We are well into mock draft season and many of you may know my feelings on mock drafts but even more of you probably do not. Mock drafts are awesome and fun, but also pointless. I don’t do mock drafts myself because I won’t pretend to know for sure what the Jets are going to do, let alone the other 31 teams and as soon as a mock draft gets one pick wrong the entire thing falls apart. But again the pointlessness of it all, the raging debates that often come out of hypothetical scenarios that probably won’t ever happen is part of the charm.
So, instead of me doing a mock draft, or 13 different mock drafts, I figured I’d do a mock draft roundup where I dive head first into the dark and murky waters of mock draft season and collect a number of the biggest mock drafts out there, see how all over the place the “experts” (note: I’m not mocking the expertise of these people’s ability to evaluate talent but at the idea that anyone could possibly know what any, let alone all, of the teams are going to do) picks are then discuss the best/worst picks and examine if or how these picks make sense.
After all, it’s the offseason and we’re all bored with life without football so mock draft football is what we have to work with and dammit we need to embrace it.
Bucky Brooks: DE Jonathan Allen (Alabama) – I hear you, “not another defensive lineman!” I tend to agree with you too, obviously I’d make an exception for Myles Garrett but he’ll be long gone by the time the Jets pick, but I’d make that exception, as I expect you would, because we all know the Jets need an elite pass rusher. Allen played all over the line at Alabama but lacks the length and sudden burst to be a true edge rusher in the NFL. He’s still going to be a hell of a player though, problem is for the Jets – who couldn’t figure out a way to use Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson all at the same time – even if the Jets found a way to trade Richardson would it really make sense to add another first-round pick to the defensive line?
I’m a firm believer in best player available and it’s certainly possible that Allen could be the highest graded player available, but if he grades out at a 97 I would be happy to take a player with a 96 or 95 grade at another position – and there will surely be players available in that range – to avoid creating even more of a logjam on the line. Getting the best player available is great, but can he end up being the best player available if you can’t use him enough, or correctly?
Daniel Jeremiah/Chad Reuter: CB Marshon Lattimore (Ohio State) – Cornerbacks are a popular position for people to mock to the Jets for the very obvious reason that it’s a position of need and Lattimore is the corner mocked to the Jets the most. I still wouldn’t make this pick and it’s not because I don’t think Lattimore will be good, but there’s a few reasons why I’d pass on him at six. The first reason is all about his hamstrings, Lattimore missed the majority of his first two seasons at Ohio State because of hamstring injuries, but managed the play the entire season last year. But admittedly I’d be skittish because the last cornerback the Jets took that high with injury concerns and Dee Milliner didn’t even miss time due to his injuries in college. But a better reason to pass on Lattimore is I don’t think he really fits what Todd Bowles wants in a corner, he’s simply not physical enough. Lattimore rarely jammed receivers at the line and his frame isn’t ideal for a press-man corner. Finally, this draft class is loaded with quality corners, so yes the Jets do need corners but there will be quality corners available in later rounds and ones that I think fit what Bowles wants better than Lattimore does.
Charlie Casserly: S Jamal Adams (LSU) – Now we’re talking. Right now there are a lot of options on the table worthy of considering with the sixth pick, but mark me down as firmly entrenched on team draft a safety. Adams would be an immediate upgrade for the Jets and would without a doubt improve their defense. Adams is considered more of a strong safety, but he has traits of a safety, cornerback and a linebacker all in one and has the versatility to play well in coverage as well as against the run. I prefer the upside of Malik Hooker (more on him below) to Adams, but if the Jets took Adams I wouldn’t knock the pick at all.
Lance Zierlein: RB Leonard Fournette (LSU) – I probably don’t have to tell you much about Fournette, the dude is an absolute monster. Human beings aren’t supposed to built like him and if by some chance a human is built like him they damn sure aren’t supposed to have his speed and athleticism. Physical freak is a term that sometimes feels watered down because we hear it so much with football players – and for good reason, all these players are physical freaks – but Fournette is a physical freak among the other physical freaks.
If the Jets decide to go with an offensive player at six then running back is where they should go. It would be great to get a left tackle, but there aren’t any worthy of the sixth pick and the same applies for quarterbacks, though more on that later. I’ve seen plenty of others mock Florida State running back Dalvin Cook to the Jets and as much as I love Fournette I’d go with Cook over Fournette. I wonder if Fournette’s size and running style could be a hindrance in the NFL and open himself up to more injuries and he might have a hard time sneaking through smaller holes and won’t have as easy of a time bowling defenders over as he did in college. Fournette didn’t show much as a receiver either, that’s not his fault because LSU simply didn’t use him that way, but give me the pass-catching ability of Cook.
