NY Jets Draft targets 2021: 10 sleeper prospects for Gang Green

Scott Thompson
·6 min read
Houston WR Marquez Stevenson
Houston WR Marquez Stevenson

Jets GM Joe Douglas had himself a very solid NFL Draft in 2020, filling needs right out of the gate and finding solid prospects in every round.

Douglas and his staff will look to make the 2021 draft even better, and to do that, mid-round players who can make an impact for the team in the short- and long-term usually sets franchises apart from the rest.

So, as the Jets gear up to have two first-round selections on Day One, here's who they could target as sleepers in later rounds...

Alabama-Birmingham EDGE Jordan Smith

It's tantalizing to see an edge rusher as big as Smith at 6-foot-6, 255 pounds coming out of UAB. He was also once a Florida Gator, but a suspension had him leave to go play JUCO ball.

The Jets have had problems with players in the past who displayed off-the-field issues in college, but if Douglas believes Smith is past that, he was a really aggressive, agile defensive end at UAB who could be good off the edge in Robert Saleh's defense. Because he's a little raw, he should be a mid-to-late round selection.

Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace

A grinder on the field, Wallace just knows how to pick up yards after the catch. That’s what could set him apart in the NFL and make him a valuable No. 2, 3 or depth receiver with the Jets.

In 10 games in 2020, Wallace totaled 922 yards and six touchdowns on 59 receptions for the Cowboys offense. He also had a breakout 2018 campaign that saw 1,491 yards and 12 touchdowns in 13 games.

That sort of production won’t go unnoticed by teams, and though he doesn’t have one specific trait that sets him apart, the work ethic from Wallace should be apparent from this receiver who can either play in the slot or on the outside.

Appalachian State CB Shemar Jean-Charles

The FBS leader in passes defended could be an interesting slot corner prospect who has the potential to also play on the outside depending on the scheme.

Jean-Charles had 17 passes defended in 2020 and 27 total in the past two seasons. He doesn't make the interception most times, but he's there to break passes up, which is the main goal.

The Jets need all the help they can get at corner, and even if Jean-Charles is a depth man to start the season, that could quickly change. He should be a strong candidate to get playing time either way.

USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown

The younger brother of Green Bay Packers wideout Equanimeous St. Brown, Amon-Ra took over the top receiver slot for Michael Pittman once he was drafted by the Colts last season. And he made the best of it despite playing just six games for the Trojans.

He posted 478 yards and seven touchdowns as well as 1,042 yards in 2019 with six scores while Pittman was present. He's a solid receiver who has a strong motor to play until the whistle blows. He also has a knack for making contested catches.

Scouts thought he'd return for his senior season, but he's believing in himself to come out and begin his pro career. Maybe the Jets believe he can be something, too.

Grambling State G David Moore

Tremendous upside is what Moore projects to have. At 6-foot-1, 350 pounds, Moore is a lot quicker and explosive than expected.

The only thing that will drop him is probably the lack of talent he's been playing against while at Grambling State. But with the learning curve expected, the Jets can develop him into a fine guard at the next level.

Houston WR Marquez Stevenson

Running a 4.45 40-yard dash at Houston's Pro Day helped the 5-foot-10, 182-pound Stevenson with scouts. However, his size will likely drop him to at least Day Two of the draft.

But the Jets could find themselves with an explosive receiver who has deep ball threat written all over him.

Central Arkansas CB Robert Rochell

This is the definition of a project because Rochell is extremely athletic, but his technique needs a ton of work.

Rochell posted a 43-inch vertical, 11-foot broad jump and a 4.39 40-yard dash during Central Arkansas' Pro Day, which is insane numbers. He also has long arms at 32.5 inches.

What Rochell needs is good coaching at the next level. Good thing Saleh is a defensive minded coach who loves finding the strengths of his players. If the Jets are up for the challenge, Rochell could pay dividends in the future.

Houston LB Grant Stuard

The Jets did get Jarrad Davis in free agency and C.J. Mosley is still on the team, though New York may try to trade him to get his contract off the books.

But if they’re looking for a depth linebacker who is just a tackling machine, Stuard is the guy. He had 97 tackles in 12 games in 2019 for Houston, with 9.5 going for a loss. He also defended four passes that season.

He has solid instincts at the position, but at 5-foot-11, 230 pounds, his draft stock is lower. Stuard can definitely make an impact on special teams and work his way into a solid linebacker for Gang Green.

TCU LB Garret Wallow

Another linebacker here who has a safety background that will come in handy for coverage opportunities. Wallow is still getting used to the position, but he put up a whopping 125 tackles in 12 games for the Horned Frogs in 2019 and followed it up with 90 in 10 games in 2020.

He’s got good size at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds and can be versatile in Saleh’s defense if he does in fact want to tap back into his safety roots.

Arizona State S Aashari Crosswell

The Sun Devil has a lower stock because man coverage needs some work, but he’s a ballhawk who has tremendous ability of going up to get the ball. He had four interceptions as a freshman in 2018 and two in 2019. Crosswell has 19 passes defended in those two seasons, too.

A 2020 season never occurred for Arizona State, so Crosswell is a year removed from the game. Maybe another season could’ve raised his draft stock. But if the Jets want some more secondary help, he could be a player who develops into someone who takes advantage of turnover opportunities.