The Jets have the eleventh pick after a 7-9 season. After a slow start, they got rolling and want to continue, but they must upgrade some areas. It will be General Manager Joe Douglas’ first draft and there are certain areas he wants to address. They want to protect and find weapons for Sam Darnold.
The Jets have eight picks: two third rounders and two sixths, plus no pick in the seventh. Their extra third round choice came from the Giants in the Leonard Williams deal.
I list the needs below, including major, for depth, and areas they are unlikely to look at. I may add categories for a particular situation.
Major Needs (No Particular Order):
Running Back: Le’Veon Bell was their big free agent signing last year, but things didn’t work out. It looked as if he lost a step and the blocking up front wasn’t good. Behind him are Trenton Cannon, Kenneth Dixon, Josh Adams, and Jalin Moore. Currently unsigned are Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery. This area may be addressed for depth or if they lose patience with Bell.
Wide Receiver: The biggest weapon, Robby Anderson, left for Carolina in free agency and Breshad Perriman was signed the next day from Tampa Bay. He may be their biggest threat at this point in an area that needs improvement. One who will probably start is slot receiver Jamison Crowder, who caught 78 passes last year. After that, question marks arise. Quincy Enunwa injured his neck in the first quarter of the first game and missed the rest of the season, leaving his future in question, as he has yet to be cleared. Josh Doctson is a former #1 pick of the Redskins who disappointed and Braxton Berrios is a return man, while several others are on the roster. Demaryius Thomas is an unsigned free agent. Expect the Jets to address this area, possibly in the first round.
Offensive Line: This is another area that needs help; they gave up 52 sacks and only ran for 3.3 yards-per-carry. Douglas has addressed this in free agency, but more can be done. Anywhere from three to five spots will be different. Free agent signings include Connor McGovern (Denver) to play center or guard, George Fant (Seattle) at tackle, and Greg Van Roten (Carolina) at guard. At this point, the only true tackles on the roster are Fant and last year’s third-round pick, Chuma Edoga, who started eight games at right tackle. The interior is crowded and McGovern will probably play center at this point, while Alex Lewis was re-signed at guard. Van Roten will compete with Lewis, Brian Winters, and Josh Andrews. Jonotthan Harrison has started numerous games at center the last two years. Tackle Brandon Shell left in free agency for Seattle, while tackle Kelvin Beachum and center Ryan Kalil are unsigned. There will be at least one tackle chosen, possibly in the first round and another lineman or two may come later.
Edge Rusher: The Jets re-signed Jordan Jenkins after he had 8 sacks last year and 7 the year before. But help is needed on the other side. Tarell Basham is the probable starter for now, with support from Harvey Langi, and Frankie Luvu. There has been talk of the Jets signing Jadeveon Clowney if the conditions are right, but that remains to be seen. What needs to be seen is the Jets addressing this need in the first four rounds.
Cornerback: This could actually be the biggest need. Brian Poole was their best corner last year in the slot and he needs to repeat last year’s performance. Leaving the Jets as a free agent or cap casualty are Trumaine Johnson, Darryl Roberts, and Mauurice Canady. This leaves an opening or two, depending on how many cornerbacks they use. The group of those competing are free agent signing Pierre Desir (Indianapolis), Arthur Maulet, Nate Hairston, Kyron Brown, and Blessaun Austin, a sixth-round pick from last year. The Jets need to take two corners in this draft, with one selected in the early rounds.
Quarterback: Sam Darnold has been their big hope since he was the third pick of the 2018 draft and he has shown promise. Last year was a challenge for him, especially when he missed time with mononucleosis. He needs a veteran backup at this point, with David Fales and Mike White in reserve. Trevor Simian is currently unsigned. A veteran backup is needed, similar Giants signing Colt McCoy. If Darnold is out for time with an injury, they are in trouble.
Tight End: This is a position with some promise, but it has to come together. Chris Herndon had injuries and a DUI suspension in his second season after a promising rookie campaign. Ryan Griffin did a solid job filling in for Herndon and Trevon Wesco, a fourth-round pick last year, is a promising player who doubles as a fullback. Also on the roster are Daniel Brown and Ross Travis. If they go this route, it will be in the late rounds.
Interior Defensive Line: The Jets are deep in this area, starting off with a front three of last year’s #1 pick – Quinnen Williams, followed by Steve McClendon, and Henry Anderson. Williams has potential to make a big step forward this year, making the unit better. Behind them are Kyle Phillips, Folorunso Fatukasi, and Nathan Shepherd. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams likes a heavy rotation of players up front and they could always pick another one, but it will come in the later rounds.
Inside Linebacker: This is another area that is very deep on the Jets. The two big acquisitions of the last two years, CJ Mosley and Avery Williamson, combined to miss all but one game with injuries and should be back healthy this year. In their absence, James Burgess and Neville Hewitt filled in admirably, while Blake Cashman, a fifth-round pick last year, also saw plenty of action. In addition, the Jets signed Patrick Onwuasor from Baltimore in free agency. This leaves a crowded situation, a situation any team would like. The chances they pick here are remote, at best.
Safety: The Jets have one of the better safety tandems in Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. Adams has become an elite safety and Maye is a good partner. Behind them is where it gets dicey. With the free agent signing of Marqui Christian falling apart and the unsigned status of Rontez Miles, the only other players on the depth chart are Matthias Farley, Raritan alum Bennett Jackson and Dayton alum Anthony Cioffi. An injury to Adams or Maye can hurt them and a backup needs to be addressed.
*Information from various sources, including Pro-Football Reference, Sportac, and ESPN.