Former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum used to say “the hay is in the barn” at this point in preparation for the NFL Draft.
The teams have done all of their work and are now just tinkering with their draft board, talking to other teams about potential trades, running things past ownership and going through scenarios for Thursday night.
This is our final crack at the Jets’ full draft. With the help of the Fanspeak mock draft tool, we simulated the draft, making the Jets’ picks. Here is our draft:
Round 1 (pick 11 overall) — OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
The Jets find their blindside protector for Sam Darnold. At 6-foot-7, 364 pounds, Becton is a mountain of a man who also can move (5.10 40-yard dash). In this simulation, Becton and Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas were both still available. I went with Becton because I think the upside is higher.
The decision of whether to take a tackle or a wide receiver to help Darnold is a fascinating one. Ultimately, I am leaning toward tackle because they are harder to find. Elite tackles do not become available too often in free agency or in trades and are hard to find outside the top of the draft. You can find wide receivers later in the draft and they shake free in trades much more often than tackles.
I think the Jets will choose any of the top four tackles available at 11.
Round 2 (pick 48 overall) — WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
After going tackle in Round 1, the Jets land their receiver in Round 2. Aiyuk is an explosive receiver who starred for former Jets coach Herm Edwards at Arizona State. He ran a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash and excels at yards after catch. He also can return kicks, something the Jets could use.
Round 3 (pick 68 overall from the Giants) — CB Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn
The focus has been on how much the Jets need to upgrade at tackle and wide receiver recently, but cornerback is just as big of a hole on this team. They fill it here with Igbinoghene, who is the son of track stars. He was a track star himself in high school and has elite speed and athleticism. Still learning cornerback after moving there from wide receiver in 2018.
Round 3 (pick 79) — C Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU
I’m shocked that Cushenberry fell that far. I think he will be off the board by this point and I would not be shocked if the Jets grabbed him with an earlier pick. He checks all the boxes for Joe Douglas – a high character player from who was an important player for the national champions.
Round 4 (pick 120 overall) — RB Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State
Adam Gase said the Jets need to add speed and Evans would give them some. He has experience at slot receiver as well as running back and can return kicks. He rushed for 1,480 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He could be an offensive weapon for the Jets.
Round 5 (pick 158 overall) — EDGE Jonathan Garvin, Miami
I would have loved to address this position earlier, but the board did not fall that way and the Jets are not going to be able to fill all their holes early in this draft. Garvin is only 20 and is a bit of a project but with the right coaching he could develop into a solid pass rusher.
Round 6 (pick 191 overall) — WR Jauan Jennings, Tennessee
Jennings is a big target at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds. He played quarterback in high school and was a top recruit as an athlete. The Jets need depth at receiver and should add more than one in this draft.
Round 6 (pick 211 overall from the Chiefs) — EDGE Chauncey Rivers, Mississippi State
At this point in the draft, it is about adding the best athlete left on the board. For me, that is Rivers here. Give Gregg Williams another edge rusher to develop and hope one of them sticks.