With the Jets still lost at quarterback it makes a ton of sense to get an elite running back to build the offense around until they can finally find an actual quarterback of the future.
Rob Rang: TE O.J. Howard (Alabama) – My favorite mocks are the ones with Howard going to the Jets, not because I think it will happen or even that I think it should happen but for some reason it’s just so much fun to think about. I haven’t been on Twitter or monitoring how Jets fans would feel about this pick, but for some reason I don’t think Jets fans would be thrilled with taking a tight end at six, especially not in a draft so deep at the position, even if that tight end is O.J. Howard.
However, Howard is even better than you think he is and is the rare case of a player whose stock might have actually taken a hit because he played at Alabama. Sure you know him because of his performance in the past two National Championship games and if not at Alabama he wouldn’t have been there unless he went to Clemson, but Alabama’s passing attack simply hasn’t done him any favors. Alabama has always been a run-first offense, but the last few years the passing game has been worse than before and in large part because they’ve had quarterbacks who were better runners than passers. Howard’s route-running ability still needs work, but he is a gifted and explosive play-maker. If it makes sense to take a running back at six because of the lack of a real quarterback it would also make sense to get an insanely talented tight end to make whoever the quarterback is better.
Dane Bulger: FS Malik Hooker (Ohio State) – While my favorite player to see mocked to the Jets is Howard, my favorite player that I would, realistically, like to see the Jets draft is Hooker. First I should admit and explain my inconsistencies because if part of the reason I’d shy away from Hooker’s college teammate Lattimore is because of only one full season in college and injury concerns well then I should have those same concerns with Hooker, and I do. But admittedly I have fallen head over heels in love with Hooker’s potential. There’s some natural bias built in to that because a true center-fielder type safety is my favorite position in football and you’ll see a ton of Ed Reed comparisons with Hooker. I’m not saying he’ll be Ed Reed, but watch this kid play last year and you’ll see the reasons for that comp.
We talk about quarterbacks, left tackles, edge rusher and cornerbacks at the most important positions and I don’t have a problem with that but I think because there are so few true center-fielder type free safeties in the league at a time I tend to think we overlook the impact of having one of them. Look at the Seahawks defense with Earl Thomas and without him, sure the Seahawks have talent all over the defense that help Thomas be able to freelance more, but without him to cover up the backend that defense becomes much more susceptible. I think if Hooker can stay healthy he has that type of ability and those players are so rare that if Hooker passed the medical check I don’t think I could resist picking him.
Pete Prisco: QB Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech) – When I first saw this I stared at my computer screen in disbelief for a solid three minutes, then I just started laughing. I still won’t rule out the Jets taking a quarterback with the sixth pick, though I think it’s unlikely, but if they took Mahomes II I think Jets fans would be justified in rioting.
If you’re like me you probably look at this and think Prisco must’ve gone mad and had the other three top quarterbacks go in the top five, but no it’s even crazier than that. Prisco has Mahomes as the first quarterback taken. I’ve said all along that if the Jets really love one of the top quarterbacks then they should take them at six, but if it’s Mahomes they really love that much I have to seriously question them. What’s really crazy about this is I kind of like Mahomes, but not at sixth overall and not over the other three. I’ll be damned if I’m taking a Texas Tech system quarterback with the sixth overall pick.
Will Brinson: QB Deshaun Watson (Clemson) – Again, if the Jets really love any of the top quarterbacks than they should take him and if you’re going to choose one it’s hard to argue against Watson. Sure there’s a lot to pick apart about his game, but when I watch the past two National Championship games against Alabama I can’t help but feel those doubts fade away. Personally I think Mitch Trubisky has the highest floor of all the quarterbacks and DeShone Kizer has the highest ceiling, but all of these guys have inconsistency issues. You’ve likely heard that Trubisky was the most consistent last year and I won’t debate that but that by no means suggests that Trubisky doesn’t have consistency issues himself.
We can all argue about how these quarterbacks should be ranked but the reality is the are all really close in grades, it’s simply a matter of preference. I think all three have the potential to develop into quality starters if they are placed in the right situation but of course no one would blame you for laughing at the thought of the Jets being the right place to develop a quarterback.
I still think the Jets will take a quarterback at some point in the draft but I think it’s far more likely they take one in the second or third, or depending on how the board falls I could see them trading up back into the late first to grab one, but I don’t think they can justify spending the sixth overall pick on any of the quarterback options.
Todd McShay – CB Marshon Lattimore (Ohio State) – See above
Mel Kiper: TE O.J. Howard (Alabama) – See above
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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