The New York Jets have a lot of needs heading into the 2016 NFL Draft to address. None are as important as their offensive line which is in need of youth and consistency.
To win plenty of football games means to win the battle of the trenches. Every single year during the draft, teams that go with an offensive lineman within the top five of the first round don’t really win the popular choice award to say the least. Truth of the matter is, it’s a boring pick but in the grand scheme of things, is the smartest decision to make for the future of any NFL team.
The Jets have various needs to address ranging from their aging offensive line, linebacker and yes, even at quarterback. When they’re on the clock with their No. 20 overall pick in the first round, there should be plenty of quality options available for them to consider, especially with offensive line prospects.
Jan 21, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets new general manager Mike Maccagnan speaks during a press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com via USA TODAY Sports
General manager Mike Maccagnan has earned the respect of many as he’s done an excellent job heading into his second year with the Jets in turning this franchise around for the better. It’s not easy as it will take a lot of patience but so far, Maccagnan has made all the right choices this offseason to benefit the Jets both for next season and the future.
The true test however will be come draft day as he should have a plethora of high quality options to consider when he’s on the clock. Many mock drafts, including my most recent one for the Jets, have them going with offensive lineman Jack Conklin if he’s still available.
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Whether it’s Conklin or the best available offensive lineman, it can’t be stressed just how important it is the Jets go this route.
Regardless who their quarterback is for next season, it’s imperative they draft one not only to fill the void left by the retirement of D’Brickashaw Ferguson but also to add quality depth to an offensive line that as a whole, is getting older.
To protect the quarterback is of the highest priority for the Jets as they can’t afford to have it be a weakness again next season as defenses across the NFL are only getting faster and more aggressive. Especially since the Jets want to be known as a ground-and-pound kind of offense which will require a quality offensive line to establish the run and open up the necessary gaps for it to thrive.
Overall, it’s an easy decision to make as this year’s draft is filled with solid defensive players that could be drafted in the middle to later rounds. Keep in mind however, only a handful of solid offensive linemen will be available in the first round. The Jets need to grab the best one at No. 20 and address their other needs later on in the draft.