The NY Jets are desperately in need of an upgrade at the wide receiver position in the offseason, but they shouldn’t turn to free agency for the solution.
The NY Jets have a pretty sizable need at wide receiver that general manager Joe Douglas will certainly look to address in the offseason. But if they’re smart there’s only one avenue they’ll use to fix their issues.
The 2020 NFL Draft is expected to be ripe with wide receiver talent. Some have even been calling it the best receiver class since the famously stacked 2014 class that featured the likes of Odell Beckham, Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, Davante Adams, and Allen Robinson — just to name a few.
And if the Jets wish to upgrade at the position, they’ll forgo free agency in favor of the upcoming draft.
Gang Green holds the No. 11 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft as well as a second-rounder and two third-rounders. That should give them ample draft capital to make something happen in late April.
At the moment, their first-round draft choice seems to have been narrowed down to two positions — offensive line and the aforementioned wide receiver. How the board falls and how free agency plays out will determine much of what the Jets do here.
But either way, expect the team to address receiver in the first two rounds.
If they do so in the first round, they might have the chance to land a truly elite receiver prospect in either Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy or Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb. The two have effectively been labeled WR1-A and WR1-B by many with a pick-your-skill-set kind of approach that needs to be taken.
Jeudy is the more polished route runner who can separate better than maybe anyone in the class while Lamb is more physical and can win downfield slightly better. Regardless, both project as Pro Bowlers at the next level.
That’s one route the Jets could take, but the more likely scenario would be to see the team take advantage of the depth in this class and address the position on Day 2. Players like Justin Jefferson, K.J. Hamler, Jalen Reagor, and Brandon Aiyuk are more likely in this range.
Landing any of the above could give the Jets a Day 1 starter on the outside to pair with Jamison Crowder and a second boundary receiver.
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That second boundary receiver could also come by way of the draft if the Jets look to get really young and double-up at the position. Or the team could roll with Quincy Enunwa for another season and bank on his health.
And that’s the thing. If Anderson and Cooper are off the table, the options are slim.
For that reason, the Jets would be wise to avoid the free-agent market altogether if they can’t land either Anderson or Cooper. There’s no sense in overpaying a veteran receiver when you could address the position in one of the deepest classes in recent years.
Use that saved money to fill other pressing holes so that you could then use the draft to fill the one at receiver.
That’s the plan the Jets should put in motion. That’s the plan that will provide the best allocation of resources.
And that’s the plan that will fix the offense the quickest.