Most of the hype around the 2018 NFL Draft surrounds the third overall pick. The Jets will select a quarterback that can change the franchise’s future instantly. However, there are diamonds in the rough that are found in the later rounds year after year. The Jets have plenty of holes other than quarterback to fill.
Who can fill these spots and also be found in the later rounds of the draft?
The Jets haven’t had an elite pass rusher since John Abraham. They need a guy who can get to the quarterback more than anything else on this roster. An edge would fulfill the defense and truly enhance it so much. The secondary is good, the inside linebackers are good, the run defense is good. Imagine having a guy who can get to the quarterback play by play? The Jets did not get much of a pass rush in 2017, and they will look to find a guy to fill the role in the later rounds.
Josh Sweat, Florida State
Sweat was a phenom during his time with Florida State. Sweat racked 29 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks during his three year span with FSU, and is ready to take his talent to the NFL. Talent wise, he does not belong in round three but his injury history concerns many teams. He nearly had his leg amputated after a horrific knee injury four years ago, but he came back strong. Keep his name in mind on draft night.
Shaquem Griffin, UCF
We’ve all heard the story. The one handed miracle story out of Central Florida is ready to prove all his doubters wrong, and the fans are ready for it. He ran a blazing 4.32 40 yard dash at the combine, faster than any linebacker in quite some time. Griffin is a gamble, but the Jets may put their money on the table and draft him.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 14, 2018
The long lost tight end position. Austin Seferian-Jenkins finally showed some flashes as a viable tight end in the offense, but Mike Maccagnan decided not to resign him and he left for Jacksonville. Although the Jets do have second year player Jordan Leggett, who missed all of 2017 due to injuries, the position could be addressed in the upcoming draft. The Jets hope to find a plausible pass catcher to plug into the offense, especially with a young quarterback looming the surface.
Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
Andrews is shadowed by other tight ends in this draft class, but this man has some serious value. He was Baker Mayfield’s favorite target in 2017. Imagine they reunite in the pros? Andrews put up 1,765 receiving yards during his career in Oklahoma, including a monster showing of 958 yards in 2017. The 6’5 monster could provide Mayfield, or any quarterback, with a big red zone target.
Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan
A very quiet name in this draft class, Conklin has played well in his college career. Conklin put up a respectable 1,159 yards and 11 TD’s in his three year career with Central Michigan. He balled during his pro day, and the one and only Mike Maccagnan was in attendance. Don’t be surprised to hear his name in rounds 5-6.
Although the line isn’t terrible, it isn’t very good either. The Jets will look in the later rounds to find a guy to protect the quarterback in 2018, and a few names come to mind. With injury prone players in Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater, an elite offensive line is key. Also, the film on most of these rookie quarterbacks show them collapsing in a bad pocket, so they need help up front.
Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
Ragnow played guard and center at Arkansas, so he provides versatility along the line. Ragnow is among the top graded interior lineman according to Pro Football Focus, but his name is quiet among draft talks. If he falls, he may very well end up being the Jets third round pick, to help out inside.
I have 18 first round grades total for this year's class – the biggest surprise? Frank Ragnow / center/guard / Arkansas pic.twitter.com/OKHjRRsjKD
— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) April 11, 2018
Scott Quessenberry, UCLA
Quessenberry also played guard and center at UCLA, and played well at both positions. Say we draft Josh Rosen, the connection between these two is real and reuniting them would be great for chemistry. Quessenberrry could fall to rounds 4-6, and the Jets may keep their eye on him.