller they believe he has the “length” to play outside corner.

Ultimately the Jets’ need for a “playmaking free safety makes Johnson a great fit” Miller explained.

Johnson played three years at Texas A&M but was only a full-time starter over the last two seasons.

In his career with the Aggies, he accumulated over 164 total tackles, registered seven pass deflections, and simply just made plays.

Heading into the offseason Gang Green has plenty of questions to answer at the safety position.

Lamarcus Joyner is a pending free agent and openly contemplated retirement last offseason. At the other safety spot, Jordan Whitehead struggled to deliver consistently, and whispers about the Jets possibly releasing him this offseason have floated around.

Mekhi Becton Could Get Replaced by a Brand New Jets 1st-Round Pick

In the first round of Miller’s mock draft, he predicted the Jets would select offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr out of Ohio State with the No. 13 overall pick.

Miller bluntly said that the Mekhi Becton experiment “hasn’t worked in New York.”

Johnson only gave up two sacks all year according to Miller and he has all the measurables (6-foot-6, 310 pounds) to be the “true Day 1 left tackle” for the Jets.

Miller said with “so much up in the air offensively” that finding a “long-term left tackle is key in this draft.”

The Jets are expected to decline the fifth-year option on Becton’s contract in May. That means the former first-rounder will then be heading into a contract year in 2023 with everything on the line.

Becton has made his stance clear that he would like to return to left tackle, the position he was originally drafted to play for the Jets.

However if Gang Green gets the opportunity to land Johnson he might be forced back to playing right tackle in 2023.

There are so many unknowns on the Jets’ offense in general with the quarterback position unanswered and a ton of uncertainty on the offensive line.

Who is coming back? Which players will be healthy and ready to go? Who will be playing at what position on the offensive line? Who else will the team add this offseason both in free agency, the trade market, and of course the upcoming 2023 NFL draft?

Until all of those are answered it is impossible to know where Becton or even a guy like Johnson would play in the trenches.

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