2022 NFL draft: Jets land top-tier pass rusher in Draft Wire’s new 3-round mock

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The Jets have played just five games so far this season, but it is never too early to look ahead to the 2022 NFL draft — especially for a team going nowhere in a hurry.

New York is primed to once again land one of the top picks in the 2022 NFL draft. Gang Green currently sits fourth in the pecking order with a 1-4 record. While Robert Saleh’s team still has plenty of time to turn things around, odds are New York will pick in the top 10 for the seventh time in the last decade.

The Jets also have the Seahawks’ first-round pick from the Jamal Adams trade — one that could land higher than expected with Geno Smith taking over Seattle’s offense for the injured Russell Wilson — and an additional second-round selection from the Sam Darnold trade with the Panthers. In total, New York is slated to make five picks in the first two days of the 2022 draft.

Who might the Jets have their eyes on with those five picks? Let’s take a look at what Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling is thinking in its latest three-round 2022 NFL mock draft.

Round 1, Pick 4: Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson

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Hutchinson isn’t Kayvon Thibodeaux — the consensus top pass rusher in this year’s draft — but he is one heck of a consolation prize for a Jets team still in need of an elite presence on the edge. Hutchinson is an ideal fit in Jeff Ulbrich’s 4-3 defense at defensive end thanks to his 6-foot-6, 265-pound frame. He already has 17 tackles, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble this season. Hutchinson is a big reason why Michigan is currently ranked ninth in The AP Top 25, and he could take Ulbrich’s unit to the next level.

Round 1, Pick 12 (via SEA): Georgia CB Derion Kendrick

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Cornerback is the Jets’ most glaring need right now and Kendrick is arguably the best player on a Georgia defense that is currently the best in college football. Kendrick is the complete package from an on-field perspective and New York should not have any reason to worry about his dismissal from Clemson assuming his reason for being let go is an accurate depiction of what really happened at the end of his tenure in Death Valley.

Round 2, Pick 35: UCLA OT Sean Rhyan

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George Fant and Morgan Moses are not long-term answers at right tackle and Joe Douglas knows it. Rhyan has been starting on UCLA’s offensive line since he was a true freshman and while the majority of his snaps have come at left tackle, he is capable of playing right tackle opposite Mekhi Becton. Adding Rhyan would help shore up a Jets offensive line that already has two solid young pieces in Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker.

Round 2, Pick 52: Michigan S Daxton Hill

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The Jets circle back to Ann Arbor to land a player that could be Marcus Maye’s replacement. Hill is an elite athlete with impressive range that helps him in coverage. He has a nose for the ball that allows him to make his fair share of tackles in run support, too. Hill could benefit from a bit of work on his technique in coverage, as he often relies on his athleticism to make plays, but that’s what New York’s defensive coaching staff is for. Hill has too high of an upside to pass up if he’s on the board at No. 52.

Round 3, Pick 71: Alabama LB Henry To'o To'o

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To’o To’o transferred from Tennessee to Alabama during the offseason and has done nothing but make plays for Nick Saban since. To’o To’o has 41 tackles to his name this season and has played like one of the best middle linebackers in the nation. To’o To’o could thrive on the strong side of New York’s defense before taking over for C.J. Mosley in the middle once his contract runs out. That’s the best of both worlds for the Jets.

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