It’s been a roller coaster of a draft so far for the NY Jets. After an eventful Day 2 in which the Jets traded down from the 48th overall pick, the Jets wound up with Baylor WR Denzel Mims, Cal DB Ashtyn Davis and Florida DE Jabari Zuniga, in addition to first round pick Mekhi Becton (OT, Louisville). Perhaps the most impressive Joe Douglas feat was turning the 48th overall pick into a talented receiver (Mims), two fourth round picks and a 2021 sixth round pick. Day 3 will be a busy one for the Jets, who are slated to pick six times tomorrow: three times in the fourth round, once in the fifth, and twice in the sixth.
Joe Douglas has made it clear what type of player he wants. All four selections have been exceptional athletes: Becton is a generational OT prospect, Mims and Davis both have elite track backgrounds, and Zuniga posted a 97th percentile broad jump and had flashes of impressive explosiveness at Florida. In addition, both defensive selections provide the Jets with tremendous versatility, since Davis can play slot CB as well as FS and Zuniga can play multiple positions along the defensive line. Given these two criteria of athleticism and versatility, it’s worth examining ten players the Jets should be targeting tomorrow.Number 10: Netane Muti, Guard – Fresno State
A highly polarizing, boom-bust prospect, Muti has a scary injury history including two torn achilles tendons and a season-ending lisfranc injury. That being said, Muti has elite tape and dominated Ed Oliver when they played in 2017. If he had a clean bill of health, Muti would likely be a top fifteen pick even as an interior offensive lineman–that’s how good he is. Posting a Combine-high 44 bench press reps, Muti fits Douglas’ mold of an athletically gifted lineman; he would also fit the Jets’ zone scheme. If Muti makes it to the sixth round, I think he might be worth the gamble.
Number 9: Nick Harris, Center – Washington
Harris is a scheme specific prospect who could develop into a starting center in a zone scheme in the future. Despite limited positional and schematic versatility due to lack of play strength, Harris is an intriguing prospect who at one time was mocked in the top-50. Harris had a poor showing in senior bowl one-on-ones, but this shouldn’t disqualify him from mid-Day 3 consideration for the Jets. Since the Jets have yet to bolster depth on the OL in the Draft, if Harris were to fall to the sixth, I’d endorse taking him.
Number 8: Hakeem Adeniji, Tackle – Kansas
Adeniji might be Number 8 on my big board, but he’s significantly better as an offensive line prospect than Harris and should be in immediate consideration for one of the Jets’ first fourth round picks. Adeniji played Tackle in college, but will need to transition to Guard in the NFL due to lack of arm length. Adeniji posted elite mobility numbers at the Combine, including a 96 percentile vertical jump and 97 percentile broad jump. I expect the Jets to target EDGE, CB, and IOL in the fourth round and it wouldn’t surprise me if Adeniji were one of their picks.
Number 7: Troy Pride Jr., Cornerback – Notre Dame
A scheme diverse prospect and seasoned starter, Pride Jr. would provide the Jets’ cornerback group with more competition. Although he has experience in man and zone, Pride projects favorably in a zone scheme because he is at his best when he can read the quarterback’s eyes and make plays. Pride Jr. tested well at the Combine and has intriguing physical traits that Joe Douglas would like. Lastly, Pride Jr. comes from a storied program, which might also be a small plus. I expect Pride to be picked in the late fourth or early fifth round.
Admittedly Anae doesn’t fit the Jets’ mold to the extent there is one, but he should be fairly high on the team’s draft board since he is one of the draft’s best remaining players. Anae possesses incredibly refined hand usage that could allow for immediate projection; however, his long-term ceiling is capped by lack of physical traits. Anae would be an instant impact addition and should be considered with one of the Jets’ fourth round picks.
Number 5: Kenny Willekes, EDGE – Michigan State
Willekes is similar to Anae in terms of motor, but is more physically gifted. Comparable to Chase Winovich, Willekes’ success will be reliant on whether he can improve his technique and play strength in the NFL. Considering that EDGE has been one of the Jets’ greatest positional needs of the last two decades, I think Joe Douglas understands that Jabari Zuniga doesn’t constitute a permanent solution. Willekes would bolster depth at a minimum and could grow into a viable starter. Mid-fourth round is a reasonable point in the draft for him to be selected during.
Number 4: Amik Roberston, Cornerback – Louisiana Tech.
A feisty, scheme versatile cornerback who plays much bigger than his size, Amik Roberston embodies the ethos of the Joe Douglas player who “hates losing more than he loves to win.” Amik’s ball skills are outstanding and his style of play is highly physical. Although he thrived in limited usage at outside cornerback, the Jets would be wise to restrict Amik’s deployment to the inside. Amik projects as a core impact special teamer and sub-package defensive back in Year 1, but a successful slot successor to Brian Poole in Years 2 and 3. I would be happy with the Jets targeting him with one of their three fourth round picks.
Number 3: John Hightower, Wide Receiver – Boise State
In the short term, Hightower projects as a backup Z receiver to Breshad Perriman but, if given time and quality coaching, he can eventually fill Robby Anderson’s void in the Jets offense. Hightower is a dynamic deep threat who is a fluid—not just linear—athlete. The biggest issue with Hightower is his inconsistent hands, but I believe that the Jets could instill greater tenacity at the catch point in Hightower just like they did with Robby Anderson. Expect him to go in the late fourth.
A polarizing prospect, Johnson should be strongly considered by the Jets and viewed as a potential long-term successor to Jamison Crowder. Johnson infrequently flashes elite hands and possesses decent route-running and physicality. He’s not a high-end slot receiver prospect, but with time and commitment, Johnson could develop into a league-average slot on a cheap deal for the Jets. I believe that Johnson is a Day 2 player; evidently the NFL disagrees, which makes me think that the Jets could wait to select him with their last pick in the fourth round, or even their first fifth round pick. It all depends on Douglas’ risk tolerance.
Number 1: Reggie Robinson, Cornerback – Tulsa
A late riser in the Draft process whom NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah suggested could go in the 2nd round, Robinson is an intriguing prospect because of the unique physical traits he possesses. Although he is a developmental prospect who probably shouldn’t see immediate playing time, Robinson has the potential to become an above average NFL starter at outside CB if developed properly. Robinson’s flashes are incredibly impressive—such as when he abandoned a smoke screen to pick off a corner route against Oklahoma State —and there is a strong athletic foundation to build on. Robinson is also very scheme versatile, which is a plus for the Jets. I would be thrilled if the Jets selected him with their first fourth round pick because of what he can become.