Who did it better? My 2020 Jets Draft do-over
The Jets first draft in the Joe Douglas-era yielded overwhelmingly positive reviews from fans and analysts alike. But could Douglas have done better? We explore that today with a 2020 Jets draft do-over. First let’s recap the picks he chose:
1.(11) LT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
2.(59) WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
3.(68) S Ashtyn Davis, Cal
3.(79) EDGE Jabari Zuniga, Florida
4.(120) RB La’Mical Perine, Florida
4.(125) QB James Morgan, FIU
4.(129) OT/OG Cameron Clark, Charlotte
5.(158) CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
6.(199) P Braden Mann, Texas A&M
All-in-all, this is a very solid class, with a lot of these players expected to be able to contribute very early in their careers. Becton, Mims, and Mann are all locked in to starter jobs from Day 1. Davis, Zuniga, Perine, and Hall all have the ability to see significant playing time if they well in the limited off-season program. Clark comes in expecting to compete for a starting guard job in year two and beyond. Morgan was drafted to be the backup/clipboard holder for Sam Darnold, and hopefully will never need to see the field except in a Jets blowout scenario.
Now, let’s get into the 2020 Jets draft do-over to see what could have been.
Round 1.11 – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
No changes here. Left Tackle was the Jets biggest need entering the off-season, and getting an All-Pro upside 6’7”, 360 lb. behemoth in Becton would absolutely have been my choice as well. The flashier pick for a wide receiver would have been fine too, but in this scenario, taking Becton again over Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb here was needed. It’s the smarter long term play. Can’t throw to a dynamic wideout when your O-Line only gives you 1.5 seconds to throw.
Round 2.59 – WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
Back-to-back correct moves by Douglas here. He traded back from 48 to 59 with Seattle, picking up pick 101 in the process, then letting the board come to him and still grabbing Mims, who was my WR5 in the entire draft behind Jeudy, Lamb, Henry Ruggs, & Jalen Reagor. It was a brilliant piece of drafting and really gave hope for the future of the Jets. A dynamic 6’3”, 207 lbs with 4.38 speed, Mims has the catch radius of roughly 8’ with elite body control and hands. Route-running will need to be addressed as Baylor doesn’t exactly have a pro-style offense, but there’s nothing that shows up in the tape that says Mims can’t turn into a dominant WR1 moving forward. He’s also an excellent blocker in the run game, which only adds to his value.
Round 2.61 – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
Here’s the first change I would’ve attempted to make in executing an A+ draft class. Fulton was a first round prospect, and depending on who you asked, should have gone much higher than pick 61 to Tennessee. With the Jets sitting at 68, the cost would not have been much to jump up seven spots to secure Fulton’s services moving forward. Picks 68 & 120 would’ve been fair market value for both teams to allow the Jets to move up and grab Fulton and his 6-foot, 197 lbs shutdown upside. He has the length and speed needed to be a shutdown corner, but will have to improve his eye discipline and fluidity in order to maximize his potential. Tennessee got a steal, one the Jets should’ve pulled the trigger on.
Round 3.79 – WR Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
At pick 79, the best player available was Bryan Edwards. He could’ve been an excellent player at the “Z” position, allowing his hands and route-running ability to be an efficient and reliable chain mover for Sam and greatly improve the talent at the WR position for the Jets. In a so-called “historic” class at WR, the Jets should’ve come away with two players by the end of Day Two at the position. This was one of the main reasons I gave an instant grade of a B to the Jets instead of an A.
Douglas made the right move in moving down from pick 101 with the Pats for picks 125 and 129 and a 2021 sixth-rounder, so in this scenario I’m doing that deal again.
Round 4.125 – IOL Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
At 125, former first-round lock Tyler Biadasz is selected by the Jets to sure up either of the three interior O-Line spots. A dominant center during his earlier time at Wisconsin, tape from the 2019 season showed him getting overwhelmed and bullied, and he displayed less athleticism and shockingly-low development than was expected of him by this point. He needs a redshirt year to get stronger and go back to basics in terms of hand placement and footwork. However, if he comes out showing his 2018 form, the Jets have him at a steal by this point.
Round 4.129 – EDGE Alton Robinson, Syracuse
Here the Jets address the EDGE spot with a high-risk/high-upside pick in Alton Robinson. In 2018, Robinson broke out for 10 sacks and 17 tackles for loss, while adding three forced fumbles. He had the look of a future first-rounder on tape and looked to continue dominating the ACC in 2019. But he showed regression throughout his game in 2019, and his stock slipped to that of a Day Three player. He has prototypical size for an EDGE rusher at 6’3”, 260 lbs, but plays with only brute strength. Robinson needs to add more moves to his pass rush and learn to play lower to maximize his strength on the bull rush in the NFL. He also has little ability to set the edge in the run game and tends to get dominated at the point of attack by stronger,quicker lineman. Robinson has double digit upside if/when the light-bulb clicks. Worth the shot.
Round 5.158 – CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
There’s no way I’m moving off Bryce Hall at this spot. He has unbelievable upside as a CB2, and paired with Fulton could become a shutdown duo by Year 3 in their development. Only reason he fell this far was due to lack of medical re-checks on his injured ankle. The future is bright in the secondary after these moves by the Jets.
Round 6.181 – G Netane Muti, Fresno State
Here I package picks 199 & 2021 6th to move up 18 spots with Washington to grab Netane Muti. Another first-rounder on film, who is a 6’3”, 315-lb. mauler with insane physicality in his game. However, he has a lengthy injury history that includes multiple Achilles’ and Lisfranc issues, which could be a death blow for an offensive lineman who is trying to stay out of the tub and on the field. But in the sixth round, this is the kind of upside swing you go for and hope a redshirt year gives him the chance to get healthy again ready to compete in Year Two. Denver got themselves the biggest boom/bust prospect in this draft, and I would not have been mad at all to take that swing for the Jets at this stage.
Round 6.211 – P Braden Mann, Texas A&M
It’s unknown if he’d still be here for the picking in the do-over, but for the sake of the article here he is. College football’s best punter past two years, he immediately steps in for the Jets to become their new starting punter and kickoff specialist. Possessing All-Pro upside for his ability to boom kicks 50+ yards with ease, he becomes a weapon for the Jets to drive their opponents deep in their own zone after failed offensive outings. Some will say drafting a punter at all is stupid, but I disagree. When you can get a potential All-Pro in the sixth round, you do it, regardless of position played.
So there’s my 2020 Jets draft do-over. We eschew the safety spot for more depth at corner and go heavier on rebuilding the offensive line and wide receiver positions. I’m very happy with the class we have, but this class here would have earned an A from me.
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