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As Jets reset draft board, which players might they target day 2


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By Connor Hughes 

With his first pick as Jets general manager, Joe Douglas took a major step in rebuilding his offensive line, selecting Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton.

But there’s a reason Douglas is the Jets’ fourth GM since 2012, inheriting a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in nearly a decade.

Becton fills one hole. There are still many more that litter this roster.

Lucky for Douglas, he has quite a few more picks to get that job done. The Jets hold the 48th, 68th and 79th selections on the second day of the draft. There’s a chance they could acquire more, too.

Who might Douglas be looking at?

Here are a few names to monitor.

Receivers
Michael Pittman, USC
: After drafting Becton in the first round, it seems obvious the Jets target a receiver in the second. Pittman is among the more sure-handed in this year’s class, having caught 101 passes for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. He has good size at 6-4 and 223. The Jets don’t have much of that on the roster.

Tee Higgins, Clemson: The Tigers seem to breed quality NFL receivers, and Higgins is the latest to enter the draft. He caught 59 passes for 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. He has similar size to Pittman, too, at 6-4 and 216. The one issue with Higgins is he doesn’t have top-notch speed, which is what Gase is looking to add to his roster. According to Pro Football Network, he ran a 4.54 40-yard dash at his pro day.

Laviska Shenault, Colorado: Shenault is likely more of an option for the Jets in the third round than the second. He has good size (6-1, 227), physicality, and can play all three receiver positions, but has some durability concerns and didn’t produce much after a strong 2018. Shenault caught just 56 balls for 764 yards and four touchdowns last year.

Denzel Mims, Baylor: Mims had a really productive three-year run at Baylor, catching 182 passes for 2,901 yards and 28 touchdowns. He has impressive size (6-3, 207), and good speed (4.38 40-yard dash). He’s not a great route runner and isn’t as physical as you’d like.


Running backs
D’andre Swift, Georgia
: It seems a little unlikely the Jets target a running back before receiver, but if the right player falls, Douglas might be enticed to move up into the second round. The Jets do need to find Le’Veon Bell’s eventual replacement. Swift is 5-9, 215 and ran for 1,218 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin: At 5-10 and 226, Taylor has the build of a bruiser … except he ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He had a wildly productive three-year college career, rushing for 6,174 yards and 50 touchdowns. He topped 2,000 rushing yards in both 2018 and 2019.


Interior linemen
John Simpson, Clemson
: The Jets’ line is better. It’s not done. And of all the additions made by Douglas this offseason, Becton and center Connor McGovern are the only two guaranteed a roster spot in 2021. They’ll certainly look to add more bodies in the draft, potentially as early as the third round. Simpson is a big (6-4, 321), strong guy who moves pretty well for his size (5.24 40-yard dash). He’s a little too inconsistent, but that should get better as he matures with NFL coaching.

Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU: A team captain who did just about everything for LSU. He said at the Senior Bowl he wants to play center, but has the versatility to slide out to either guard spot. Douglas wants to establish a culture with the Jets. Cushenberry is the type of player he’d love. He might not start in Year 1, but scouts believe he has the the potential to develop into a team’s long-term answer in the middle of the line.


Rushers
Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State: 
While it didn’t work out great for the last Penn State player the Jets selected in the second round, but there’s a ton to like about Gross-Matos. He’s not a polished rusher yet, but analysts believe he has the potential to round out a nice set of moves to attack the quarterback. Our Dane Brugler highlighted his “quick acceleration to win the edge” in his scouting report on him. One thing: At 6-5 and 266 pounds, he’s more 4-3 defensive end than 3-4 outside linebacker. Gregg Williams could certainly find a home for him on the defensive line. Gross-Matos had 34.5 tackles for a loss and 17 sacks the last two years.

A.J. Epenesa, Iowa: At one point, plenty of mocks had Epenesa as a no-doubt, first-round pick. It’s a little bit of a surprise he slid all the way to the second round. Epensa isn’t an overly fast guy, but generates pass rush ability with his strength, evident by his 23 sacks the last two years. The Jets could certainly find a home for him on their defense opposite Quinnen Williams, giving them two impressive athletes at the defensive end position.

Josh Uche, Michigan: If the Jets want speed around the outside, they can find it in Uche. He’s not all that big (6-1, 245) or polished, but there’s a ton of raw potential there to develop into a premier edge rusher. He had 10.5 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks last year. In his scouting profile, Brugler said Uche needs “a patient coaching staff.” While hard-nosed, Gregg Williams might just be the guy to get the most out of Uche. As long as a player’s willing to learn, Williams will give him all the time he needs.


Corners
Trevon Diggs, Alabama
: While the Jets signed Pierre Desir in free agency, they’re still looking for another starting outside corner. Diggs is the best guy still on the board, and might just get within striking distance of the Jets’ 15th pick in the second round. Diggs has good size (6-1, 205), and with good coaching, can develop into a starter outside.

Jaylon Johnson, Utah: Another guy with decent size (6-0, 193), Johnson is one of the better press-man corners in the draft. Williams likes guys with toughness, and Johnson certainly has it. His issue: The health of his shoulders. He picked off four passes in 2018, and another two last year with 11 breakups.

Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State: Dantzler is an intriguing prospect. He’s big and athletic, coming off a season where he had 40 tackles, half a sack, a forced fumble, 10 pass breakups and two interceptions. He’s a physical player, and a pretty good tackler —  Williams will love that.

 

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2 minutes ago, jetstream23 said:

WR or Edge should be the only considerations at #48.  And Edge only if it's Gross-Matos or Zack Baun and most of those WRs are gone.

Except the CB's land very well into that area and all above are very good. I would say they can go CB, Edge or WR with 48 very comfortably. The two 3's make life a lot better to swing back to offense if it's a defense pick

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2 minutes ago, Long Island Leprechaun said:

I'm betting both will be there in the 3rd. I'd go CB before edge with 48, unless Gross-Matos falls. I think Baun will be gone.

All three CB mentioned in the article would do. Is it just me or do the projected CB going round 3 and after blow? I don't see one guy who I can praise and speak out on hoping they fall to one of our 3rd round picks.

Cameron Dantzler seems intriguing 

 

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16 minutes ago, Warfish said:

Edge is a 2021 #1 pick.  It shouldn't be a thought now.  Can't fix everything in one year.  And our already-top-10 Defense is already getting a major boost when it gets back Mosely this season.

WR (Pittman), Center (Hennessy/Biadaszc), WR (Mims/Van Jefferson) and maybe a flier late on Cushenberry, who I don't think is going to be a Day 2 pick.  Toss in a few late round CB's, and this draft would be the best (on paper) in ages, apart from the Darnold/QB position draft of course.

You're probably right re edge. I think some of the guys you're mentioning are 3rd or 4th rounders (Hennessy, Biadasz, Jefferson. We'll see how it shakes out. But I like where the Jets sit. They'll come away with a player.

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7 minutes ago, Long Island Leprechaun said:

You're probably right re edge. I think some of the guys you're mentioning are 3rd or 4th rounders (Hennessy, Biadasz, Jefferson. We'll see how it shakes out. But I like where the Jets sit. They'll come away with a player.

If we do what I hope this year, I'd be 100% fine with going back to the Draft Defense well and looking Edge and Edge only with our #1 pick.  It IS a need, no question.

I hope you're right about them being 3rd/4th guys, because it means we have a better chance to get them!  Pittman Jr. is the one I'm worried we'll miss out on, as he is supposed to go (and is ranked to go) at any point now in the top of the 2nd Round.  I'm gonna be optimistic for a chance, and believe he will drop to us and that Douglas will see the value and need and scheme fit and take him.

If Hennessy, Biadascz, Jefferson (and maybe Mims, @slats has a good point on that guy) fall, all the better.  We have two thirds and a fourth to get two of those dudes, one WR and one Center.  

Lets just hope that Douglas doesn't go down any of the "I'm smarter than everyone else" route, and picks solid players.  Lol, I'm still a bit sore we missed on Chase Winovich last draft cycle.  I still think he'd have been a solid player here and an attitude changer.

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My personal big board for the Jets in the 2nd RD is WR.

Tee Higgins

Denzel Mims

Michael Pittman

KJ Hamler

Laviska Shenault

Ches Claypool

Devin Duvernay

Antonio Golden-Gandy

Dont care if they're reaching, needs to be WR IMO.

exceptions to WR are few and I'd probably be a little disappointed but it would have to be OL:

Ezra Cleveland

Josh Jones

Lucas Niang

Prince TW

Robert Hunt

Lastely I do like the RB's but I think it's too early but wouldnt cry

Swift

Dobbins

Akers

Taylor

Moss

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35 minutes ago, Warfish said:

Edge is a 2021 #1 pick.  It shouldn't be a thought now.  Can't fix everything in one year.  And our already-top-10 Defense is already getting a major boost when it gets back Mosely this season.

WR (Pittman), Center (Hennessy/Biadaszc), WR (Mims/Van Jefferson) and maybe a flier late on Cushenberry (as a G, not a C), who I don't think is going to be a Day 2 pick.  Toss in a few late round CB's, and this draft would be the best (on paper) in ages, apart from the Darnold/QB position draft of course.

so why are you trying to fix the OL in one year?

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Gonna say this right now. The Jets were eyeing this guy really closely and I think HE is their CB target so we won't see a CB in Rd. 2. Keith Washington- WV

I think they will take him in Rd. 4? 5? 6? i really like him actually. Dude looks like he's got great ball skills. I can't imagine he's high on many teams radar tho. When you think about it, as the roster stands right now, it would make sense for the Jets not to take a CB early. Even though guys are on short term deals, they currently have Maulet, Bless, Poole, Desir as pretty much having guaranteed roster spots. Then there is Hairston and Brown. I dunno, I don't see us looking at CB in Rd. 2. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Long Island Leprechaun said:

Except the CB's land very well into that area and all above are very good. I would say they can go CB, Edge or WR with 48 very comfortably. The two 3's make life a lot better to swing back to offense if it's a defense pick

I agree about the CBs...a good group in the middle 2nd round range, it's just that I see CB as important but not as critical a need as WR and Edge right now.  I understand those who argue that it's just as important.

I'd just really love if the Jets could find a way to get both a WR and Edge rusher here today that are better than average prospects.  Find a way to land a Baun and Pittman.....or a Higgins and Uche.  Almost no chance without a trade up of some sort but that would be a dream Day 2 for me.

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