Jets final 7-round 2022 NFL Mock Draft

·7 min read
Jermaine Johnson Treated Art
Jermaine Johnson Treated Art

Time’s up. Pencils down. Get ready to turn in the card. It’s NFL Draft Week. And though I reserve the right to change my mind on any of this between now and Thursday night, here is my “final” 7-Round Jets Mock Draft:

First round (4th overall) – Florida State DE Jermaine Johnson

So much of what the Jets do here is going to depend on who is off the board already. If N.C. State tackle Ikem “Ickey” Ekwonu gets past the Jaguars and Texans, I believe he’s going to be the Jets’ pick because GM Joe Douglas loves him, and that will immediately open up questions about Mekhi Becton’s future and give the Jets six starting offensive linemen for five spots. I just don’t think he’ll get this far, though, since he’s thought of by many as a Top 2 player in this draft.

There is a strong buzz for Cincinnati CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner here. In fact, I think the Giants are worried the Jets will beat them to him. But I’ve also been told very strongly that Robert Saleh prefers an edge rusher. I know he loves Johnson, and the Jets seem to favor him over Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux. Taking him at 4 might be too high, but he’s not likely to get to 10, so if Ekwonu is off the board, I think they’ll take what some might consider a mini-reach for this very productive, 6-5, 254-pound edge rusher. Spoiler alert: It’s not a reach.

First round (10th overall) – USC WR Drake London

First, while I believe the Jets will be in the mix if the 49ers decide to trade Deebo Samuel, I don’t believe they’ll offer this pick for him. If they deal this pick, I think they’d rather trade down. If they stay here, though and don’t acquire Samuel, this pick has to be a receiver.

It could be Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson, but I think he’s going to Atlanta at 8. It could be Alabama’s Jameson Williams, whom I know the Jets like, but I think it’s crazy to use a pick this high on a player who might not be recovered from his torn ACL until late October. And I think the 6-4, 219-pound London gives Jets QB Zach Wilson the kind of big, physical, reliable receiver that he really doesn’t have. And the more weapons the Jets can get for Wilson, the better.

Second round (35th overall) – Michigan S Daxton Hill

The 6-foot, 191-pounder is a hard-hitting safety with the speed (4.38 in the 40) and cover skills of a corner, and he looks like a disruptive player who is exactly what Saleh likes in his defensive backfield. He is also in a group of highly regarded safeties (with Georgia’s Lewis Cine, Penn State’s Jaquan Brisker, and maybe Baylor’s Jalen Pitre) who seem to rated in this area.

Some may slip into the end of the first round, but since safety isn’t one of those premium draft positions, some will get through. And again, the Jets with two high second-round picks will be ready to pounce. They were a mess at safety last season, of course. They signed Jordan Whitehead in free agency and brought back Lamarcus Joyner, but Hill could replace Ashtyn Davis in the rotation.

Second round (38th overall) – Auburn CB Roger McCreary

The more I hear scouts describe this 5-11, 190-pounder, the more he sounds like Saleh’s kind of player. They call him “aggressive,” “hard-hitting,” even “dangerous” and “intimidating.” He’s got good speed, but it’s his instincts and his willingness to play hard and fast that scouts really love. Basically, he’s a disrupter, which again is what Saleh wants in his defensive backs. They do have a lot of young corners they like, but the coach’s one big criticism of them is that they didn’t disrupt enough. They didn’t make things happen. McCreary is a corner who can make things happen.

Third round (69th overall) – Alabama RB Brian Robinson

The Jets love Michael Carter and are very happy with him as the lead back in their backfield. They also are hopeful Tevin Coleman can stay healthy and be the No. 2 in their rotation. But they also want their rotation to be deeper than that, and one way to do that is bring in someone who can thrive with the tough, inside runs. That’s where this 6-2, 225-pounder comes in.

He is a physical beast who runs with power and can take a pounding. Some scouts think his speed is good enough to be an asset too (his 40 time was 4.53) but his power is what will sell the Jets and help give them a dangerous 1-2-3 punch.

Alabama Crimson Tide running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) runs the ball against Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Kelee Ringo (5)
Alabama Crimson Tide running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) runs the ball against Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Kelee Ringo (5)

Fourth round (111th overall) – Tennessee-Chattanooga G/C Cole Strange

Douglas hasn’t been big on drafting small school players in his time running the Jets, but I’m told he was enamored with the 6-5, 307-pound guard at the Senior Bowl. He has great size and strength, he’s considered to play with a “nasty” demeanor, and he more than held his own against the big school competition at practice down in Mobile, Ala. I actually think the Jets might consider him in Round 3.

But their pick there is probably too high. Plus, Douglas was pretty clear that he expects his Day 1 and 2 players to come in, start and have an immediate impact and Strange would likely be a backup center to Connor McGovern at least through this season. But center is the one place on the line where they don’t really have depth, and they are definitely eyeing a center of the future, so they can’t wait any longer than this.

Fourth round (117th overall) – Tennessee CB Alontae Taylor

The fact that he ran 4.36 at the combine – fourth fastest among corners – might be enough to vault him into Day 2, but if he’s here for the Jets he’d be a steal. There’s nothing not to like about him. He’s a “long” 6-foot, 199-pounder with obvious speed and terrific instincts. He started a lot of games for the Vols and was one of their team leaders. The Jets even got an up-close look at him at the Senior Bowl (though he wasn’t playing for the team they coached).

And he’s a terrific gunner, which means he can be an immediate contributor on special teams. So why this low? There is some question among NFL scouts about whether he’s a safety or corner in the NFL. I think that could make him drop a little. But for the Jets, that kind of versatility is a plus.

Fifth round (146th overall) – Oklahoma G Marquis Hayes

How many linemen will Douglas take in this draft? That’s a fun prop bet to consider. I think the bare minimum is two, given his love of the elephants. The Jets got a good look at this 6-5, 318-pounder at the Senior Bowl and they know he needs a lot of work on his fundamentals. But his size is hard to ignore, as is his potential. Basically, he’s a developmental prospect who could be a serviceable backup once the coaches get their hands on him. The Jets are pretty set at guard for the future, so they’ve got time to make this work.

Fifth round (163rd overall) – Miami (Ohio) S/LB Sterling Weatherford

I’ve thought this 6-3, 225-pound safety was a likely future Jet since the moment the Jets coaching staff listed him as a linebacker at the Senior Bowl. They love those safeties-turned-linebackers – see Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen. Those undersized linebackers with speed fit exactly what they like to do on defense. Of course, listing him that way and coaching at the Senior Bowl doesn’t guarantee the Jets like him.

But he does have all the traits they like, including the speed to cover and the power to hit. Some scouts think he’s more of a sixth- or even seventh-round pick, but this is currently the Jets’ last pick in the draft. So it’s either now or sweating it out to see if he’s available as a free agent after the draft.