NFL Draft: Mel Kiper Jr. Predicts Yet Another Boneheaded New York Jets Overreach

In the last decade, the New York Jets have overreached and made poor decisions in the NFL draft time after time. In the 2022 NFL Draft, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. predicts the team will select USC wide receiver Drake London at No. 4. This pick would fit in perfectly with all the other Jets blunders. That’s because London, or a very similar player, will be available to the Jets at No. 10.

A decade of the Jets overreaching for first-round picks

The New York Jets have not performed well in the first round of the NFL draft in the last decade. Even conceding that the jury is still out on quarterback Zach Wilson (No. 2, 2021), guard Alijah Vera-Tucker (No. 14, 2021), and tackle Mekhi Becton (No. 11, 2020), the last decade of drafts haven’t been pretty for Gang Green.

A big reason for this is the Jets reaching for players and positions ahead of where they should go in the first round.

Pick No. 3 in 2019 is a perfect example of this. The team took Quinnen Williams, a defensive tackle out of Alabama. Williams has been good. He’s played 41 games in three seasons and produced 136 tackles, 15.5 sacks, 21 tackles for a loss, and 32 QB hits. He was the 14th-best interior D-lineman in 2021, according to PFF, but he’s yet to make a Pro Bowl and, unless the player’s name is Aaron Donald, DTs aren’t defensive difference-makers.

Pass-rushers and sideline-to-sideline linebackers are defensive difference-makers. That’s why it’s so frustrating to Jets fans that Devin White and (Jacksonville’s) Josh Allen went in two of the following three picks.

The worst example of this was in 2017 when the Jets took LSU safety Jamal Adams No. 6 overall. Drafting a safety in the top 10 of the NFL draft is always a no-no, but the fact that New York took Adams over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson (and started Josh McCown and Bryce Petty that season) is unbearable.

Going back through the years, the Jets do this over and over again. They did it in 2016, taking tweener LB Darron Lee over future Pro Bowlers like Kenny Clark, Chris Jones, and Xavien Howard. And again in 2014, taking old-school, undisciplined, head-hunting safety Calvin Pryor over more modern (and more successful DBs) like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Darqueze Denard, Deone Bucannon, and Jimmie Ward.

Now, in 2022, if ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. is right, the Jets are about to do it yet again.

Mel Kiper Jr.’s mock draft has the New York Jets taking USC WR Drake London at No. 4

In Mel Kiper Jr.’s most recent mock draft on ESPN.com, the draft expert has USC wide receiver Drake London pegged at No. 4 to the New York Jets.

London is a 6-foot-4, 219-pound pass-catcher who grew in Moorpark, California, about 45-minutes west of where he played his college home games in the Rose Bowl. The wideout played in 27 games over three seasons with the Trojans. He caught 160 balls for 2,153 yards, and scored 15 touchdowns.

London’s junior season was cut short by a fractured right ankle. Despite missing the season’s last four games, the first-round NFL draft prospect still made several first- and second-team All-American lists and won the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year.

The tall, athletic WR even played for the USC men’s basketball team in 2020, per USCTrojans.com.

There is no doubt that London is one of the best talents at his position in this year’s draft. He is Kiper’s top-ranked WR and absolutely “can be a weapon in the red zone,” as the draft guru predicts.

However, in true Jets fashion, picking him at No. 4 would be a reach.

The 2022 NFL Draft has a deep and talented WR class 

WR Drake London of the USC Trojans is carted off after an injury on a touchdown catch against Arizona. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has London going to the New York Jets in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Drake London | Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

Drake London is a high-end prospect and the top WR on many draft analyst’s boards. However, he’s not without his weaknesses.

London doesn’t have elite speed or quickness and may struggle getting separation in the NFL. The official NFL.com scouting report says he “runs and moves like an athletic tight end.” That means he could turn out to be Mike Williams (which would be great) or Kelvin Benjamin (which wouldn’t).

Also, the New York Jets have two first-round picks in this year’s NFL draft (Nos. 4 and 10) and could easily get London or one of the other members of the deep and talented 2022 WR draft class.

In addition to the USC wideout, Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, Alabama’s Jameson Williams, Arkansas’ Treylon Burks, and Penn State’s Jahan Dotson could all be available for the Jets to choose from with their second pick.

Plus, waiting until No. 10 for a wide receiver will allow the Jets to pick an edge rusher or cornerback at No. 4, who is less likely to be available at No. 10 than a top-flight WR.

Whether or not the New York Jets franchise does what Mel Kiper Jr. thinks it will do can go a long way to showing the NY fans that, under head coach Robert Saleh, the team either is or isn’t the same old Jets.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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