5 Players the Jets could target in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft

Zack Wilson (BYU) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Zack Wilson (BYU) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Evan Neal (73). Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Jets have two first-round picks in the 2022 NFL draft, just as they did in the 2021 NFL draft. Below are some players they could consider in next years’ event to try to complete their rebuild.

The New York Jets have gone through a roster overhaul since Joe Douglas took over as general manager after the 2019 NFL draft. Safety, Marcus Maye, is the longest-tenured player and is the only player currently left on the roster from the 2017 season. For a team that has not made the playoffs since 2010 and had to endure two disastrous years in the Adam Gase era, the team finally appears to be headed in the right direction. This past offseason the Jets had a couple of big free-agent signings, including receiver Corey Davis and edge rusher Carl Lawson, and they had 10 draft picks including 2 first-rounders.

Though Jets fans hope the team will improve, it is unlikely that their rebuild is complete with continued deficiencies in key positions, but with 4 picks in the first two rounds next year, the 2022 NFL Draft may be crucial to completing the Jets’ rebuild. Below I will discuss 5 players the Jets could look to target in next year’s draft.

Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Currently, the Jets have their own 2022 first-round pick, and the Seattle Seahawks’ first-round pick that was acquired in the Jamal Adams trade before the beginning of the 2020 season. As of now, it is impossible to accurately project in what position in the draft the Jets or the Seahawks would line up. Additionally, prospects will rise and fall, but for the sake of this article, I am not assuming any prospect will be unavailable for the Jets to pick.

With that said, every prospect listed will be a preview of the decisions the Jets could be faced with next offseason.

The first prospect the Jets could consider is the incoming junior right tackle for the Alabama Crimson Tide, Evan Neal. Neal is a towering tackle standing at 6’7 and 360 pounds, and he can easily overpower most college defensive linemen. What is impressive about Neal is not just his size and power, but also the unique blend of athleticism and footwork he has to go with that size. He has a superstar pass block ceiling with that combination of length and athleticism, but he also has the size and power to be a high-end-run blocker. He does need to work on his technique, but mock drafts reflect his potential by having him usually as the first tackle off the board in next year’s draft.

On the surface, offensive tackle may not seem like the biggest need for the Jets since the team already has Mekhi Becton and Morgan Moses who the Jets just signed. Moses has had an effective career, but he was signed to a one-year deal and is 30 years old. It is safe to assume that Moses is likely not a long-term answer at the position, and if the Jets assume that George Fant is a long-term solution at right tackle, the team would not have signed Moses in the first place. In both drafts in which Joe Douglas has been at the helm, the Jets took an offensive lineman in the first round; there is nothing to assume that they would not consider that for the third year in a row.