NFL Draft: Mel Kiper Jr. Raves About New York Jets Second-Round Pick in Todd McShay’s Mock Draft

The New York Jets are one of the major players in the 2022 NFL Draft, holding four of the first 38 picks. While the team’s two top 10 picks are getting the majority of the attention, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. is most excited about the player Todd McShay has going to the Jets at No. 35, Penn State defensive end Arnold Ebiketie.

Todd McShay thinks the New York Jets get two blue-chip prospects in Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft

Picking at Nos. 4 and 10 in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Jets have a real chance to add some high-end talent to their squad. And that’s exactly what draft expert Todd McShay has the organization doing in his most recent mock draft on ESPN.com.

After taking promising quarterback Zach Wilson No. 2 overall in the 2021 draft, McShay believes the first order of business is to get him a serious weapon in 2022. That’s why he predicts the Jets will select Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson (no relation) at No. 4.

Gang Green already has an interesting group of wideouts with Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Braxton Berrios on the roster. What they’re missing is an elite No. 1 target, and Garrett Wilson could provide that. The former Buckeye caught 70 balls last season for 1,058 yards with 12 touchdowns.

The 6-foot, 183-pound pass-catcher has decent size, blazing speed (4.38 40-yard dash at combine), excellent hands, and improving route-running. McShay writes, “a Wilson-Wilson connection could be fun to watch for a long time.”

At No. 10, McShay has the Jets taking his No. 5 overall prospect, Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner from Cincinnati. At 6-foot-3, 190-pounds, Gardner is similar to a cornerback who Jets head coach Robert Saleh knows well from his days as a Seattle Seahawks assistant, Richard Sherman.  

These two picks would give the J-E-T-S an upgrade on both sides of the ball. However, it’s the team’s next (mock) pick in the second round who Mel Kiper Jr. is most enthused about.

Mel Kiper Jr. loves Penn State DE Arnold Ebiketie

At No. 35, Todd McShay has the New York Jets staying on the defensive side of the ball and picking Penn State pass-rusher Arnold Ebiketie.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound DE was born in Cameroon and moved to Maryland at 12, per NFL.com. He didn’t start playing football until his sophomore year in high school but excelled at the sport quickly. He earned a scholarship to Temple, where he played for three seasons before transferring to Penn State for his final year.

In his final collegiate season, Ebiketie racked up 62 tackles, 18.0 for a loss, 9.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. This production, along with his size and athleticism, has made him a borderline first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

He’s also one of Mel Kiper Jr.’s favorite sleepers. On the First Draft podcast, the longtime draft pundit explained that he’s been higher than most on Ebiketie all year, and other draftniks are finally starting to agree with him:

Arnold Ebiketie, Todd, still remains to me one of the guys I like. I think he’s deserving of being in a lot of these first-round mocks. … [Penn State head coach] James Franklin loved the fact that he came in from Temple … humble, ready to work. He got that locker room right away. He went on that practice field and worked hard. Arnold Ebiketie has the makeup, the mindset, the physical and athletic ability is there. … I think when you look at an outside backer getting off the edge who provides some versatility, Arnold Ebiketie, to me, is the guy, if he gets into the second round, Todd, I think he’s a heck of a pick.

Mel Kiper Jr. on Arnold Ebiketie

That’s high praise from Kiper, but the Jets’ second-round steals don’t stop there.

McShay has the Jets taking another pre-draft riser at No. 38

Todd McShay, picking for the New York Jets, goes back to the defensive well one more time at No. 38 with Georgia linebacker Quay Walker.

As great as this pick would be for the Jets, with three weeks still to go until the 2022 NFL draft, it sounds like Walker won’t be there this late in the second round on draft day.

NFL teams are continuing their evaluations, and Walker is quickly rising up draft boards. In fact, as McShay mentioned on First Draft, some teams now have the 6-foot-4, 240-pound LB ranked right alongside the top two players at the position in the draft, his teammate Nakobe Dean and Utah’s Devin Lloyd.

The Jets would need things in the draft to break right to get Walker at No. 38, but it could be a major steal if they do. Robert Saleh has a history of developing great inside linebackers, and Walker could become the next Bobby Wagner or Fred Warner under his tutelage.

All stats courtesy of Sports Reference

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