NFL

Zach Wilson still most popular option at No. 2

Zach Wilson rolls right

After a 2-14 season, the Jets enter 2021 with a brand-new head coach and two picks in the first round of the NFL Draft.

With Trevor Lawrence likely to go first overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, here’s a look at what the experts think Gang Green could do with its picks:

Ralph Vacchiano: SNY

2nd pick: OT Penei Sewell (Oregon)

First things first: The quarterback situation is still unsettled and I’m not quite ready to predict or believe the Jets are moving on from Sam Darnold. And if they don’t, I think they’d be wise to trade this pick. But for now, let’s assume they keep Darnold and don’t make a trade.

In that case the choice really comes down to taking the best weapon or the best offensive lineman. And while the Jets can still pick up a heck of a receiver with their second first-round pick, there’s a steeper drop off in offensive linemen in the latter half of the round.

Really, there’s a drop off after the 6-foot-6, 331-pound Sewell, which is why the Jets could jump at him here and take a huge step towards solidifying their offensive line for the next decade. They hit it big (literally) last year with Mekhi Becton at 11. Now they’d anchor the other side with Sewell. Add in a free agent like, say, Joe Thuney at guard and GM Joe Douglas’ second shot at rebuilding the Jets’ decrepit line might actually work out.

23rd pick: WR Rashod Bateman (Minnesota)

Unless they double up on top receivers in free agency, one of these two first-round picks has to be used on a target for whomever the Jets quarterback is in 2021. The good news is that this is another deep class of receivers. And when that happens, some really good ones tend to drop.

So while the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Bateman isn’t thought of in the top class with Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, he’s really not that far behind. He’s the top of the next tier because of his great hands and versatility to play outside and in the slot. He’s considered to be more physical than fast, and while everyone loves speed, the Jets could use a bigger, tough receiver who can muscle his way to a few catches in the red zone.

He would make a nice tag team with the 6-foot-3 Denzel Mims and either Jamison Crowder or whatever free agent receiver the Jets choose to sign in March.

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports

2nd pick: QB Zach Wilson (BYU)

The first domino falls in New York’s draft class. There are several other needs to fill on the roster so Joe Douglas has his work cut out for him.

23rd pick: EDGE Jayson Oweh (Penn State)

Jayson Oweh is another projection. His production will not wow anyone in the Big Apple, but dig deeper and you’ll find a gifted athlete. The Jets’ roster needs a total overhaul. After adding a quarterback at No. 2 overall, New York targets another premier position in the first round.

Chris Trapasso: CBS Sports

2nd pick: QB Zach Wilson (BYU)

Barring something unforeseen, this pairing on draft night seems likely.

23rd pick: DL Jaelan Phillips (Miami FL)

Phillips would give Robert Saleh an athletic, refined pass-rusher to bolster Gang Green’s defense right away.

Charley Casserly, NFL.com

2nd pick: QB Zach Wilson (BYU)

The Jets ultimately decide to trade Sam Darnold and go with the highly touted rookie.

23rd pick: EDGE Joe Tryon (Washington)

There’s a chance the Jets fill this need in free agency, but if they don’t, Tryon would fit well in Robert Saleh‘s scheme.


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