In a typical year when Thanksgiving rolls around, the Jets are already out of playoff contention and aren’t picking high enough to draft the ever so coveted “franchise changing talent” in the NFL Draft. However! 2020 has been a wild, unpredictable year and while the Jets are out of playoff contention at Thanksgiving (shocker), they have the inside track for the number one pick and the rights to draft a franchise changing talent in Trevor Lawrence. Here’s my Mock Draft 1.0 for the 2021 New York Jets Draft.
R1, P1: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Not only is Trevor Lawrence arguably the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck but he brings with him an excitement for the Jets organization. Whoever the new coach is (and you’ll have a better shot at landing one of the upper tier guys if the Jets end up with the first pick) will get a quarterback with elite traits and a winning pedigree, something the Jets desperately need. The main debate will be whether they should take Lawrence or Ohio State’s Justin Fields, but for my money, the pick is easily Lawrence.R1, P25: Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The Seattle pick can go in many different directions. Joe Douglas has shown that he wants to prioritize building inside out so it wouldn’t shock me if they went OL here. However the Jets desperately need a legitimate edge presence and, maybe even more importantly, need to address the need full on instead of hoping and praying a third or fourth round edge can give you something.
Ojulari is someone Connor Rogers highlighted in his recent Badlands piece (which you should be subscribed to!!! https://patreon.com/BadlandsTOJ) as a guy who has pure pass rush ability and follows the pattern of a good guy off the field as well, something we saw Douglas prioritize in the 2020 draft.
R2, P33: Trey Smith, OL, TennesseeThe Jets are most likely going into 2021 with Mekhi Becton and George Fant as their tackles. The interior of the offensive line needs to be rebuilt and Trey Smith is a perfect guy to pair with Becton. He’s nasty, physical and plays through the whistle. Smith and Becton could become a Bash Bros type tandem (if Smiths medicals check out) that will give Lawrence the protection he needs to develop properly.
R3, P65: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Denzel Mims has shown enough promise so far to get excited about him being Lawrences go to target for (hopefully) a long time. But the Jets need to add depth to their receiver group. I do think they’ll add an upper tier receiver whether that be by trade or through free agency but Joe Douglas can’t give Trevor Lawrence enough help. Toney is a YAC king. Get the ball in his hands and watch magic happen. He can be a nice compliment to an Allen Robinson/Juju + Mims core.
R3, P88: Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma StateFrank Gore won’t be on the team next season (fingers crossed) and La’Mical Perine hasn’t shown enough to be comfortable with giving him RB1, bell cow type duties. It’ll most likely be a running back by committee situation and I think Hubbard would be a nice addition to this backfield. Highly intelligent when it comes to knowing where the running lanes are and the ability to burn guys when he gets to the second and third levels, Hubbard would be a viable RB2 option if the Jets go out and sign another RB in free agency.
R4, P102: Nico Collins, WR, Michigan
Give Lawrence all the weapons. Collins is 6’4″ and plays like it. Michigans QB situation hasn’t been ideal for receivers to showcase their skills but getting a power forward at receiver who can win vertically despite not being a burner should warrant some looks to help your young QB. Would it be a little redundant to take Collins when you have a Mims on the roster? Maybe, but the Jets need all the talent they can get and I’m not going to gripe about Douglas taking as many stabs as he can to find playmakers on that side of the ball.