While the Jets are currently locked into a tight playoff race, it is never too early to look ahead at how the team can improve in the offseason. If you’re new to this series, welcome. Each edition runs down a trending draft topic, answers twitter questions, and highlights prospects that could fit the Jets roster. Let’s get to it…
Three Early Targets For The Defense: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA: The Jets have probably played their way out of Jack’s draft range, but the league-wide deflating value of off-ball linebackers still leaves him as an option worth discussing. Jack is in the 6’1, 240 pound range and is as athletic as they come at linebacker, a position I’ve advocated the Jets upgrade for awhile now. The league is hungry for players that can play all downs and as good as David Harris has been, he needs a reliable counterpart alongside him in his final years.
Grabbing a player that can start in the middle of the defense from day one with coverage and sideline to sideline run stopping traits would be a home run for the front office. I compare Jack to a prime Thomas Davis, who has had a hell of a career for the Carolina Panthers thus far.
Noah Spence, Edge, Eastern Kentucky: Spence is without a doubt a top 15 player for me in the 2016 class and the second best edge rusher, only trailing Ohio State’s Joey Bosa.
low competition but that burst – Spence stays clean from now until the draft I can’t see him making it out of top 20 pic.twitter.com/x20zFA7y8U
— Connor Rogers (@CRogers_NFL) November 17, 2015
The insane part of that? Spence and Bosa were teammates until Spence was banned from the Big Ten due to failed drug tests. If you haven’t read Bruce Feldman’s feature on his return and rise after transferring to Eastern Kentucky, it is well worth your time. I’m looking forward to seeing Spence when I am down at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama late January. I’m buying in that he’s turned his life around and will ultimately end up being a very talented pass rusher in the NFL.
Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson:
If you’re reaction to this is “cornerback!? The Jets just invested a ton of money into corner!”, let me break it down:
– Antonio Cromartie can be released for no charge after this season. If the Jets do not do that, they either have to restructure his deal or take on his $8 million dollar cap hit for 2016. The last option makes little sense.
– Marcus Williams has been an incredible find and deserves the chance to be the team’s future number two corner. Buster Skrine is locked in as the slot corner.
– Darrelle Revis is the clear cut number one corner.With that being said, rookie corners rarely produce in year one. The Chiefs’ Marcus Peters is an outlier. Bringing in the future number one corner and letting him learn from Revis, who will eventually transition to safety (most likely in 2018), is the best way of doing business.
Now, on to Alexander. The stand out redshirt sophomore from Clemson has good size at 6’0, 195 and displays above average ability to press for a young player. In terms of scheme fit, he’s a dream addition for head coach Todd Bowles.
Running Back: The Ultimate Question Mark Chris Ivory? Free agent. Bilal Powell? Free agent. Stevan Ridley? Free agent. The Jets have some decision making to take care of for the future of their running backs group and little time to waste. I recently brought up that letting Ivory walk is not as crazy as it sounds (one twitter user actually asked what I was smoking in response). Listen, I think Chris Ivory is a great player who when healthy, can change the attitude of the Jets offense.
Now that is the main problem: it always seems like Ivory has a nagging injury and at times it forces the Jets to dramatically alter their offensive strategy in the middle of a game. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been as good as the Jets could have hoped, but putting that much pressure on him is not a recipe for success. If Ivory wants to come back on a reasonable deal, the Jets should not hesitate. If he wants to test the market and a team with tons of cap room rolls out the red carpet, let him go. It’s not like the Jets won’t have other options to pick from:
That’s a pretty decent list on top of the draft being another option to round out the running back depth chart. If Ivory’s asking price is too high, my plan would be this: Bring back Bilal Powell. He’s a reliable third down back that has really found his groove under Chan Gailey. Draft Utah’s Devontae Booker as a mid-round pick. He fits the offense, runs hard, and is pro-ready. Let the market play out. Don’t overpay for a position that does not age well. Doug Martin has had a great bounce back year. Lamar Miller is extremely underutilized and might have his best pro ball ahead of him. The Redskins have slowly phased Alfred Morris out of their offense and he might be willing to take a low risk, prove it deal elsewhere.
Prospect Of The Week:
- Name: Laquon Treadwell
- School: Ole Miss
- Position: Wide Receiver
- Height: 6’2
- Weight: 225
Strong hands, average speed. Wins with physicality, attacks the ball in the air. Makes defensive backs look bad when they don’t wrap. Intermediate game very comparable to modern day Brandon Marshall. Always looking for someone to block. Can hit the kill shot but also understands when to lock up and clear a path. Forces double teams. Best wide out in 2016 draft class.
Grade: Top ten player
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com