The Jets appear to be tanking for the 2018 NFL Draft, as I think we can surmise based on the Josh McCown signing. This is a smart move, as there are projected to be anywhere between two and four top-10 signal-callers in this class.
Sam Darnold has taken the Pac-12 by storm, as he's been incredible ever since taking over as the starter, which was capped off by his amazing Rose Bowl performance. A big quarterback with a nice arm, terrific accuracy and decent mobility, Darnold could end up being the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
This pick could easily be traded away. Last Wednesday, I was the first to report that the Jets have talked with the Browns about trading down. I'm not sure a deal will get done, but it won't happen until the Jets are on the clock because the Browns have to be sure they are getting their target - North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky. If the Jets are stuck at No. 6, they could take the best player available, and that would be Hooker in this scenario. He has injury concerns, but he would be a huge upgrade for their pass coverage.
In late September, weeks before other draft media were aware of Hooker, WalterFootball.com reported that Hooker was receiving high first-round grades from teams. He was one of the breakout stars of the 2016 season. Multiple team sources have said they see Hooker as a top-10 pick. Ohio State lost both Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell to the NFL, but the redshirt sophomore Hooker was an upgrade for the Buckeyes.
In 2016, Hooker totaled 74 tackles with 5.5 for a loss, .5 sacks, four passes broken up and seven interceptions. Three of those picks were returned for touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 206-pounder has excellent size to go along with great speed and instincts. Hooker is tremendous as the deep center fielder with rare skills as a pass-coverage free safety who has drawn comparisons to Ed Reed. He also has the size and strength to come downhill and fill in the ground game. Hooker could be a dynamic safety in the NFL. He is the real deal.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
David Njoku, TE, Miami
The Jets will be able to land a great tight end value early in Round 2. Here's one of those potential steals.
The 6-foot-4, 246-pound Njoku is a freak athlete who has size, physicality and excellent speed. The junior recorded 43 receptions for 698 yards with eight touchdowns in 2016 despite Miami not using him as much as it should have. Sources have said that the coaching staff loved tight end Chris Herndon as a worker and teammate, so they tried to reward him by splitting targets his direction. The underachieving play of Brad Kaaya also hurt Njoku's production with the quarterback's propensity to watch the pass rush and take sacks.
According to team contacts, Njoku was torn on whether to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. The main reason he would have returned to Miami was to help his younger brother make the transition as he joins the program in 2017. However after the last regular-season game, Njoku posed for a photo with the senior class and took grass from the field as a keepsake. That suggested the junior was leaning toward entering the 2017 NFL Draft before his actual declaration.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
The Jets could use a cornerback upgrade, and Moreau could easily be drafted higher.
Moreau (6-0, 202) was one of the stars of the East-West Shrine throughout the week as he impressed teams with his size, physicality, and coverage skills. Moreau is a tough corner who is capable of running the route to prevent separation. As a senior, he totaled 31 tackles with two interceptions and 10 passes broken up.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
Given the age and injury history of Matt Forte, the Jets could use another running back.
Perine (5-11, 233) averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2016 for 1,060 yards with 12 touchdowns. He had 10 receptions for 106 yards as well. Perine is a physical, tough runner who was banged up in his final season and also split the workload with Joe Mixon. In 2015, Perine averaged 6.0 yards per carry in 2015 for 1,349 yards with 16 touchdowns.
Prior to the 2017 NFL Draft, sources with the Jets told me they didn't like the 2017 quarterback prospects. They also said that Christian Hackenberg was developing well and worked really hard behind the scenes during his rookie year. However, if Hackenberg doesn't show some promise on the field in 2017, the Jets could be targeting a quarterback in next year's draft class. If Hackenberg does show signs that he's the long-term starter, New York could consider an edge rusher like Arden Key, a franchise left tackle like Trey Adams, or maybe a feature back like Saquon Barkley. <br> <br>
Darnold and USC got a serious scare versus Western Michigan. He completed 23-of-33 for 289 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions as the Trojans pulled out a 49-31 victory. <br> <br>
Darnold was very impressive as a redshirt freshman in 2016 and impressed evaluators even though he wasn't being graded yet. Along with a quality skill set, teams like his intangibles and moxie. Darnold completed 67 percent of his passes in 2016 for 3,086 yards with 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The 6-4, 225-pounder led USC on a nine-game winning streak to end the season.
Prior to the 2017 NFL Draft, sources with the Jets told me they didn't like the 2017 quarterback prospects. They also said that Christian Hackenberg is developing well and worked really hard behind the scenes during his rookie year. However, if Hackenberg doesn't show some promise on the field in 2017, the Jets could be targeting a quarterback in next year's draft class. If Hackenberg does show signs that he's the long-term starter, New York could consider an edge rusher like Arden Key or maybe a feature back like Saquon Barkley. <br> <br>
Allen (6-5, 222) became a discussed prospect late in the 2016 season, but he wisely decided to return to Wyoming. He has a special skill set, and some draft analysts were projecting him high in the first round, but one general manager told WalterFootball.com that he had Allen as a third-day prospect and thought Allen should improve before going pro. Other team sources that did advance work for National Scouting for the 2018 prospects really liked Allen and compared him to Ben Roethlisberger, so don't be surprised if he is a polarizing prospect. However he has a great skill set with tons of upside. In 2016, Allen completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,203 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
(2-14) I don't see anyone prying the number one pick from Jets cold dead hands this draft JETS REPORT, Frankly the Jets could go 0 -16 quite easily this year the only games I see them having a shot at are the Bills (twice), Saints and maybe the Jags.
The Jets go with the best player available and take a feature back for their offense. Obviously, Matt Forte isn't a long-term answer at this stage of his career.
Barkley was excellent in 2016, and NFL sources have already said they think he's a stud back for the next level. The sophomore averaged 5.5 yards per carry on the year for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also made 28 catches for 402 yards and four touchdowns as a receiver. <br> <br>
Barkley was very impressive as a freshman in 2015 when he averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,076 yards with seven touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 161 yards and a score. Barkley was very impressive running for 194 yards on 26 carries against an Ohio State defense loaded with NFL talent. The 5-foot-11, 223-pounder is a tough runner with a burst. <br> <br>
<u> <i> Pick change; previously Sam Hubbard, DE </i> </u>
<i> 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 9/30): Leonard Fournette, RB </i>
The Jets cut Antonio Cromartie, Dee Milliner has been a bust, and Darrelle Revis is in decline. Todd Bowles is going to need some young cornerback talent soon.
In 2016, Toliver has 13 tackles and one pass broken up. He has excellent size at 6-foot-2, 193 pounds. Toliver impressed as a freshman starter for the Tigers in 2015 as he totaled 35 tackles with five breakups and one interception.