New York Jets Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Joe Tippmann, C, Wisconsin – Round 2
The Jets have a veteran center in Connor McGovern on the roster, but McGovern is not a long-term starter. In the short-term, it could make sense to have a veteran starting for New York because aging veteran Aaron Rodgers can not move around like he used to and the Jets are not in position to have their franchise quarterback deal with rookie growing pains from a center. However in a year or two, I think Tippman will emerge as a solid starter for New York.

Tippman (6-6, 317) is generally reliable in pass protection. He has the size to engulf defenders. He is big enough to handle bull rushes and has thelength to help ward off speed rushers. However, Tippman could stand to improve his leverage because he is a tall blocker and gets in trouble when he stands up too high. That leads to him lunging and leaving himself open to defenders controlling him in the chest. Standing up too high also can lead to issues with Tippman’s balance. He needs development as a pass blocker for the NFL.

In the ground game, Tippman can generate movement, as he will lean on defenders, get within their frames and push, and manipulate them. Tippman has the strength to push defenders out of their gaps and open holes. Tippman packs a punch off the line as a run blocker, sustains his efforts with strength, and moves defenders the direction he wants them to go consistently.

It might take a season, but Tippman should beat out McGovern for the starting center job. It could even happen in 2023. Even if Tippman isn’t a plug-and-play starter, I think he is a safe pick to become a quality starter for the Jets during his rookie contract.

2022: Brecee Hall, RB
2021: Elijah Moore, WR
2020: Jabari Zuniga, DE
2019: Jachai Polite, DE
2018: Nathan Shepard, DT
2017: Jamal Adams, S
2016: Darron Lee, LB
2015: Devin Smith, WR
2014: Calvin Pryor, S
2013: Dee Milliner, CB

Most Likely To Bust

The Jets were without a third-round pick, and of their two early-rounders, there is not a real bust-potential selection. Joe Tippman should be a solid pro interior offensive lineman, and Will McDonald should at least be a very good designated pass rusher in the NFL. I don’t see a player with serious bust potential from the Jets’ draft class.

2022: Jermaine Johnson, DE
2021: Zach Wilson, QB
2020: Ashtyn Davis, S
2019: Chuma Edoga, OT
2018: Chris Herndon, TE
2017: Chad Hanson, WR
2016: Jordan Jenkins, LB
2015: Bryce Petty, QB
2014: Dexter McDougle, CB
2013: Geno Smith, QB

Potential Boom Pick

Will McDonald, DE, Iowa State – Round 1
Jets general manager Joe Douglas has a philosophy of building through the trenches, and he proved it again while addressing the defensive edge rush in the first round for the second straight season. His natural pass-rush ability had him as a consensus first-rounder with teams.

As a pass rusher, McDonald (6-4, 245) is fast off the ball with smooth athleticism to dart around blockers. Team sources raved to about McDonald’s pass-rush ability and his natural skills at getting after the quarterback. He is fast and athletic, allowing him to shoot past blockers and put steady heat on the signal-caller. With a serious burst, McDonald closes space in a hurry and darts upfield. McDonald shows natural pass-rushing feel and instincts. He has long arms and is able to use his hands and feet at the same time. McDonald’s quickness and agility allow him to deploy a dangerous spin move to get off blocks.

Team sources said they felt McDonald is a terrible run defender who gets destroyed against the run too often. They noted that even against bad teams embarrassed him in the ground game. At sub 250 pounds, McDonald must get stronger for the NFL. He has to show more ability to hold his ground and not get pushed around. If McDonald could be just an average run defender, that would be a big improvement and make him a valuable starter in the passing-driven NFL .

With the Jets, McDonald landed in a very good developmental position as he can rotate with Carl Lawson and Johnson in 2023. McDonald could serve as a dangerous DPR – designated pass rusher – in his first season. That will allow McDonald time to develop his run defense and get stronger for the NFL through a pro strength program. Once McDonald hsd the power to become a three-down starter, I think he could have huge boom-pick potential, as his natural pass-rush ability could lead to him generating consistent double-digit sack totals. It would not surprise me at all if McDonald is a boom pick for the Jets.

2022: Sauce Gardner, CB
2021: Alijah Vera-Tucker, G
2020: Mekhi Becton, OT
2019: Quinnen Williams, DT
2018: Sam Darnold, QB
2017: Marcus Maye, S
2016: Christian Hackenberg, QB
2015: Leonard Williams, DE
2014: Jace Amaro, TE
2013: Sheldon Richardson, DT

Future Depth Player

Carter Warren, OT, Pittsburgh – Round 4
The Jets were commonly projected to take an offensive tackle in Round 1, but all of the top-20 first-round tackles were off the board by the time the Jets were on the clock. New York has a pair of veteran starters in Duane Brown and Mekhi Becton, but Brown is aging and Becton has had a hard time staying on the field. Warren can step right in and provide some depth for the Jets. While Warren may not have the skill set to be a starter, he coulee a quality swing tackle backup for them.

2022: Max Mitchell, OT
2021: Michael Carter, RB
2020: La’Mical Perine, RB
2019: Blessaun Austin, CB
2018: Parry Nickerson, CB
2017: Jordan Leggett, TE
2016: Charone Peak, WR
2015: Jarvis Harrison, G
2014: Tajh Boyd, QB
2013: Brian Winters, G

Walt’s 2023 NFL Draft Grades:

15. Will McDonald, DE, Iowa State – D Grade
Wow, what a reach! The Jets wanted Darnell Wright, Peter Skoronski, and Broderick Jones, and all of them went off the board at 10, 11, and 14, respectively. The poor Jets then had to panic and go for Will McDonald, who was widely considered a second-round prospect. I like McDonald, and getting a pass rusher seems significant in the passing-stacked AFC, so I’m not going to fail the Jets. However, the Jets should have been able to trade down 10-15 spots. They could have gotten McDonald in the 20s.

43. Joe Tippman, C/G, Wisconsin – A Grade
The Jets finally get their offensive lineman. They missed out on all the tackles in the opening round, but they still obtained a prospect who could have been chosen at the end of the opening frame. Joe Tippman can play center and guard, so he’ll be extremely helpful in a potential Super Bowl run. Aaron Rodgers has to be happy about this.

120. Carter Warren, OT, Pittsburgh – B- Grade
The Jets get their high-upside tackle, albeit much later than originally planned. Carter Warren needs improvements in his game, but he has the ability to eventually become a starting tackle in the NFL. He could have been obtained a bit later, but at least the Jets traded down.

143. Israel Abanikanda, RB, Pittsburgh – C Grade
Jahmyr Gibbs was the Jets’ Plan D in the first round, as there are some major concerns with Breece Hall’s knee injury. The Jets eventually got their runner, but Israel Abanikanda is an underwhelming, late-round prospect.

184. Zaire Barnes, LB, Western Michigan – C Grade
I didn’t have Zaire Barnes mocked in any of my updates. He’s a solid tackler and blitzer, but is a limited athlete and not very instinctive as a linebacker, which is a problem.

204. Jarrick Bernard-Converse, CB, LSU – A+ Grade
I want to find out why Jarrick Bernard-Converse fell so hard in the 2023 NFL Draft because I thought he easily could have gone in the third round. Bernard-Converse has good size, quickness and athleicism. The Jets didn’t need a cornerback, but they’re getting a talented prospect.

220. Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion – B+ Grade
Zack Kuntz was one of the most athletic tight ends at the combine. I thought he’d go a bit earlier as a result, but the Jets are getting a good value and a potential weapon for Aaron Rodgers.

2023 NFL Draft Team Grade: C+. Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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