2013 NFL Draft Team Needs: New York Jets
Where to start? The once proud New York Jets have dropped off considerably the past two years, and have fans switching from eyeing their yearly Super Bowl Odds, to simply hoping they can contend for the final wild card playoff spot.
There is a lot of noise and chaos around the New York Jets – it’s the nature of both owner Woody Johnson and Head Coach Rex Ryan – but at some point new General Manager John Idzik will have to build a winning franchise despite all of that.
The Jets need a lot of help and no matter what they can accomplish this offseason, it will almost certainly be aimed at the 2014 season. While they are building on a 6-win season (at least a playoff spot isn’t far off) their decisions should be for the long-term, or as long-term as the NFL and the New York market will allow.
They do have some bright spots – their secondary was near the top in the NFL without Darrelle Revis and their defense didn’t crumble – but they have multiple needs on both sides of the ball.
Here’s a look at their draft needs and possible targets. The team is poised to cut a lot of veterans (Bart Scott and Eric Smith to name two) for cap room, so needs will grow and change in the coming weeks, as well:
Offensive Needs: QB, WR, RB
Anyone who says the Jets don’t have a Mark Sanchez problem is probably related to the former USC star. While he’s displayed poise, leadership and results early in his career, something obviously got in his head this year and he needs a psychologist as much as he needs an offensive guru to guide him. The Jets are pretty much stuck with his contract, but they can get a QB in the draft.
If the Jets want a QB in round one, Geno Smith out of West Virginia or Mike Glennon from NC State would be options, but the Jets are more likely to draft a signal caller later Aaron Murray (Georgia) or Landry Jones (Oklahoma) in the 3rd round range. They may simply seek a veteran backup/starter and improve themselves at WR and RB to give Sanchez or that veteran better talent around him.
At WR, the Jets could look for Keenan Allen (Cal) at #9 or if they trade down for extra picks, Tavon Austin (West Virginia) or DeAndre Hopkins, (Clemson). Later round targets include: Markus Wheaton (Oregon State) Cobi Hamilton (Arkansas), or Marquess Wilson (Washington State), though this position is loaded so there should be good targets throughout the draft.
RB isn’t as pressing a need for the Jets. They have bodies (Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight), though they haven’t excelled. The same can be said for TE, where the talented Dustin Keller simply can’t stay healthy and will be entering free agency. Don’t expect an early round pick on a back, but perhaps in round 4 or 5.
Defensive Needs: LB, DT, DE
The Jets simply don’t rush the quarterback. Rookie DE Quinton Coples showed some flashes this season but had most of his 5.5 sacks in the final weeks, and simply must improve. The line-backing corps is old and slow, and must be upgraded (and it subject to being outright cut anyway).
Jarvis Jones (Georgia) is an obvious target for the Jets, though he may be off the board by #9. Another guy to think about is OLB/DE Barkevious Mingo (LSU), who can provide athleticism and strength for Gang Green in the first round.
Kawaan Short, a nose tackle out of Purdue, might be a great second-round target for the Jets. He will can tie up multiple offensive lineman which should make the Jets’ blitz even more effective.
On a smaller scale, corner might be something New York will want to address. If Darrelle Revis hangs around and doesn’t get traded it’s not as huge of a deal, but if for some reason he’s not healthy or they part with him, they’ll need to add some depth.
The Jets will certainly look a lot different in 2013. Expect them to draft several impact players in the draft (even trading players or that first-round pick to load up) in the hopes that a new infusion will boost them next season.
Too many quarterbacks could throw touchdown passes from an easy chair in the pocket last season (and historically). If the Jets can draft an impact pass rusher, the whole defense will get better. On offense, they need playmakers at the skill positions, though there are two potential free agents on the offensive line that could add to their needs as well.