1. The NY Jets should not target a running back early
When the New York Giants drafted Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, one year later, they looked brilliant.
It’s always a risk to take a running back that high, but it felt like the Giants won the lottery with that selection, as Barkley won the Offensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl.
However, since then, he’s had a few injury problems and has only played 16 of a possible 32 games over the past two seasons.
It’s quite possible that Barkley returns to form, but at the same time, the running back position is so prone to injury that it’s hard to know whether or not he’ll be able to stay healthy for the rest of his career.
There are exceptions to this rule, but every running back is only as good as their offensive line. If you have five guys who can’t block, then it’s not going to matter if you have LaDainian Tomlinson in his prime in the backfield.
As a result, the Jets cannot waste a top pick on a running back. Instead, they need to draft a big offensive lineman to protect the quarterback and, in turn, help the rushing game.
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If your team has the best offensive line, you’re going to be able to make a fifth-round pick look like a first-rounder.
Every year, there’s always a team that selects a running back early because they’re obsessed with a flashy new toy when instead they should have bolstered another position which would have helped the team more.
Najee Harris and Travis Etienne are arguably the top two running backs on the board this year and they’re both projected to go anywhere between the Jets No. 23 and No. 34 picks.
As such, it would be quite easy to draft one of them and excite the fanbase with two offensive studs in the first round. If this was Madden, I’d want that all day, but it’s professional football.
The Jets need to draft a pass-rusher or offensive lineman with the No. 23 and/or No. 34 pick and shy away from a flashy running back because it’ll be the quickest way to rebuild this franchise.