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3 burning questions for Jets heading into the 2019 NFL Draft

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 31: New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan stands on the sidelines during their preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on August 31, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 31: New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan stands on the sidelines during their preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on August 31, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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The 2019 NFL Draft is Thursday and the New York Jets have some questions that need to be answered during the three-day event. Here are the 3 burning questions that must be answered by general manager Mike Maccagnan and the Jets front office.

On Thursday night at 8 p.m., all of the mock drafts will finally go away and all of the draft rumors will come to an end. The 2019 NFL Draft is expected to be a wild one especially with no consensus player being named the number one pick. The top 5, even the top 10, picks in the draft is anybody’s guess right now and it will only take one team’s draft selection to shake up the first round.

The New York Jets enter the draft with six scheduled draft picks, including the third pick in the first round. Last year, the Jets traded up to the third pick in the draft and ended up taking USC quarterback Sam Darnold who showed promise in his rookie season. Now the Jets can focus on the defensive side of the ball if they so choose to in this year’s draft, which happens to be pretty loaded with defensive talent.

Fans and draft analysts will have many questions about who the team will take and what direction this franchise is headed. This is arguably the most important yet for general manager Mike Maccagnan who needs to ace this draft test. Anyways, let’s get to it, here are three burning questions that the Jets face entering the 2019 NFL Draft.

Next: 1. Will the Jets trade the No. 3 pick?

New York Jets
New York Jets

1. Will the Jets trade the No. 3 pick?

The most talked about storyline for the Jets entering the 2019 NFL Draft is “will they or won’t they trade away the number three pick?”

The Jets are open to trading the third overall pick according to Maccagnan, but they won’t trade it away for cheap. If the Jets find a team willing to compensate them nicely, then the Jets could move down in the first round. However, if the Jets don’t find a suitable partner to trade with, they would be happy staying at three. Staying at three would allow the Jets to draft one of the elite defensive prospects (Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, Josh Allen) who could become a cornerstone player.

Maccagnan spoke with the media on Tuesday after the team’s first voluntary mini-camp practice about his thought process heading into the draft. Here is what Maccagnan had to say according to a Tweet from ESPN NFL Nation reporter Rich Cimini.

Draft update. #Jets pic.twitter.com/53S7kRldSz

— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) April 23, 2019

The smart thing for Maccagnan would be to stay at three and let the draft come to him. Maccagnan has had better luck having players fall to him in the top 10 than trying to evaluate mid-late first round prospects. Since Maccagnan became general manager in 2015, the draft has been his biggest flaw. Hopefully, Maccagnan doesn’t overthink it on Thursday night and just lets the draft come to him. There is always a player that falls in the top 5 somehow.

Next: 2. Will the Jets draft an edge rusher?

LEXINGTON, KY – SEPTEMBER 01: Josh Allen #41 of the Kentucky Wildcats plays against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Commonwealth Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, KY – SEPTEMBER 01: Josh Allen #41 of the Kentucky Wildcats plays against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Commonwealth Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

2. Will the Jets draft an edge rusher?

The Jets need to draft an edge rusher, the Jets need to draft an edge rusher, THE JETS NEED TO DRAFT AN EDGE RUSHER!

Other than quarterback, edge rusher has been the top need for the Jets for over a decade. Not since the days of John Abraham have the Jets had a consistent edge rusher. Will this finally be the year the Jets draft an elite edge rusher who can transform the defense?

If there is ever year to fill that need, this is the year to do it. The 2019 NFL Draft is the is the deepest and the most talented defensive prospects that I can remember in a very long time. There is Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen, who led the nation with 17 sacks in 2018. There is also Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, who is arguably the best prospect in this draft and can provide pressure up the middle. We also can’t forget about Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa who was hurt for most of 2018 but has the physical/mental tools to be an elite edge rusher in the NFL.

There is so much talent on the defensive side of the ball, especially at edge rusher, that it would be completely shocking if the Jets didn’t draft one. However, when you think you know what one team is going to do, they do the exact opposite. Smart money is on the Jets picking an edge rusher at three but Jets fans must remain cautiously optimistic until the pick is actually announced.

Next: 3. Will the Jets continue to address offensive line?

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 30: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets talks with Jonotthan Harrison #78 before a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 30: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets talks with Jonotthan Harrison #78 before a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

3. Will the Jets continue to address offensive line?

Quarterback Sam Darnold is the most prized possession for the New York Jets. He showed promise in 2018, especially towards the end of the season, that he could be a decade long Pro Bowl quarterback. However, Darnold did face major pressure in the pocket last season, probably more than Maccagnan wanted his rookie quarterback too.

Darnold threw 17 touchdowns in 2018, but also threw 15 interceptions and was sacked 30 times. Darnold’s 15 interceptions were tied for second-most in the NFL. Now, some of those picks were on Darnold trying to force things but some of them were due to his shaky offensive line. The Jets started to rebuild the offensive line around him this off-season.

The Jets acquired former Oakland Raiders offensive guard Kelechie Osemele via a trade with the Black & Silver. The Jets also did the smart thing by not bringing back Spencer Long and James Carpenter who both dealt with injuries/poor performance all season long. The rebuild can’t end with just Osemele, as the Jets need to address the offensive line the in middle rounds.

I would expect the Jets to target offensive linemen in the third round since they currently don’t have a second round pick due to the Darnold trade in 2018. Gang Green needs to continue building a wall in front of Darnold in the draft to help fulfill his potential as a franchise quarterback.

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