Happy Holidays Jets Fans!
As we celebrate the holiday season, rather than do a traditional prospect breakdown I opted to do a mock draft featuring all nine of the Jets draft picks in the 2022 draft with no trades. This class would gift the Jets multiple blue chip prospects, high character guys, and future starters under their Christmas tree.
Pick #4: Kyle Hamilton S, Notre Dame
If the Jets remain in the fourth draft slot, both of the top two EDGE prospects would foreseeably be gone, and OT Evan Neal would likely go off the board as well. This leaves the Jets in a spot where they can still grab a top playmaker and, given the lack of safety depth and secondary playmakers, Kyle Hamilton would be an ideal pick here. Hamilton is an exceptional talent who can immediately come in and provide versatility as an instinctual run defender and a superb pass defender. Hamilton could have a Minkah Fitzpatrick level impact for the defense as a productive tackler. Also, with a division full of tight end talent, he can provide lock down coverage both there and in the slot when need be. Overall, Hamilton can immediately come in, make plays, improve the rush and pass defense, and take this defense up a few notches.
Pick #8: George Karlaftis EDGE, Purdue
The Jets double down on players from Greece in the first round (which has to be some kind of record) by selecting the “Greek Freak” George Karlaftis. Combining Karlaftis with Hamilton in the first two Jet selections would give the team two high-character, high-IQ guys who can be immediate difference makers. Karlaftis finished his collegiate career with 14 sacks and 29 TFLs over 16 games, but those numbers don’t even tell the full story. Karlaftis maneuvered men strategically to pull blocks away from teammates and still create pressures while facing double teams. He’s gritty too and can be a major asset in run defense as well. Karlaftis is the kind of smart disrupter who would compliment a returning Carl Lawson perfectly. Having that explosive and disruptive pass rushing tandem could take the pressure off the secondary and allow the team to rush four comfortably with JFM, Quinnen Williams and others in the fold as well. Karlaftis would be a home run addition who could help give the Jets one of their best potential pass rushing attacks in decades.
Pick #35: Zion Johnson IOL, Boston College
Johnson is a safe prospect with a high floor that will likely lead him to rise in this class. Johnson is someone who could immediately start and not need much time to develop. He’s not a high ceiling guy admittedly, but he’s a quality run blocker and efficient pass blocker. He won’t be the best offensive lineman on a line, but he’s a smart and durable prospect that could give the Jets an answer at right guard and allow the team to move away from the revolving door of veterans.
Pick #40: David Bell WR, Purdue
Bell brings the Joe Douglas second round wide receiver selection total to three receivers in three draft classes. Bell can help compliment Elijah Moore and take a lot of the pressure off of him. Bell has proven to excel in yards after the catch, garner consistent separation on the outside, and he’s shown the versatility that would compliment Moore and Corey Davis’s skill sets well. Davis and Bell could hold the outside receiver spots down and allow Moore to play the DeeBoo Samuel role where he takes snaps all over the offense. Bell could fit the Brandon Aiyuk role where he takes snaps all over like Moore at times, but can also stretch the field as a deep outside threat. Bell would help accomplish the ultimate task of taking pressure off of Zach Wilson and, although there’s better receiver prospects who could fit this offense better, Bell could come in and provide another weapon in Wilson’s arsenal.
Pick #68: Brandon Smith LB, Penn State
The Jets go to linebacker university in State College, Pennsylvania to grab a linebacker with starting potential. Smith can be a reliable pass defender and productive tackler, but he needs to reign in his overzealousness that often makes him susceptible to missed tackles, and he can stand to benefit from technical advancements as a tackler as well. Robert Saleh develops defensive backs and linebackers well though and Saleh could fix a lot of the flaws in Smith’s game relatively quickly, potentially molding him into a starter at some point in the next two seasons. For now though, Smith could work himself into playing time relatively quickly as he develops into a more well rounded linebacker, likely at the SAM or WILL spot.
Pick #110: Cade Otton TE, Washington
The Jets have been bereft of a legitimate tight end for over a decade. Otton has the potential develop into the tight end that fills that void and he’s right up Joe Douglas’s alley. He’s won every team award you could win at Washington, including the Most Inspirational Athlete award. Otton’s a captain, outstanding blocker, and someone who could immediately be a redzone threat. Otton works the middle of the field well and reigns in contested catches and would quickly become a favorite option for Zach Wilson. Otton’s only large concerns are how he comes back from a serious foot injury and how he grows as a receiver at the next level, something I see him doing somewhat seamlessly.
Pick #121: Tariq Woolen CB, UTSA
Woolen is another Day 3 flier by Joe Douglas at the cornerback position. Woolen is a lengthy cornerback at 6’4” and he’s also a converted Wide Receiver who tracks the ball very well. As a former pass catcher who is still learning the cornerback position Woolen is extremely raw, but his length and playmaking ability are appealing traits that could catch the eye of the Jets brass. His traits make him a desirable prospect who could add more depth and a playmaker to a cornerback room that saw its first interception come in Week 15, while providing high upside down the line.
Pick #145: Tyler Allgeier RB, BYU
Allgeier is someone you have to listen to this week’s “Draft SZN” episode to get the full feel for. He’s a high motor back who explodes through gaps and has the size to break tackles consistently. He has good contact balance and his gritty running style reminds me of Ryan Matthews. Just like Matthews, Allgeier could add depth to the running back room and provide a perfect counter attack to Michael Carter.
Pick #158: Tyler Vrabel OT, Boston College
Vrabel rounds out the bunch as a prospect with a fun story. Vrabel is the son of Tennessee Titans Head Coach and former player Mike Vrabel. He comes from a smart football family and his football IQ is high. Vrabel has really good foot work, a strong frame and impressive agility. His length and athleticism make him a developmental tackle prospect who could be molded into a starter somewhere down the line. He struggles to hold blocks and maintain balance, but the traits are there for Vrabel to become a competent starter at some point.