For much of the year it looked like the New York Jets’ first round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft would be a foregone conclusion. They’d end up with the top overall selection, take Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson, trade Sam Darnold for additional draft capital, and move on with the rebuild. Boom, done – easy.
Of course, with the Jets, nothing actually comes easy. Somewhere along the way the Jacksonville Jaguars snuck into the equation, out-awfuled New York, and secured the top pick for themselves.
Now the Jets are left to figure out what they want to do with the No. 2 overall selection.
This week, ESPN draft insider Mel Kiper Jr. offered his two cents.
“Get Darnold some help,” he said during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up.
“I think DeVonta Smith will be a great start. You have Denzel Mims, who you drafted last year in the second round and now Devonta, who is as good as it gets coming out of the collegiate ranks.
“This guy is a tremendous worker, a tremendous talent, ready to roll in the National Football League right away. Sam Darnold didn’t have a lot of help that last year at USC. It’s a shame what’s been going on with the Jets. I think Joe Douglas’ challenge now is to build that talent base up.”
Now we know what motivates Gronk to play so hard. https://t.co/xFnKnjoXQ4
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 24, 2021
Aside from just being a snappy dresser, Smith is also an incredible talent. This past year he recorded 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns en route to a Heisman trophy and a National Championship victory. Although there are obviously some questions regarding how his size translates to the next level, he has done more than enough to prove himself as a top prospect at Alabama.
Clearly the Jets could still take Justin Fields out of Ohio State, but his stock is falling dramatically. Rather than risking it all on another quarterback, it would make far more sense for New York to invest in the one the franchise just made a big bet on several years ago.
Obviously with the Jets, anything can happen. But at the moment, giving Darnold the No. 1 target he’s never had since arriving in the Big Apple seems like the smartest possible move.