With his family behind him, two helmets (one vintage and one present-day), and four computers, Joe Douglas created one of the greatest draft classes in recent New York Jets history.
Now, that’s a low bar, considering 32 of the 46 picks by previous GM Mike Maccagnan are either on another team or out of the league entirely. However, this class was one of the better ones this year. Let’s break it down, pick-by-pick
ROUND 1 – Mekhi Becton, OT Louisville
GRADE – A
Joe Douglas told Sam Darnold’s parents he would protect their son. And he did just that Thursday night, drafting a mountain in the trenches. Louisville OT Mekhi Becton weighs 364 pounds. He’s 6 foot, 7 and ⅜ inches tall. And he runs a 5.10 40-yard dash. He’s an immediate upgrade to the tackle position. He’s dominant and will establish his presence on the field. He’s a day-1 starter. He’s arguably the 2nd-best OT in the draft, only second to Jedrick Wills Jr., who I wanted originally, but was selected by Cleveland one pick before. Becton was the best available pick. He’s got raw upside, incredible potential. Future All-Pro. I guarantee it.
ROUND 2 – Denzel Mims, WR Baylor
GRADE – A+
This pick was the moment I decided that I wanted to make Joe Douglas a “Jet For Life,” something that Douglas promised he would do for Jamal Adams after the draft. Mims was on the board (and my top WR prospect available) when at 48. Douglas then traded back to 59, receiving pick 101 alongside it. At that point, I was upset, as Mims was a first-round talent that NYJ wasn’t going to draft. It was my understanding that another team would snatch him up before pick 59. So I waited, praying that Mims would drop to Gang green. And drop he did, as Joe Douglas got the man he wanted and a 3rd-rounder to boot. Mims is a physical WR. He’s a touchdown threat anytime he’s near the red zone. He’s a toy for Sam Darnold. He can be a WR1 from the start. This is a tremendous pick.
ROUND 3 – Ashtyn Davis, DB California
GRADE – B
I was originally perplexed by this pick. The ESPN broadcast listed Davis as a safety. Could the Jets be replacing Jamal Adams? Did that mark the end of the tenure of the President? No. No it will not. Upon reading into the pick and watching some film, I discovered that Davis is a “Swiss Army Knife.” He can play SS, FS, CB, Dime S, and NCB. Oh, and weak-side linebacker. I only dislike this pick because it’s unclear the role Davis will end up playing within the NYJ defense.
ROUND 3 – Jabari Zuniga, EDGE Florida
GRADE – B+
Zuniga returned to school last year in an attempt to bolster his draft stock. However, an injury quashed that hopes. Some would call Zuniga a first-round talent pre-injury, yet Douglas snagged him at 79. ESPN Draft Analyst Booger MacFarland had this to say about Zuniga: “He lacks just a little bit of lower-body flexibility. But, overall, the one word I would use is he’s twitchy. He’s quick off the ball. He understands run schemes, he understands how to play down the line of scrimmage. And as a pass rusher, I think he has enough flexibility.” Zuniga, with some practice and adjustments, should be able to complement Jordan Jenkins in the pass rush.
“I definitely consider myself the steal of the draft,” Zuniga said. “I feel like I can do a lot on the football field. And I’ll show that next year.”
ROUND 4 – La’Mical Perine, RB Florida
Some of you may recognize the surname Perine – this is because Perine’s cousin Samaje was with the Washington Redskins, and at the time of writing was waived by the Dolphins. Perine (a team captain at Florida) is an elusive back that will most likely share the carries with Lev Bell in the backfield. He also fired back at a sports reporter criticizing his character issues, and that gives off an air of confidence for the Jets to utilize for success in the future. He’s a talented running back that will have success in green & white.
“Character ?ion even know you for you to question who I am as a person… stop trying to make false news let me enjoy my moment Clown” – New Jets RB LaMical Perine in response to a critic claiming he has character issues.
ROUND 4 – James Morgan, QB FIU
GRADE – A-
Morgan was by far my favorite QB in the draft class– he headlined my ‘All-Underrated’ team. The FIU product aspires to be a lawyer following his NFL journey and liked the Jets for one reason – He shares a hair color with the redheaded Chad Pennington. Morgan has a strong arm and immediately fills the glaring need at backup for the Jets. Another plus to this pick: the Patriots were eyeing Morgan before the Jets took him. However, some may wonder whether Douglas took a backup QB too early in this draft class. Note that Morgan was a team captain while on the Panthers, and is willing to step into a backup role.
“I’m just here to help this organization win games” – New Jets QB James Morgan
ROUND 4 – Cameron Clark, OL Charlotte
Clark is a big guard (308 lbs) that forecasts as a quiet success in the run game. Has a little trouble with penalties, but started 3 years at tackle for Charlotte. Film against Clemson shows him winning almost every battle. He could be a diamond in the rough.
ROUND 5 – Bryce Hall, CB Virginia
Douglas and Gase channeled their inner Bonnie & Clyde (I’ll let you decide which is which) and made off like a bandit with Bryce Hall. Called the “steal of the draft” by Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, the Virginia CB was projected to go in the 2nd-3rd round. Joe Douglas doesn’t care about your draft projections. Joe Douglas takes him when he wants. In this case, injuries hurt Hall’s stock. However, Hall (a team captain for the Cavaliers) allowed just 6.1 yards per target and a 69.0 passer rating, giving up 34 completions on 72 targets in 2018. He received second-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honors. He’s a good cornerback with potential and by year 2 or 3 will most likely be lining up across from Bless Austin.
ROUND 6 – Braden Mann, P Texas Tech
GRADE – A-
Punters are people too, guys. Braden Mann’s foot may possibly be golden. With Lachlan Edwards likely on the way out, someone who won the 2018 Ray Guy Award for best FBS punter and has been an All-American in his last two collegiate seasons is a solid replacement. Oh, and he had 7 solo tackles last season. While some may use the argument of drafting a specialist being negative, Mann is a punter who will be able to switch the field when he’s called upon.
The Jets traded pick 211 to Indianapolis for CB Quincy Wilson.
Wilson underperformed last year after Colts HC Frank Reich switched the Indianapolis defensive scheme. It’s a gamble that may end up paying off.