You couldn’t have scripted it any better for the New York Jets in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
With the second overall pick, they landed their franchise quarterback, Zach Wilson of BYU.
Then instead of waiting until 23 overall, general manager Joe Douglas worked the trade lines to move up to the No. 14 spot to strike while the iron was hot.
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) April 30, 2021
The Jets moved No. 23 and a pair of third-round picks (No. 66, No. 86) in exchange the Minnesota Vikings sent No. 14 and a fourth-round pick (No. 143 overall).
The NFL Draft Value Chart gives the slight edge to the Vikings: Jets sent 1,180 combined points to the Vikings in exchange for 1,134.5 points.
With that pick, the Jets selected USC interior offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker. To put it candidly throughout this entire offseason process this was always the best-case scenario with the Jets’ other first-round pick in 2021.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah speaking before the NFL Draft said if the Jets were able to land AVT it would be “the home run of all HR picks.”
He’s a plug-and-play starter at left guard (where he has 13 games of experience) where he’ll line up to another offensive cornerstone in Mekhi Becton.
Speaking of Becton, he missed two games last season and now the Jets will have the ultimate insurance plan. In a shortened 2020 season, AVT stepped in and was the blindside protector for the Trojans.
Here’s how the brand new Jets offensive line depth chart looks after night one of the 2021 NFL Draft: Becton (left tackle), AVT (left guard), Connor McGovern (center), Alex Lewis/Greg Van Roten (right guard), and George Fant (right tackle).
New York Jets are a MAJOR winner after day one
Not only did the Jets land one of the top offensive linemen in the entire class at a critical position of need, but they did it intelligently.
The Chicago Bears traded from No. 20 to No. 11 with the New York Giants and had to give up two first-round picks, No. 164 (fifth-rounder), and a 2022 fourth-round pick.
The Jets moved up the same number of spots (nine) and only had to give up a pair of thirds and still got back a fourth. Although it’s not about what they gave up, it’s about what they didn’t. New York didn’t give up a future first nor did they have to give up the super valuable No. 34 selection. A major win for Joe Douglas and the Jets.
Heading into day two of the 2021 NFL Draft the Jets will have options
If they stay at 34, they’ll have a litany of options to fill a variety of holes that still exist on this team. Some more offensive line help, still need cornerbacks, linebacker is still a concern, and an EDGE rusher also could make some sense.
Or the Jets can open up the phone lines and put the pick up for a bidding war. They’d take a king’s ransom and recoup all the picks they lost in their trade up from night one.
Regardless of what the Jets do, fans can go to sleep tonight with a huge smile on their face. These first two selections are cornerstone franchise-changing pieces.