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NFL Draft 2021: If Jets stick with Sam Darnold, here’s what ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. thinks they’ll do at No. 2

Updated 9:45 AM; Today 9:23 AM 
New York Jets vs. Cleveland,  Browns Dec., 27, 2020

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold could return in 2021. Andrew Mills | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

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The Jets could stick with quarterback Sam Darnold in 2021, the final year of his rookie contract.

That’s a possibility, now that they don’t pick first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Jaguars will take Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence there.

So what will the Jets do at No. 2?

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. addressed that question in his initial mock draft, released Tuesday.

And Kiper projects the Jets to stick with Darnold for at least one more season — and give him a valuable weapon (Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith) with the second overall pick.

Here is Kiper’s rationale for that projection, after Lawrence indeed goes No. 1:

 

This is where the intrigue in the draft begins. Will the Jets stick with quarterback Sam Darnold for another year, or will they take either Zach Wilson or Justin Fields? (Or maybe even trade for Deshaun Watson?) The good news for general manager Joe Douglas and new coach Robert Saleh is that they have three months to figure it out. This is a huge decision, and Douglas and Saleh have to be 100% sure that Wilson or Fields is an upgrade over Darnold. My feeling right now is that yes, Darnold’s stats are ugly, but he’s only 23 and he has had no offensive talent around him for three years. Do the Jets really want to move on from him and watch him thrive elsewhere? That’s why they could give him a one-year audition under Saleh, pick the Heisman Trophy winner at No. 2, and give Darnold one more shot to put all of his talent together. Smith is the true No. 1 target that Darnold hasn’t had.


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In terms of quarterbacks, Kiper has BYU’s Wilson going fourth to the Falcons (as Matt Ryan’s eventual replacement) and Ohio State’s Fields going seventh to Detroit (as Matthew Stafford’simmediate replacement). The Lions plan to trade Stafford this offseason.

 

The Jets also have a second pick in Round 1 this year, because of the Jamal Adams trade with Seattle. And with that pick (No. 23), Kiper projects they’ll take South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn. Here’s the rationale for that projection: 

 

The Jets have needs all over. After I gave them wideout DeVonta Smith at No. 2, they really have to go with the best available prospect here to build up their talent base. I think they will likely bring back free-agent safety Marcus Maye, but we know Robert Saleh’s defense is built around big defensive backs. The 6-foot-1 Horn — yes, his father is former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn — is a fit. He had two interceptions (both in the win over Auburn) in seven games last season before he opted out, but he has great instincts in coverage and should pick off more passes in the NFL. This is also a spot to watch for edge rushers — New York needs to improve there.

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On 1/6/2021 at 12:05 AM, k-met57 said:

Him Chase or the OT from Oregon will be Jets @ 2 

This is the outcome I am most comfortable with. Even chase if he's a star. They need a non qb star at 2 and keep building the offense before drafting a savior 

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My wife is a huge BAMA fan so I've watched a lot of this kid this year. I have only one question when it comes to this kid. Was it him, or the scheme he was in at BAMA... I noticed, that there were a lot of play calls with tons of misdirection that got him open. On the other side I also saw his talent beating press, zone and running many impressive routes. I would not hesitate to add him to the NYJ, at #2... I'm sure he can add some weight.

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Just now, 68JET11 said:

My wife is a huge BAMA fan so I've watched a lot of this kid this year. I have only one question when it comes to this kid. Was it him, or the scheme he was in at BAMA... I noticed, that there were a lot of play calls with tons of misdirection that got him open. On the other side I also saw his talent beating press, zone and running many impressive routes. I would not hesitate to add him to the NYJ, at #2... I'm sure he can add some weight.

Kid is a talented superstar playmaker. 

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If we don't trade down, Or sign a Robinson or Godwin, Smith is the logical choice. Perfect for a WCO. Precise route runner, who gets seperation and can run after the catch. Can play outside or in the slot. Just perfect.

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9 minutes ago, genot said:

If we don't trade down, Or sign a Robinson or Godwin, Smith is the logical choice. Perfect for a WCO. Precise route runner, who gets seperation and can run after the catch. Can play outside or in the slot. Just perfect.

Sign Robinson or Godwin and draft Smith please. 

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On 1/5/2021 at 6:14 PM, Losmeister said:

Tuas was throwing to 3 NFL Wrs vs...   jags...

which is why Tua looks...   kinda MEH

Not to take this out on you, but what a bunch of short sighted buttholes fans are with their Tua take. How about acknowledging that he was rehabbing from Hip surgery less than a year ago, had a shortened TC with the whole Covid off-season playing with a roster largely JAGs.

give the man some fcking room. 

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11 minutes ago, joewilly12 said:

Major need no more JAG's,re-treads,guys that wouldnt be in the NFL if not on the NY Jets.

For sure. We need a stud. A go to guy that the QB knows will be where he's supposed to be and make the catch. Whether thats Robinson, Godwin, or a guy in the draft JD loves. We need that WR on the field this year.

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15 minutes ago, genot said:

For sure. We need a stud. A go to guy that the QB knows will be where he's supposed to be and make the catch. Whether thats Robinson, Godwin, or a guy in the draft JD loves. We need that WR on the field this year.

Agreed add in a viable TE and RB to bolster the running game and the passing game immediately improves and did I mention OL and QB. 

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1 minute ago, joewilly12 said:

Agreed add in a viable TE and RB to bolster the running game and the passing game immediately improves and did I mention OL and QB. 

Our running game gets an instant boost from not having a retard who doesn't know how to use the running game as coach. The new system makes anyone work, if we get somebody special like Etienne at 23 all the better.

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2 minutes ago, SayNoToDMC said:

Our running game gets an instant boost from not having a retard who doesn't know how to use the running game as coach. The new system makes anyone work, if we get somebody special like Etienne at 23 all the better.

Frank Gore was terrible. 

Ty Johnson is nice depth but not a feature RB. 

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5 minutes ago, joewilly12 said:

Agreed add in a viable TE and RB to bolster the running game and the passing game immediately improves and did I mention OL and QB. 

I'm not giving up in Herndon. He looked real good as a rookie. Then he was hurt and under utilized by Gase. Just like the way Gisecki in Miami wasn't utilized by Gase. Im anxious to see Ty Johnson next year. He really impressed when he was given the chance. 

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5 minutes ago, joewilly12 said:

Frank Gore was terrible. 

Ty Johnson is nice depth but not a feature RB. 

I feel uncomfortable agreeing with you. I've disagreed with you on almost anything as long as I can remember. I created this account to argue against a RB McFadden in the first round. We're in agreement that Etienne is worth the pick. He changes the passing and running game instantly 

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2 minutes ago, SayNoToDMC said:

I feel uncomfortable agreeing with you. I've disagreed with you on almost anything as long as I can remember. I created this account to argue against a RB McFadden in the first round. We're in agreement that Etienne is worth the pick. He changes the passing and running game instantly 

Thank you. 

:cheers:

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On 1/6/2021 at 6:00 AM, Losmeister said:

i gotcha. and i aint tryna slam those guys... ima bama fan so, i pay attention to the guys that come out,,,,

davonta isthe smallest ofthese 3 guys...   it'll be an interesting follow. 

jeudy dos neda better qb but 52 cayches and 10 drops? thats a sh*tty ratio.

 

Smith is 6'1" how tall is Ruggs?

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