New York Jets fans waited for months in anticipation for the last three days. We’ve deliberated, we’ve argued, and we’ve spent way too many hours on our mock drafts. Then, Thursday finally arrived, and we were about to find out who general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh had on their board. Two days later and we’re in the aftermath what is arguably the greatest New York Jets draft ever.

Prelude to the Draft

Before what could be considered the greatest New York Jets draft ever, let’s look at the prelude. With San Francisco wide receiver Deebo Samuel’s trade request in the air, many pundits linked the Jets to Samuel. And why not? I broke down in my most recent article why a trade made sense. As the hours to the draft dwindled, the sense that the Jets and 49ers were far apart in any negotiations was apparent. There would be no deal for the game-breaking receiver as we would learn later.

First Round Madness

The greatest New York Jets draft ever started with the fourth and tenth picks in the draft order. Coming into the draft, the three biggest needs for the Jets were cornerback, edge rusher, and wide receiver. Many mock drafts projected the Jets would take one of two players: Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner or Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux. At 8:34pm ET, the Jets made their selection and let’s just say the pick was “saucy.”

Thanks in part to the Jamal Adams trade in July 2020 and Seattle’s worse-than-expected 2021 season, the Jets were selecting again at tenth overall. The Jets had decision to make: would it be at wide receiver or edge? There was a sense fans would see a run at one position going in and Atlanta chose Drake London two picks before. With all the talent at wide receiver in the draft, the Jets needed to make a move and they did 40 minutes later with the selection of Garrett Wilson.

Trader Joe’s is Open for Business

Now the Jets had to address edge rusher. Three of the top edge prospects were gone and one notable name – Jermaine Johnson II – was falling down the draft order. The Jets reportedly had their eyes on Johnson after the Senior Bowl and had them high on their draft board. What kind of scheming and planning was “Trader Joe” doing to acquire the Florida State edge rusher? Would they sneak in to grab an edge rusher? The answer is a resounding yes as they found a trade partner in Tennessee.

Johnson told Douglas and Saleh at the Senior Bowl to “come and get me.” They did.

Draft night one ended at approximately 11:30pm ET and the New York Jets addressed their three biggest needs going into the draft. They walked away with the number one ranked cornerback, the number one ranked wide receiver, and a top-five edge rusher.

More Offense on Day Two

The greatest New York Jets draft ever carried into Friday evening. With pick 35 gone, the Jets felt comfortable securing their biggest needs, but they needed more. Linebacker and offensive tackle served as two remaining needs. But “Trader Joe” went to work again and managed to slide back up into the draft order by trading with their crosstown counterparts.

The Jets would select running back Breece Hall from Iowa State. Initially, this felt like the “Obligatory Joe Douglas Running Back Selection” and felt like a bit of a stretch. But after looking at some of the breakdown by Brian Baldinger, it’s not hard to see why the Jets traded up to get Hall. This is a great pick.

Following the trade with Tennessee which sent pick 69 (nice) to the Titans, the Jets wouldn’t select again until pick 101. Douglas and Saleh made it a point all offseason long to help get weapons for quarterback Zach Wilson. Why not add another tight end in Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert? This seemed like another curious pick as the Jets signed C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin in the offseason. But this is a development pick and a tight end the Jets can develop for the future once Uzomah’s and Conklin’s respective contracts expire.

And he’s a Long Island kid who grew up a Jets fan.

The Last Picks

On the final day of what could be considered the greatest New York Jets draft ever, the team had two selections remaining at picks 111 and 117. The Jets selected Louisiana tackle Max Mitchell at pick 111. Mitchell was a Sun Belt all-conference tackle selection in 2021 and allowed only 13 pressures in 859 snaps last season. With 2020 first-overall selection Mekhi Becton’s health always questionable, the Jets needed depth at tackle. Mitchell’s selection helps here.

At pick 117, the Jets used their final pick to select Texas A&M defensive end Micheal Clemons. Clemons is HUGE: listed at 6’5” and 263 lbs, but he’s also quick. While he doesn’t have speed off the edge like Johnson, Clemons is a power rusher and has an array of moves to get to the quarterback. A criminal charge while attending Texas A&M gave other teams some pause, but the Jets were confident enough in his abilities to select him.

Overall Grade

Was this the greatest New York Jets Draft ever? Time will tell as fans see these players develop. Fans will say the Jets could have used more help at linebacker, but Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasrildeen are still developing. Joe Douglas did all he could to grab this team the best talent, including move around in the order to get those players. That includes the top cornerback, top wide receiver, and top running back in this draft class. I can’t help but give this draft grade an A.

I’m Ryan McCarthy and I cover the New York Jets beat for Belly Up Sports. We have a lot more to offer in our NFL coverage. If you want to chirp at me regarding the Jets, life, or other topics, hit me up on Twitter: @whoisryanmcc. Thanks for reading.

About Author

Ryan McCarthy

Ryan is a veteran of sports blogging since Al Gore invented the Internet. He has spent time with SportsHungry, e-sports.com, and ArenaFan. Ryan is a 2020 graduate of Regent University as a Journalism major. He is also the host of the No Credentials Required podcast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.