The NY Jets will be looking to bolster their roster in every way possible in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. Here are three late-round prospects they could look to target.
The NY Jets are just days away from what is expected to be a very significant draft for the franchise. With their eyes on a possible postseason berth next season, the Jets will need all the help they can get as they continue to beef up their roster.
And after a relatively quiet free agency period, general manager Joe Douglas will be relying on the 2020 NFL Draft to do the heavy lifting.
The Jets have a number of dire needs that require addressing and with eight picks in total, they should have ample draft capital to address their most sizable roster holes.
But to do so, they can’t only hit on their early-round picks. Hitting in the first-round is important, but it’s not how you efficiently build a competitive roster. After all, the Jets have found some success in the first round in recent years.
The biggest problem has been finding capable prospects past that point.
Discovering a gem in the late rounds is rewarding, albeit very rare. The Jets haven’t faired very well in the later rounds of the draft over the past few years, but they’ll be looking to buck that trend in this year’s draft.
With that, let’s take a look at three prospects who could help them do just that.
Next: 3. Kyle Murphy
3. Kyle Murphy, OG, Rhode Island
The Jets have placed an emphasis on lean, athletic offensive linemen who combine versatility with durability. And Rhode Island’s Kyle Murphy is the embodiment of those traits — even if he’s far from a perfect prospect.
Murphy, a senior originally from Massachusetts, stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 316 pounds. The two-time first-team All-Conference selection was a four-year starter at Rhode Island starting games at four of the five offensive line spots.
He started his entire freshman season at left guard before switching to right tackle midway through his sophomore season. Murphy would then switch over to left tackle in 2018 where he would start the rest of his college career — save for a long start at center as a junior.
It’s that positional versatility that should be very intriguing to Douglas and the Jets.
On top of that, Murphy has excellent mobility for a player of his size and his athleticism allows him to get up from his stance and into the second level as a pulling guard. He’s likely more of a guard at the next level, but his length could allow him to play tackle in a pinch.
Murphy was seen as a high-character guy at Rhode Island and was voted team captain in his senior season. The 21-year-old must work on his overall core strength and clean up his technique, but the potential is there for him to be a long-term backup/spot starter.
With the proper development, he could even develop into a starting-caliber guard in a zone-heavy scheme.
Murphy is exactly the type of lineman that Douglas values and given that he’s already visited with the Jets, don’t be surprised to see the Rhode Island product end up in green and white before the conclusion of the draft.
Next: 2. Joe Reed
2. Joe Reed, WR, Virginia
This year’s wide receiver class is expected to be one of the deepest in years. And with the vast amount of talent in the class, some good prospects are bound to get overlooked and/or slip through the cracks.
One of those players could be Virginia’s Joe Reed.
Reed isn’t as refined of a receiver as most in this class, but what he lacks in that department he more than makes up for with his versatility. He played both in the slot and outside at Virginia and his reliable hands helped him develop into one of his team’s most proficient offensive threats.
The 22-year-old is an unpolished route-runner who doesn’t possess elite athleticism or separation skills. However, he should have no trouble sticking on a roster.
Reed is an exceptional special teams contributor who was college football’s best kick returner last season. He was named first-team All-American as a kick returner returning two of his five career kicks for touchdowns in his senior season alone.
On top of that, he was used as both a receiver and a runner logging 129 catches and 24 rushes throughout his college career. Reed is a dynamic north-south runner with the ball in his hands who will be limited only by his offensive play-caller’s creativity.
While he doesn’t possess an extremely high ceiling as a receiver, he should find his way on to a roster as a special teamer while playing a part-time role as a gadget player on offense.
An ideal late-round target who could turn out to be one of the steals of the draft.
Next: 1. Derrek Tuszka
1. Derrek Tuszka, EDGE, North Dakota State
The Jets go into the draft needing a pass rusher — what a surprise.
After failing to hit on any of their most recent mid-round pass rusher targets, the Jets could take a flier on North Dakota State’s Derrek Tuszka and land an edge rusher with excellent pass-rushing traits.
Tuszka was a three-year starter at North Dakota State who racked up 28.5 sacks over his final three collegiate seasons including 13.5 in his senior season.
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He still has plenty of room to grow as a run defender, but his athleticism and bend give him sky-high potential as a pass rusher. Tuszka has quick hands and a great first step that allows him to live in the backfield and make plays behind the line of scrimmage on a regular basis.
However, his lack of strength and length oftentimes leaves him exposed in run defense and he often struggles to set the edge. That could make him a limited player early in his career.
But that’s just fine with the Jets who aren’t looking for any more run defenders at the moment. They want pass rush and Tuszka could be just the player they are in need of.
The North Dakota State product can step in immediately and be a situational pass rusher with the potential to develop into an every-down starter if he could work on his edge-setting skills.
And given that he’ll likely be taken in the fifth round or later, the Jets would be foolish to pass on him when given the chance in the later rounds.
He could be just the late-round gem they’re searching for.