The Jets missed the playoffs in a year where they won 10 games, their QB threw 31 touchdowns, the starting wide receiver duo combined for 26 touchdown catches, and the defense finished as a top 5 unit.
It one hundred percent sucks and somehow puts a damper on what was a relatively wonderful start to Todd Bowles head coaching career, but not all is lost. The team has a foundation to build on, even with a 33 year old journeyman at quarterback. So what now? Let’s not waste any time…
Should the Jets consider Ezekiel Elliott with the 20th overall selection?
If you’re not familiar with my draft work, this was one of my more popular (and very debatable) arguments last year:
Last 10 RBs taken in R1: T Richardson, D Martin, D Wilson, M Ingram, J Best, R Mathews, CJ Spiller, B Wells, K Moreno, D Brown Don’t do it
— Connor Rogers (@CRogers_NFL) March 21, 2015
Do I love Elliott the player? Yes, he’s actually a rare exception to the rule because he does not ever need to come off the field, has very little holes in his game, and is an instant impact prospect.
The counter side to the argument is that the value is not there of taking a running back in the first round. Can the Jets pass up an edge rushing threat like Noah Spence at 20? Can they afford to ignore the black cloud that is their offensive tackle position any longer? I think the answer to both questions is flat out no.
Would Elliott help right away? Certainly, I’m willing to bet he’ll be a very good NFL player and an exception to my rule above. But always look at the big picture – the Jets need to find a way to capitalize on value in later rounds and running back value is often sitting there untapped.
What to do at the quarterback position?
I will be the first to say I was a bit of a Fitzpatrick ‘doubter’ at the start of the season. While Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker were as good as it gets, I have to give credit where it’s due.
Fitzpatrick minimized turnovers outside of a few crushing losses (vs. Eagles, @ Bills) and the team rallied behind him. With that being said, the Jets have to start thinking about developing a franchise passer while the 33 year old Fitzpatrick ‘holds the fort’.
Bryce Petty’s progression will be interesting to follow next Summer, but do not discount the 2016 draft as another opportunity for the Jets to add to their quarterback depth chart. Keep an eye on North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz – an athletic passer with possibly the most arm talent in the entire draft class. He’ll need a year on the bench, but his high ceiling is worth investing in.
Mocking the top 20:
Tennessee Titans – Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Cleveland Browns – Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
San Diego Chargers – Jalen Ramsey, FS, Florida State
Dallas Cowboys – Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Jacksonville Jaguars – Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
Baltimore Ravens – Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
San Francisco 49ers – Jared Goff, QB, Cal
Miami Dolphins – Carl Lawson, Edge, Auburn
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
New York Giants – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Chicago Bears – Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
New Orleans Saints – Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
Philadelphia Eagles –Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Oakland Raiders –Darron Lee, SS/OLB, Ohio State
St. Louis Rams – Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
Detroit Lions – Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
Atlanta Falcons – Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
Indianapolis Colts – Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida
Buffalo Bills – Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss
New York Jets – Noah Spence, Edge, EKU
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com