New York Jets Monday Mailbag: Draft needs, A.J. Green, & more

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30: A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates beating the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30: A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates beating the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

In the New York Jets Monday Mailbag, we answer all your Jets Twitter questions weekly. In this edition, we discuss Jets draft needs, A.J. Green, 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 weekend asking for your questions.

In this edition of the series, we discuss Jets draft needs, a potential A.J. Green trade, and much more. With that, let’s get on with our questions.

What are the odds the Jets trade for AJ Green before camp opens up?

— Rob Follano (@SWlSS) March 17, 2019

The Jets current crop of receivers is already looking better than last season with the addition of Jamison Crowder, but they still lack the depth needed to feel comfortable. On top of that, the unit doesn’t have a true No. 1 receiver and instead is a collection of a trio of solid No. 2 of 3 options, not that that’s a terrible thing.

But don’t expect them to acquire said No. 1 receiver in the form of A.J. Green.

Rumors have swirled around the Cincinnati Bengals receiver given that he will be 31-years-old in 2019 and in the final year of his contract. Since the Bengals aren’t exactly expected to compete, there is a thought that Green could look for one final payday with a team that could compete for a Super Bowl title.

Still, I wouldn’t count on any trade occurring.

Green has stated his desire in the past to remain a part of the organization for his entire career and while he’s run into his share of issues with management, the two sides do seem to be on good terms at the moment.

I’d more expect an extension to get done before the end of the offseason as opposed to a trade. But with the way the NFL’s going nowadays, you never really know.

Would you prefer the Jets using the 3 pick to get Allen/Bosa/or Quinnen Williams or trade down? #TheJetPress

— Spencer Sticek (@SpencerSticek) March 17, 2019

Quick and simple answer: if Bosa is there you take him. There’s no hesitation to be had, no second thoughts. If Nick Bosa is on the board at No. 3, you throw away any other potential options.

If he’s not — which in all likelihood he will not be — that’s when things get interesting.

While I have been vocal in the past about my feelings on Quinnen Williams vs. Josh Allen, I do believe that Allen would be the better pick for the Jets despite Williams being a step ahead as a prospect. With the Jets obvious need at edge rusher and already solid interior defensive line, Allen just makes more sense and it’s not as if he would be a reach with the third pick.

The real hot topic of this question comes with the final option you proposed. Would the Jets be better off taking Allen or trading down?

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Now, the Jets could certainly benefit from trading back in this year’s draft. The team still has some significant holes to fill and with only six picks to make (including the absence of a second-round pick), the Jets don’t necessarily have a ton of draft capital to work with.

However, the better option would be to simply take Allen, call it a day, and look to make do with what you have in the third round and beyond. Although the class is particularly deep at edge rusher, there is quite a significant drop off to the next best edge available.

Florida State’s Brian Burns is intriguing but he’s a bit undersized at the moment and more of a one-trick pony speed rusher. Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat showed out at the combine but his lack of bend and overreliance on power is a cause for concern. Not to mention his recently discovered heart condition.

Allen is far and above the better prospect and while he may not be as sure of a thing as Williams or Bosa, it’d be hard to come away unhappy if he is ultimately the pick come late April.

If the Jets don't get a legitimate number one receiving option, will Darnold have a Sophomore slump year?

— Sports Opinions Podcast (@SportsOpinion30) March 17, 2019

A quarterback’s success is always aided by the talent he is surrounded with, but by no means does not having a true No. 1 receiver preclude a quarterback from future success.

The additions of Jamison Crowder and, of course, Le’Veon Bell will go a long way towards giving Darnold that solid supporting cast that he desperately needs. Combine that with the returning Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, and Chris Herndon and the Jets have a sneaky good skill position group on offense.

Would it be nice to have a top-tier receiver? Absolutely. But some of the league’s top teams have shown in the past that it isn’t necessary for offensive success.

Teams such as the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, and Chicago Bears have all had varying degrees of success as of late without true elite receiver options to throw to. In many ways, it’s better to have a solid core of options on offense as opposed to one star player to force the ball to.

