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Top WR Malik Nabers falls to Jets at pick 10 in mock draft

A recent mock draft from Fox Sports’ Joel Klatt, their No. 1 college football analyst, had a top wide receiver in this year’s draft class, Malik Nabers from LSU, fall to the New York Jets at 10th overall.

Klatt mentions that with how Joe Douglas addressed the offensive line in free agency, drafting a tackle at pick 10 isn’t a requirement anymore. He adds that the combination of Nabers and Garrett Wilson might give the Jets one of the best offenses in football.

As I wrote about here, adding to the offensive line – even at pick 10 – should still absolutely be on Douglas’ radar. However, if Nabers were to somehow be available, then that’s the pick.

In most mock drafts, Nabers doesn’t fall this far. But with four quarterbacks taken in the top five, along with Rome Odunze being the second receiver off the board and two tackles also being selected, Nabers ended up available for the Jets.

Nabers has been heavily involved in the LSU offense for the past two seasons, lining up regularly both from the slot and out wide. In 2022, he caught 72 of his 100 targets for 1,017 yards and three scores.

In this most recent season, Nabers was superb. He caught 70 percent of his 128 targets, totaled 1,568 yards at an impressive 17.6 yards per catch, and scored 14 touchdowns. Nationally, Nabers was second in yards, tied for third in touchdowns, ninth in yards after the catch, and third in yards per route run.

On Daniel Jeremiah’s most recent big board, he has Nabers as the fourth-ranked prospect overall in this year’s draft, but he’s third at wide receiver behind Marvin Harrison Jr. and Odunze.

For a closer look at Nabers’ game and what he could bring to the Jets, here is what Jeremiah had to say in his pre-draft scouting report:

“Nabers is a dynamic receiver with outstanding competitiveness and production,” wrote Jeremiah. “He explodes off the line in his release, creating immediate separation. He sets up defenders before snapping off his route. He isn’t afraid to work in the middle of the field and has strong hands to finish through contact. When working back to the quarterback, he prefers to let the ball travel into his body, but his drops are limited.

“He can scoop low throws off his shoes and easily adjusts to balls on his back hip. He does a lot of damage on slot fades, where he uses his speed to win early, and he tracks the ball with ease. After the catch, he explodes through tackles and also has a nasty stiff arm. Overall, Nabers is an electric playmaker who reminds me of DJ Moore with the ball in his hands.”

The need that the Jets have at the receiver position is an obvious one and is the team’s second biggest need that has to be addressed this offseason, behind the offensive line, which Douglas prioritized in free agency.

The Jets are in need of an additional playmaking presence to pair with Garrett Wilson. Last season, Wilson again eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards, but the team’s second-leading receiver was Allen Lazard – who has an uncertain role in 2023 – with 311 yards.

A player of Nabers’ caliber would take some of the attention off of Wilson, leading to some additional one-on-one opportunities. When a defense has to worry about two receivers, it forces them to defend the entire field, providing more space for the other skill position players to operate in.

Even the run game will very much benefit from the addition of Nabers, with Breece Hall likely having to face fewer heavy boxes, along with Rodgers likely seeing fewer manufactured blitzes with the defense concerned about being exposed on the back end.

Klatt’s mock draft did come out before the news broke that the Jets signed Mike Williams. However, that addition should not impact how the Jets approach the receiver position in the draft, especially if Nabers is on the board at pick 10.

Story originally appeared on Jets Wire