Jets 2021 Draft Analysis, Grades + Breakdown

For the last ten years, the New York Jets have been among one of the worst drafting teams in the entire NFL. Last year, they had a solid draft, selecting players such as stud tackle Mekhi Becton and young cornerback Bryce Hall. General manager Joe Douglas knows this draft can change the franchise, and with nine picks, the team took advantage of it.

This draft, the Jets solidified multiple of their top needs. While their is still a ways to go, this team is certainly headed in the right direction. I will recap the picks Gang Green made the last few days.

Jets Draft QB Zach Wilson 2nd Overall

After trading away Sam Darnold last month, it was a given the Jets would take a quarterback with this pick. Many expected it to be BYU product Zach Wilson, and that was the pick. Out of the quarterbacks in this draft class, Wilson is typically anywhere between the second highest ranked and the fourth highest ranked quarterback. Personally, I think he is closer to the second best then the fourth.

Wilson maintains very good arm talent and is able to extend plays. In addition, he throws with great velocity and touch. Although he has solid arm talent, he can sometimes underthrow passes. With the Jets coaching, it can hopefully be fixed.  Overall, Wilson has all the tools to succeed and I am looking forward to seeing him in green and white.

Grade: A-

Jets Draft OG Alijah Vera-Tucker 14th Overall

As the Jets were in desperate need of offensive line up, Joe Douglas traded up. He traded up to Pick 14 with the Minnesota Vikings. The Jets received Pick 14, and the Vikings received two third rounders and Pick 23. With this selection, New York took offensive guard Alijah Vera-Tucker out of USC. Tucker is known to have good footwork, run-blocking and more. While he isn’t perfect as a prospect, this was a home run trade-up by Joe Douglas.

Tucker should be a day one starter at left guard and replace Alex Lewis.

Grade: A+

Jets Draft WR Elijah Moore 34th Overall

While the Jets added to their wide receiver room in free agency by adding Corey Davis and Keelan Cole, they added another one in the second round. With the 34th pick, they took Elijah Moore, from Ole Miss. Moore, 21, is known to have strong hands and is a very tough player. Additionally, he finished the 2020 season on an incredible note, as he averaged 200 yards per game over his last three.

Though he is a tough receiver, he is only 5″9 and that can cause some concern at the next level. However, he has all the tools to be great and I think he will. This selection could very well mean the Jets are looking to trade Jamison Crowder, their current slot receiver. Joe Douglas knows that Sam Darnold didn’t have help to succeed, so he loaded up on receivers for Wilson.

Grade: A

Jets Draft RB Michael Carter 107th Overall

Since the experiment of signing running back Le’Veon Bell failed, the Jets were in dire need of a franchise back. Last season, Gang Green’s run game was among the worst in the entire league with Frank Gore starting. To solve the issue, New York took North Carolina product Michael Carter in the fourth round and he will likely be the day one starter. Carter was expected to go in the second or third round by many, so this is a major steal.

Carter is a shifty and agile back that can be a game changer. This is a tremendous pick and will be a huge part of the Jets offense for years to come.

Grade: A+

Jets Draft LB Jamien Sherwood 146th Overall

After Joe Douglas used the first four picks on offense, he focused on defense on Day 3. The first defensive selection the team made was taking linebacker Jamien Sherwood out of Auburn. Even though his position coming into the draft was safety, he can play almost everywhere on defense. Robert Saleh will be a huge part of his development. He lacks top tier athletic talent, however and there were other players on the board that would have been better picks such as Shaun Wade.

Here are his positions by percentage (via Michael Nania on twitter):

ILB: 28%

FS: 27.8%

Slot CB: 20.2%

SS: 16.7%

OLB: 6.2%

Outside CB: 1%

Although there were better options, Robert Saleh is a defensive minded coach and he will make the most out of him.

Grade: B

Jets Draft CB Michael Carter 154th Overall

With their next pick, New York added Duke cornerback Michael Carter II. Yes, another Michael Carter. Carter is a slot corner and will add depth to a thin position group. Personally, I am not a fan of this pick. Reasons are because slot corner Shaun Wade was on the board and he is much more talented. Additionally, New York already has a promising slot corner in Javelin Guidry.

Grade: C-

Jets Draft CB Jason Pinnock 175th Overall

New York continued to add to their cornerback room by selecting Pittsburgh corner Jason Pinnock in the fifth round. Pinnock is a boundary corner and will be a solid depth piece. He is known to be a physical corner with high tier athleticism. Additionally, when routes cross his face, he is able to make quick adjustments. In 2019, he was inconsistent, and allowed six touchdowns of over 25 yards. However, with a defensive guru, he should be able to become a decent outside corner.

Grade: B

Jets Draft LB Hasmah Nasirildeen 186th Overall

The Jets selected Florida State’s Hasmah Nasirildeen with this selection. Although he was first listed as a safety, he can also play linebacker and is listed as a linebacker for the Jets. Nasirlildeen, is a versatile player who will have a huge role in Robert Saleh’s defense.

Many people across the league expected him to get drafted late Day 2 or early Day 3, but he fall to New York late in the draft. This is a perfect pick by Douglas.

Grade: A+

Jets Draft DB Brandon Echols 200th Overall

At pick 200, the Jets selected yet another defensive back. They took Brandin Echols out of Kentucky. He will more than likely just be a depth player. This isn’t an awful pick, but guard Trey Smith was still on the board, and the Jets didn’t take advantage of that.

Grade: C+

Jets Draft DT Jonathan Marshall 207th Overall

With their final pick, New York took Jonathan Marshall out of Arkansas. Robert Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich may use him as a rotational piece from time to time or he could just be depth. Not a bad pick here. Trey Smith, however, was still on the board.

Grade: B

Trades Made

Jets Received: 14th Pick

Vikings Received: 23rd Pick, 66th + 86th Pick

Jets Received: 162nd Pick + 200th Pick’

Chiefs Received: 143rd Pick

Jets Received: 175th Pick + 207th Pick

Chiefs Received: 162nd Pick + 226th Pick

Overall Thoughts On The Draft

Overall, I believe the Jets took a very good approach this draft. I believe Joe Douglas built a very suitable offense around Wilson and he can succeed. While not all Day 3 picks were great, Saleh will make the most out of the players and I thought the approach was good.

Final Grade: A-

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