UPDATE: As of April 5th, the New York Jets have traded QB Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for one of the Panthers’ two 2021 sixth-round picks, though it’s unclear which at this point, along with second- and fourth-round picks in 2022.
The New York Jets are coming off yet another disappointing season and finished with the second-worst record in the NFL. The AFC East bottom dwellers are in danger of finishing last in the division for the fifth time in six years and need to make a major decision about the franchise's future in the 2021 NFL Draft.
New York make strides on the defensive side of the ball in 2020, but its offense was one of the league’s worst. It ranked dead last in total yards and points scored last season because of inconsistent quarterback and running back production, as well as a heap of injuries at wide receiver. Can the Jets set things right by bringing in a new signal-caller, or will they stick with Sam Darnold?
New York Jets 2021 Draft Picks
Round 1: No. 2, QB Zach Wilson; No. 14, OL Alijah Vera-Tucker
Round 2: No. 34, WR Elijah Moore
Round 4: No. 107, RB Michael Carter,
Round 5: No. 146, CB Jamien Sherwood, No. 154, S Michael Carter II, No. 175, CB Jason Pinnock
Round 6: No. 186, S Hamsah Hasirildeen; No. 207, DT Jonathan Marshall
Offense: Quarterback, Wide Receiver
Darnold is coming off his worst season yet as a pro in 2020 and tallied career lows in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and completion percentage. While staying healthy was a problem for the young quarterback, he hasn’t shown enough flashes to assure his team that he’s a future franchise player. Part of the reason he’s struggled is that the Jets don’t have a go-to guy. Improving the receiving corps could help build his confidence moving forward, as there’s no clear WR1 on the team.
The Jets had a sturdy defensive line but gave up the fifth-most passing yards and third-most passing touchdowns last season. Jamal Adams’ departure weakened their secondary significantly, and adding playmakers at cornerback and safety could help New York avoid getting the blown out as much as it did last year. The Jets should look to add talent in the secondary and through free agency and the draft.
Dream first pick
Zach Wilson-QB, BYU
Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is widely considered the top prospect in the draft, but Wilson has been climbing draft boards for a while now and is seen as the second0best quarterback available in many circles. His mobility and ability to improvise to make off-schedule throws could add explosiveness to the Jets’ stagnant offense. Darnold would need to be dealt in a trade for this move to happen, though.