If Aaron Rodgers Returns, The Jets Need To Protect Him
No. 17: New York Jets — Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia
The Jets ignored the offensive line on Day 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft; they don’t make that same mistake in this mock draft. Amarius Mims stands at 6-foot-7 and is in the ballpark of 350 pounds. The Georgia star bullies his assignments with exceptional hand strength, but perhaps his most impressive trait is the agility with which he moves. Finally, a suitable left tackle in New York.
No. 18: Cincinnati Bengals — Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
With each passing day, an eventual breakup between the Bengals and Tee Higgins feels inevitable. If Higgins leaves, I cannot imagine a better replacement than Rome Odunze. The Washington wideout flexes the same jump-ball chops as Higgins, with even more athleticism after the catch. It makes too much sense not to happen.
No. 19: Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Graham Barton, OL, Duke
Graham Barton is an easy first-round grade on my big board, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers likely view him the same way. Barton can line up anywhere across the line and provides an above-average starter immediately.
No. 20: Atlanta Falcons — Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois
Jer’Zhan Newton easily could come off the board 10-12 picks earlier, but in this mock draft, he finds a new home in Atlanta. Newton can learn from Grady Jarrett and Calais Campbell while also logging a high snap count in Year 1.
No. 21: Buffalo Bills — Cooper DeJean, DB, Iowa
Both of the starting safeties in Buffalo are older than 30, plus the cornerback room is nothing short of a disaster week in and week out. Cooper DeJean is a talented athlete who can play anywhere in the defensive backfield.
No. 22: Dallas Cowboys — Kalen King, CB, Penn State
Kalen King got cooked by Marvin Harrison Jr. this past weekend, but who doesn’t get cooked by MHJ? King is still a legitimate Day 1 player and would give the Cowboys a special duo at cornerback when Trevon Diggs returns from injury in 2024.
No. 23: Pittsburgh Steelers — Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson
The run on defensive backs continues! Nate Wiggins has been a “my guy” throughout the offseason and 2023 campaign. He is sticky in coverage and has the mentality to go stride-for-stride with the best of the best at wide receiver. Joey Porter Jr. and Nate Wiggins? Sign me up.