First Round: Amari Cooper WR Alabama
With the sixth pick in the upcoming draft, it looks like the Jets will probably miss out on both Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. If Mariota does fall to the Jets, New York could trade him to Philadelphia for a plethora of draft picks. However, in this mock draft there will be no trade scenarios and will be based on a seven round mock draft. With the pick the Jets would draft Amari Copper out of Alabama.
Cooper would be a great fit for the Jets who desperately need a playmaker to team with Eric Decker. While the Jets have the money to spend in free agency, reports from inside the organization have reported that the Jets will use that cap space for corner backs and interior line men. While the offensive line needs to be upgraded and Brandon Scherff would be a nice piece for New York, the team desperately needs play makers and will likely release Percy Harvin due to his large cap hit. Cooper can take over a game and has the size and explosiveness to be a number one receiver for whoever plays quarterback in New York. In my mock draft, he is the second receiver off the board as the Raiders take Kevin White out of West Virginia. The reason? White is two inches taller at 6’3 and ran a 4.35 40 yard dash compared to Cooper’s 4.42 time. The Raiders love big recovers who are fast and White would fit the build. However, the Jets would get a receiver who could make an impact from day one in Cooper.
Round 2: Byron Jones CB Connecticut
There is no question that the Jets secondary was abysmal last season. With Todd Bowles already stressing the need for corners in his defense the question will be when, not if the Jets draft a corner. Even if the team brings in a free agent corner, Dee Milliner’s injury concerns and the lack of depth at the position are still a huge problem. Jones is freak athlete who jumped 44 1/2 inches in the vertical leap and broke the combine record with a broad jump of over twelve feet. While his play on the field has some concerns, there is no question that his explosiveness and size at 6’1 and 199 pounds make him a great prospect. Jones has struggled in zone defenses, but has proven he is a solid man and press cover corner which fits perfectly into Bowles system.
While this may seem a little early, Bowles could look at Jones as a player he could mold into a great NFL corner. Jones also could be extra valuable to the Jets because New York has to play New England twice a year. With New England using big tight ends on the outside and in the slot, Jones’ size and explosiveness could help Bowles slow down Tom Brady’s tight ends.
Round 3: Duke Johnson RB Miami
With running backs falling in the last few drafts the Jets could get a steal in round three with Johnson. While the Jets already have Chris Ivory, Johnson’s speed and shiftiness as a runner would make him a perfect complementary piece. The best way to take pressure off whoever New York’s quarterback is going to be next season is to run the ball. While he may not be a full-time back right away, his ability to catch on third downs and ability to break off big runs would make Johnson a valuable part of the Jets offense. Scouts compare Johnson to Lesean McCoy and if he is anything like McCoy is in Philadelphia, New York would get another explosive playmaker on the offense.
Round 4: Denzel Perryman ILB Miami
Back to Miami again. Unless something dramatically changes it looks like David Harris will hit the open market and will probably get a big contract that the Jets cannot match. With a base 3-4 defense Todd Bowles and the Jets could use a second middle linebacker behind Demario Davis in the draft. Perryman ran a 4.78 at the combine and is slightly undersized at 5-11 and 236 pounds. However, he would be a great fit in the Jets defense with both great instincts and tackling. Perryman is great against the run and led the Hurricanes with 110 tackles and 9.5 tackles for a loss. On top of that, he has the athleticism and versatility to stay on the field on passing downs, one achilles heel for David Harris. While the Jets can improve most of their woes in free agency, losing Harris could be a big blow. However, Perryman could be a day one starter and could form a formidable tandem with Davis in the middle of the Jets defense for years to come.
Round 5: Corey Crawford DE Clemson
There is no question the defensive line is the strongest position on the New York Jets. However, this unit still could use some depth. Todd Bowles says that his defense is about versatility and having the ability to adjust. Crawford could be a player that would thrive under Bowles. The 6’5 283 pound defensive end from Clemson showed his versatility playing all the positions on the defensive line will also lining up as a stand up 3-4 outside linebacker. With Bowles switching between 4-3 and 3-4 fronts, and player with the versatility like Crawford gives the Jets a solid backup at multiple positions.
Round 7: Hayes Pullard ILB USC
As stated before not only is it likely that the Jets will lose David Harris, but that their depth at middle linebacker is thin. Even with Davis and Perryman, the depth at middle linebacker is still an issue and the Jets could be an injury away from a disaster. Pullard was a tackling machine at USC with 377 tackles over the past four season with the Trojans. His aggressiveness has gotten him in trouble with numerous penalties and an ejection for targeting last season. Still Pullard has proven that he is a tackling machine. While he may not be as polished and ready as Perryman, Pullard could be a versatile linebacker in Todd Bowles defense who can move around and make plays on special teams where he led the Trojans in coverage. A solid all-around player Pullard would be a nice piece on the Jets defense.
Priority Free Agent: Tyler Varga FB/RB Yale
While he could be picked in the draft, if Varga is available after the draft the Jets should go after him immediately. With Tommy Bohanon struggling at full back, the Jets could use one in Varga. As a running back in college, Varga ran for 1,423 in his senior season with 26 touchdowns. He has a nose for the end zone and proved it in the Senior Bowl, with two rushing touchdowns. While he may need to develop as a blocker, Varga showed at the Senior Bowl that he is able to block well as a full back, but his value is versatility. Varga can not only block but run with the ball effectively. In essence New York would not only get a full back, but also a running back that can line up in the backfield or as a full back depending on the situation. Todd Bowles has stressed that he wants versatile players on New York next season, and Varga could be a player that fits the mold perfectly.