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With The 16th Pick in the 2012 NFL Draft…

By Alan Schechter
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Feb 23, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Jets coach Rex Ryan speaks at a press conference during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

This is a big year for Rex Ryan and company. Coming off of an 8-8 season where big things were predicted, the Jets need to have a big recovery. The Jets need to move back towards the playoffs, or I get the feeling big changes may be in order. Tonight we take a look at the position the Jets should choose in the first round of the draft.

There has been talk lately about the Jets going wide receiver with the 16th pick. There is no doubt that the Jets do need depth at the position, especially with the loss of Plaxico Burress. However, is it the biggest need the Jets have?

The Jets are trying to get back to the “ground and pound” philosophy of the past two years, as well they should. How did it go last year with all of these “weapons” at the Sanchez arsenal? Not too well. Guys were complaining, and the offense had no identity.

Secondly, do they need a great set of wide receivers to run the system? Take a look at the 2009 Jets, when arguably the “ground and pound” was at its best. Who did they have at wide receiver? Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, and Chansi Stuckey. Not a group of Pro-Bowles, but a serviceable group. You could argue that talentwise, with Santonio Holmes, Chaz Schillens, and Jeremy Kerley, they may be even more talented than they were in 2009. They are certainly a serviceable group, don’t you think?

What is the biggest problem though? What can’t the Jets do, on a consistent basis? Let’s look at the stats, in the Rex Ryan era.

I am going to give you 3 figures, 8.0, 6.0, and 6.0. What are they? The leading individual sack totals during each season of the Rex Ryan era. Furthermore, the 6.0 in 2011 was not even by a full time player (Aaron Maybin). This is unacceptable.

The problem with this is that the Jets have to get creative with the pass rush, as most of us have seen. They have to blitz a lot in order to create a pass rush, since they don’t have someone to get to the QB when they rush 4 guys. It worked well early in the Rex days, but teams have caught up, they can stop the Jets’ blitzes. This leaves the Jets in single coverage all day, and when the QB gets time, he will find someone. Even against our terrific cornerbacks. They can’t cover forever.

What am I saying? Despite all of these discussions about safeties, WRs, or anyone else, the Jets need to choose an impact pass rusher with their first pick of the draft. They need someone that can be DeMarcus Ware for them, a guy that defensive coordinators are staying up late to game plan against.

Tom Brady needs to look over that line, and be nervous about someone coming after him. Despite all these guys talking WR, talking about best player available, I go another way. Get the best player available, at the edge pass rusher spot.

They need to make an impact there, now.

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