Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will be thinking about all aspects of the dynasty season at all times. Managers who are keen enough to look ahead will be the ones that can grab themselves an edge. A large portion of the dynasty off-season will be spent discussing incoming rookies and the related topic, the NFL draft. It is easy for us to fall in love with the next workhorse running back or prototypical alpha wide receiver, but a manager that is in tune with the entire draft class as a whole will find themselves ahead of the game. Whether it is the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage in April by building an entire picture of how the 2022 class will play out. Those that prepare ahead will not be often surprised at the outcomes.
Draft order used in this article reflects the order before NFL Wildcard Weekend. Credit to the mock draft simulation goes to The Draft Network. Team needs are also generated from this site. Compensatory picks have not been assigned and will not be included in this exercise.
The New York Jets had a tough 2021 season. They selected Zach Wilson with the number two overall pick last year. Unfortunately, Wilson missed some time this season with a poor offensive line. Their highly paid free agent defensive end also missed the entire season with an injury. All is not bleak for Gang Green heading into this 2022 NFL draft. They are returning a large number of players and most coaches. They also have a ton of draft capital and salary cap to deploy as they see fit. With the right moves this offseason, Joe Douglas can present a playoff roster sooner rather than later. What picks will they need to make in the draft? Read on to find out.
1.04 – Evan Neal, OT Alabama
With the fourth overall pick in the 2022 draft, the New York Jets selected Evan Neal. Neal is a 6’7” 350-pound Junior out of the University of Alabama. He is a three-year starter and has played almost every position along the offensive line. He also possesses the unique ability to play at either right or left tackle. This is extremely valuable to any NFL team that gets him as he may be moved based on roster construction or future talent acquisitions.
With a roster so depleted of talent and two top ten picks, the Jets would be best advised going with the best pick available. With the fourth pick, they get a player that is OT1 on many big boards. This move comes at a great time. Morgan Moses is set to be a free agent this offseason and will also be 31 before the 2022 season. Moses is a career average tackle who may find a slight market elsewhere, return on a cheap deal, or decide to hang up the cleats for good. Either way, this pick provides Joe Douglas flexibility in that decision-making process.
Assuming Neal is the Week One starter, he would join 2020 eleventh overall pick, Mekhi Becton, as the other bookend for this line. This would give the Jets three first-round picks on the offensive line, with guard Alijah Vera-Tucker being selected 14th overall in 2021. Three straight years of top 15 offensive linemen should give Zach Wilson the help he needs. If the Jets can add another solid guard in free agency, then they have the makings of a potential top-five unit in the league.
1.10 – Derek Stingley Jr., CB LSU
The Jets are fortunate here with the CB1 on the board falling to the tenth overall pick. Stingley is a 6’1” 195-pound corner from LSU. He was a three-year starter in college but did miss some time due to injuries the past two seasons. In 2019, during LSU’s national title run, Stingley allowed only a 41.1 completion percentage. He was also PFF’s highest-graded corner in the nation that season. Stingley was targeted only 94 times on 589 coverage snaps during that season. He allowed 36 receptions on those 94 targets while also hauling in six interceptions.
The 2020 and 2021 seasons were not what people hoped for Stingley. He missed time during both seasons with leg and foot injuries. LSU as a whole was going through some turmoil over the course of this stretch. Most of the talent was lost from its 2019 title team. The situation even got as bad as to have LSU move on from coach Ed Orgeron, less than two years after bringing a national championship to Tiger nation. The pre-draft process will be necessary for Derek Stingley Jr, but all medical issues look to be clear for now.
Stingley will bring some much-needed help to this Jets’ secondary. The current roster features a mix of undrafted free agents and fifth-round or later draft selections. They are very young as well, the oldest being 24. Stingley would immediately step in as a starter tasked with covering the opposing team’s number one option. Stingley has the skills and athletic ability to hang with the best of the best. He will bring some much-needed stability to at least one side of this Jets’ secondary.
2.35 – Drake Jackson, EDGE USC
The Jets begin the first of two early second-round picks, addressing the defense again and, this time, selecting the edge rusher out of the University of Southern California, Drake Jackson. Jackson measures in at 6’4” and 250 pounds. He was a three-year starter at USC and accumulated 13 sacks over that time.
Jackson is much better at pass rush than in the run game, but thankfully the Jets have 300-pound Quinnen Williams to take care of that. The pass rush help is desperately needed as the Jets defense ranked bottom eight in the league in sacks in the 2021 season. Carl Lawson was brought in last offseason on a massive three-year $45 million contract but unfortunately missed the entire season due to injury. He will be back for the 2022 season, but the Jets may move on if Drake Jackson and some of the younger players progress. In the 2023 off-season, Lawson can be cut for a minimal dead cap hit.
2.38 – Drake London, WR USC
In a funny coincidence, the Jets draft back-to-back Trojans who also share the first name of Drake. This time it is Drake London, the wide receiver. London is a 6’5” 210-pound wide receiver with an impressive 2021 campaign, unfortunately, cut short. He suffered a broken ankle after only eight games this past season. Drake put up 88 catches for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns despite such a short amount of playing time.
London is an athletic freak who played both football and basketball at USC. He profiles as a dominant outside wide receiver, something that the Jets offense can help with. The hype on London is a bit subdued thanks to both the west coast bias that can be seen in the draft community and some questionable QB play. Questionable enough that starting QB Kedon Slovis would wind up transferring to the University of Pittsburgh during the 2022 offseason.
London will be joining a 2022 Jets team that will also feature Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Denzel Mims as options at starting wide receiver. Jamison Crowder and Braxton Berrios are set to hit free agency this offseason. Berrios may be brought back on a cheaper contract, but this draft pick will let the Jets walk on from Crowder’s more expensive deal. With a hopefully revamped offensive line and some more weapons, we can see a better sophomore year for QB Wilson.
3.69 – Chad Muma, LB Wyoming
With their first pick in the third round, the New York Jets select Muma. He is a linebacker who measures 6’3” and 242 pounds out of Wyoming. As a linebacker, Muma excels in run defense and will find an immediate role in sub-packages for run stops. He will eventually become an every-down starter with a bit of polish in the NFL. Muma was the on-the-field leader for the Cowboys throughout the 2021 season and may subsequently use those leadership skills to become the “green-dot” of this Jets defense. With the proper coaching, Muma may be the steal of Day Two.
4.108 – Jalen Wydermyer, TE Texas A&M
The New York Jets can add another offensive weapon to begin the draft’s final day. Wydermyer is a 6’5” 265-pound tight end from Texas A&M. In his three years in college, Wydermyer could rack up over 100 catches for over 1500 yards and 16 touchdowns. Very impressive for a college tight end. He profiles as a move tight end at the professional level. As fantasy managers, that is exactly what we want to hear. He will be asked to block less than a traditional tight end and be lined up outside standing up more often. With the Jets adding more offensive line help this offseason, Wydermyer won’t have to help on blocking very much. We have seen young quarterbacks find a safety blanket in athletic tight ends. Jalen Wydermyer can fit this mold exactly.
4.114 – Dylan Parham, IOL Memphis
With their second pick in the fourth round, the New York Jets add more help along the offensive line. Parham has played both left and right guard at the collegiate level. He projects best as either a center or guard in the NFL. Parham began his football career as a tight end before converting to offensive line at Memphis. He would be best served taking his rookie year off to develop some weight and technical skills. The Jets can sign a cheap veteran option for the 2022 season and allow Parham to develop for the 2023 season and beyond.
5.144 – Smoke Monday, S Auburn
At the top of the fifth round, the Jets add a little depth to their safety room. Starting safeties Marcus Maye and LaMarcus Joyner, are set to leave in free agency this offseason. Expect the Jets to spend some money on safety, and Monday is just a depth piece. He seems to be the type of player that is good at everything but not exceptional at anything. He will project as a rotational depth piece at the pro level. The fifth round is a perfect place to grab a player like this.
5.161 – John Ridgeway, IDL Arkansas
To capstone this draft class, the Jets can grab a very large man to plug up the center of the defensive line. Ridgeway measures in at an astonishing 6’6” and 320 pounds. He projects as the perfect first down and short-yardage situation run stopper. If he sees the field in 2022, I would not expect him to see many snaps. But at this late in the draft, you cannot say no to his size.
Fantasy Impact and Analysis
This New York Jets team was not very good, but they have a number of things going for them heading onto the 2022 offseason. This franchise has continuity in the front office and at both the coaching and quarterback positions. Something that can not be taken for granted in the modern NFL. They also enter the 2022 NFL draft with the most draft capital in the league. Finally, they also have the fifth-highest cap space in the league at just over $47 million. All while retaining the 54 signed players from 2021. That is good for the sixth-best in the league. This Jets front office can concentrate on improving the roster and not worry about fielding a full team through the draft and free agency. This is an amazing foundational piece of a franchise rebuild.
Protecting the Quarterback
Hopes in New York city are that Wilson can be the QB of the future. However, his rookie season was marred with injuries and lackluster performances. How much of this was Wilson the prospect? How much of it was the supporting cast around him? The goal of this offseason should be to isolate one side of that equation. The Jets have a decent start on the offensive line. Becton, Vera-Tucker, and now Neal create a solid foundation. Three first-round picks should be enough draft capital invested in getting it done. With the addition of a free agent guard, this unit easily has the potential to be top-five in the league.
The Jets can add two outstanding weapons through this draft class. London and Wydemyer will easily be day one starters in this offense. That is assuming London returns from his injury on the appropriate timetable. The Jets need to spend some money in free agency to handle holes at guard, safety, linebacker, etc. However, this is a decent free-agent wide receiver class, and the Jets should be able to grab one on a cheaper contract. For Week One, the Jets could potentially be rolling out a starting offense that includes Michael Carter, Moore, Davis, London, and Wydermyer. A young offense with a ton of potential. Very interesting from a fantasy football aspect.
Improving the Defense
The defense was not overlooked in this mock draft. The Jets could grab some elite pieces at critical positions and depth at others. This mock will not be the end of the Jets’ defensive moves this offseason. In this draft, both starting safeties are set to hit free agency, and we did not add any starting caliber safeties. If Maye and Joyner weren’t to resign, then keep an eye out for names like Tyrann Mathieu, Marcus Williams, Quandre Diggs, Keanu Neal, etc., to sign with the Jets this offseason. The defense on this team is a rather large project, so don’t be surprised when we see them near the bottom of the league at the end of the 2022 season.
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I hope you enjoyed this seven-round mock draft. For more content like this, be sure to give me a follow on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for any questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!