Compared to last season, the Jets came into the 2020 NFL Draft with stability in the front office, as general manager Joe Douglas conducted his first selection process at the helm.
A team that finished 7-9 in an AFC East that could be wide-open in 2020, the Jets had numerous needs that had to be filled — most notably along the offensive line and at wide receiver.
They were able to check those two boxes rather unconventionally in the first two rounds while adding young talents that could sneakily develop into legitimate contributors at the NFL level.
AMNewYork Metro breaks down the Jets’ complete draft, which included nine picks over seven rounds:
Round 1, Pick 11: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville: The Jets opted to invest in their offensive line in the first round rather than draft one of the top wide receivers available. They picked up an absolute mauler and mountain mover in Becton, who earned first-team All-ACC honors last season. At 6-foot-7, 365 pounds, he is poised to be a fixture of the Jets’ offensive line for years to come.
Round 2, Pick 59: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor: While they waited (and then traded down to wait some more), Gang Green got exactly what they needed in Mims. A well built (6-foot-3, 207 pounds) prospect, his blend of speed and physicality could make him a dominating presence on the outside for Sam Darnold — cushioning the blow of losing Robby Anderson to free agency.
Round 3, Pick 68: Ashtyn Davis, S, California: Third-round picks are generally afterthoughts, but Davis could make the Jets look like geniuses based on sheer intangibles alone. He is gifted athletically, originally heading to Cal on a track scholarship before walking on, and succeeding, with the football team. The second-team All-Pac-12 member has the speed to chase down any would-be ball carrier, but his football instincts still need to be developed — which will come with proper time and development.
Round 3, Pick 79: Jabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida: If he can stay healthy, Zuniga could immediately contend for a starting role at defensive end. After playing through injuries in 2017, Zuniga was limited to just six games in 2019 due to a high-ankle sprain. When he was on the field, though, he excelled, posting 14 tackles, seven for loss, and three sacks. An athletic pass rusher with a quick first step, he has the makings to be a problem for opposing offenses at the NFL level.
Round 4, Pick 120: La’Mical Perine, RB, Florida: Perine never truly starred
at the collegiate level with Florida — his career-high over four seasons was 826 yards in 2018. But he can be a serviceable backup to Le’Veon Bell given his dual-threat capabilities out of the backfield.
Round 4, Pick 125: James Morgan, QB, FIU: Considering Darnold is the man of the future, Morgan will be competing for scraps with the Jets. The FIU product had the arm strength to catch the attention of NFL scouts, but his accuracy and touch leave much to be desired.
Round 4, Pick 129: Cameron Clarke, G, Charlotte: A first-team Conference USA selection, Clarke has three years of experience at the collegiate level. A strong prospect with long arms to keep rushers at bay, Clarke will be in the mix for a backup spot come training camp.
Round 5, Pick 158: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia: A wide receiver in high school, Hall brings an instinctual knack to his game in the secondary. Solid situational awareness and fluid fundamentals put him in the best position to succeed, but long-term speed is a concern. A broken ankle that saw him lose his 2019 season allowed him to fall into the Jets’ laps so late in the draft, but Hall could one day be a starting corner at the Meadowlands.
Round 6, Pick 191: Braden Mann, P, Texas A&M: Mann was one of the very best punters in the nation and is perceived to be an All-Pro at his position in the pros. A booming leg makes him an ideal field-flipper, but he also has the touch to pin the opposition deep in their own territory.