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After months of speculation, mock drafts and workouts setting, the 2022 NFL draft is finally here.
The Jets are just hours away from landing two potentially elite players with their pair of top 10 picks. Joe Douglas has four top-40 picks and multiple fourth- and fifth-round picks at his disposal, making this year’s draft the ideal time to give Robert Saleh a roster that is capable of competing at a higher level next season.
With the Jets on the verge of adding an influx of young talent, it’s time for our final mock draft. It’s nearly impossible to peg what exactly Douglas will do in the first round, but New York can take solace in the fact that two top-end talents will call the Big Apple home by the end of Thursday night.
Let’s take one last look at who we think the Jets will take in the 2022 NFL draft.
Round 1, Pick 4: Cincinnati CB Ahmad Gardner
Syndication: The Enquirer
Douglas kicks off New York’s draft by addressing a major need in the secondary with the top three pass rushers in the draft off the board. Gardner gives the Jets an instant upgrade at cornerback. He’s an ideal fit in Jeff Ulbrich’s defense with his length and strength in zone coverage. Saleh knows what a big outside cornerback like the Cincinnati star can do for a defense. There’s plenty of value in picking Gardner at No. 4.
Round 1, Pick 10 (via SEA): Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson
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Wilson is arguably the top wide receiver in this year’s draft after Alabama’s Jameson Williams tore his ACL in the national championship game. He’s not a speedster like Williams, but Wilson is a smooth route runner and has a knack for making plays after the catch. The 6-foot, 188-pound wideout caught 70 passes for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns while working as Ohio State’s No. 1 wide receiver in 2021. He can translate that production over to the professional ranks.
Williams has a case to be the pick over Wilson. The Jets clearly coveted speed when they tried to trade for Tyreek Hill and while Williams isn’t Hill, he has similar game-breaking ability when he’s healthy. Wilson profiles as the safer pick for New York given his clean bill of health, though, and is the more refined player at this point in time. The Jets need an instant-impact wideout in 2022. Wilson is best positioned to offer that.
Round 2, Pick 35: Penn State S Jaquan Brisker
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The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Brisker accounted for 63 tackles, five pass breakups and two interceptions on the back end of Penn State’s secondary in 2021. He can play over the top in coverage and close to the line of scrimmage with nearly equal effectiveness. The Jets have bodies at safety, but no clear starter next to Jordan Whitehead. Lamarcus Joyner, Jason Pinnock, Will Parks and Elijah Riley will battle for playing time during training camp, but Brisker could be New York’s present and future at the position.
Round 2, Pick 38 (via CAR): Kentucky EDGE Joshua Paschal
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Paschal’s 13 sacks in five years at Kentucky don’t exactly scream elite pass rusher, but he is coming off a career season in which he registered five sacks to go along with 52 tackles and 15 stops for a loss. Paschal is an ideal fit as a 4-3 defensive end at 6-foot-3 and 278 pounds. He can also take snaps on the inside if needed.
Round 3, Pick 69: Wyoming LB Chad Muma
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Muma was all over the field during the Senior Bowl, making plays from sideline to sideline and faring relatively well in coverage for a player who traveled to Mobile with the reputation of a thumper. Muma is a prime candidate to fill the Jets’ need for linebacker depth if he’s still on the board at this point of the third round.
Round 4, Pick 111 (via CAR): Arizona State OT Kellen Diesch
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Diesch graded out as one of the best tackles among the Power 5 ranks in 2021 and allowed just seven quarterback pressures the entire season. The Jets need depth at tackle — especially given Mekhi Becton’s already lengthy injury history. The 6-foot-7 Deisch brings that to the table. He might also have the goods to replace George Fant when his contract expires at the end of next season.
Round 4, Pick 117 (via MIN): Georgia RB Zamir White
Syndication: Online Athens
The Jets are in good shape at running back with Michael Carter and Tevin Coleman, but Coleman isn’t getting any younger and New York could use a change of pace from Carter on occasion. White runs tough — 3.6 yards after contact in 2021 is proof of that — and brings a strong combination of size and speed at 6-foot and 214 pounds. Mike LaFleur likely won’t mind adding a running back who has the long-term potential to be the thunder to Carter’s lightning.
Round 5, Pick 146: Fayetteville State CB Joshua Williams
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Taking another cornerback after landing Gardner in the first round might seem like overkill, but Williams is worth taking a flier on to begin the fifth round. The Division II star has the kind of length at 6-foot-3 that Saleh and Ulbrich covet. He’ll have to adjust to a major uptick in the level of competition, but Williams has the potential to develop into a solid depth piece for the Jets. He would benefit from playing under Saleh.
Round 5, Pick 163 (via PIT): Coastal Carolina TE Isaiah Likely
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Likely was Coastal Carolina’s most dangerous weapon in the passing game in 2021. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end caught 59 passes for 912 yards and showcased his red-zone ability with 15 touchdowns. Likely is a fit in the Jets’ offense as a pass-catching tight end and would be a steal for New York this late in the draft. There’s always a need for quality depth at the position, even after Douglas signed Tyler Conklin and CJ Uzomah in free agency.