The Jets' 2022 draft picture is shaping up and GM Joe Douglas enters the offseason with two top-10 picks and four selections in the top 38. The Green & White own the No. 4 overall pick, their own selection, and No. 10 overall, which they received from Seattle as part of the 2020 trade that sent S Jamal Adams to the 'Hawks.
In the second round, the team has the 35th and 38th overall selections, the first again their own choice in Round 2. and the second pick coming from Carolina in the trade package obtained for Sam Darnold. The four selections in the first 38 picks of the draft marks the franchise's third draft with four selections in the top 40 since 1970.
"I'm excited about all of it," head coach Robert Saleh said following the season finale at Buffalo. "Just the overall self scout, going back and evaluating our guys and trying to pinpoint where these young guys can get better, getting back some guys like [Mekhi] Becton and getting them involved. Obviously whether it's free agency or the draft, you're always excited about that, but there are so many things that we have to do aside from those four players.
"Those four players won't make or break next year. It's going to be a collective effort in regard to coaches, scheme, the players that are here now and coming later. It's like I said, every decision we make, whether it's draft picks, free agency or scheme, it's going to be with closing this gap. It's obviously something we always look forward to with regard to the offseason."
In advance of any tradeups or tradedowns by Douglas and his personnel team, the Jets have the following selections, keeping in mind that a number of picks will change in Rounds 4-7 once the NFL hands out its compensatory selections in the spring.
Round 1 — Nos. 4 and 10
The Jets have their own selection, fourth overall, based on their current .512 strength of schedule that comes down in between two other 4-13 teams, the Texans (.500) and the Giants (.537). It is paired with the Jets' first-round pick from Seattle in the 2020 Adams trade, which resides at 10th overall.
If Douglas & Co. go into Round 1 of the April 28-30 draft in Las Vegas with those two choices, it would be the ninth time the Jets had two first-round picks (most recently last year with No. 2 for QB Zach Wilson and No. 14 for G Alijah Vera-Tucker). The 2000 "Four Aces" draft presented the most Round 1 picks ever for the Jets, but Nos. 4 and 10 would be the highest top-two picks combined in franchise history.
Round 2 — Nos. 35 and 38
No. 35, the third pick of the second round, is the Jets' own and No. 38 is the highest choice from the Panthers in the Darnold deal. Four picks this high would match 1984 and 2000 for the most selections in the first 40 picks of any draft since 1970.
Round 3 — No. 69
The Green & White's own selection, fifth in the round.
Round 4 — Nos. 108 and 114 (final positions TBD following finalized compensatory picks being awarded)
The Jets sent their own fourth-rounder to Seattle to balance the Adams trade. But they get 108 as the last piece from Carolina for Darnold and 114 from Minnesota following the August trade of TE Chris Herndon.
Round 5 — Nos. 144 and 159 (final positions TBD following finalized compensatory picks being awarded)
The Jets' own pick is 144, with 159 coming from Pittsburgh in the November 2020 trade of LB Avery Williamson.
No picks at this time. The trade of Herndon spent one Round 6 pick and of Williamson required the seventh-rounder. Two 2020 trades that brought in sixth-round selections — DL Jordan Willis to San Francisco and DL Steve McLendon to Tampa Bay — were sent back out, to Houston for DL Shaq Lawson and to Philadelphia for QB Joe Flacco. But as we know, Douglas and staff can be very active in the later rounds.
It's been a while since Douglas spoke with Jets reporters in November, but his observations then still apply as the time draws ever closer for the Jets front office to spring into action on free agency as well as the draft.
"Look, we've got our eyes forward all the time on the personnel side," Douglas said then. "Obviously, there's a long way to go until we get there, but we approach every offseason like it's a big one."