With the Jets’ plans most likely boiling down to a combination of an edge rusher and wide receiver with the fourth and 10th picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, they can now focus on how to build the meat. of this list on day 2. In a class considered very medium heavy, with incredible depth outside of the top 15 or so, New York has a great chance to capitalize on its two second rounds (pick 35 and 38) and the 69th third-round pick.
One target area should undoubtedly be the linebacker room, a group that was extremely thin in 2022 and full of uncertainties outside of middle linebacker CJ Mosley. Quincy Williams, their projected starter at the weakside position, was solid in pass protection, but it doesn’t look like he’s to be relied upon as a tackler every time. There is a world in which two 2021 recruits, Hamsah Nasirildeen and Jamien Sherwood, have stood out in the second year of their new roles, but even then there must be insurance behind them.
Today we’re going to look at some of the best Day 2 games for New York at linebacker, but it’s important to note ahead of time what type of player Douglas and Saleh will surround. Long and fast linebackers are a must for this unit as they need the ability to cover sideline to sideline and play an important role in pass protection. It’s also why we’ve seen them take some of the more athletic safety prospects and move them closer to the line of scrimmage like with Nasirildeen and Sherwood.
Outside of their physical abilities, the Jets highly value experience, leadership and their love of the game. While I’m sure that’s not a defining factor for the front office, Douglas didn’t never been part of a newsroom that drafted redshirt sophomores, broadcast for those with at least three years of field experience. . Additionally, it is a front office that loves players who compete in Reese’s Senior Bowl and other draft-oriented bowling games, especially when the coaching staff has the opportunity to work with these players before draft day.
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Given all of that, let’s take a look at some of the names we might see on the back of Jets jerseys next season.
Linebackers for New York Jets to target on Day 2 of 2022 NFL Draft
Chad Muma, Wyoming
One of the best names to start connecting in New York is senior Chad Muma, who slotted in as a second-round pick after an impressive Senior Bowl showing where he was on the Jets-coached national team.
Muma doesn’t have the longest frame for a linebacker, with an arm length of just 31 5/8”, but is one of the most physical and athletic linebackers in the non-first-round crowd. . His vertical and wide jump at the combination of 40” and 129” rank in the 94th and 95th percentiles of linebackers tested, respectively.
There may not be another linebacker in this class that ticks as many boxes for the Jets as Muma. He served as captain for two years for the Wyoming defense and was the unit’s quarterback, directing the players and making sure everyone was lined up properly. While the Jets have converted their fair share of safeties to linebacker, Muma has already made that transition in college and brings two solid years of linebacking play to the pros.
He’s a versatile player who is as instinctive as can be and is very comfortable playing in the zone coverage scheme that New York will use. He’s also one of, if not the best, tackle in this class at linebacker and will bring much-needed physical presence to a team that had the sixth most missed tackle in 2021.
He has his faults, mainly in the areas of passing rushing and man coverage, but for a defense that will execute a 4-2-5 front more than anything, there shouldn’t be too much concern about its use during the first year. long-range projection probably suits the middle linebacker best, and he could eventually replace CJ Mosley when the time comes, but, in the meantime, he’ll be a great depth player for the unit that will add physicality to the unit and versatility to the weak side position.
Christian Harris, Alabama
Another name to consider in Round 2 is Alabama’s three-try-everything linebacker in Christian Harris. Another defensive back converted to linebacker, Harris is expected to play in that 4-3 defense and best drafts as a weakside linebacker in the pros.
A three-year starter for the Crimson Tide, Harris was one of the most physical linebackers in college football despite holding one of the shortest executives in the position. He has terrific starting speed, evidenced by his 1.54-second spurt on 10 yards at the combine — in the 90th percentile of linebackers — and had one of the 40 fastest times of all. time for a linebacker with a blistering time of 4.44 seconds. One of his most notable combination compositions, combining both measurable results and test scores, is none other than Bobby Wagner; one of the best linebackers to ever play in that defensive scheme.
He needs to improve his positional awareness, often keeping his eyes on the ball instead of anticipating where the ball might go. He’s also not the best at standing, with a small lack of body control – most noticeable when facing a running back in open space. All of that considered, he’s an NFL-ready player based on his experience and training in a pro-ready defense at Alabama and can wear many hats for the Jets next season.
Quay Walker, Georgia
While teammate Nakobe Dean is getting all the love as one of the top two linebacker prospects in this class, it’s Georgia’s Quay Walker who is seeing his draft projection skyrocket as we get closer to the draft day.
Walker is well-rounded in both physical build and athletic ability, with one of the longest wingspans in the position and a top 40 time in this class. He’s an exceptional tackler, something we’ve highlighted before as an important need for this defense, and he has the stature and physicality to make a difference in the running game and even passing. Walker also showed the skills of anticipation and the short area burst to find the ball and get to it quickly.
He struggles to protect passes and plays too aggressively moving towards the ball carrier, mostly limiting his role early on to obvious running situations or serving as a pass thrower in the middle. His movie also looks like a slower game speed compared to his time speed, which could very well be fixable with a little more confidence and an instant count under his belt.
Muma and Harris are two names you can feel comfortable taking on serious roles in 2022, where Walker is more of a project and a piece taken with long-term plans in mind. For a team that must both win now and build for the future, Walker can be an effective player early on and another potential replacement for Mosley when the time comes a year or two later.
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