New York Jets Draft Predictions for 2021
With Sam Darnold out of the way and new coaching staff in place, it’s all but official that Zach Wilson is on his way to the Big Apple.
Drafting a franchise quarterback at #2 is the first item on the agenda for Joe Douglass and his staff, but New York has nine other picks to play with. Including four additional selections between no.’s 23 and 87.
Throw in five more picks on Day 3 and Gang Green has an opportunity to genuinely refurbish this roster and make a bit of noise in the AFC East.
On that note, let’s dive into a full Jets mock draft for 2021.
Round 1 – Pick #2
- Selection: Zach Wilson
- Position: BYU
- School: QB
The big-armed talent out of BYU who’s being hailed as “Patrick Mahomes 2.0” can start packing his bags for New York.
All signs were pointing toward Zach Wilson being the guy all along, then came Wilson’s scintillating pro day.
After watching the former Cougars QB put on an electrifying show, Joe Douglas moved quickly to salvage compensation for San Darnold. Upon Darnold’s trade to Carolina becoming official, Todd McShay offered the following regarding what the Jet will do at #2.
The Niners on the clock.
Round 1 – Pick #23
- Selection: Greg Newsome II
- Position: CB
- School: Northwestern
The Jets made some splashes during free agency but failed to address the lack of depth at cornerback. Justin Hardee comes over from New Orleans but is likely slated for special teams duties, paving the way for New York to pluck a corner at #23.
Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn are likely to be off the board, but could that be a blessing in disguise?
123 P5 CBs saw 30+ targets last season Greg Newsome II was the only one to not allow over 100 yards 🔒 April 1, 2021
Quarterbacks posted a 67.4 passer rating when targeting Surtain II and a 54.9 passer rating when targeting Jaycee Horn. That number plummets to a paltry 31.7 when targeting Newsome II.
Greg possesses good size and tremendous closing speed. So much so that one scout said, “He attacks the ball like a heat-seeking missile.”
Round 2 – Pick #34
- Selection: Elijah Moore
- Position: WR
- School: Ole Miss
Elijah Moore can play inside or out and was a massive contributor for the Rebels. Moore capped off his three-year career at Ole Miss finishing 2nd in the nation in receptions (86) and receiving yards (1,193), trailing only DeVonta Smith in both categories.
When you look at the strides Elijah made during his time in Oxford, you see a hungry individual who’s developing into a big-time talent.
|Elijah Mitchell – By the Numbers at Ole Miss|
|Year||Receptions||Receiving Yards||Avg. Yards/Catch||Receiving TDs||2018||36||398||11.1||2|
The Jets nabbed Zach Wilson in the first round and will give him the green light from day 1, they’re certainly going to look to surround him with dynamic pass-catchers with later picks.
Round 3 – Pick #66
- Selection: Quinn Meinerz
- Position: Guard
- School: Wisconsin-Whitewater
The Jets feel good about Connor McGovern at center. Mekhi Becton flourished as a left tackle and there’s depth on the opposite end of the line (George Fant, Chuma Edoga). New York must upgrade the interior of their offensive line and I’m not talking about signing Dan Feeny to a one-year deal.
Quinn Meinerz turned heads at the Senior Bowl dominating P5 defensive lineman and will enter the league with a big chip on his shoulder.
The former wrestler is rather raw and will need to adapt to NFL schemes, but he rarely disappointed in one-on-one situations. He’s got enough brute strength to factor into the Jets offensive line rotation right away.
Round 3 – Pick #87
- Selection: Kenneth Gainwell
- Position: RB
- School: Memphis
Tevin Coleman’s one-year/$2 million deal tells me the Jets view the former Falcons and 49ers RB as nothing more than an insurance policy. Lamical Perine and Ty Johnson didn’t do enough in 2020 to solidify carries.
I fully expect Joe Douglas to spend one of his three day 2 picks on a new toy for his backfield.
Grabbing hold of Kenneth Gainwell means Douglas is drafting one of the five best running backs in the 2021 Draft. The quarterback-turned running back has a fresh set of wheels after opting out in 2020, and he’s far from a one-trick pony.
Gainwell rushed for 1,459 yards 13 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2019, and he still found time to catch 51 balls for 610 yards and three more scores. A true three-down workhorse.
Predicting the Jets Day Three Picks in 2021
- Round 4, Pick #108 – Hunter Long, TE, Boston College
- Round 5, Pick #147 – Cameron Sample, EDGE, Tulane
- Round 5, Pick #155 – Tariq Thompson, Safety, San Diego State
- Round 6, Pick #187 – Dax Milne, WR, BYU
- Round 6, Pick #227 – Tuf Borland, LB, Ohio State
Making five selections within the first 87 picks should set New York up to get creative on Day 3. As this edition of a Jets mock draft rolls on, the second slot in round 4 is where NY can add competition to the tight end room.
Chris Herndon is in the fold and Tyler Kroft arrives via free agency, but neither of them has been consistent NFL contributors. Hunter Long was the most productive tight end in all of college football in 2020 and can immediately plug in as a route-runner or a blocker.
The Jets lured in Carl Lawson to anchor the team’s pass rush; adding a guy like Cameron Sample would give DC Jeff Ulbrich much-needed versatility. Sample can line up in a three-point stance in the trenches or stand up as a middle linebacker.
SDSU ranked third in all of the FBS in yards allowed; Thompson was the team’s leading tackler.
One way to help Zach Wilson get comfortable as he transitions away from Provo is to bring in his safety blanket with whom he’s already developed a sincere rapport. After being somewhat of an afterthought in the Cougars 2019 offensive game plan, Milne burst onto the scene in 2020 with an impressive 70/1,188/8 line.
Finally, Tuf Borland’s tenacity and attention to detail are too intense to not land on an NFL roster. Tuf was a four-year starter in Columbus and should impact the special teams unit straight from the get-go.
Summarizing My 2021 Jets Mock Draft
As ugly as things were during New York’s 2-14 season, the tide has already started to turn. The team signed Corey Davis and has high hopes for Denzel Mims, but that won’t stop them from drafting a wideout within their first five picks.
The Jets need help on the edge, they need a dependable corner, and the running back and tight end rooms are still very much a work in progress.
Joe Douglas has diligently worked to eradicate the personnel that was holding the organization back; what he accomplishes in the 2021 Draft will likely define his tenure.
Kicking things off by drafting Zach Wilson 2nd overall seems like a heck of a place to start.