The New York Jets plainly did not give Sam Darnold the resources he needed to become a quality NFL quarterback. They decided to start fresh under center, but the wisdom of their 2021 NFL draft lay more in the decisions which followed the Zach Wilson pick.
Jets NFL draft chess moves:
3. Elijah Moore at pick No. 34
The Jets need playmakers. Elijah Moore of Ole Miss is a playmaker. New York general manager Joe Douglas recalled the 2019 NFL draft, in which another Ole Miss receiver fell a long way on the draft board. The Seattle Seahawks took D.K. Metcalf at No. 64. The Ole Miss product had a lot to prove, and became a dynamic receiver who has enabled Seattle to remain an annual playoff team despite an atrocious offensive line and an inconsistent defense.
Douglas didn’t wait to pick an Ole Miss receiver. Moore might not be as electric as Metcalf, but he is strong and fast. He might not win 50-50 balls in the air, and he might not be the home-run hitter other elite receivers are, but he is a terror in the open field. He can gain a lot of yards after the catch and can wreak havoc on opposing defenses on short and intermediate passes. He could easily become Zach Wilson’s security blanket with the Jets in third-and-medium situations. New offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur (the brother of Matt, who coaches the Green Bay Packers) will have fun using Moore in many different ways.
New York’s offense gave Wilson a lot of versatility with this pick.