The New York Jets are currently 64 days from their first round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. Obviously with the NFL Combine looming and the pending free agency period soon to begin a ton can change between now and than. This is a roster with glaring needs everywhere I’m going to narrow it down the six biggest area’s of concern with this team and what solutions can be offered…
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1. Quarterback – Facts are facts, Bryce Petty was a 4th round pick who did little to impress in the limited time he saw action during the ’16 season. I was never behind the selection of Christian Hackenberg, in fact thought the pick was just plain insane. Hackenberg regressed as a player from his Freshman to Junior seasons while in Happy Valley. So to tell me to pin hopes to a guy who took zero regular season snaps during the 2016 season and now will be learning his fourth Offensive system in 5 years, is just maddening. The QB group for the ’17 draft in my opinion is very top heavy. Any of DeShone Kizer, Deshaun Watson, Mitch Trubisky. or Patrick Mahomes are better QBs than Petty or Hackenberg were coming out of College. No retreads, no stop gaps, no bridges, whatever term you want to use. Just stop! All four of these guys carry a first round grade and provide a brighter future than what is currently in Florham Park.
2. Running Back – Matt Forte isn’t getting any younger and is no longer capable of a lead role. Bilal Powell continues to show solid play making ability but still is best suited to be part of a committee approach. Adding a Dalvin Cook or Leonard Fournette certainly would add juice to any offense while hopefully extending drives. Resting the D and making life easier for a young Quarterback. As long as you’re not expecting an Ezekial Elliott type return (he was a higher rated back and fell into a dream spot with Dallas) drafting either Cook or Fournette is something I can get on board with.
3. Defensive Secondary – Regardless of the incident in Pittsburgh Darelle Revis’ second go around in NY has gone like most sequels do, badly. Injuries, steep decline in play, beating to his own drum, all signs that a rebuilding team needs to move on. This CB class may be one of the deepest I can ever remember I honestly feel there could be 12-15 day 1 starters from this group. Although I wouldn’t target one with the 6th selection. I can get value in the second and third round. Marcus Gilchrist and Calvin Pryor both have had their down stretches in the last 2 seasons. Both have shown that they can be moved on from. Jamaal Adams as a strong safety has shown incredible ability as a in the box defender, rarely missing tackles. Malik Hooker showed amazing ball skills as a free safety in ’16 giving the effect as a playmaker as former Jets safety Erik McMillan. Either one are instant upgrades at 6 and should solidify the position they play for years to come.
4. Tight End – This team just spent two seasons essentially ignoring the position. With new Offensive Coordinator John Morton now in tow, will this be position be brought back from life support? If so two solid options exist and can realistically could go top 10. OJ Howard out of Alabama has shown to be almost everything you’d want in the modern day Tight End. Solid physical blocker, athletic in routes, and reliable receiver. (Even if Bama ignored him for long stretches of time) Underclassmen David Njoku while not the blocker Howard is may be the better athlete and able to create mis-match nightmares for opposing Defensive Coordinators, Rumors exist of a 4.5 flat 40 yard dash time or lower. Pairing either of these two with the current WR Core would make for any easier success rate for any Quarterback.
5. Offensive Line – Not the biggest issue with this current team but any time you don’ have a Left Tackle…it’s a problem. Cam Robinson 2 years ago was considered to have the potential to be the #1 pick of this draft, He hasn’t kept that momentum but to be honest almost no player could. Also has some off-field concerns, but make no mistake he is the best LT prospect in this class. So as long as he doesn’t blow the combine or raise any other type of red flags he should be considered in the top 10. One of the most important positions on the field.
6. Trade – The Jets holes are numerous and large, they currently have 6 selections in this draft. A compensatory pick should come for Damon Harrison’s signing with the Giants and a trade of Sheldon Richardson should bring back a late day 2 pick or early day 3 pick bringing the total to 8. I love the depth of this draft, whether it be RB, WR, TE, Edge, or Secondary. Trade down, trade down again if there ever was draft you want 10+ picks it’s this years class. (We won’t talk the ’14 draft debacle) This team won’t be contending in ’17 without some miracles happening but a solid haul from this draft could go along towards keeping the asses in the seats in Metlife past Thanksgivng for the foreseeable future.
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