4 positions of need the NY Jets should avoid early in the 2023 NFL Draft
By Justin Fried
1. The NY Jets should not draft a safety in Round 1
The Jets traded for Baltimore Ravens safety Chuck Clark last month in a deal that quite possibly could be one of their best moves of the entire offseason.
Clark is a starting-caliber safety and locker-room leader who should immediately step into an important role in the Jets' defense. The team should not be done at the position, however. I've maintained that opinion since the trade happened.
Lamarcus Joyner is likely on his way out after a lackluster 2022 season. Jordan Whitehead and Clark are currently penciled in as the team's starting safeties, although the Jets should absolutely look to add a more natural free safety at some point.
The issue is they likely aren't going to find that player early in the draft.
In what is considered to be a very weak safety class, Alabama's Brian Branch is the lone safety prospect expected to be taken in the first round. Branch is a versatile chess piece who should be an early starter, but he doesn't fit the archetype the Jets should be looking for.
If not Branch, there isn't another safety the Jets should consider targeting in the first round. Alabama's Jordan Battle, Florida State's Jammie Robinson, Georgia's Christopher Smith, and Texas A&M's Antonio Johnson are all possible Day 2 targets for the Jets or another team.
That said, none of them are worthy of first-round consideration, let alone the No. 13 overall pick. If the Jets want to address their safety depth in the draft, that's fine.
But if their plan is to add a true starting-caliber player early in the draft, they should probably rethink their approach.