No safeties were drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, but Hamilton will hear his named called early in 2022 and potentially inside the top-five picks. Leading Notre Dame in tackles last season, Hamilton has tremendous size and length (6-4, 219) at safety with the versatility to impact the game in a variety of ways.
After selecting Zach Wilson second overall in the 2021 draft, the Jets used their next several draft picks -- guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, receiver Elijah Moore and running back Michael Carter -- to put more pieces around their young quarterback. With Chris Herndon entering the final year of his contract and a wild card at tight end, Joe Douglas adds an upgrade with the consensus top tight end in the upcoming draft. Wydermyer has 78 catches for 953 yards and 12 touchdowns over his first two seasons.
Derek Stingley Jr. is widely expected to be the first cornerback taken in the next draft, but the title of CB2 is something of a debate at the moment. A player that could propel himself into that spot -- and into the top of the 2022 NFL draft -- is Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam. Elam was named to the All-SEC First-Team by the conference's coaches, and notched two interceptions last season. With another great campaign he could fly up boards in the fall.
The New York Jets are now on the clock again, thanks to the Jamal Adams trade. Having addressed a number of different positions over the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL draft -- and having added cornerback Kaiir Elam earlier in this scenario -- they turn to the tight end position.
Jalen Wydermyer has caught 78 passes for 953 yards and 12 touchdowns over the past two seasons, and in just ten games a year ago he caught 46 passes for 506 yards and six touchdowns. He was names a Second-Team All-SEC performer last season, as well as a finalist for the John Mackey Award, given to the best tight end in the nation. As the football world starts to look for the "next Kyle Pitts," Wydermyer is a name to watch.
Stingley led the FBS in coverage grade as a true freshman in 2019 before taking a bit of a step back in an injury-plagued 2020 campaign. He's got the size, length and speed -- he ran a 4.3-second 40 in high school -- that you want at the position.
Enagbare broke out as a junior in 2020, putting up an 89.2 pass-rushing grade in eight games. He probably would have been a Day 2 pick this year had he declared, but he returned to try to build on that for a full season. At 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, Enagbare has the frame everyone is looking for at the position early on in the draft.
Let's keep building this Jets offensive line around new quarterback Zach Wilson. Cross, a 6-foot-5, 305-pound redshirt sophomore, started 10 games for the Bulldogs in 2020. With Cross and Mekhi Becton bookending the line -- which now also includes Alijah Vera-Tucker on the inside -- Wilson could have time to create on throws downfield.
We got the Jets a lineman earlier in Round 1, so let's now add a big 6-foot-6, 268-pound defensive end with a lot of speed to come off the edge. Only Quinnen Williams -- an interior lineman -- had more than 3.5 sacks for the Jets last season. Harrison had only two in seven games last season, but look for him to get more production in 2021.
Stingley put his name on the NFL map as a true freshman playmaker for LSU's 2019 national championship team. He battled through an injury-plagued 2020 season, but the talent to be a blue-chip pro prospect is there.
South Carolina always seems to have at least one defensive lineman who will be a future NFL starter, and Enagbare is that guy to watch this fall because of his length and athletic twitch. Also known as "JJ," he became a starter last season as a junior and led the team in sacks (six) and forced fumbles (three).
The Jets went all in on offense with the 2021 NFL draft. They wanted to ensure rookie QB Zach Wilson has the tools to succeed out of the gate. New York's defense is still a bit of a mess, as a result, and they will absolutely have to address it at the top of the 2022 draft. Stingley is a former five-star recruit who has been a stud from the moment he got to campus at LSU. Stingley is long, athletic, and has unteachable ball skills. Stingley instantly changes the makeup of the Jets defense.
Signing Carl Lawson this offseason was a step in the right direction, but the Jets still need work on the edge. Harrison, though not terribly productive in a short season in 2020 (two sacks), has great size at 6-foot-6, 265-pounds and shows surprising bend for a dude his size. Harrison was also a former top-15 recruit back in 2019. This next season could be huge for Harrison and it would not be a shock to see him actually go higher than this.