5 early contenders for the NY Jets first-round pick in 2023

NY, Jets Jaxon Smith-Njigba
NY, Jets Jaxon Smith-Njigba / Harry How/GettyImages
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4. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

There is a chance that all three offensive tackles will be gone, forcing the Jets to look elsewhere. What’s the next best thing the Jets can do to help whoever their new quarterback is? Give him another receiver to throw to.

Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios seem like they could be cap casualties, so there will be a need for a third wide receiver next to Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore 

Smith-Njiba did not play much this year due to a hamstring injury, but he was dominant in 2021. In his sophomore season, he racked up 95 catches for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns.

Smith-Njiba received praise from Garrett Wilson, who called him "probably the best" he’s ever seen at wide receiver. Wilson has played with the likes of Chris Olave, Jameson Williams, and even Marvin Harrison Jr., so that is quite the compliment.

As mentioned, it will be hard for the Jets to not take an offensive tackle if one is available, but if not, Smith-Njiba would be a great option.

5. Brian Branch, S, Alabama

If the Jets want to address the defensive side of the ball, they can fill one of their biggest needs with Brian Branch. Lamarcus Joyner is a free agent and Jordan Whitehead is potentially another cap casualty, so safety will be a big need.

Branch played all over the field over his three seasons at Alabama. 2022 was his best season, gathering 90 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, three sacks, and two interceptions. Branch is also an extremely impressive tackler, having missed only four tackles in his college career, per PFF.

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The 13th overall pick could be a little rich for a safety, but Branch is a really good player who would help the Jets' already impressive defense.