The Jets will be picking third in this year’s NFL Draft and, like the Giants, they need a pass rusher in a draft that is strong in pass rushers, with several expected to be picked in the Top 10, including Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, Rashan Gary, and Clelin Ferrell.
With Sam Darnold being chosen with the third pick in last year’s first round and showing he is probably the answer, they will also need offensive linemen to block for him, a true number-1 wide receiver, and a running back.
But they have a major need for pass rushers and with new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3, they will need more defensive ends to fit the scheme. A team needs to pick the best prospect available and a pass rusher fits a need for the Jets. They may be able to sign one when free agency opens next month, but that should not prevent them from getting one or two in the draft. The Jets have more talent at defensive tackle, although there is always room for one more.
The rest of the defense has needs at outside linebacker and cornerback. The Jets have two solid players at linebacker in Darron Lee and Avery Williamson, but will need to another through free agency or the draft. Cornerback was shaky last year and there is some talent, but if the right corner is available, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one drafted.
Back to the offense and adding pieces to support Darnold.
Now that they have their quarterback, he will need to stay healthy and that means upgrading the blocking in front of him. If they believe the best player available at their pick is an offensive tackle, they should take him because that also fits a need. They could also use a guard, but the best available linemen are tackles.
There is a big need for that go-to receiver. The Jets have good wideouts in Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa, but neither is a number-1 receiver. I don’t think there is one available with the fourth pick, but they can find one later in the draft.
Running back will need an upgrade and there is a lot of talk of a running back and Le’Veon Bell signing with the Jets after sitting out in a contract dispute with Pittsburgh.
Gang Green has numerous needs and they need to pick the best player available that includes the positions of need. They have money to spend in free agency to fill some of those needs, as they are well under the cap.
There is also the possibility to trade down in the first round and it makes sense when one considers the fact the Jets have no second-round pick, courtesy of the Darnold trade. Adding a couple of picks would help the team and they may still get the player they wanted, provided they do not trade down too far.
For the first time in many years, the Jets may have their quarterback; at worst, Darnold is as good as Chad Pennington, their first round pick in 2000, and he looks to be better than Mark Sanchez, their first pick in 2009. It will help his development if they add talent around him on offense, but there are still plenty of needs on defense. It’s up to GM Mike Maccagnan to pick the right players.