5. The NY Jets need to add a pass-rushing specialist at the EDGE spot
Before the start of the 2021 season, the strength of the Jets’ roster appeared to lie in its defensive front. Unfortunately, injuries to prized free-agent signing Carl Lawson, Bryce Huff, Vinny Curry, and others prevented the team from being able to pressure the quarterback organically with their front four.
As a result, the team finished 26th in total sacks and 27th in pressure percentage amongst teams per Pro Football Reference. That production (or lack thereof) won’t cut it in Robert Saleh’s aggressive 4-3 defense that requires its front to pressure the quarterback to limit explosive plays.
Assuming Lawson fully recovers from his Achilles injury, the team’s lackluster sack and pressure totals should increase across the board.
However, the Jets would be wise to add a talented pass rusher or two to build depth within that position room and ensure that they have a surplus of players who can create havoc in the backfield and pressure the quarterback.
An obvious solution would be using one of their first-round selections on a deep and talented EDGE class. While it’s unlikely that either of Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson or Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux fall to the fourth pick, they would provide a considerable boost and upside to the Jets’ front if one of them were to fall.
If neither of those two was available, there are several edge options the Jets could explore at various spots in the draft such as Purdue’s George Karlaftis, Michigan’s David Ojabo, Penn State’s Arnold Ebiketie, and several other intriguing players.
While some might consider an edge selection a luxury pick, the defensive front is the key to the Jets' defensive scheme, and investing in the position group would benefit the front and the back seven.