We are three weeks away from the NFL draft. Time to mock. In our final mock draft last year, we had four of the Jets selections correct — Zach Wilson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Elijah Moore and Michael Carter (the running back). We’ll see if we can get that close again. This is our first crack at the Jets’ draft. We’ll be back each week to try again leading up to the draft on April 28.
We used the Pro Football Focus mock draft simulator to help us out and here is what we came up with for the Jets’ 2022 draft:
Round 1 (No. 4 overall) — Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
I think Robert Saleh would prefer to take an edge rusher here, but Kavon Thibodeaux comes with a lot of questions and Travon Walker’s lack of production in college is scary. Sauce Gardner is a lock-down corner and gives the defense a nice tandem with D.J. Reed.
Round 1 (No. 10 overall) — George Karlaftis, DE/OLB, Purdue
Wide receiver is tempting here, but there are going to be receivers available in the second round who can have an impact. Karlaftis is the best edge rusher available at this point and will give the Jets a complement to Carl Lawson on the other side. Saleh’s defense is all about pressuring the quarterback. Karlaftis can do that.
Round 2 (No. 35 overall) — Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
The Jets need to keep adding at wide receiver. It would not be a surprise if Joe Douglas pulls off a trade for a proven receiver before or during the draft. If he doesn’t, expect him to draft one. Moore was highly productive in college. He had 95 catches fro 1,292 yards and 10 touchdowns last year for Western Michigan.
Round 2 (No. 38 overall) — Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
Linebacker is an underrated need for the Jets. After C.J. Mosley, they do not have a lot of proven players. Chenal could add to the depth at the position and become a starter at some point. He led the nation’s top-rated defense last year. He had 18.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, 115 tackles and two forced fumbles in 11 games. He was named second-team All-American and was the Linebacker of the Year in the Big 10.
Round 3 (No. 69 overall) — Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
The Jets have a solid starting offensive line, but they need to address depth. Lucas is a 6-foot-6 former basketball player who can back up George Fant and Mekhi Becton.
Round 4 (No. 111 overall) — Dohnovan West, C, Arizona State
Douglas goes offensive line on back-to-back picks. West was a three-year starter for the Sun Devils and can back up Connor McGovern for a year then possibly become a starter in Year 2.
Round 4 (No. 117 overall) — Matthew Butler, DL, Tennessee
The Jets lost Folorunso Fatukasi in free agency and now they need to find someone to develop at the position like they developed Fatukasi. Butler had 47 tackles, 8.5 for loss and five sacks last year for the Volunteers. Saleh loves defensive linemen and the Jets need to add at the position.
Round 5 (No. 146 overall) — ZaQuandre White, HB, South Carolina
White began his career at Florida State and spent time at outside linebacker as well as running back. He would be an immediate special teams contributor then potential piece of the running back rotation.
Round 5 (No. 163 overall) — Sterling Weatherford, S, Miami (Ohio)
The Jets got to see Weatherford up close at the Senior Bowl, where he impressed. The 6-foot-3 Weatherford could slide into a linebacker role instead of playing safety, as the Jets did last year with Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen.