NY Jets: Why the team should take a wide receiver in the first round

NY Jets (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets have a lot of needs going into the 2020 NFL Draft and the case could be made for drafting players from almost any position. However, their most pressing need is wide receiver and the Jets should use their first-round pick to draft one.

Amidst all of the pandemic-related craziness and event cancellations, sports fans still have one thing left to look forward to. Although it was changed to a virtual format, the 2020 NFL Draft is going to proceed as scheduled. Starting this Thursday, the NY Jets will be on the clock.

Like every other team in the league, the Jets will be trying to determine how best to use their valuable draft picks. They will carefully weigh team needs against what players are available, trying to acquire the best combination of young players possible.

When it comes to the draft, there are no easy answers. Teams routinely make mistakes, making bad picks that can set them back for years.

Even the experts often get drafting wrong. With that understanding in mind, I won’t presume to know what players the Jets should or shouldn’t draft.

Vernon Gholston heads list of Jets' all-time draft busts https://t.co/M3C6dEQzsg

— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) April 13, 2017

But I will vehemently argue for this: the Jets should use their first-round pick on a wide receiver.

It is no secret that the Jets have a lot of roster holes. Offensive line was particularly a weak spot last year and a compelling argument could be made that the Jets should take an offensive tackle with their first pick.

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However, Jets general manager Joe Douglas has already made a litany of moves to address the team’s offensive line. Douglas has re-signed offensive linemen Alex Lewis while also bringing in newcomers Greg Van Roten, George Fant, Connor McGovern, and Josh Andrews.

These players are not stars and the Jets could easily use a legitimate Pro Bowler on the offensive line. That said, the franchise is significantly weaker at wide receiver than they are on the offensive line.

The Jets did not have a good core of wide receivers last year (no player even reached 850 receiving yards), but the unit somehow looks to be even worse in 2020.

Their No. 1 wide receiving threat, Robby Anderson, left for the Carolina Panthers via free agency. Adding Breshad Perriman may help to fill that void, but he is largely unproven.

As it stands now, the Jets’ top three wide receivers for this upcoming season project to be:

  1. Perriman (has only eclipsed 500 yards in a season once)
  2. Jamison Crowder (a legitimate wide receiver but he specializes in the slot)
  3. Quincy Enunwa (has a chronic neck injury, and it is unknown if he will ever catch another pass in the NFL)

There are a few other intriguing names on the roster (i.e. Josh Doctson, Vyncint Smith), but the bottom line is the Jets’ current receiving core is a hodgepodge of injured and unproven players.

It would be difficult to argue that any other team in the league has a worse collection of pass-catchers.

The good news is that there are three wide receivers who project to be first-round talents in the 2020 NFL Draft — Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III. There are pros and cons to all three players, and a compelling case could be made to draft any one of them.

Next. NY Jets: 3 late-round gems to target in the 2020 NFL Draft

But the bottom line is that the Jets need to use their first-round pick on one of those players and find quarterback Sam Darnold a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver for the upcoming season.