The New York Jets must break the trend of recent years and plan on selecting an offensive player in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
General manager Joe Douglas should have ample opportunities to execute that plan in the offseason, but there will perhaps be no better opportunity than in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft.
For years, the Jets have leaned more towards defense in the early rounds of drafts. With the exception of Sam Darnold in 2018, the Jets haven’t selected an offensive player in the first round of the NFL Draft since the franchise took Mark Sanchez sixth overall way back in 2009.
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That’s right, it’s been 14 years since the Jets drafted an offensive player that wasn’t a quarterback in the first round. That is an unbelievable stat — one that helps explain the Jets’ offensive struggles over the years.
This year, things must be different.
No more interior defensive linemen. No more failed edge rush projects or failed defensive backs. Jamal Adams is great and Quinnen Williams could one day be a very solid player, but neither is helping the Jets score points.
With an obvious need along the offensive line and a huge hole at wide receiver, the Jets can’t afford to go in a different direction this April. No more “best player available” approach.
The Jets need to fill their needs — and they shouldn’t have any problem doing so.
With three offensive tackles projected as top-15 picks, the Jets should be able to snag at least one of them. The odds are that one of either Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr., or Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs will fall to pick No. 11.
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And if the worst possible scenario happens and all are taken earlier, the Jets should have an opportunity to select a top-tier receiver prospect.
Whether that’s Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy, Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, or even the speedy Henry Ruggs III, Gang Green will be able to add a very talented receiver in Round 1 if that’s the route they choose to take.
There’s been talk of the team drafting a player like Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson and while Simmons is an incredible prospect in his own right, it just wouldn’t make much sense for the Jets.
Simmons is a linebacker/safety hybrid who plays all over the field for Clemson’s defense. But where exactly does he fit in with the Jets who have off-ball linebacker and safety all but locked-up?
The Jets defense overachieved with third and fourth stringers playing important positions last season. Gregg Williams’ unit doesn’t need nearly as much help as Adam Gase’s offense does.
Simply put, the defense will be fine. That doesn’t mean to neglect it, but it does mean that it shouldn’t be prioritized.
The Jets need to invest major draft capital into their offense in order to maximize Darnold’s potential and set the team up for any kind of success next season and into the future.
After all, it doesn’t matter if you stop the opponent from scoring. If you can’t score, you aren’t going to win any games.
The Jets found that out the hard way too many times in 2019 and that trend should only continue if changes aren’t made.
It’s time to buck the failed trends of previous regimes. It’s time to draft offense in the first round.