The New York Jets will head into April’s draft with 10 picks. They have a first round selection (16th overall), second round selection (47th overall), third round selection (77th overall) and then a fifth round selection, three six round selections and three seven round selections. It is worth noting that they cannot trade their compensatory picks, two of which are in the sixth round and two of which are in the seventh round.
So what can we expect from the Jets? Throughout Mike Tannenbaum’s history, he has aggressively pursued trades to acquire starting caliber players using the draft. Whether is was Thomas Jones, Kris Jenkins, Antonio Cromartie, or Santonio Holmes, he isn’t shy about parting with picks to fill needs with veteran players. Tannenbaum also has a history of trading up to acquire players the organization has targeted like Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Dustin Keller, Mark Sanchez, and Shonn Greene. Generally, it would be wise not to expect the Jets to stand pat with their ten selections.
The Jets still have holes on both sides of the football, most notably in three locations: right tackle, free safety, and outside linebacker. Outside of that, they could use help at wide receiver, running back and inside linebacker.
The early chatter about the draft has the Jets targeting a pass rusher with their first pick. Melvin Ingram and Quinton Coples will both likely be gone by number sixteen, so if the Jets want either badly they will need to trade up into the 7-10 range. Courtney Upshaw could fall to them and if he does, expect them to snap him up. I also wouldn’t be shocked if they moved up a few spots to grab him if he slides into the 12-14 range. Finally, they have taken time to individually work out Clemson’s Andre Branch. He is a player the Jets could trade back into the late 20s to grab and acquire another pick in the process.
Mark Barron, the top safety in the draft, is also likely to be picked somewhere in the 25-35 range and the Jets could consider coupling a trade back for Branch with a trade up from their second round pick to grab Barron. The team could also choose to stay put and target Notre Dame’s Harrison Smith, the second ranked safety in the draft on most boards, with their 44th pick.
Overall, with three picks in the top one hundred and ten picks overall, the Jets need to find 2-3 new starters, whether it is through the draft and, trading picks for veteran players, or going back over the free agent market. There are upgrades out there to Wayne Hunter, Jim Leonhard, Bryan Thomas, and Chaz Schilens, it is just a matter of Mike Tannenbaum pulling the trigger.