New York Jets must add edge rusher in 2016 NFL Draft
The New York Jets are in desperate need of an edge rusher to compliment their impressive interior defenders. They will have a number of options to choose from in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Coming into the offseason, it was made clear that the Jets needed to add a quick edge rusher to their defense. The draft is here and things have yet to change. It will be interesting to see what general manager Mike Maccagnan does to address this need in this year’s draft.
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A dominant force off the edge of the defense would be a game changer for the Jets as it would free up some of the big names on the interior. Guys like Leonard Williams, Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson (f he remains with the team) would benefit greatly from the pressure that would be taken off of them.
Dec 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) is sacked by New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams (92) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Titans 30-8. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Along with the pressure that it would take off of the interior defenders, an added explosive pass rusher would elevate the rest of the Jets’ defense as well. Getting to the quarterback quickly and more frequently would make things much easier on the defensive secondary as they would not have to hold up for as long.
The Jets will certainly have a plethora of edge rushers to choose from in this year’s draft. They could select one of the premier edge rushers in the earlier rounds, or they could wait to find a value pick later on in the draft while filling other needs during the earlier stages.
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In the first round of this year’s draft, the Jets could look to select either Leonard Floyd out of Georgia or Noah Spence out of Eastern Kentucky.
Both of these prospects are very athletic, young pass rushers with a great burst off of the line of scrimmage.
Both players could elevate the Jets’ defense fairly quickly the moment they step foot on the gridiron.
The Jets could also look to find a gem somewhere past the first round. Prospects like Kamalei Correa of Boise State, Su’a Cravens of USC and Jordan Jenkins of Georgia could be great fits for the team. Correa and Cravens are small yet speedy outside linebackers with a motor that never stops running. Jenkins is more of a powerful edge rusher who had a lot of success in college.
It is also worth mentioning one of the bigger wildcards of the draft in Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith. Smith was supposed to be one of the draft’s most highly regarded prospects until a devastating left knee injury he suffered in the Fiesta Bowl. Smith was the whole package in college as he could do everything that would typically be asked of a linebacker. He will likely be available in round two or three of this year’s draft, and it will be interesting to see whether the Jets are willing to take a risk on him.
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Taking everything into consideration, it has become very clear that the Jets will need to select a promising edge rusher in this year’s draft. They will have a plethora of options to choose from and we can only speculate on how they might approach the situation. By the beginning of next week, the Jets should have a new edge rusher on their hands ready to dominate this upcoming season.