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3 defensive needs the NY Jets need to address in the 2022 NFL Draft

NY Jets, C.J. Mosley
NY Jets, C.J. Mosley / Kevin R. Wexler-NorthJersey.com / USA
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NY Jets, Quinnen Williams / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

1. The NY Jets need a defensive tackle

Although it may fly under the radar, defensive tackle presents a sizable hole on the Jets' defense, albeit not as dire as other needs.

The Jets finished 29th in rush yards allowed last year, allowing 138.3 rush yards per game. This poor performance could be blamed on each level of the defense, but the defensive line proved particularly poor against the run.

Quinnen Williams performed admirably, but could not make up for the complete lack of help from the other defensive tackle spot. Foley Fatukasi, now a Jaguar, was once a good run stuffer for the Jets, earning a great 80.1 PFF grade in ’20, but struggled in ’21 for Gang Green.

Sheldon Rankins and Nathan Shepherd also return but played poorly last season, as Rankins registered a 46.1 and Shepherd barely broke 50 in terms of PFF grades. Rounding out the position was Jonathan Marshall, a sixth-rounder who played just 76 defensive snaps last season.

While the position looks bleak right now, though, there is a caveat. With Carl Lawson returning at edge rusher and the Jets likely to draft another defensive end early, John Franklin-Myers could potentially kick inside, at least on passing downs.

Franklin-Myers has performed admirably for the Jets, notching a PFF grade above 70 in 2020 and above 80 this past year. However, there is still a need for a reliable run-stuffing defensive tackle for early downs. While the need sounds niche, it proved critical this past season as opposing running backs gashed the Jets' defense.

The draft does have a few options at the position, including standout athlete Jordan Davis. Davis stunned Combine spectators when he ran a 4.78 40-yard dash at 6-foot-6, 341 pounds.

Davis helped lead the great Georgia defense but would likely require too high a pick for the Jets to snag him, as Douglas would have to spend a top-10 pick to get him barring a trade down.

Along with Davis is DeMarvin Leal, who was an excellent defensive lineman for Texas A&M, notching 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in 11 games.

At 6-foot-4, 283 pounds, Leal projects more as a DE/DT hybrid in the NFL, much like JFM, making him less valuable for the Jets who are searching for a true run stuffing DT. Also, like Davis, Leal will not make it to the second round.

A better option for the Jets would probably be Davis’ fellow defensive tackle on that 'Dawgs defense, Devonte Wyatt. Wyatt, who ran a 4.77 40-yard dash at 6-foot-3, 304 pounds, was an excellent run stopper for Georgia who also brings elite athleticism, much like his teammate. Unlike Davis, though, Wyatt could potentially fall to the Jets at pick 35, making him a better value.

Last is Travis Jones, a standout DT from Connecticut who will likely be drafted on Day 2. Another athletic nose tackle, Jones led a bad Huskies defense, notching 7.5 TFLs and 4.5 sacks in the process. Jones brings the best value of the bunch as a Day 2 run plugger who could start stonewalling NFL running backs as a rookie.

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