Going back to our first question, clearly having a No. 1 receiver in A.J. Green hasn’t exactly helped Cincinnati out too much. Nor has it helped out quarterback Andy Dalton who remains on the hot seat for yet another season.

Acquiring an elite receiving threat is hard and with all the needs the Jets need to address at the moment, it isn’t exactly a pressing issue. In fact, the way the team has addressed the offensive skill positions in free agency has been just as, if not more effective.

Will the Jets draft a cornerback or center?

— Jake Spriggs (@SpriggsyFresh) March 17, 2019

While there’s still time for the Jets to address either of these positions in free agency, it’s hard to envision a feasible scenario where the team shouldn’t look to solidify these positions in the draft.

In fact, I’d expect these two positions to be addressed with two of the team’s third picks.

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At the very least, the Jets will almost certainly draft an interior lineman in this year’s draft to compete for the starting center job with Jonotthan Harrison or whoever else they may bring in. That pick should be a lock for the top three rounds.

Prospects such as NC State’s Garrett Bradbury and Mississippi State’s Elgton Jenkins are the most appealing, but I’d anticipate that both will be off the board by the time the Jets pick again early in the third round. A trade down in the first round with the acquisition of more picks could, however, make these two viable options.

If not, look for Texas A&M’s Erik McCoy, Boston College’s Chris Lindstrom, and Ohio State’s Michael Jordan to all be considered in the mid-rounds.

At cornerback, the solution gets a bit trickier. Unless the Jets make another move and bring in another defender, the likes of Trumaine Johnson, Darryl Roberts, and Brian Poole are currently penciled in to be the starting trio for the team.

With the team unlikely to address the position with their first two picks, it may be difficult to find a player who could step in and compete for a starting job. But expect the Jets to try anyway.

Players like Vanderbilt’s Joejuan Williams, Michigan State’s Justin Layne, and Kentucky’s Lonnie Johnson could be in this range if the Jets were to take a cornerback with their second third-round selection.

Either way, expect the Jets to address both positions in the draft come April.

Who is a potential sleeper pick that could establish themselves as a steal or pick of the draft in mid rounds for the Jets?

— William Pafford (@paffdaddy9) March 17, 2019

With only six picks in this year’s draft at the time of writing, the Jets will need to make sure that they maximize the few selections that they do have. That means hitting on their mid-round selections, something general manager Mike Maccagnan has struggled with during his tenure with the Jets.

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A name that I’d keep an eye on is cornerback Justin Layne out of Michigan State. Layne is a converted wide receiver who wins with his ball skills and stellar length. At 6-foot-3, Layne is massive for a cornerback and while he doesn’t have top-flight speed, his physicality and play strength allow him to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage.

The Jets would be able to target him with one of their third-round selections of even their fourth-rounder if they are fortunate enough to see him slip. With a little more refinement, Layne could develop into a very good cornerback in the NFL. He’s one of my favorite mid-round secondary players in this year’s class.

Elsewhere, I think that Georgia’s Lamont Gaillard would be pretty good value in the third or fourth round. I wouldn’t expect him to be one of the top four or five centers taken off the board and he could even fall to the fifth round. Gaillard is a bit undersized (at only 6-foot-2, 300 pounds), but he’s tough as nails and a smart, team captain who could very well turn into a 10-year starter in the league.

Finally, a deep sleeper is Nevada edge rusher Malik Reed. Now, Reed is probably never going to be an every-down starter at the edge rusher position. His size limits him to a standup 3-4 outside linebacker as he barely checks in at 250 pounds. But Reed’s bend and athleticism could make him an excellent rotational speed rusher at the next level.

Re-ordering the Jets draft needs after free agency. Next

Given his lack of size and run-stopping ability, I wouldn’t expect Reed to go in the first three or four rounds of the draft making him an option for the Jets in the fifth round if they wish to add another depth pass rusher.