Edge rusher stands out as the most obvious need for the New York Jets on the defensive side of the ball. That being said, cornerback is not too far behind. The Jets must find players in the 2021 NFL Draft who can help them defend the pass and that’s exactly what they do with both of their first-round selections in this mock draft. Shaun Wade out of Ohio State is the pick for Joe Douglas and company here at No. 21 overall.
Wade is an impressive man-to-man defender who shows smooth and explosive athleticism at the cornerback position. He changes directions quickly, consistently shows the speed to challenge receivers vertically and is tough and aggressive at the line of scrimmage. Wade also shows impressive instincts in zone and has nice overall ball skills.
While Wade has primarily played slot cornerback through the first two years of his career, this is not something that we should hold against him. Along with Wade, Ohio State featured Jeffrey Okudah and Damon Arnette at the cornerback position last season. Both Okudah and Arnette were first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft and Wade’s skill-set simply worked better as a slot defender than those two elite cornerbacks.
Assuming we have a 2020 college football season, Wade will get more opportunities as an outside cornerback for the Buckeyes. He has the size, athleticism and overall coverage skills needed to continue to shine on the outside.
I fully expect Wade to have a strong season as an outside cornerback and be one of the top players at the position in the 2021 NFL Draft class. Snagging Wade at No. 21 would be a massive steal for the Jets and give them another gifted defender to build their unit around. Adding both Rousseau and Wade to the mix would immediately take the Jets’ passing defense to the next level.