Scout.com's network of NFL publishers had their final mock draft which, like all mock drafts, are guaranteed to play out completely differently than the real draft which will finally start tonight at 8 pm. We know who will go first and second, from there we think we have an idea where a couple of players will land but all it will take is one surprise pick to throw everyone's mocks completely out of whack.
Who the Jets end up picking will obviously depend on who is still available at 20. For this mock we weren't allowed trades and the idea was to take who we think the teams will draft if the board fell the way we laid it out. So, this isn't necessarily what I would do but what I think the Jets would do if the board fell this way. I'll list all the picks below and provide my explanation below the picks. You can find explanations for the 31 other first-round picks here.
1) Los Angeles Rams - QB Carson Wentz (North Dakota State)
2) Philadelphia Eagles - QB Jared Goff (Cal)
3) San Diego Chargers - LT Laremy Tunsil (Ole Miss)
4) Dallas Cowboys - DE Joey Bosa (Ohio State)
5) Jacksonville Jaguars - DB Jalen Ramsey (Florida State)
6) Baltimore Ravens - DE DeForest Buckner (Oregon)
7) San Francisco 49ers - LT Ronnie Stanley (Notre Dame)
8) Cleveland Browns - RB Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio State)
9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - LB Myles Jack (UCLA)
10) New York Giants - WR Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss)
11) Chicago Bears - DE Shaquille Lawson (Clemson)
12) New Orleans Saints - DT Sheldon Rankins (Louisville)
13) Miami Dolphins - CB Eli Apple (Ohio State)
14) Oakland Raiders - OLB Leonard Floyd (Georgia)
15) Tennessee Titans - OT Taylor Decker (Ohio State)
16) Detroit Lions - OT Jack Conklin (Michigan State)
17) Atlanta Falcons - OLB Darron Lee (Ohio State)
18) Indianapolis Colts - C Ryan Kelly (Alabama)
19) Buffalo Bills - OLB Noah Spence (Eastern Kentucky)
20) New York Jets - QB Paxton Lynch (Memphis)
21) Washingon - S Karl Joseph (West Virginia)
22) Houston Texans - DT Jarran Reed (Alabama)
23) Minnesota Vikings - WR Josh Doctson (TCU)
24) Cincinnati Bengals - WR Corey Coleman (Baylor)
25) Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida)
26) Seattle Seahawks - DE Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss)
27) Green Bay Packers - ILB Reggie Ragland (Alabama)
28) Kansas City Chiefs - CB William Jackson (Houston)
29) Arizona Cardinals - DT A'Shawn Robinson (Alabama)
30) Carolina Panthers - OT Germain Ifedi (Texas A&M)
31) Denver Broncos - DL Vernon Butler (Louisana Tech)
We know the Jets really liked Goff and even explored trading up for him, but they knew they what their best offer was wasn't likely enough to get a deal done. With Goff not being on the board I think the Jets would most like to grab one of the four top offensive tackles, problem is they will likely all be gone just as they were in this mock. Tunsil and Stanley will be gone in the top 10, I think Conklin goes before Decker but it doesn't matter much because I expect them both to be gone. There are a few other intriguing prospects at offensive tackle but none worth taking at 20.
I also think the Jets would strongly consider the defensive end/outside linebacker from Eastern Kentucky Noah Spence. In this mock Spence went, to the Bills, one pick before the Jets pick but I think it's certainly possible Spence will be available when the Jets pick and if he is the Jets will strongly consider him.
But if the board falls exactly like this, and the Jets don't trade back, I think they take their quarterback in Paxton Lynch. I know there are people with influence in the Jets organization that love Lynch and it's easy to see why they do. I also expect Lynch to still be available at 20 unless another team trades up to leapfrog the Jets to take him. I do not expect that the Jets would be willing to trade up for Lynch, Mike Maccagnan just doesn't have enough draft picks to work with as is and I can't see him be willing to part with more to trade up for Lynch and I don't think he has to unless another team is looking to jump them.
There's a lot to love about Lynch, yes he's raw and needs time to develop — he especially needs to improve his footwork — but the talent is clearly there. He's big, strong and mobile, can make all the throws, can get rid of the ball quickly and make plays with his legs. Put on the tape of any game he played and you're going to see things that wow you but you'll also see some plays that leave you shaking your head, thing is that goes for just about every college quarterback in the history of time.
Lynch isn't ready to start year one, but that's not a reason to pass on him. You don't draft players for year one, you draft them for at least five years. If the Jets believe he can be their quarterback of the future they should absolutely draft him. We don't talk about this enough but one of the biggest factors that end up determining if a quarterback will be good or not is the circumstances surrounding where he gets drafted. What team drafts him? Can they devlope a quarterback? Do they have enough talent around him to allow him to succeed? Forever the Jets were one of those teams that was an awful place for a rookie quarterback to go but now I actually think the Jets are built to properly develop a quarterback and get the most out of their talent.
They have a great offensive coordinator who works exceptionally well with quarterbacks. Chan Gailey has made Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyler Thigpen and Kordell Stewart into solid NFL quarterbacks and will develop the offense around his quarterbacks skillset. The Jets have two great, veteran receivers that can help bring a rookie along and offer him quality targets when it's finally his time to play and they have a great stable of running backs for the young quarterback to lean on.
If the Jets draft Lynch they will likely start either Fitzpatrick or Geno Smith this year and develop Lynch for the future and for once I actually believe the Jets have the pieces in place to properly develop a talent like Lynch.
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)