New York Jets: Top 5 bold predictions for 2016 NFL Draft

Feb 18, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan speaks to the media during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 18, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan speaks to the media during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

Feb 18, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan speaks to the media during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets are working around the clock to perfect their final board heading into the 2016 NFL Draft. Their selections this year are crucial to the overall success of the future if everything comes together.

The Jets have made some interesting moves so far this offseason and at this point in time have six picks in this year’s draft and have to make the most of them. At the time of this writing, they have some pressing needs on their offensive line, overall pass rush, defensive secondary, wide receiver and yes, even at quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick has yet to re-sign with the Jets as it’s hard to tell if he’ll be back or not. He had fun the other night with his former teammates at a New York Rangers game but it remains to be seen if that was just friends hanging out or perhaps a recruiting trip to get him back.

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The Jets have a lot of needs to address and their decision with the No. 20 overall pick in the first round will be incredibly important. There were some rumors that they were interested in trading up, perhaps even to No. 2 with the Cleveland Browns but the Philadelphia Eagles beat them to the punch as they just made a huge trade to move up.

Now that the Eagles own the No. 2 overall pick, they will more than likely take either quarterback Jared Goff or Carsen Wentz. It’s a shame since either quarterback would have probably been a solid choice for the Jets but unfortunately, that window of opportunity is now closed.

So what would the Jets overall accomplish in this year’s draft? Here are the top five bold predictions heading into draft weekend.

Next: 5. Jets draft quarterback in mid to late rounds

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Jan 2, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

5. Jets draft quarterback in mid to late rounds

The draft is always unpredictable and no matter how many mock drafts one reads on a daily basis, no one will ever get it 100% right. The stock of players will rise and fall for a number of reasons and at the end of the day, most teams should stick to their overall draft board to ensure they make the right choices to bolster their team.

Whether Fitzpatrick re-signs or not, the Jets should still draft another quarterback into the mix. Yes, they still have Geno Smith and Bryce Petty on the roster but make no mistake about it, the Jets need to keep drafting quarterbacks until they find that diamond in the rough.

While it wouldn’t be advised to draft a quarterback at No. 20, a few good ones should still be available in the third round of this year’s draft. Players like either Christian Hackenberg or even Connor Cook if they’re still available just to name a few would be a good choice to make.

It’s always good to have more options at quarterback to develop for the future, especially for a team that hasn’t had a franchise quarterback since Joe Namath was guaranteeing a Super Bowl back in the late 60’s.

Next: 4. Jets add another wide receiver for quality depth

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Oct 29, 2015; Fort Worth, TX, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Josh Doctson (9) during the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

4. Jets add another wide receiver for quality depth

Since the Jets will more than likely draft a quarterback to develop for the future in this year’s draft, they should also draft a wide receiver for quality depth. Truth of the matter is the Jets can’t solely depend on the efforts of their dynamic duo of Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall to get the job done.

At some point, the Jets will need another quality wide receiver to step up and deliver as their No. 3 option. Hopefully Devin Smith can live up to his hype but he’s coming back from a season-ending injury and Quincy Enunwa doesn’t exactly intimidate opposing defenses.

The Jets should consider drafting another wide receiver in the fourth or fifth round of this year’s draft. One that can be developed alongside Decker and Marshall to add another dimension to their overall offense. If Smith or Enunwa can develop into that solid and dependable No. 3, that would be fantastic, if not, perhaps a player like Josh Doctson, Michael Thomas or even Tyler Boyd would be a nice choice to make.

Plus if newly acquired Jeremy Ross doesn’t work out as the Jets’ special teams kickoff/punt returner, perhaps a newly drafted wide receiver could handle those duties and give the team a much better presence at the position.

Next: 3. Jets use No. 20 overall pick on offensive lineman

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Sep 4, 2015; Kalamazoo, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans offensive tackle Jack Conklin (74) walks off the field during the 1st half of a game against the Western Michigan Broncos at Waldo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

3. Jets use No. 20 overall pick on offensive lineman

To win football games means to win the battle of the trenches. While the Jets have been rather vocal on wanting to get faster and more aggressive when it comes to their pass rush, this year’s draft features a plethora of defensive talent. Some of which can easily be drafted in the second to mid rounds that could make an immediate impact come next season.

Top offensive linemen however are a different story. They’re only a handful that can step right in and be starters, just like offensive lineman Jack Conklin. With their No. 20 overall pick, while it might not be the most popular pick to make, the Jets will use it on the best available offensive lineman.

Make no mistake about it, with the retirement of D’Brickashaw Ferguson and the rest of their offensive line getting older, the Jets need to start drafting players ready to step in and take care of business. They need to also add quality depth to be developed now so in the future, the Jets’ offensive line won’t miss a beat.

If the Jets want to continue their success for years to come, they need to boldly pick the best offensive lineman when they’re on the clock at No. 20 as it will be the best choice they can make for the overall future of the team.

Next: 2. Jets go linebacker in second round

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Oct 31, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback C.J. Beathard (16) evades the rush from Maryland Terrapins defensive lineman Yannick Ngakoue (7) during the second half at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa won 31-15. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

2. Jets go linebacker in second round

In one fell swoop once the draft is over, the Jets are hoping to leave with a top-notch offensive lineman, another quarterback to develop for the future, a wide receiver for depth purposes and some more players to add to their overall pass rush. As mentioned earlier, this draft is loaded with defensive talent ready to make some noise.

In the second round of this year’s draft, the Jets should use it on the best available outside linebacker when they’re on the clock. Players like Yannick Ngakoue, Kyler Fackrell or Su’a Cravens would be excellent choices to consider. These are just a few of the tons of speedy, smart and productive linebackers that should thrive once they make the transition to the NFL.

The Jets went 10-6 last season and probably would have won a few more games if they had a better pass rush. This was evident in their season finale loss to the Buffalo Bills with their entire season on the line. All they had to do was win and they would have made the NFL Playoffs but they fell flat due to their pass rush not being able to keep the Bills’ offense on check.

With some better depth and production from their linebacker corps, the Jets should easily make their second round selection based on a linebacker ready to push the envelope for next season and beyond.

Next: 1. Jets will trade Muhammad Wilkerson on draft day

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Nov 29, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) reacts to the crowd in the second half of the Jets 38-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

1. Jets will trade Muhammad Wilkerson on draft day

General manager Mike Maccagnan will have his work cut out for him but so far, he’s been excellent at doing what he does best. He’s turned the Jets into a respectable franchise in his first year and continues to make smart moves to bolster the team.

In this year’s draft, the Jets will more than likely use several draft picks to address their overall pass rush. At this point in time, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was hit with the franchise tag as the Jets have until July 15th to sign him or else he’ll play it out and more than likely bolt in next year’s free agency.

Could the Jets trade Wilkerson on draft day to acquire more picks or even move up/down to grab a top pass rusher they know would make an immediate impact? It remains to be seen but Wilkerson looks like he wants out of the city that never sleeps and head to a team willing to pay him top dollar for his services.

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It’s unfortunate since he’s been such an amazing defensive end for the Jets and all-around great person off the field. In the end it’s all about business as it’s looking highly likely the Jets will trade him for either another established pass rusher or just to simply add more draft picks to acquire more defensive pieces to the puzzle. Either way, it’s best they trade him now to get something in return rather than wait and get nothing to show for it next offseason.