NFL Draft 2021: How Should the New York Jets Utilize Their Number 2 Overall Pick?

Published 01/06/2021, 5:00 AM EST
Jan 1, 2021; New Orleans, LA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) celebrates after a touchdown pass against the Clemson Tigers during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports


The regular season is over and 18 teams have locked in their draft slots for the 2021 NFL draft. The ones to watch out for of course involve those higher up the draft list. 

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With the #1 overall pick locked up by Jacksonville Jaguars, there’s little doubt over who they’ll draft with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence in the picture.

The attention thus moves over to the #2 overall pick. The pick belonging to the New York Jets. There’s a lot of possible ways the Jets could utilize this pick. All of which depend on how the Jets wish to go about their business. 

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We break down the 3 most likely scenarios and how the Jets should use the #2 pick to turn their fortunes around.  

Scenario 1: The Jets hold on to Sam Darnold

With Adam Gase’s tenure as Head Coach coming to an end at the Big Apple, a lot of uncertainty surrounds the future of Jets starting QB Sam Darnold. 

With a new Head Coach incoming, the QB’s future is up in the air. But if the new coach was to hold on to Darnold, who could the Jets bring in with their #2 pick? 

Jan 1, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) dives over a tackle attempt by Notre Dame safety Shaun Crawford (20) for a touchdown Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 in the College Football Playoff Semifinal hosted by the Rose Bowl in AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The answer might be in the wideouts. The Jets wide receiver corps offered little support to Darnold over the course of the 2020 season.

It’s no doubt that Darnold can make big plays. He did so in his first 2 seasons in the league. But in his 3rd season, he barely got the support needed to pull them off.

Thus drafting a quality wide receiver would be high on the agenda of the side to provide Darnold with a go-to aerial route. Thankfully for the Jets, there are plenty of options in this regard.

LSU’s Ja’Maar Chase and Alabama’s Devonta Smith are ones that instantly pop into one’s mind. Both have shown, in the college circuit, that they have the tools needed to succeed in the NFL.

Scenario 2: The New York Jets draft in a new QB 

The NFL is a very competitive league where the margin for error is minimal. Players often get only a season to prove that they are ready for the challenge. And recent history has shown that franchises exercise very little patience when it comes to QBs.

Case in point, the Arizona Cardinals drafting Kyler Murray in 2019 to let go of Josh Rosen, who they’d drafted just the year before. 

So with Darnold failing to live up to the heights once expected of him, the Jets could very well opt for a new quarterback with their #2 pick. And who better to go for than Ohio’s Justin Fields. 

Jan 1, 2021; New Orleans, LA, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney embraces quarterback Justin Fields (1) after defeating the Clemson Tigers during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Buckeyes QB’s draft stock had taken a hit due to erratic performances over the course of the pandemic-hit 2020 season. But Fields quickly put all doubts to bed with a 6-TD performance in the Sugar Bowl to guide his team to victory over Trevor Lawrence’s Clemson Tigers. 

Fields would be a dream QB to coach in the dynamic league. A dual-threat QB with great pocket presence, Fields would be the ideal building block for a new look Jets.

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Scenario 3: Trade the #2 pick for more high rated picks

This would be the ideal scenario for the Jets keeping their roster strength in mind. The team needs an overhaul. A massive overhaul. The Jets need a new cornerback, edge rusher, wide receiver, and linebacker to name a few positions of concern.

Even with the number of draft picks they’ve accumulated for the 2021 draft, it won’t be enough to fix these glaring deficiencies. If the team is ready to give Darnold one more shot at redemption, then foregoing the #2 pick for other high rated draft picks would seem like the ideal choice. 

Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) looks to pass under pressure from New England Patriots defensive end Chase Winovich (50) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets management cannot fix this team with one draft pick. They need a number of them. Darnold seems to have the chops to be a solid quarterback.

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But he needs a team capable of complementing his playing style to make the Jets run like a well-oiled machine. That would only be possible if the Jets rejig from top to bottom. 

With the 3 possible scenarios laid out, which one do you feel the New York Jets should opt for in the 2021 NFL Draft?

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Shivayan Roy

713 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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