NY Jets: 3 positions that definitely don’t need to be addressed in the 2020 NFL Draft
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets have plenty of needs to address in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. But the team shouldn’t have to worry about addressing these three positions.
The NY Jets will turn to the 2020 NFL Draft as they look to fix some of the biggest, most prominent holes on their roster. From offensive line to wide receiver, there should be no shortage of prospects to target in this year’s class.
However, they certainly won’t be targeting every position.
While some areas of the roster remain barren, the Jets are actually quite stacked at a number of positions. After loading up in previous offseasons or just a few weeks ago in free agency, the Jets don’t need to address every area of the roster.
We’re not talking about positions like edge rusher or cornerback that remain top priorities. And we’re not even talking about positions like running back or quarterback that, while not pressing needs, could be addressed in the draft as the team searches for depth.
But the Jets don’t only have quality starters at the following three positions, but they have excellent depth as well. As such, there’s no reason to spend one of their eight draft picks on a player who plays one of these positions.
With that, let’s take a look at three positions the Jets definitely don’t need to address in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Next: 3. Tight end
3. Tight end
The Jets offense needs a ton of work even following a free-agency period in which that side of the ball was the primary focus. But one position on offense that the Jets are set at is tight end.
Starter Chris Herndon missed essentially all of the 2020 season dealing with first a suspension to start the year followed by a hamstring injury that would cost him his season.
In his place, free-agent pickup Ryan Griffin shined hauling in 34 catches for 320 yards and a career-high five touchdowns. The former Houston Texans tight end would start all 13 games he played as he experienced a bit of a career resurgence in New York.
He would parlay his success into a three-year, $10.8 million extension signed back in late November. With an eye on the future, the Jets were optimistic about a one-two punch of Herndon and Griffin at tight end.
But that’s not all.
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The Jets selected West Virginia product Trevon Wesco in the fourth round of last year’s draft with the hope that he could develop into a fixture of the offense as well. His role increased as the season went on and there’s reason to believe it will continue to increase in 2020.
That’s a solid trio of tight ends before special-teamer Daniel Brown is even considered. Not to mention that this year’s tight end class is one of the worst in recent memory.
The Jets have enough talent at tight end that they don’t need to spend a valuable draft selection on one.
They should feel content about a Herndon, Griffin, and Wesco trio and roll into 2020 with the players they already have.
Next: 2. Interior Defensive Line
2. Interior defensive line
The Jets saw the emergence of a number of surprising players on the defensive line in 2019. Whether it was untapped potential from a few of their young players or simply Gregg Williams working his magic, the Jets’ defensive line was a major strength last season.
And after years and years of addressing the interior defensive line in the draft, the Jets must resist the temptation to continue stocking up at the position.
The Jets, of course, selected Alabama’s Quinnen Williams with the third overall pick in last year’s draft. But Williams was hardly the most productive member of the defensive line in 2019.
Players like Folorunso Fatukasi and Nathan Shepherd took massive second-year leaps and finished as some of the defense’s top standouts. Meanwhile, nose tackle Steve McLendon had perhaps the best year of his career at age 34.
Throw in Henry Anderson and his hefty $8.33 million cap hit as well as the production from undrafted rookie Kyle Phillips and the position group might be the deepest on the entire roster.
In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a deeper interior defensive line group in the NFL.
After years of drafting interior defensive lineman after interior defensive lineman, it’s time the Jets finally skip on the position in favor of more important needs.
Next: 1. Linebacker
Following injuries to both C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson, the Jets’ inside linebacker depth was put to the test. That depth was challenged even more when the original backups were also injured.
In the end, the likes of Neville Hewitt, James Burgess, and Blake Cashman all stepped up and did an admirable job filling for the injured starters.
And despite rumors of the Jets moving on from Williamson or not re-signing Hewitt or Burgess in the offseason, the Jets opted to retain all three instead.
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Not only that, they actually signed a proven starter in free agency bringing in former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor. Onwuasor was actually the player tasked with taking over for Mosley and has started 31 games over the past three seasons.
For those keeping score at home, that’s now a whopping six players who have started who have seen significant time as a starter over the past two seasons. With only two starting jobs to go around, it’ll be interesting to see how the Jets divide up their playing time.
Perhaps the team could still move on from Williamson if they find a trade package they like, but it would be foolish to just cut him and get nothing in return. But even if he was traded, they’d still have a surplus of capable linebackers.
There’s no sense in adding another player to an already stacked position especially when that draft capital could be allocated elsewhere.
The Jets have plenty of positions to address in the draft this year, but linebacker is most certainly not one of them.