New York Jets 2018 NFL Draft: Final thoughts as draft day nears

The New York Jets are just hours away from defining their future in the 2018 NFL Draft. Alas, the speculation can finally cease.

Nobody knows what the Jets will do with the third overall pick. Then again, nobody seems overly confident in anything that could happen during this year’s draft. As I’ve said in the past, this draft has the potential to be one of the wackiest in years. Why? Take a wild guess: quarterbacks.

The intrigue, hype and lack of consensus surrounding the highly-touted quarterback class will make this one of the most chaotic drafts ever. Of course, our eyes will be honed in on what Gang Green does at No. 3.

Here are some final thoughts to consider as draft day approaches:

My final quarterback rankings are… 

  1. Josh Rosen
  2. Sam Darnold
  3. Baker Mayfield
  4. Josh Allen

After studying film from the last two seasons, this was the order I settled on. I had an abundance of trouble hashing this out and would like to mention that Rosen, Darnold and Mayfield all graded closely in my assessment. In the end, I believe Rosen is the best pure passer with a mindset that can be mildly controversial, but also one that we’ve seen from quarterbacks such as Manning, Brady and Rodgers. I would be happy as well with Darnold because of his ability to make something from scratch when a play goes off-script. However, his turnover propensity last season scared me away from placing him at the top.

As for Baker Mayfield, I was impressed by what I saw from an accuracy standpoint. But I have to wonder how much he will have to be spoon fed at the next level. The NFL has to adjust to the college game eventually, but Mayfield’s video game-like numbers against Big 12 opponents have their holes. However, Mayfield has the big game gumption and could thrive in New York’s projected West Coast offense.

Allen is the only guy of this bunch I’d be disappointed with. The Jets took a high ceiling project in Christian Hackenberg and it failed miserably. Allen has much more arm talent, but his inaccuracy and issues against both Power Five and Mountain West competition gives me cause for concern.

We all are worried about QB, but what positions should the Jets target after No. 3?

Let’s think beyond the No. 3 pick for now, even though it is the most captivating. The Jets don’t pick again until No. 72, the eighth pick of the third round. What positions should they target, assuming they find a franchise quarterback prospect in the first round? Here are my priorities:

  • Edge rusher – Todd Bowles conveyed hope in Lorenzo Mauldin, but he can’t be counted upon at this point. The Jets need someone who can rush the passer on more than just the occasional third down. Bradley Chubb is the marquee edge rusher in this year’s class. But outside of him, it’s a thin group. Someone to watch could be
  • Running back – The Jets currently have Isaiah Crowell, Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire and Thomas Rawls has the headliners in the backfield. This is a crowded, but underwhelming unit. Fortunately, this draft is deep at tailback and could feature a couple of candidates who could be 2018 versions of Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara. Some names to watch include Ronald Jones, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Mark Walton, Akrum Wadley and Rashaad Penny.
  • Defensive tackle – Steve McLendon is still manning the middle, but the Jets could afford to address this position with a defensive tackle in waiting. More interior pressure could help Leonard Williams thrive, now that he’s the one man show on the defensive line.
  • Tight end – The Jets lost Austin Seferian-Jenkins and don’t have much else behind him. They added veterans Clive Warford and Bucky Hodges to join Jordan Leggett and Eric Tomlinson. The hope is Leggett can rebound from an injury-plagued rookie year, but there’s a chance the Jets take another dipin the tight end draft pool.
  • Depth cornerback – Yes the Jets now have Trumaine Johnson and Morris Claiborne as their starting outside cornerbacks, but I think Gang Green could do some fortifying at this position. Beyond Johnson and Claiborne is a box of question marks: Buster Skrine, Juston Burris, Darryl Roberts, Rashard Robinson and others. It wouldn’t shock me if the Jets spent a late-round pick on a cornerback with upside, particularly one that can play in the slot.

With the third overall pick, the New York Jets select…

Baker Mayfield, quarterback, Oklahoma.

Here’s how I see the first three picks shaking out:

  1. Cleveland – Sam Darnold, QB, USC
  2. New York Giants – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
  3. New York Jets – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

My one and only Jets’ seven-round mock as follows:

Round 1, Pick 3: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Round 3, Pick 72: Mark Walton, RB, Miami (FL)

Round 4, Pick 107: Marquis Haynes, OLB, Mississippi

Round 5, Pick 157: Troy Fumagalli, TE, Wisconsin

Round 6, Pick 179: P.J. Hall, DT, Sam Houston State

Round 7, Pick 235: Kevin Toliver II, CB, LSU

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