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New York Jets Monday Mailbag: Draft strategy, running backs, & more

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 15: Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets looks on as they play against the Houston Texans in the first quarter at MetLife Stadium on December 15, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 15: Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets looks on as they play against the Houston Texans in the first quarter at MetLife Stadium on December 15, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
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In the New York Jets Monday Mailbag, we answer all your Jets Twitter questions weekly. In this edition, we discuss draft strategy, free agent running backs and more.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the New York Jets Monday Mailbag here on The Jet Press! This is a new series that will look to answer any and all questions you may have about anything and everything pertaining to the Jets.

To have your question included in future editions make sure to follow us on Twitter at @TheJetPress and be on the lookout for a tweet every Friday or Saturday asking for your questions.

In this edition of the series, we will discuss the potential 2019 NFL Draft strategies, a couple of free agent running backs, and much more.  With that, let’s get on with our questions.

What should be the #Jets top priority this off season? Solidifying the defense? Or making sure Sam Darnold is protected and has the weapons around him?

— Alex Buren???*NYK*NYJ*NYY* (@fromNyC2Prov) February 25, 2019

Without a doubt the number one priority for the Jets this offseason must be making life easier for young signal-caller Sam Darnold. That will include shoring up the team’s offensive line and adding potential playmakers to a depleted supporting cast.

While the Jets could use some help at cornerback and edge remains a definite need, the offense should be the team’s top priority and all other elements of the offseason should revolve around it.

That begins with free agency where the Jets will need to acquire at least one starting interior lineman and preferably two skill position players. Whether that’s a receiver, a running back, or both, the Jets must do what they can to land starting-caliber offensive pieces in free agency.

In the draft, the team will need to do more of the same. While they could target a defensive player with their first pick and should sign an edge rusher in free agency, the bulk of their offseason acquisitions will undoubtedly be on the offensive side of the ball.

Assuming the jets trade back and get a 2nd rounder in the trade, which wr would we be able to draft there. Which wrs will have been already drafted?

— Bubba Beck (@DanielB05986155) March 3, 2019

This might have been my favorite question of the week as there are so many good receivers in this class that fall in that late-Day 1, early-Day 2 range. This wide receiver class may not be as top heavy as next year’s is likely to be, but it’s sneaky deep.

To answer the second part of your question first, I would presume Ole Miss’ D.K. Metcalf will have been gone by this point as his combine performance has locked him in as a first-round pick. From there, however, things get tricky.

Receivers such as NC State’s Kelvin Harmon, Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry, and Ole Miss’ A.J. Brown could all be targeted late in the first round but it’s unlikely all three of them go that early. At least one of them should fall to the second round and join a host of other receiver targets as likely Day 2 picks.

The likes of Stanford’s J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown, South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel, and Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler are all potential second-round selections as well.

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If you’re looking for a player with a high floor, Harmon would be your guy but he doesn’t possess the same ceiling as a player like Harry or even Brown does. If I had to say now, I think it’s most likely you see Metcalf, Harry, and one other player (take your pick from the above list) go in the first round.

In terms of a fit for the Jets, I’d say Arcega-Whiteside fits the bill as a player who could step in and be that potential No. 1 receiver the team has been looking for. Butler is another guy who could be a top receiving target at the next level but he’ll need considerably more refinement to get to that level.

Either way, the Jets have options on Day 2 at receiver, especially if they could trade back and pick up a second-round pick.

When does position need mean more than the value of the pick? Jets seem to have drafted for “value” with little results over the years.

— Robert Lee (@Jetsbum2004) March 2, 2019

This is such a complex question as there’s no one, true way to go about the draft. Depending on how the board falls, a team could be better off drafting for need or could be best suited just taking a best-player-available approach.

I suppose as a general rule you could say it’s alright to reach a little bit, but don’t reach too much. You can go after a player who may be valued slightly below where you’re picking, but don’t pick a player top-10 when they’re projected as a mid-to-late round prospect — *cough* Ereck Flowers *cough*.

Moreover, don’t reach for a need when there’s an elite talent staring you in the face. That rule is more debatable and could depend on the situation but it’s a part of the reason why some feel the Jets should draft Quinnen Williams over Josh Allen if he’s available at No. 3. While I’m not as high on Allen as others, I’d still probably want to take him over Williams but I could definitely see the argument.

As an overall rule, however, I’m typically more in favor of drafting for need in the earlier rounds and taking a BPA approach as the draft goes on. But again, there’s no one, set draft mandate.

What is more important to the Jets, protecting Sam Darnold or finding a premier pass rusher in free agency/draft?

— Jake Spriggs (@SpriggsyFresh) March 4, 2019

This is very similar to the question a couple of entries ago so I won’t spend too long here. But essentially, helping out Darnold should be the Jets number one priority this offseason.

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That includes solidifying a shoddy offensive line by adding two new starters in the coming months. The interior of the offensive line needs major work with glaring holes at the left guard and center position. Expect the Jets to sign at least one starting-caliber offensive lineman in free agency and either address the other spot in the draft or double-up on the open market.

Although edge rusher is definitely one of the team’s biggest needs, the defense was able to survive well enough without a top-tier one last season. Now, I fully expect the team to sign a decent pass rusher in free agency with possible targets being players like Preston Smith, Dante Fowler, or even Trey Flowers.

Still, the top priority must be building an offense around Darnold and that starts with solidifying the offensive line.

Who u guys want the Jets to get: Tevin Coleman or Mark Ingram?

— Paul la rock (@la_rock256) March 3, 2019

If the Jets don’t land Le’Veon Bell in free agency, which is looking increasingly likely by the day, they will need to resort to contingency plans at the running back position. While Mark Ingram would be an upgrade over their current situation, I’d rather stay away and sign a player like Tevin Coleman.

Ingram is 29-years-old and is fresh off his worst season in terms of production in five years. His 2018 season was headlined by a four-game PED suspension to start the season and although his split time with Alvin Kamara definitely hurt his numbers, his age and lack of recent productivity scare me away.

Coleman is still only 25-years-old and has never been given a true lead back role, apart from this past season in place of the injured Devonta Freeman. While the Jets would be best served to add a back to run in between the tackles to complement Coleman’s skill set, he’s a more appealing option than Ingram at the moment.

His market will likely be larger but not too much larger. The only major difference will be the expected length of the contract but I wouldn’t expect there to be much guaranteed money after the second season.

Next. 5 Jets who won't be on the team next year

Coleman is just a more attractive free agent target and I would expect that to hold true for most NFL teams.

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