The New York Jets might have plenty of options at defensive end but make no mistake about it, they should draft another at the position to add to their lack of a consistent pass rush.
The Jets have the No. 20 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and there are several ways they can go. They can draft an offensive tackle, wide receiver, cornerback, quarterback or their top glaring need, a dominating pass rusher.
Defensive end Noah Spence enters this year’s draft as one of the elite pass rushers. He has a few red flags though as he’s had ecstasy issues in the past, his numbers could be over-inflated due to playing in FCS, and he was cited for public intoxication
Feb 26, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Eastern Kentucky defensive lineman Noah Spence speaks to the media during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Those character issues are what could drop Spence down to the Jets, if the teams ahead of them don’t want to risk drafting him. However, if he falls to the Jets, he’s a perfect fit for the team, and here’s why according to his draft profile at NFL.com:
"His issues are well-documented, but his recovery and turnaround is what has NFL teams excited. Spence has been accountable for his actions and worked just as hard off the field as he has on the field to change his life and attack his problems."
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He says he’s clean and sober from his dealings with ecstasy while he was at Ohio State, and that should be good news for NFL teams in this year’s draft.
The public intoxication could just be a a sign of a young man’s immature behavior, and that means at least for me, he’s doing his best to move ahead with his mistakes in the past for a better future.
From an on-the-field perspective, he plays with leverage and is a quick, fast and great edge pass rusher. He needs to improve on his variety of rushing moves for the NFL and needs to add some weight, but an NFL offseason program plus work with an NFL conditioning program will definitely aid him in that.
His work off-the-field to correct his problems should make the Jets more comfortable with drafting him. Normally it’s the red flags that will cause him to drop, but his talent and how he’s dealt with his issues show that he’s worth the No. 20 pick for Gang Green.