It’s practically a forgone conclusion that due to the Jets lack of an effective pass rush this past season (and pretty much every season Rex Ryan has been the Jets head coach) they will finally seriously address their pass rushing woes early in this April’s draft ALONG with adding a few middle tier OLBs from FA as well (assuming the new Jets GM can actually come in and perform emergency surgery on a cap situation that’s in critical condition) as some of the early draft season mock drafts have the Jets linked to some of the top pass rushers in college football from this past season. Names like Texas A&M’s productive DE Damontre Moore, Oregon’s athletic DE Dion Jordan and most recently, LSU’s freakish DE Barkevious Mingo.
I personally see no reason why the Jets won’t end up addressing the OLB position in the 1st round considering Jets OLBs Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas will both most likely be released during the offseason and the position will immediately be severely thin, addressing the position is extremely urgent and drafting one of the “Top” pass rushers in the draft would certainly go a long way in helping solidify the position. It’s a strategy I would encourage the Jets to utilize but the Jets do have other important areas to address and they could very well find themselves drafting another position outside of OLB in the first round OR for obvious financial reasons or any other logical reason you can think of (I can actually think of a few like the need for a RB and OT early) they may decide to trade back and garner more picks to not only get value from a financial cap impacting stand point BUT to also acquire more picks to help address depth issues at key positions.
Whatever the reason being, the Jets may very well find themselves waiting until rounds 2-4 to address the pass rushing/OLB position and believe it or not, that may not be such a bad thing as there are legit OLB options when you get past the “TOP” rushers in the draft. Keep in mind that the Jets have seem to have found 2 diamonds in Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson and with the way both of these players came on strong towards the end of the season, the Jets may certainly feel very good about pairing a young and talented pass rusher with Coples and Wilkerson and conventional wisdom says the Jets shouldn’t really have to spend a 1st on a pass rushing OLB as they have every right to feel as though with Coples and Wilkerson dominating on the line, their consistent play can open things up immensely for a pass rusher plucked from the 2nd-4th rounds that carries at least adequate skills and attributes. It’s a logical thought, a sentiment I personally wouldn’t agree with but one can understand the thinking behind it with the elevated play of Coples and Wilkerson this past season. Let’s look at FOUR legitimate pass rushing options the Jets should look at (in my opinion) if they decide NOT to address the position in round 1 OR if they find themselves trading OUT of the first round: