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New York Jets: Five potential first-round draft targets

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - JANUARY 21: New York Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan addresses the media during a press conference on January 21, 2015 in Florham Park, New Jersey. Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles were both introduced for the first time. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
FLORHAM PARK, NJ - JANUARY 21: New York Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan addresses the media during a press conference on January 21, 2015 in Florham Park, New Jersey. Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles were both introduced for the first time. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
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With many holes to fill on both the offense and the defense, the New York Jets will have multiple options to choose from when deciding who to select with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Following a disappointing 4-12 season, it was clear that the New York Jets had changes that needed to be made. The Jets didn’t hesitate, and that began shortly after the season ended when head coach Todd Bowles was fired.

Since then, former Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase has been hired to succeed Bowles. The Jets also hired former Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator and interim head coach Gregg Williams.

Williams has been brought in to serve as the Jets new defensive coordinator. In addition, special teams coordinator Brant Boyer recently signed an extension with the team.

With the coaching staff being sorted out, the focus will now shift to improving the roster – and there are certainly many improvements to make. With an estimated $100 million in salary cap space, the Jets should be very active in free agency. On the other hand, they also hold the No. 3 pick in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft, meaning they could select an impact player in the first round.

With options on both offense and defense, let’s take a look at five players the Jets could target with that pick.

Next: 5. An edge rusher with immense athleticism

COLUMBUS, OH – SEPTEMBER 1: Nick Bosa #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after recovering a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Oregon State Beavers at Ohio Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH – SEPTEMBER 1: Nick Bosa #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after recovering a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Oregon State Beavers at Ohio Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

5. Nick Bosa, EDGE – Ohio State University

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Although it’s unlikely that Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa falls to No. 3, anything can happen. If he is available when the Jets are on the clock, the team shouldn’t think twice about taking him.

For years, the Jets have lacked a high-level edge rusher, and Bosa is exactly that. Possessing terrific athleticism, versatility and a natural ability to get to opposing quarterbacks, Bosa has the ability to take over games.

In three years at Ohio State, Bosa had 77 tackles, 17.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. Although he only played three games in 2018, he still totaled 14 tackles and four sacks on the season.

If the 21-year-old Floridian falls to No. 3, the Jets should strike while the iron is hot. While the odds are slim, it’s an opportunity the team wouldn’t be able to pass up.

Next: 4. An edge rusher whose stock is soaring

LEXINGTON, KY – SEPTEMBER 22: Josh Allen #41 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates during the 28-7 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Commonwealth Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, KY – SEPTEMBER 22: Josh Allen #41 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates during the 28-7 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Commonwealth Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

4. Josh Allen, EDGE – Kentucky

Like Bosa, Kentucky’s Josh Allen is one of the best pass rushers in the draft and would immediately fill a hole for the Jets.

Returning to Kentucky for his senior season in 2018, Allen emerged as a true game-changer. He totaled 88 tackles, 17 sacks, and five forced fumbles. Throughout his collegiate career, he had 31.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles.

Allen’s stock soared throughout his senior year with the Wildcats as the Virginia native entered the year with a round two/three grade. But a strong year that landed him the SEC Defensive Player of the Year should be enough to make him a consensus top 10 selection.

Playing the outside linebacker position, Allen may not fit perfectly into the 4-3 scheme Gregg Williams is expected to implement. However, if he’s available, the Jets may want to seriously consider him given his athleticism, ability to get to the quarterback, and ability to add pressure to the offensive line.

Next: 3. An impressive presence in the interior

SANTA CLARA, CA – JANUARY 07: Quinnen Williams #92 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts against the Clemson Tigers in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi’s Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA – JANUARY 07: Quinnen Williams #92 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts against the Clemson Tigers in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi’s Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

3. Quinnen Williams, DT – Alabama

If the Jets want to select a defensive player in the first round, Alabama’s Quinnen Williams could also be an option. He is ranking among the best prospects entering the 2019  draft, but he could still fall to the No. 3 slot.

Playing two seasons for the Crimson Tide, Williams made his presence felt racking up 91 tackles, 26 for loss and 10 sacks. The Birmingham native was named a unanimous All-American and given the Outland Trophy which is given to the best interior lineman in college football each year.

The Jets don’t necessarily have the most pressing need in the interior defensive line, but a player of his caliber could be too good to pass up. Besides, he could be a very good fit in the team’s new defensive scheme.

Being that he plays on the defensive line and is quite successful on the interior, he could be a solid fit in a 4-3 defense and may even complement Leonard Williams. I can see it now, Williams and Williams.

Next: 2. A stud offensive lineman

BATON ROUGE, LA – NOVEMBER 03: Damien Harris #34 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a second half touchdown with Jonah Williams #73 while playing the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LA – NOVEMBER 03: Damien Harris #34 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a second half touchdown with Jonah Williams #73 while playing the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

2. Jonah Williams, OT – Alabama

Moving away from the defensive side of the ball for a moment, the Jets could also look to improve their offense, as that side of the ball has many holes as well. And if the Jets do decide to take an offensive player in the first round, it’s likely that they’d take an offensive lineman to help protect the future of the franchise in Sam Darnold.

With that being said, Alabama’s Jonah Williams could certainly be an option for Gang Green. Considered by many to be the top lineman in the draft, Williams has the size at 6 ft. 5 in and 301 lbs. and the skills to make an immediate impact in the NFL, especially on a Jets line that has struggled in recent years.

Given the status of the Jets two offensive tackles, Williams could easily slide in at the left guard position for a few years before letting him hold down the fort protecting the blindside. In fact, there are some analysts who believe he’s a better fit a guard in the pros anyway.

Williams would be a piece at a position long neglected by the Jets in the draft. If they’re serious about building around Darnold, that must start with rebuilding the offensive line and drafting Williams would be a step in the right direction.

Next: 1. An accomplished college pass rusher

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 07: Clelin Ferrell #99 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates a defensive play against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi’s Stadium on January 07, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 07: Clelin Ferrell #99 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates a defensive play against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi’s Stadium on January 07, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

1. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE – Clemson

If the Jets are indeed focused on improving their defense in the draft, Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell may also be an option to consider.

Playing defensive end on one of the best defensive lines in college football in 2018, Ferrell totaled 55 tackles, 11.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. Throughout his collegiate career as a whole, he had 166 tackles, 27 sacks, and five forced fumbles.

Possessing solid size at 6 ft. 5 in. and 260 lbs., Ferrell has the ability to develop into a strong run stuffer in addition to having the explosiveness and athleticism to see success as a pass rusher. He’d also likely fit well into a 4-3 defense which the Jets will likely deploy again in 2019.

Next. Top three offseason needs for the Jets

Ferrell’s size and experience make him a perfect fit as a 4-3 edge defender and while he may not have the highest ceiling as a straight-up pass rusher, he may be the best overall edge in the class. The Jets would be wise to grab him if they can with their first selection.

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