With the second overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select …
If the Jets had a chance to pick another player at that spot, knowing what they – and the rest of the league – know now, they would certainly go in a different direction than they did the first time around when they selected BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.
We have had more than a year and a half of tape to evaluate Wilson, and there are major questions about his ability to be a franchise quarterback. He has missed games because of injury, and there were certainly signs this week that his teammates don’t fully believe in him. While the Jets have a better record than many anticipated this season, Wilson has not been the reason.
So, knowing what we know now after Wilson’s demotion this week, what would the Jets and the rest of the teams do differently – if anything – with their first-round picks from 2021? Let’s attempt a draft do-over:
1. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: QB TREVOR LAWRENCE
Original Pick: Lawrence
I have way more doubts now than I had when the Jaguars selected Lawrence. Through 27 games as a starter, he has won just six games. Franchise quarterbacks win regardless of the talent around them, and you should start to see a corner being turned by Year 2. I would still pick Lawrence if I were the Jaguars based on everything I know now, but I had to really think about this spot at the top, and my confidence level has really dropped. Quarterback is the most important position in sports, but with Micah Parsons still on the board, this was a very difficult decision.
2. NEW YORK JETS: EDGE MICAH PARSONS
Original Pick: QB Zach Wilson
The Jets need a quarterback, and that has not changed, but when you have a chance to select a rare player, you should not pass on him. Parsons is elite as a pass rusher, in coverage, and as an off-the-ball linebacker. On the Jets’ grading scale, he is an 8.0, and the first thing I was taught in scouting is you never pass on an 8.
3. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: WR JA’MARR CHASE
Original Pick: QB Trey Lance
Jimmy Garoppolo has proven more than adequate as the 49ers’ quarterback. This team has weapons at tight end, receiver and running back. If you added Chase to this group, I am not sure how you would cover and contain all of these players. This would be a fun offense to watch, and would keep defensive coordinators up at night.
4. ATLANTA FALCONS: TE KYLE PITTS
Original Pick: Pitts
Pitts is an extremely talented player, and the sky’s the limit for him. Quarterbacks love throwing to tight ends because the throws are much easier and simpler. Pitts also opens things up in the run game and is a personnel group-buster.
5. CINCINNATI BENGALS: OT RASHAWN SLATER
Original Pick: Chase
The debate at the time for the Bengals was about an offensive lineman or Chase with this pick. With Chase off the board, the Bengals get their franchise left tackle in Slater to protect Joe Burrow. Before suffering a season-ending biceps injury in Week 3, Slater was showing All-Pro ability after making the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
6. MIAMI DOLPHINS: WR JAYLEN WADDLE
Original Pick: Waddle
It worked so well the first time, why overthink it now? Opposite Tyreek Hill, Waddle has too much speed to defend on the outside.
7. DETROIT LIONS: CB PATRICK SURTAIN II
Original Pick: OT Penei Sewell
The Lions need serious help on defense, and a big need for them right now is cornerback. Surtain would be a perfect fit and would make a big difference for the Lions, who are a bottom-5 pass coverage defense in terms of yards allowed. Surtain will be a great player for years to come.
8. CAROLINA PANTHERS: QB JUSTIN FIELDS
Original Pick: CB Jaycee Horn
The Panthers are in need of a quarterback in the worst way, and Fields has taken a nice step forward this season. We’ve seen what he can do with his legs, but he is becoming a better passer every week.
9. DENVER BRONCOS: OT CHRISTIAN DARRISAW
Original Pick: Surtain
Darrisaw would be a nice piece for the Broncos to be able to pair with Quinn Meinerz and Dalton Risner. He’s going to be a solid player on the Vikings’ O-line for a long time.
10. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: WR DEVONTA SMITH
Original Pick: Smith
His numbers are not elite because the Eagles have other weapons, but Smith is a perfect fit for that offense. If they had a redo, I suspect they would still pick Smith.
11. CHICAGO BEARS: QB MAC JONES
Original Pick: Fields
12. DALLAS COWBOYS: WR AMON-RA ST. BROWN
Original Pick: Parsons
13. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS: OT PENEI SEWELL
Original Pick: Slater
14. NEW YORK JETS: G ALIJAH VERA-TUCKER
Original Pick: Vera-Tucker
15. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: DT CHRISTIAN BARMORE
Original Pick: Mac Jones
16. ARIZONA CARDINALS: CB JAYCEE HORN
Original Pick: LB Zaven Collins
17. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: S JEVON HOLLAND
Original Pick: OT Alex Leatherwood
18. MIAMI DOLPHINS: EDGE JAELAN PHILLIPS
Original Pick: Phillips
19. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS: LB JAMIN DAVIS
Original Pick: Davis
20. NEW YORK GIANTS: TE PAT FREIERMUTH
Original Pick: WR Kadarius Toney
21. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: QB TREY LANCE
Original Pick: EDGE Kwity Paye
22. TENNESSEE TITANS: EDGE GREGORY ROUSSEAU
Original Pick: CB Caleb Farley
23. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: OT LIAM EICHENBERG
Original Pick: Darrisaw
24. PITTSBURGH STEELERS: RB JAVONTE WILLIAMS
Original Pick: RB Najee Harris
25. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: CB TYSON CAMPBELL
Original Pick: RB Travis Etienne
26. CLEVELAND BROWNS: C CREED HUMPHREY
Original Pick: CB Greg Newsome
27. BALTIMORE RAVENS: RB NAJEE HARRIS
Original Pick: WR Rashod Bateman
28. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: EDGE ODAFE OWEH
Original Pick: EDGE Payton Turner
29. GREEN BAY PACKERS: CB ASANTE SAMUEL JR.
Original Pick: CB Eric Stokes
30. BUFFALO BILLS: EDGE KWITY PAYE
Original Pick: Rousseau
31. BALTIMORE RAVENS: WR JOSH PALMER
Original Pick: Oweh
32. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: G LANDON DICKERSON
Original Pick: EDGE Joe Tryon-Shoyinka