The Jets come into the 2020 NFL Draft with plenty of questions at vital positions. They could leave the draft with some promising answers but it will take a sound plan, discipline, and a little bit of good fortune. To dissect potential avenues, we’ll look at each draft pick and identify what positions they should target. We’ll also list who I consider the best 5 prospect fits likely be available at each one of those picks and then summarize the best strategy.
Round 1 – Pick 11
Position Priority: OT, WR
Best 5 Options:
OT Jedrick Wills, AlabamaWR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
OT Mehki Becton, Louisville
OT Andrew Thomas, GeorgiaSummary:
The responsible and widely expected move for the Jets in round 1 is to go for one of the top four offensive tackles in this year’s class. I believe the best option for the Jets that could fall to 11th overall is Jedrick Wills. I think his athleticism and technique translates perfectly to the Jets’ zone blocking run scheme. I also think his attitude and pedigree from a perennial winner like Alabama would bring welcomed character to the locker room. The Jets need winners in their locker room and Wills knows all about that.
If the Jets want to get crazy and go with a wide receiver in round 1, there’s a good chance all of the top players could be available at 11th overall. CeeDee Lamb is my top WR and I believe he would be excellent value at the Jets pick. The key here is that the Jets need to weigh what they currently have along the offensive line. Given that lack of talent and the questionability of the OT talent in this draft outside of round 1, it’s understandable if the Jets are hard set at offensive line here.
Round 2 – Pick 48
Position Priority: WR, EDGE, OT
Best 5 Options:
WR Michael Pittman, USCWR K.J Hamler, Penn State
WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
EDGE Zack Baun, Wisconsin
EDGE Josh Uche, Michiagan
In round 2, I believe the Jets have a really good chance to land a playmaker on offense that could get quickly acclimated. Michael Pittman has chemistry with Sam Darnold that has grown beyond their shared time at USC. He’s had an impressive rise throughout the draft process and his physical frame presents no qualms in terms of how quickly he can acclimate his body to the NFL game. K.J Hamler and Jalen Reagor would be high risk, high reward targets. They both possess elite speed and elusiveness. They also could both be long term solutions as returners on special teams. If the Jets go with an offensive lineman in round 1, the likelihood of them going with a receiver in round 2 is quite high, in my opinion.
If the Jets decide to go defense in round 2, I think there’s only one reasonable option: Josh Uche. I believe he captures a glimpse of what they missed out on in Josh Allen last year. Scouts have wondered about where to play him defensively but I think his versatility would be a strength in Gregg Williams’ defense. Based on Blake Cashman’s rapid development last season, I think a somewhat raw player like Uche would thrive under Williams’ coaching.
Lastly, if the Jets do go with a wide receiver in round 1, they would have to consider either taking an offensive tackle here with a player like Austin Jackson likely available or perhaps trading this pick for a tackle who’s name rhymes with “Jent Hilliams.”
Round 3 – Picks 68, 79
Position Priority: CB, WR, Edge, IOL
Best 5 Options for 68:
CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
WR Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan
EDGE Bradley Anae, Utah
Best 5 Options for 79:
CB Darnay Holmes, UCLA
WR Lynn Bowden, Kentucky
CB Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech
IOL Damien Lewis, LSU
WR Van Jefferson, Florida
In the 3rd round, the Jets should be focused on finding players that can make an immediate impact on either side of the ball. Here’s where they can really address depth at WR and CB. There are few matches I like more in this draft than Bryce Hall at 68 for the Jets. Hall is a scheme fit, an a culture fit, and, I believe, a fanbase fit. He’s a quiet, skilled, technician with plenty of upside if the medicals check out.
Because it is such a deep WR class, there are still players with upside that likely to be available for the Jets at both 68 and 79. I think Chase Claypool is an intriguing target in this round. Claypool’s often considered an Evan Engram clone which could create an interesting dynamic in the Jets’ offense with Chris Herndon healthy. With Quincy Enunwa status uncertain, Claypool could fill the void as an offensive chess piece with his combined abilities as a blocker and a receiver. Claypool could also be an additional solid red zone target along side Chris Herndon.
If the Jets want to further address the offensive line in round 3, Damien Lewis at 79 is definitely a match to be aware of. Depending on how the early teams target interior offensive line, there’s a good chance Lewis doesn’t make it to the 4th round. This would be a bit of reach, in my opinion, but it definitely addresses a big concern with their IOL depth.
Round 4 – Pick 120
Position Priority: WR, IOL, RB
Best 5 Player Focus:
IOL Nick Harris, Washington
IOL Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
WR James Proche, SMU
WR K.J Hill, Ohio State
WR/RB Antonio Gibson, Memphis
I know what you’re thinking. WR seems to be a constant high priority. It better be! At this point there’s still some good talent on the board. If their focus is on players that won’t take long to acclimate then James Proche is a great fit. He has unbelievable body control, sticky hands, and excellent route running ability. Being an older rookie receiver may work in his favor with an abbreviated offseason program. Proche is as close to plug and play as a day 3 wide receiver can be. I think he’s one of a few WR options here, especially if the Jets have only selected one receiver at this point.
Round 5- Pick 158
Position Priority: OT, RB, WR
Best 5 Player Focus:
OT Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas
RB Anthony McFarland, Maryland
WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn
WR Devin Duvernay, Texas
This is where talent really starts to dry out and the Jets will start looking for developmental situations. However, this could be a nice chance for the Jets to land a change of pace running back with upside and not too much tread on the tires. Anthony McFarland declared for the draft as a redshirt sophomore after sharing carries last season. He has plenty of football left to play. McFarland shows excellent burst and breakaway speed on film. He needs to work on his vision and who would be a better teacher than Le’veon Bell? McFarland could be an interesting compliment to Bell in the Jets’ backfield if their offensive line shows improvement. Honestly, that question alone makes drafting a running back risky but I am a fan of McFarland’s.
Round 6 – Picks 191, 211
Position Priority: OT, QB, IOL
OT Alex Taylor, South Carolina State
IOL Solomon Kindley, Georgia
QB Tyler Huntley, Utah
QB Anthony Gordon, Washington State
QB Cole McDonald, Hawaii
We’re continuing looking at developmental situations in these late rounds. It would reasonable to go back to the offensive line at 191 or 211. They can add depth at offensive tackle with an athletic prospect like Alex Taylor. Or they could add depth at guard with an experienced player like Solomon Kindley who played in several big games in the SEC with Georgia.
I would hope that the Jets also consider going with a quarterback in round 6. I love Tyler Huntley as an option here. I don’t you’ll find many quarterbacks in this year’s draft who are tougher than Huntley. He played through multiple injuries last season and still showed out in big moments. He has above average athleticism at the position and can extend plays with his feet much (which meshes with Darnold’s similar trait). Huntley has the intangibles as well. He’s a solid leader and was part of a big turnaround at Utah in his four years there. I think he’d be a great option to consider at 211.