Joe Douglas and the Jets set themselves up to add loads of talent this offseason. New York has two top-10 picks in this year’s NFL Draft. The fourth overall pick (their own) and the 10th — the final pick acquired in the Jamal Adams trade with the Seattle Seahawks. New York also holds the 38th pick, acquired in the Sam Darnold trade with the Carolina Panthers, along with their own pick at 35. They have five total picks in the top-69, nine within the first five rounds, as well as $44.7 million projected in cap space, according to Spotrac.
An offseason of speculation and mock drafts is on the horizon. Although it’s early on in the process, I decided to throw together my first Mock Draft of the offseason. For context purposes, I’ll include all offseason moves including free agency acquisitions. Consider it a Mock Offseason.
Let’s begin with releasing TE Ryan Griffin, DT Sheldon Rankins, G Greg Van Roten, and LB Blake Cashman. These cuts free up a total of $13.1 million in cap space.
In this scenario, the Jets retained four notable players on expiring contracts: QB Joe Flacco, G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, SS LaMarcus Joyner, and K Eddy Piñeiro. These signings shouldn’t cost more than $12 million. This means WR Braxton Berrios, OT Morgan Moses, DT Foley Fatukasi, SS Marcus Maye, and more hit the market and ultimately sign elsewhere in this scenario.
While they shouldn’t move on from him, the Jets would be wise to work with LB C.J. Mosley about taking a pay cut. In this scenario, his salary is cut down, freeing $4 million in cap space.
This would give the Jets $49.8 million to spend in free agency. In this scenario, this money gets invested into TE David Njoku, DT D.J. Jones, CB Patrick Peterson, and FS Marcus Williams. Guesstimating the market value of these players, these signings would leave the Jets with about $14 million in cap space heading into the draft.
And now, the seven-round draft:
Round 1, Pick 4: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
For a while, even just months ago, Thibodeaux was in the conversation to go first overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. But, recent reports have suggested that the league isn’t as high on him as the general public is. Robert Saleh has been very vocal about how important the defensive line is to his defense. He has also vocalized his confidence in the Jets’ staff to get the best out of the players. Given Thibodeaux’s positional value, in addition to his potential, this seems like a home-run pick.
Round 1, Pick 10: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
Everyone seems to have their opinion on who should be the first receiver taken off the board. In this scenario, the Jets select Wilson for his route-running and ability to get open, which is traditionally what best fits Mike LaFleur’s offense.
Round 2, Pick 35: TE Trey McBride, Colorado State
Robert Saleh and the Jets’ staff got an up-close look at McBride at the Senior Bowl, and according to multiple reports, the tight end caught their eye. Ron Middleton told reporters that “the strain, the effort, the want-to, all that is there” with McBride. This pick, in addition to signing Njoku, flips from a weak tight end room to one full of potential.
Round 2, Pick 38: OL Darian Kinnard, Kentucky
The Jets want to add big people. That means building the trenches — both defensively and offensively. Kinnard fits that criteria at 6’5”, 324 lbs, with a reputation as a dominant run-blocker. He played tackle throughout his collegiate career, but some believe he could make the move inside to guard. Douglas adds yet another prominent draft pick to his offensive line, this time with an addition at right guard.
Round 3, Pick 69: WR Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky
Since Berrios leaves via free agency in this scenario, the Jets won’t have much depth at receiver. This pick adds a much-needed presence at the fourth receiver spot. Robinson is praised for his after-the-catch abilities and could be utilized in multiple different ways in LaFleur’s offense.
Round 4, Pick 109: EDGE DeAngelo Malone, Western Kentucky
The injury bug bit the Jets’ defensive end room last season and it wasn’t pretty, featuring players like Tim Ward and Jabari Zuniga at times. Malone could make an impact as a rotational player, but this is primarily a depth pick.
Round 4, Pick 115: OT Cordell Volson, North Dakota State
Due to a level of uncertainty around the offensive tackle group this offseason, it would make sense to add additional depth.
Round 5, Pick 145: RB Zonovan ‘Bam’ Knight, NC State
The Jets need to add a complimentary back to Michael Carter this offseason. Knight can serve as the second option in the Jets’ committee. He also has experience returning kicks, a spot that needs to be filled in the absence of Braxton Berrios.
Round 5, Pick 162: IDL P.J. Mustipher, Penn State
Depth, depth, and more depth in the trenches.