Joe Douglas shows Jets fans he can work some NFL Draft magic

There, of course, is still work to be done.

But the early returns on Jets general manager Joe Douglas, through the first two nights of the 2020 NFL Draft (his first as a GM), cannot be graded as anything but positive.

Douglas went chalk in Thursday night’s first round, securing the tackle he had targeted all along when he called Mekhi Becton’s name with the 11th-overall pick.

It wasn’t the sexy, flashy pick some Jets fans might have wanted — such as CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy or another of the six receivers that went in the first round. But it was an efficient, critical move to help protect Sam Darnold, the franchise quarterback.

In Friday night’s second round, however, Douglas transformed into Trader Joe and delivered the sexy, flashy pick after he traded down 11 spots and still landed Baylor receiver Denzel Mims, who was considered by talent evaluators to be drafted early in the second round.

As the Jets’ 48th-overall pick approached, fans grew giddy that Mims still was on the board.

Then Douglas traded the pick to Seattle for the Seahawks’ 59th-overall pick and the 101st overall, and that left fans wondering why the Jets weren’t taking a receiver in what has been described as one of the best, deepest receiver drafts in memory.

The move gave the Jets three third-round picks (the last of which they’d later trade), but it upset a lot of fans who thought they’d lost the chance to get Mims as they watched in agony as two more receivers were drafted following the trade.

Mims, meanwhile, remained on the board.

“At the time when we were getting close to 48, we had a strong group of players, not only receivers but other positions, that we liked,’’ Douglas said. “Moving back to 59, you realize you may lose a few of them, but we were still going to have enough players we were excited about. We felt that wasn’t too far to move back.’’

As much (if not more) as the Jets entered this draft needing a tackle, they desperately need big-play receiver help for Darnold, who lost his favorite target, speedster Robby Anderson, to free agency this offseason.

Alas, when pick No. 59 arrived, guess who was still on the board?


Maybe Douglas would have happy with Mims at No. 48. Maybe Douglas knew something. Maybe he gambled. Maybe he just got lucky. But the end result was landing a skilled receiver who has a chance to be a big playmaker … and adding a third third-round pick in the process.

That’s a win-win until further notice tells us anything differently.

• Jets’ NFL Draft tracker: Live round-by-round picks and analysis

Speaking of win-win situations, the trade down and Mims falling to 59 sounds like it might have lit an added flame under the Baylor receiver, who admitted that he was rankled by falling that far down the board when some draft experts predicted he could go as early as the late in the first round.

A chip on the shoulder never hurts an athlete who’s got something to prove.

“I got upset a little bit,’’ Mims said. “But I cleared my head. I’m glad to be a Jet at 59. I’ve always been underrated all my life.’’

Douglas heard the disappointment in Mims’ voice when he called him after the pick, and he loved it.

“Usually, when you call the guys [after they’re drafted], they’re excited, but Denzel had a real chip on his shoulder,’’ Douglas said. “It was important to him that he was going to make teams that passed him up pay … and we can’t wait to get that attitude in our building.’’

When Douglas was asked directly if he believes Mims has the skill set and makeup to become the No. 1 receiver Darnold has lacked the past two years, he declined to go there.

But if this is going to be deemed the strong pick it appears to be, Mims will need to contribute right away. That’ll mean creating as much synergy as he can with Darnold in a short period of time, which may be challenging under the COVID-19 restrictions.

“I can come in right away and get rolling together [with Darnold] and build a great connection and make the Jets program a lot better,’’ Mims said. “I believe the Jets believe in me.’’

And, after the first two nights Joe Douglas had in his first draft as a GM, Jets fans should probably start believing in him.

Source: Read Full Article