Top 5 players the NY Jets should completely avoid in 2023 NFL Draft
By Justin Fried
4. The NY Jets should not target Arkansas LB Drew Sanders
The Jets could be in the market for linebacker help in the draft. C.J. Mosley is returning, but the Jets could theoretically get out of his deal next offseason. Quincy Williams was re-signed, but he's nothing more than a complementary piece.
Not to mention, the Jets still don't have a third linebacker. They could re-sign Kwon Alexander or roll with the young guys on their roster (Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen), but another option is the 2023 NFL Draft.
This year's draft lacks elite talent at the linebacker position, and there's a chance that none of the top linebackers in this class are taken on Day 1. If any are drafted early, however, Arkansas' Drew Sanders probably has the best shot.
At 6-foot-4, 234 pounds, Sanders combines excellent size with impressive athleticism to give him a super high ceiling in the NFL. After two years as a core special teamer at Alabama, Sanders transferred to Arkansas in 2022 and immediately became a star.
Sanders' raw talent and potential are obvious, but there are enough red flags to give me pause. He's still an incredibly inconsistent tackler, having missed a whopping 19.6 percent of tackles last season. That's a major issue that won't be easy to overcome.
On top of that, despite his natural athleticism, Sanders struggled from time to time in man coverage. His best role is probably as a hybrid MIKE linebacker/edge rusher who, if he can harness his potential, might become a really good pro player.
His ceiling is probably someone like Tremaine Edmunds, but it might take him a few years to reach that point. The Jets are probably looking for a linebacker who can contribute right away, and I just don't think the value is there with Sanders.
As a mid-Day 2 pick, I'm fine taking the chance. But as a fringe Day 1 guy, I just don't see it.