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2016 NFL mock draft: New York Jets ignore QB, go Darron Lee

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Why would the Jets not take quarterback Paxton Lynch in the SB Nation NFL writers mock draft? Here's an explanation.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

To take a quarterback, or not take a quarterback? That will be the question for the New York Jets. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick is gone (for now) and the starting quarterback (also for now) is maligned veteran Geno Smith. Would it behoove the Jets to take Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch if he's available?

Matt Mauro of Gang Green Nation weighed that decision in his pick in the SB Nation NFL writers mock draft.

20. Jets: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

Mauro: With Lynch still on the board, there will be a lot of New Yorkers clamoring for GM, Mike Maccagnan, to pull the trigger on a potential franchise QB. No matter how tempting it might be to grab the statuesque QB, Mike should stick to his board. He stayed true to that in 2015 when he took Leonard Williams over prospects that could have filled more pressing needs. If the board plays out like this, I would expect Maccagnan to once again go with the better player on his board. That player to me, is Darron Lee.

It helps that Lee also fills a huge need for the Jets defense. One of the major complaints about NY’s defense, is that it lacks the quickness necessary to combat other team’s speed out of the backfield. When you have a team like the Patriots throwing the talented Dion Lewis, Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett out there, the competition needs to fight that talent with talent of their own. Lee brings the speed, and coverage skills necessary to subdue what the competition is throwing at them.

Analysis: It's true, if you go purely by the best player available mantra, that is Lee. He does bring all of that impressive athleticism needed by today's NFL linebackers. But one of the things where he doesn't grade out highly is as a pass rusher. So the debate would be, do you take the best player, or take a player who can rush the passer, arguably a more important trait. If it's the latter, a player like Leonard Floyd of Georgia should be in play. If it's not, Lee is a smart choice.

Dan's Top 5 players remaining

  • 14. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
  • 15. Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
  • 17. Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
  • 19. Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
  • 20. Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

Jets picks

  • 1-20: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
  • 2-51: (coming April 18)

Coming up at 3 p.m. is our final pick of the day with Hogs Haven coming up with the pick for Washington.

Complete draft results:

1. Tennessee Titans - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss (Link)
2. Cleveland Browns - Jared Goff, QB, Cal (Link)
3. San Diego Chargers - Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State (Link)
4. Dallas Cowboys - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State (Link)
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA (Link)
6. Baltimore Ravens - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Link)
7. San Francisco 49ers - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon (Link)
8. Philadelphia Eagles - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (Link)
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky (Link)
10. New York Giants - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame (Link)
11. Chicago Bears - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida (Link)
12. New Orleans Saints - A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama (Link)
13. Miami Dolphins - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State (Link)
14. Oakland Raiders - Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State (Link)
15. Los Angeles Rams - Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson (Link)
16. Detroit Lions - Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State (Link)
17. Atlanta Falcons - Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson (Link)
18. Indianapolis Colts - Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama (Link)
19. Buffalo Bills - Reggie Ragland, MLB, Alabama