When it comes to the 2019 NFL draft, the New York Jets should approach every decision with the same question: “How does this help Sam Darnold?”
Last year, the Jets spent three-second round picks just to move up three spots in the NFL draft, hoping to land one of the top quarterbacks in the class. They did just that, getting USC star Sam Darnold to captain the franchise into the next era.
After a 2018 season that had understandable growing pains with a rookie passer, the Jets are poised to take a giant leap with Darnold at the helm in 2019.
That makes it paramount that the team do everything it can to build up Darnold’s supporting cast, giving him everything he needs to take full advantage of his talent, and return the Jets to being perennial playoff contenders.
Though they don’t have a second-round pick in this year’s draft, the Jets currently own the No. 3 overall pick, as well as a pair of third-rounders, thanks to last year’s trade that sent veteran backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the New Orleans Saints. While most have pegged an edge rusher to the Jets in the first round, that still gives the Jets a pair of Day 2 picks to build around Darnold.
Even adding a talented pass rusher like Kentucky’s Josh Allen could end up making life easier for Darnold, helping to improve the defense and give their young quarterback less pressure and fewer points to put up. Signing C.J. Mosley was an important start, but after missing out on Anthony Barr, the defense is still missing that impact player who can wreak havoc off the edge.
Signing Le’Veon Bell solidifies the running back spot and should help keep the offense balanced, so the Jets won’t need to target that position in this draft. Adding a reliable, explosive slot receiver like Jamison Crowder will give Darnold a safety valve that can also make big plays after the catch. That should leave the Jets targeting offensive line help early in this draft, both at either tackle spot and along the interior.
Everything the Jets have done so far this offseason has been about helping their young quarterback turn them back into a winner. The 2019 NFL draft should be no different.