The NFL Draft kicks off tonight from Caesars Forum in Paradise, Nevada, a city in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The three-day event will see teams systematically choose the best eligible college players.
Last season, the Jets, with the No. 2 overall pick, selected Zach Wilson with the belief the BYU product would become their long-term franchise quarterback. Only 21 when he was drafted, Wilson, who turned 22 during training camp last August, struggled in his rookie season, playing in 13 games—he missed four due to injury—Wilson was 3-10, completed just 55.6% of his pass attempts for 2,334 yards, had 11 interceptions to only 9 touchdowns. The Jets finished 4-13.
As a result, their consolation will be a total of nine picks overall, four in the top 40. In addition to the 4th and 10th picks in the first round, they have the 35th and 38th picks in the second round. Despite Wilson’s tough year, Jets general manager Joe Douglas still has faith in his developing QB and will look to strengthen other areas of need.
“It’s about adding as many difference makers as you can to the roster, and making sure they fit within the culture and the scheme,” said Douglas earlier this week. Douglas also has picks 69, 111 and 117. Unless they make a trade, the Jets will end their draft in the fifth round with the 146th and 163rd picks. Reports have the Jets possibly being one of the teams interested in San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who has demanded a trade and is seeking a lucrative deal similar to some of the contracts signed by other top wide receivers this off-season.
“We’ve been consistent since we’ve been here in that we listen on just about anyone. That’s something we’ll always do,” said 49ers GM John Lynch on Monday. “You think of 2019,” added Lynch, “the 36th pick, to come up with someone like Deebo who, to me, has just been a game-changing player for our franchise.”
It would take at least the Jets’ No. 10 pick and other assets to acquire the 26-year-old University of South Carolina product who was First-team All-Pro last season after catching 77 passes for 1,405 yards and rushing for 365. If the Jets retain both of their first round picks, Cincinnati cornerback Sauce Gardner, North Carolina State tackle Ickey Ekwonu, Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker and Alabama tackle Evan Neal are names that may be called when the team makes their first round selections.