Draft grades are stupid…unless they praise the Jets.
Best pick: I love fourth-round running back Michael Carter. He is an air back who will give them big-play ability from the running back spot. This is the round where you pick backs.
Worst pick: I know they needed offensive-line help, but why give up two third-round picks to go get Alijah Vera-Tucker with the 14th pick. It cost them two thirds, which is two steep a price.
The skinny: The Jets took Zach Wilson with the second pick and then spent much of the draft building the offense around him. I love the pick of receiver Elijah Moore in the second round. He adds a speed threat in the slot. This is all about Wilson — no matter what any of the other players do. I didn’t like him as much as Justin Fields.
Favorite pick: Moore
It was a tossup between Vera-Tucker and Moore, and the cost of the latter was cheaper. We think the Jets would have taken Moore at 23 had they not moved up in Round 1. Instead, Moore fell in their laps. He’s a perfect inside complement to their outside receivers, Corey Davis and Denzel Mims. Moore is a blur, and he and Wilson figure to be a busy pair over the next few years. He’s more diverse and NFL-ready in a full-time role than Kadarius Toney, who went 14 picks earlier.
Least-favorite pick: Wilson
Let’s be clear: Wilson was someone we howled at last season. He was a blast to watch, more so than any other QB in this class. But he was our QB4 and our No. 13 overall prospect once we re-stacked the board. Wilson makes some brilliant throws. He’s athletic and gusty. He’s tough for a thinly built guy. But Wilson’s erratic decision-making stands out on tape, making him a player who could suffer through some lumps early. This pick will be weighed against Justin Fields and Trey Lance (and Mac Jones, we suppose) for years.
Overall: GM Joe Douglas is a great talent evaluator, and the proof is in the picks. Yes, we scrutinized the Wilson pick, and we would have liked to see some defensive help higher up in the draft for Robert Saleh’s group. Saleh got a heavy dose of defensive blood on Day 3, with a few interesting prospects in Sherwood and Nasirildeen. But insulating Wilson and continuing the build on offense took precedence. His rookie outlook might be a little tricky, and he’ll always be judged against how Lance and Fields perform, so that one pick carries a lot of weight in this class.
Nobody will suggest the New York Jets didn’t get a lot better this weekend, but I don’t think they fully capitalized on their immense draft capital.
No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson is a huge risk at quarterback after one good season in college, and they might regret passing on the much more established Justin Fields. They essentially sacrificed a strong Day 2 selection in order to move up for offensive linemen Alijah Vera-Tucker, only to discover that the similarly-rated Christian Darrisaw made it to their original pick at 23. And while second-round pick Elijah Moore has a high NFL ceiling, it was a slightly odd selection considering the presence of Jamison Crowder.
I would have been all over a player like Asante Samuel Jr. in that spot, but the Jets didn’t take a corner until Round 5 and that position is still a joke on their depth chart.
But they did take two safeties and a running back before selecting that cover man (Jason Pinnock), for some reason. OK, I actually like the Michael Carter pick (the back, not the safety they drafted with the same name), but backs are generally pretty easy to find and the Jets were neglecting the cornerback spot at that point.
It’s still neglected.
Overall Grade: B-
Final draft grade: A-
The Jets had the second-most draft capital in the draft, so it would have been difficult for them to come out of the draft without a strong crop of rookies no matter your preferences. But there is no doubt they accomplished what they set out to do, as they went hard at offensive players early. Zach Wilson isn’t a slam dunk, but he has the tools to get there and they have surrounded him with talent and protection. They have now taken a stud offensive lineman in the first round of the last two drafts and that will eventually pay dividends.
Adding WR Elijah Moore and RB Michael Carter as their final two offensive players in round three and four should also help Wilson, as both are playmakers. With Carter, Moore, Denzel Mims, Jamison Crowder (if he stays), and Corey Davis, along with protection, Wilson is set up to succeed.
It sounds over-simplified, but Joe Douglas’ tenure in New York will pretty much be defined by how Zach Wilson stacks up to the quarterbacks who were taken after him: Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones. As mentioned above, history tells us that just 42 percent of quarterbacks taken in the first round make it to a second contract with the team that drafted them. Douglas has a lot riding on Wilson fulfilling his potential.
I didn’t like the Jets’ decision to give up picks 66 and 86 to move up nine spots in the first round for guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, even though Tucker seems like a fine prospect. Based on the previous 10-year span of guards being drafted in the first round, Vera-Tucker has about a 57-percent chance of becoming a Pro Bowler. The Jets need a lot of help on that roster and could use as many bites at the apple as possible — especially in the first few rounds. Wide receiver Elijah Moore in the second was excellent value, and Hamsah Nasirildeen was one of my favorite late-round lottery tickets.