The 2022 NFL Draft is nearly upon us, and the New York Jets will have a difficult decision to make with the 10th overall pick. This is especially true because Gang Green also has the fourth overall pick, one the franchise is expected to use on either an offensive lineman or a pass-rusher.
Wasting two first-round picks would be, shall we say, not ideal.
So, who should the Jets draft at No. 10? As with our mock drafts, we picked players based on need and team fit. In other words, the Jets will not use the 10th overall pick on Liberty quarterback Malik Willis or Pittsburgh signal-caller Kenny Pickett, given Zach Wilson’s presence on the active roster. Also, all prospects are ranked alphabetically as opposed to preference or potential.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the following story was written with the idea that the Jets selected an offensive tackle at No. 4; I suggested the team draft NC State’s Ikem “Ickey” Ekwonu in my mock. However, I did include an offensive lineman on this list in case the Jets ignore me (which they likely will) and target a defensive player.
Based on consideration of the aforementioned prerequisites, we believe the Jets should target the following players with the 10th overall pick:
Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
I’m not sold on the idea of the Jets investing a first-round pick on a receiver, especially not after second-round pick Elijah Moore impressed in his rookie season. This is a team with plenty of defensive holes, and I do not believe drafting a wideout so early is the right decision.
Is Garrett Wilson enough of a complete player to change my mind? Well…
Wilson hauled in 143 catches for 2,213 yards and 23 touchdowns in three seasons at Ohio State, and his impressive speed (he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine) could quickly make him one of Zach Wilson’s favorite targets. If most of the top defensive players are already off the board at this point, the Jets could afford to pick the Ohio State standout this early. However, the safer play might be focusing on defense here and waiting to select a receiver early in Round 2, as the team did with Moore last spring.
And no, Zach Wilson and Garrett Wilson are not related.
Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
As Johnson has skyrocketed up draft boards in recent months, he’s frequently been linked to the Jets, who desperately need an impactful pass-rusher. After starring on Netflix’s Last Chance U while at Independence Community College (Kansas), the Minnesota native transferred to Georgia and notched five sacks during the 2020 campaign. After transferring again, this time to Florida State, the 6-foot-5, 254-pound Johnson tallied 12 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles en route to earning ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Although there are concerns about Johnson being slightly raw after only starting one season at the FBS level, his high ceiling and natural instincts would make him a natural fit in head coach Robert Saleh’s defense. Don’t be surprised if the cameras show the Jets’ room jubilantly celebrating if Johnson falls to them at No. 10.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
For months, it appeared Thibodeaux would be the No. 1 overall pick, especially considering the lack of a breakthrough quarterback. However, questions about his maturity and love for the game have dropped his public stock, and he’s been left to defend himself ahead of the draft.
Should the Jets take such a risk? Perhaps.
One can only hope the team will do enough digging to discover how Thibodeaux truly feels about football and how he’ll handle himself in advance of him inking his rookie contract. The 6-foot-4, 254-pound edge rusher tallied 19 sacks and 35.5 tackles for a loss in three seasons with the Ducks and often appeared unstoppable against Pac-12 offenses. If he falls to No. 10, the high-reward portion of his potential could be enough to land him in a Jets uniform.
Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Hear us out, football fans. Yes, Penning is projected to go later in the first round, so he’d likely be a reach at No. 10. No, he’s not projected to be as successful as the likes of Ekwonu and Evan Neal in the NFL.
Something tells me the Jets, if they go defense with the fourth overall pick, would be willing to look past all of that given Penning’s potential.
The Jets coached Penning at the Senior Bowl earlier this year and repeatedly came extremely impressed with his skillset and attitude. The 6-foot-7, 325-pound left tackle dominated foes at the FCS level and is a violent brawler in the trenches. A combination of a pass-rusher and Penning might not sound appealing at first glance, but we genuinely believe it could work in the Jets’ favor.
Yes, we’re serious. The Jets can’t lose forever, right? Right!?