The NY Jets are just days away from a crucial 2020 NFL Draft that will make or break the offseason. We did our best to lay out a blueprint for the team to follow in the draft.
The NY Jets are approaching what promises to be one of the more important drafts in recent memory. After making minimal moves in free agency, general manager Joe Douglas has decided to stake his offseason and the future of the team on the 2020 NFL Draft.
It’s a noble strategy, but one that only works if you actually hit on your draft picks. And that’s not exactly something the Jets have done very well in recent history.
Nonetheless, the Jets will enter the draft with a number of key positions in need of fixing. From offensive line to cornerback, the Jets will have no shortage of needs to address.
However, properly addressing those needs is almost like a puzzle. When should each position be addressed? When is it okay to reach for a need? Is it plausible to justify taking a best-player-available approach?
Those are all questions the Jets will have to ask themselves in preparation for the draft.
At the same time, all of that preparation could go out the window by the time draft day actually arrives. Surprise selections are made and teams move up and down the board in unpredictable ways.
There is no algorithm for the NFL Draft — only speculation.
With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to draw up a general blueprint that the team should follow in this year’s draft. Let’s take a look at what we came up with.
Next: Day 1 Plan
Day 1 Plan
The Jets’ plan on Day 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft should be a relatively simple one in theory, but it could get complicated depending on how the board falls.
While there has been speculation that the team could use their first-round pick to add one of the top wide receivers in this class, it still feels like a forgone conclusion that they use this selection on an offensive lineman.
Who that might be is a completely different story, but we’re going to go ahead and assume that a lineman is their top target.
Of the star-studded top-four in this class, the Jets have done the most pre-draft work on Louisville’s Mekhi Becton and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas. Does that mean that Alabama’s Jedrick Wills Jr. and Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs are completely out of the running?
No, but it does perhaps give a glimpse into who the Jets favor.
Becton is considered to have the most upside out of any in this class and it’s safe to believe that if he’s on the board at No. 11 that he’ll be the pick. However, don’t count out the Jets rolling with the steady Thomas who has ample starting experience at left tackle.
Of course, there’s also been chatter that the team could look to trade down if the right offer presented itself — perhaps with a team like the Atlanta Falcons. That notion only makes sense if they still feel they could get one of those top four tackles.
Ultimately, the Jets’ first-round plan is a sound one — draft the best available offensive tackle on their board. It doesn’t matter who that player is or how the board ends up falling, that strategy shouldn’t change.
Only if all four of the top offensive tackles are gone by pick 11 can you then consider taking one of the top wide receivers. But it seems highly unlikely that happens.
Don’t overthink this — come away with a top-tier offensive line prospect.
Next: Day 2 Plan
Day 2 Plan
Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft will be where the Jets address the needs they didn’t in the first round. In our blueprint, we have the Jets using their first-round on an offensive lineman.
That means that Day 2 should be all about adding wide receiver talent.
This year’s class is historically stacked at the receiver position and the Jets are in a prime situation to take full advantage of the depth of this class. With three Day 2 selections (two third-rounders), there is no reason the Jets can’t come out of Friday with multiple new receivers on the roster.
Given the barren state of their depth chart, it almost seems necessary to double-up at the position.
Of the Day 2 receiver options, some of the most intriguing are Michael Pittman Jr., Chase Claypool, Van Jefferson, Bryan Edwards, Laviska Shenault, Tee Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and Brandon Aiyuk.
Coming away with at least one of those players is a must for Gang Green, but leaving with two would be a home-run of a Day 2.
If not, the Jets could always look to bolster their interior offensive line or add an edge rusher. It all depends on how the board falls.
But Day 2 is all about continuing to fill the most pressing needs on the roster. And without a shadow of a doubt, these two rounds should primarily focus on adding receiver talent.
Next: Day 3 Plan
Day 3 Plan
The Jets have four picks on Day 3 of the 2020 NFL Draft, but have two sixth-rounders instead of a seventh-rounder. And as is the case with most teams, Day 3 of the draft is all about finding hidden gems.
Yes, this will be an area where the Jets should continue to address needs. Any of their top needs (offensive line, wide receiver, cornerback, edge rusher) not addressed already must be targeted at this spot.
But this will also be a part of the draft to fill out the depth on the roster. That means adding potential backups at running back, safety, or even quarterback.
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The Jets could use a young running back to develop behind Le’Veon Bell who very well could be a cap casualty after the upcoming season. There is no clear successor to Bell on the roster at the moment so look for the Jets to possibly find his eventual replacement on Day 3 of the draft.
And at the end of the day, don’t count out adding another receiver in this spot. The Jets selected three wide receivers back in the now infamous 2014 class — Jalen Saunders, Shaquelle Evans, and Quincy Enunwa.
Two of those three players never caught a pass for the Jets, but the strategy could be a similar one. The 2014 class was notoriously deep at receiver and the Jets looked to take full advantage of that by taking three players at the position.
Unfortunately, they just so happened to take the wrong players, but the notion is still the same. Don’t be shocked to see Joe Douglas load up at wide receiver in this year’s draft.
The Jets will have their most flexibility on Day 3, but their strategy should continue to focus on bolstering positions of weakness and adding overall roster depth.