New York Jets: 3 perfect fits in the 2019 NFL Draft
By Jake Spriggs
With the NFL Combine now out of the way, teams now shift their focus to creating their draft boards. The wants and needs vary for most teams, including the New York Jets. Here are three prospects who would be perfect fits for Gang Green in the 2019 NFL Draft.
NFL Draft season is in full swing now as the NFL Combine was recently held in Indianapolis. Scouts and general managers from all over the league came to Indianapolis to figure out who is perfect for them. Draft prospects wowed these scouts and general managers with their stellar workouts and while the combine is somewhat overrated by many people involved with the NFL, it does help prospects improve their draft stock.
The wants and needs vary for most teams as they try to find “their guy” including the New York Jets. The Jets are looking to add talent on both sides of the ball in both free agency and the draft. This offseason is one of the most important in franchise history because the Jets haven’t made the playoffs since 2010 and general manager Mike Maccagnan needs to do everything he can to save his job.
Maccagnan is sitting in a familiar spot as the Jets are once again slated to pick third just like last year. While the third pick in the draft is a nice spot to be in, Maccagnan has a very tough decision to make. Do the Jets stay at three and select a defensive lineman/edge rusher or do they trade down in the draft to collect more picks and begin to rebuild the offensive line?
After watching the combine, here are the top three options for the Jets with the number three spot (if they don’t trade down from three of course).
3. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Protecting quarterback Sam Darnold needs to be the top priority for the Jets this offseason and this year’s draft offers plenty of good offensive linemen. Arguably the best offensive lineman, Jonah Williams from Alabama, would be a good pick to start building a wall in front of Darnold.
Williams played offensive tackle for the Crimson Tide and was one of the most reliable offensive linemen in the nation. He earned All-American honors and was a first-team All-SEC selection in 2018. Williams also started every game he played at Alabama for three years so durability is not a concern.
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Some of Williams’ key strengths are “superior technique, athletic, balanced, and versatile.” Williams versatility would be a huge asset to the Jets because they could line up Williams at any spot on the line. If Williams did stay at offensive tackle, the biggest knock against him would be the length of his arms. At the combine, his arms measured at 33 5/8″ which is below the “ideal” 34 4/8″ measurement for NFL caliber starting offensive tackles.
If arm length is really the only knock against Williams, I think he will be just fine because of the versatility he could bring. The Jets need to do everything they can to build a wall around Darnold next season and drafting Williams would be a great start to that project.
Next: 2. Quinnen Williams
2. Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
Arguably the best player in the NFL Draft, Quinnen Williams, would be a huge get for the Jets if they decide to take him with the third pick. The Alabama defensive tackle helped his case in the “best player in the draft” argument with a great workout at the combine.
Williams ran a blazing 40-yard dash at 4.84 seconds that caught everyone by surprise (Williams is listed at 6’3″ and 303lbs). If the Jets are able to team up Quinnen with Leonard Williams it would be fun for Jets fans but a nightmare for everyone else in the league.
New York Jets reporter Rich Cimini of ESPN had this report from the combine:
Quinnen Williams improves to 4.84u on his second 40. Imagine a Williams-Leo Williams tandem on the #Jets DL. One AFC scout told me, “Those guys would be a nightmare to block.”
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) March 3, 2019
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The Los Angeles Rams made the Super Bowl this season due in large part to their terrifying defensive tackle duo in Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. Although the Rams didn’t win, Donald and Suh made Tom Brady uncomfortable for most of the game. The Jets would be wise to follow that blueprint and pair the Williams men together to make it tough for Brady and Bills quarterback Josh Allen twice a year.
Also, new defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams would fall in love with this duo and line them up wherever he can in his aggressive style of defense. There has been talk that the Jets might stay in the 3-4 defense to make things comfortable for the current defensive players but if you have a chance to draft a game-wrecker in Williams, you adjust your approach.
Quinnen Williams totaled 19.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 2018 for Alabama and NFL scouts have said that “he is an instant starter with Pro Bowl potential.”
Next: 1. Josh Allen
1. Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
If the Jets are ever going to draft a potential Pro Bowl pass rusher, this is the draft to do it. There are about half a dozen pass rushers in this draft with elite talent and Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen is at the top of the class. Allen has been linked to the Jets in many mock drafts recently and he is what the Jets have been looking for at the position.
In 2018, Allen brought home lots of hardware for his stellar play for the Wildcats. Allen received the Bronko Nagurski Trophy — awarded to the best defensive player in the NCAA — and was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Allen recorded 17 sacks, 21.5 tackles for loss, and forced five fumbles.
Per New York Jets reporter Rich Cimini of ESPN, Allen was an absolute terror as a pass rusher.
Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen had 17 sacks in 2018, most in single-season by an SEC player since NCAA started counting sacks in 2000. Among players with at least 100 pass rushes, Allen was No. 1 among FBS players in pressure percentage (25.1). Another potential #Jets target.
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) February 26, 2019
Another interesting fact about Allen that Jets fans may not be aware of is that Allen is a local New Jersey product. He played his senior year of high school football at Montclair High School after moving back from Alabama. He led the state of New Jersey in quarterback sacks and was named First-Team All-State his senior season.
Allen has all the tools to become an elite pass rusher in the NFL and he would finally fill a decade long need for the Jets if selected.