The 2018 NFL Draft is in the books. Largely, fans and pundits alike seem pleased with how everything shook out for the New York Jets. They did, however, make a big mistake by not addressing their offensive line.
From getting arguably the best quarterback on the board in Sam Darnold to obtaining potential gems like Nathan Shepherd and Parry Nickerson, this was (at least on paper) a great weekend for the New York Jets. This year’s draft class provides a glimmer of hope that the Jets are on the right track in this arduous rebuilding process.
With all the good we can take away from this past weekend, one area that was unaddressed was the non-drafting of an offensive lineman. With a new hopeful franchise quarterback in the fold, this could be a potential mistake.
In free agency, the Jets signed C Travis Swanson and G/C Spencer Long. While it is absolutely plausible that both of them will have solid careers in green and white, the Jets would have done Darnold a service by bringing in at least one offensive lineman from his class to grow and gel with him.
Admittedly, the Jets are in the middle of a long, painful rebuild. With trading away two second-round picks to ensure one of the best quarterbacks in the class comes the discomfort of knowing you cannot sign everyone you need or want in one fell swoop. It was blatantly obvious the Jets were picking a quarterback Round 1, and no picks in Round 2 did not provide them an opportunity at someone like UTEP’s Will Hernandez.
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The Jets did however, have picks in every remaining round of the draft. Late round trade ups and Maccagnan needing to place his attention elsewhere prevented the Jets from taking someone like Louisville’s Geron Christian, Oregon’s Tyrell Cosby, or UCLA’s Scott Quessenberry.
For a team who had the No. 30 ranked offensive line by Pro Football Focus, the Jets front office should have taken the opportunity to add a young rookie to complement the Swanson and Long additions in free agency.
Further emphasizing the fact that there was a talent deficiency on the offensive line in 2017 is the fact that the Jets had the third worst offensive line. They were abysmal in pass protection and didn’t have the talent to properly setup rushing lanes and gaps.
Swanson and Long are certainly going to be welcomed additions to a unit that obviously needs the help. Obtaining some young (and talented) offensive linemen through the draft next year should be a top priority for the Jets. It’s in their best interest to keep their newest quarterback upright and allow him ample opportunities to do what he needs to do in order to get this team to the promised land.