The New York Jets have enough to deal with this offseason, trying to find the franchise’s future face at quarterback. Here are the top10 impressive collegians who fit this organization’s profile moving forward.
After boldly trading their two second-round picks to move up in Round 1, the stakes are high for the New York Jets in Day Two and Day Three of the 2018 NFL Draft. This is where the real scouting acumen takes place, trying to discover greatness in a sea of almost-greatness.
They are innumerable holes to fill on this roster. In the past month, the Jets signed an astounding 20 new players. How many of those are training camp bodies remains to be seen. But they’ve now got: a lockdown corner in Trumaine Johnson; a kick returner in Andre Roberts; an improved ILB crew with Avery Williamson and Kevin Minter; real playmakers between WR Terrelle Pryor, RB Isaiah Crowell, and TE Clive Walford; and a question mark in the reconstructed knee of Teddy Bridgewater.
Two weeks before this year’s draft in Dallas, the Jets can transform their misfortunes, with a few smart decisions. This franchise desperately needs a Namath-esque leader like Baker Mayfield — not the next Jay Cutler in Josh Rosen or the next Kyle Boller in Josh Allen.
Then, they need to import more high motor-talent — like the 10 potential Jets highlighted here. In each of the later rounds, there are legitimate answers to this roster’s positional weaknesses.
Next: Round 3
This post pushed for the Jets to select a crushing Day Two edge-rusher like Georgia’s Lorenzo Carter or Kansas’ Dorance Armstrong. But that was before the GM swapped their two second-rounders. Look for Trader Mike to nab a Top 10-rated tackle, with an immediate ability to keep their first-round QB upright.
Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
Many experts rate Jones a plug-in and play left tackle. Critics cite the holes in his game and his supposed less than ideal size (6’5″, 310 lb.). He may not be All-Pro, but he’d be the logical next step after veteran Kelvin Beachum.
Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
If the Jets are still not sold on Brandon Shell, here’s a bulldozing right tackle that needs time in the weight room and work on his footwork. Even if they have to kick him inside to guard, Crosby’s still an immediate upgrade over Dakota Dozier or Brent Qvale.
The front office could also target a versatile inside lineman like Arkansas’ Frank Ragnow or LSU’s Will Clapp. Then again, it would not be surprising if they instead took a lethal tight end possibly falling to them, be it Penn State’s Mike Gesicki, South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst or South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert.
Next: Round 4
If the Jets didn’t have a mind-boggling 17 receivers on the roster, this would be a great spot to nab a WR like LSU’s D.J. Chark or Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown. But with Matt Forte retired, Bilal Powell turning 30, Isaiah Crowell on a one-year prove-it pact, and Elijah McGuire a sixth-round concern, there are a few electrifying RBs worthy of a Day Three selection.
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
He likely won’t last past Round 3, but Chubb — still overcoming a gruesome knee injury — rates as a solid but unspectacular pro. His addition would be a significant upgrade over what this team got out of their backfield last season.
Nyheim Hines, RB, NC State
The Jets have done their homework on the Wolfpack all-purpose back, with game-changing skills in the return game. Critics don’t see Hines as an every-down back, more as a change-of-pace contributor — but his All-American track speed may be too enticing to pass up.
Other NFL-ready mid-round RBs include Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson, Colorado’s Philip Lindsay, and Arizona’s Kalen Ballage. Or if the Jets wanna devote a lower-rounder to the rushing game, check out the moxie of Grambling’s Martez Carter, Fordham’s Chase Edmonds, and LSU’s Darrel Williams.
Next: Round 5
The Jets must rebuild their front seven. It’s astonishing that Leonard Williams is all that remains from a fierce D-line starring Mo Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Snacks Harrison. Assuming that overachieving feel-good Shaquem Griffin is off the board, there are other young pass-rushers for this team to seriously consider.
Jeff Holland, DE/OLB, Auburn
This Auburn underclassman is a legit pass-rushing force that may still be available early Day Three. Holland’s aggressive, versatile, smart and strong — a fit for this Todd Bowles defense.
Ja’Von Rolland Jones, DE, Arkansas State
Another high-motor havoc-wreaker, from the college that gave us Demario Davis. After a brutal 2018 NFL Combine performance, questions abound over if the all-time FBS great can excel on the next level.
Other enticing edge rushers at this point in the draft could include Louisville OLBs James Hearns and Trevon Young. There’s also devastating game tape on Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson and SMU’s Justin Lawler that must make scouts take notice.
Next: Round 6
The D-line needs more strength up the middle. Starting nose tackle Steve McLendon gets the job done, but he’s in his 30s. And 2015 seventh-rounder Deon Simon has spent two seasons on the practice squad. Mike Pennel makes the occasional big play, but he’s also a back-breaking penalty waiting to happen.
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Andrew Brown, DT, Virginia
A high-character, high-motor mauler valued for his work ethic is just who this team needs lined up next to Leonard Williams. Brown turned heads at this year’s combine, with great speed at 298 pounds.
Deadrin Senat, DT, South Florida
South Florida’s Defensive MVP has that Butch Wolfolk-esque “squatty frame” needed to stuff the middle. One scout loved Senat’s violent quickness, calling the Tampa-schooled DT “a handful.”
Other solid run-stuffers likely to fall this far include NC State’s BJ Hill, Ohio State’s Jaylen Holmes and Delaware’s Bilal Nicholls. And if Fort Hays State’s highly-rated NT Nathan Shepherd happens to be available, this front office must pounce.
But do they do an about-face if a valued developmental QB like Marshall’s Chase Litton, Texas Tech’s Nic Shimonek or Toledo’s Logan Woodside is still on the board?
Next: Round 7
The Jets have a dozen cornerbacks on the current roster, and they’ll likely take another one in this year’s draft. They must not be sold on last year’s two late-round CBs — converted Mississippi receiver Derrick Jones and Michigan’s Jeremy Clark, who had a second-round grade before tearing his knee in the 2016 season. Juston Burris and Rashard Robinson must know that they’re on the hot seat.
Michael Joseph, CB, Dubuque
This Division III corner has all the tools and instincts to excel on the next level. Joseph is a bit of a work in progress, and a season of getting “coached up” on the practice squad would do wonders.
D’Montre Wade, CB, Murray State
Wade went to a small college, but he comes from a football family and played high school ball with Jalen Ramsey and Derek Barnett. He’s one of the best tacklers in this year’s draft. In other words, he’s got what it takes to contribute on any given Sunday.
Southern’s Danny Jackson would’ve made this list were it not for his “mafia” of hangers-on. This writer has also cited CBs such as Weber State’s Taron Johnson, Western Michigan’s Darius Phillips, and Illinois State’s Davontae Harris. Regardless, the Jets must develop long-term replacements for cover corner Morris Claiborne and nickel Buster Skrine — sooner rather than later.
Expect a bumpy ride in Dallas, Jets fans…