Insider Provides Dream Mock Draft Scenario for New York Jets

Insider Provides Dream Mock Draft Scenario for New York Jets


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USC IOL Alijah Vera-Tucker buckling his chin strap.

Over the past few months, you’ve likely read hundreds of mock drafts ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. Although everyone is probably ready for the real thing and that comes Thursday night April 29.

Before we get there, one first-round mock draft has risen above the rest. On Tuesday evening ESPN did their annual NFL Nation Mock Draft television special where every team reporter at the mother ship takes control of their respective war rooms and makes the selection.

For the New York Jets that head honcho was Rich Cimini who has covered the team for over 30 years. In this first round mock he made both selections for the team at No. 2 and No. 23 respectively.


 

Second overall: Zach Wilson, quarterback, BYU

“The Jets locked into Wilson in late March, prompting them to trade Sam Darnold to the Panthers. The Jets view Wilson as an ideal scheme fit because of his accuracy, play-action skill and ability to throw in a moving pocket. There’s risk, though. He was a one-year wonder who piled up impressive numbers against weak competition. His smallish frame also raises durability questions. The organization’s job is to protect him and cultivate his obvious arm talent.” – via ESPN

This selection wasn’t a surprise. It’s been apparent for weeks, if not months, that the Jets would be going quarterback. They’ve locked in on Zach Wilson and he’s expected to be the pick out of BYU.

A talented player with an electric arm and a personality that fits this market seamlessly. The Jets rarely pick this high so they took advantage by taking a passer in a very rich quarterback draft. To prevent the issues of the past from coming back to haunt Wilson, the team has to surround him with talent.

If this selection came to fruition, Wilson would be the highest-drafted quarterback by the New York Jets in the modern draft era (since 1970). The highest-drafted QB in Jets history was ‘Broadway’ Joe Namath who was taken with the first overall pick in the AFL Draft in 1965. Information provided by Pro Football Reference.


23 overall: Alijah Vera-Tucker, interior offensive lineman, USC

“After drafting Wilson, the Jets get some much-needed protection for their new franchise quarterback. Vera-Tucker is a plug-and-play guard who can replace Alex Lewis at left guard. With Vera-Tucker alongside 2020 No. 1 pick Mekhi Becton, the Jets should have a formidable left side for at least a few years. Vera-Tucker played left tackle last season for the Trojans, but scouts believe his best pro position is guard. He should add some punch to the running game, which has languished in recent years. This is a pick that marries need and value.” via ESPN

This would be a dream draft scenario for the New York Jets. If they come away from the first round with their franchise quarterback of the future and one of the best offensive line prospects in the class, how could you not be elated?

Not only would this be an A+ grade of a mock draft for the green and white because of the players. It would be highly touted because of the value. AVT is a top 10-15 player in this class, but playing on the interior innately has a lesser value than offensive tackle.

Here’s how the reshuffled offensive line would look for the New York Jets (if this pick were to actually happen on draft day): Mekhi Becton (left tackle), Alijah Vera-Tucker (left guard), Connor McGovern (center), Greg Van-Roten/Alex Lewis (right guard), and George Fant (right tackle).

The Jets feel confident that McGovern and Fant can improve in this new Mike LaFleur scheme offensively. Clearly, the weakest portion of this revamped offensive line would be at right guard.

If the Jets drafted AVT, they could look to move on from Lewis and/or Van-Roten.

If they released Alex Lewis they’d save around $4.5M. While if they moved on from GVR they’d save his entire $3.6M salary, per Spotrac. It’s not like they need the money, the Jets still have the third most cap space in the entire league heading into the 2021 NFL Draft, per Over The Cap. But they could look to replace them with cheaper alternatives either later in the class or in free agency.

Another NFL Draft fun fact, since 1989 the Jets have drafted a grand total of three offensive linemen in the first round. In 32 years, they’ve only invested in the trenches with a premium pick three times, not great Bob. Alijah Vera-Tucker would start a new trend that should excite both Jets fans and their new quarterback alike.

Thank you, Rich Cimini.