Best available players Jets could target during Day 2 of NFL Draft

Jets free agent announcement
Nick Faria – AMNY

The New York Jets aren’t done from Kansas City just yet when it comes to the 2023 NFL Draft. After a successful first night that saw the team take Iowa State standout Will McDonald IV, New York heads into Day 2 with plenty of ammo and plenty of additional needs. 

With the trade for Aaron Rodgers having been completed, Gang Green is expected to have just one pick on the second night which begins at 7:00 pm – ET Friday night. 

The good news is that the Jets could get a really good player with an initial first-round grade from where they are standing.

First, let’s take a look at where the team stands in terms of remaining total draft picks. 

Round 2 (43)

Round 5 (143) 

Round 5 (170)

Now let’s go over who just might be targeted by Gang Green with that 43rd overall pick. 

Safety, Brian Branch

The safety position is a quiet position of need for the Jets. Chuck Clark is very good for his role but if New York is looking to upgrade the Jordan Whitehead spot, Branch could fit the bill very nicely. Branch has the tools to play both in coverage and against the run. Very similar to how Malcolm Jenkins was able to play in the nickel, while also dominating inside, Branch can provide all that and more for the Jets and Joe Douglas. 

Guard, Steve Avila

It’s clear the Jets are looking and want more offensive line help – especially inside. Alijah Vera-Tucker is coming off a season-ending injury and Connor McGovern also has had injury concerns. Taking the top guard in Steve Avila in the second round would be a perfect plug-and-play should anyone get hurt or if the team is looking for the next best thing for Laken Tomlinson. 

Center, John Michael Schmitz

Before McGovern was brought back in on a new free agent deal, John Michael Schmitz was considered a perfect landing spot for the Jets should they trade back from the 15th overall pick. Michael Schmitz is considered the best center prospect in the draft this season and could anchor the Jets’ offensive line for years to come. General manager Joe Douglas wants to get help along the line and taking one early on Day 2 would be very smart. 

Tight End, Michael Mayer

There are always one or two positions that have so many great players that it ends up hurting the overall class. Michael Mayer and the tight-end class of 2023 is a perfect example. There were at least four tight ends with first-round draft grades but because they all brought something different, only one was drafted in the first round. Mayer is arguably the best available tight end still on the board and could be an interesting fit for the Jets at 43. New York does have Jeremy Ruckert, Tyler Conklin, and CJ Uzomah but Mayer could easily walk in and be the clear-cut starter at tight end for Gang Green. 

NFL Draft options for Jets
FILE – Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer (87) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against BYU during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in Las Vegas. Mayer was selected to The Associated Press All-America team released Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Tackle, Matthew Bergeron

The Jets aren’t taking Matthew Bergeron with the 43rd overall pick. But should the team look to trade down and secure more picks on Day two, the team could find Bergeron as a likely landing spot. The Syracuse tackle has played both on the right side and left side. That kind of versatility is very important for young prospects. If Douglas can find a way to get Bergeron while adding more picks, the Jets will be set up very nicely for 2023. 

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