The NY Jets could target these three positions in next year’s 2021 NFL Draft.
NY Jets‘ general manager Joe Douglas seems to have done an excellent job in his first draft with the organization. Of course, it will likely be years before we truly have a feel for just how well he did.
But on the surface, the initial output seems strong.
From addressing some of the team’s biggest needs in the first couple of rounds to landing some excellent mid-round value, Douglas seemed to maximize his resources — for the most part — and improve the roster as a whole.
However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still work to be done.
Even if everything goes right in 2020, the Jets’ roster is likely still at least a year away from competing. The roster was incredibly flawed going into the offseason meaning that there was only so much Douglas could do.
After all, you only have a certain amount of cap space and a limited amount of draft capital. Fixing the roster in one offseason was always going to be an impossible task.
So even though it may be far too early to predict what will happen in a year from now, what positions could the Jets be looking to address next April?
We take a look at three positions the Jets could target in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Next: 3. Offensive line
3. The NY Jets could target an offensive lineman in the 2021 NFL Draft
The Jets clearly placed an emphasis on rebuilding the offensive line in the offseason and the result is a completely different looking unit going into the 2020 season.
But despite these changes, there’s still work to be done.
The Jets clearly hope that they’ve found their left tackle of the future, but what about on the right side? The plan is still for Chuma Edoga to get every opportunity to prove that he’s the long-term starter, but if he fails again in 2020 don’t expect the team to hesitate to move on.
Meanwhile, the center position seems secure for the next three years but neither guard position has a long-term solution. Sure someone like Cameron Clark could develop into a future starter, but there are more question marks than answers at the moment.
For that reason, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Jets address the offensive line again in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Heading into the season, the top name on everyone’s board is Oregon tackle Penei Sewell who many are dubbing the best offensive line prospect to come out in years.
Behind him, players like Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood, Clemson’s Jackson Carman, and Texas’ Samuel Cosmi make up what appears to be a very strong offensive tackle class.
And if they were to address the interior offensive line, the likes of Ohio State’s Wyatt Davis, Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey, and Tennessee’s Trey Smith all check out as possible first-round prospects.
The 2021 NFL Draft appears to be ripe with offensive line talent and the Jets could take full advantage once again.
Next: 2. Edge rusher
2. The NY Jets could target an edge rusher in the 2021 NFL Draft
The Jets have ignored the edge rusher position for far too long. It’s been well over a decade since the franchise had a true pass-rush threat on the edge — possibly since the days of John Abraham.
And while the Jets did address the position with the third-round selection of Jabari Zuniga, their woes are far from over.
For starters, Zuniga is more of a hybrid tweener than anything and even if he exceeds all expectations in 2020, the Jets would still have one of the weakest depth charts in the NFL.
They need help and perhaps they could find that help in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Much like with the case of Sewell, there appears to be one predominant favorite for the best edge in the upcoming class — Miami’s Gregory Rousseau. In fact, plenty of early mock drafts have the Jets selecting Rousseau who is a consensus top-10 pick at the moment.
Rousseau is definitely the most notable prospect and if his production could begin to match his traits, he should solidify himself as one of the best players in the 2021 NFL Draft.
If not Rousseau, the likes of Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, fellow Miami product Quincy Roche, or even Wake Forest’s Carlos Basham Jr. represent possible options. And yes, that’s the cousin of current Jets outside linebacker, Tarell Basham.
While the offense still needs the most work, don’t be surprised to see the Jets finally address the edge rusher position in the first round of next year’s draft.
Next: 1. Wide receiver
1. The NY Jets could target a wide receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft
The 2020 NFL Draft was considered perhaps the best wide receiver class in recent memory with eight of the first 34 picks — nearly 25 percent — being wide receivers.
Perhaps that seems like an anomaly, but the 2021 NFL Draft is already set to rival that number.
While the likes of Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs dominated headlines leading up to this past April, we should be set to hear some new names emerge during this coming season.
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Reigning Biletnikoff Award winner, Ja’Marr Chase out of LSU, is the consensus top prospect in the class, but players like Alabama’s Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle (yes two more Alabama receivers), and Purdue’s Rondale Moore could give him a run for his money.
And for a Jets team still desperate for wide receiver help, the upcoming class should provide all the opportunities they need for improvement.
The Jets opted to select only one receiver in this year’s draft in second-round pick Denzel Mims. While many saw that as an oversight on Douglas’ part, others believed that he was looking ahead to next year and seeing the opportunities that await.
Even if Mims develops, Breshad Perriman likely isn’t a long-term solution on the outside. That would leave Mims and Jamison Crowder — who would be heading into the final year of his contract — as the only two realistic starting options on the roster.
The Jets still need a ton of help at the wide receiver position and fortunately for them, the 2021 NFL Draft could provide them with the help they are seeking.