It’s the busiest time of the year for NFL scouts, coaches, and general managers as programs begin to transition out of the free agency frenzy and into NFL Draft mode. Every team has their areas that need improvement, but in this segment we’ll cover the New York Jets.
The Jets don’t have much to build off of from their 2020 season, as they currently own the number two overall pick in the NFL Draft and are starting a rebuild. New York does have some solid pieces they could build around, but they’ll need to emphasize on adding some good talent if they hope to recreate their fate moving forward.
They have the No. 2 overall pick and the No. 23 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but there’s still loads of talent that will be littered all throughout the NFL Draft. It will be up to the Jets to trust their scouting department in hopes of landing their next superstar talent.
New York still has some holes that need to be filled, but the quickly approaching NFL Draft can help them accomplish that feat. Here’s a look at three options the Jets should consider in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Elijah Moore, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss
The Jets need to re-create their receiving corps if they hope to see success from their new quarterback that they’ll be drafting number two overall, and a great way to do that could be with the addition of Elijah Moore. Moore is a 5-foot-9 wide receiver who played his college football at Ole Miss and he could solve a lot of issues for the Jets.
Moore is known for having reliable hands and incredible speed to take a one-yard screen pass 40 yards up the field and he showcased his talents against several worthy opponents in his career. In three years at Ole Miss, Moore hauled in 189 receptions for 2,441 yards (12.9 yards per reception) and 16 touchdowns.
He also has the ability to run and return the football, as he did at Ole Miss as well. If the Jets use Moore correctly, they could have a multiple time Pro Bowler on their roster to build their team around.
Travis Etienne, Running Back, Clemson
The Jets need to put a strong emphasis on the running game during the 2021 NFL Draft and they could set their sights on Travis Etienne. Etienne is my personal top running back in the 2021 draft class as he possesses excellent quickness and speed out of the backfield.
When I was watching film on Etienne, I saw several flashes of New Orleans Saints’ star running back Alvin Kamara as he showcased his ability to make quick cuts, excellent gap reads, and versatile maneuvers to acquire additional yardage. The Jets’ number one running back on the roster right now is LaMical Perine, so it’s safe to say Etienne would be a major upgrade.
Etienne, in his career at Clemson, ran the rock 686 times for nearly 5,000 yards and scored 70 touchdowns on the ground. He also hauled in 102 receptions for 1,155 yards and scored an additional eight scores through the air. There is no question Etienne has Pro Bowl potential as soon as his rookie year if he’s picked by the Jets.
Alijah Vera-Tucker, Offensive Tackle, USC
The Jets need to address some of their offensive line concerns and one player they could keep their eye on is USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker. Vera-Tucker, who stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs 315 pounds, could solve a lot of issues with the Jets’ front five from the minute he walks in the facility.
Vera-Tucker has proven himself as one of the best offensive linemen in the NCAA over the past couple seasons as he was an anchor for USC’s offensive line. He gave up just three quarterback hits on 927 pass blocking attempts (per Pro Football Focus) in his career, which means he keeps his quarterback clean.
Building around a young quarterback is never an easy task, but adding a great offensive lineman to keep him upright is a great way to do so. Vera-Tucker has the flexibility to play on the interior or exterior of the offensive line and he could play a multitude of role for the Jets.