The time has come, and the New York Jets will be on the clock. So, let’s take a look at the 2020 NFL Draft picture for Gang Green.
The 2020 season is about one thing in the land of the New York Jets: the continued upward climb of Sam Darnold. How the Jets achieve that began in free agency and will continue on Thursday with the NFL Draft.
How will New York achieve a playoff push or at least manage to look like playoff contenders? Let’s take a look.
A look at the draft
- Jets 2020 Draft Profile: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
- Jets 2020 Draft Prospect: P Braden Mann
- New York Jets: Mock Draft 2.0
- Jets 2020 Draft Prospects: DE Bradlee Anae
- Jets 2020 Draft Prospect: LT Andrew Thomas
Gang Green heads into the 2020 NFL Draft with a lot of holes to fill. Their priority is on the offensive side of the ball, though. The key is to come out with weapons and protection for Darnold.
Starting Offensive Tackles
Despite all the maneuvering in the free agency period by Joe Douglas, the offensive line is only marginally better than it was last year. That’s largely due to the upgrade at center. The Jets need to bookend the line no matter what. Their current tackle situation is serviceable for one season, but they have no long-term prognosis.
The best thing that could happen is that either Andrew Thomas, Mekhi Becton, Jedrick Wills, Jr., or Tristan Wirfs were to fall to No. 11. They could have a bookend tackle for the next five to 10 seasons protecting the edge for Darnold.
The worst possible thing that could happen to the Jets would be that none of those tackles fall to 11 and they can’t find someone who wants to trade up to No. 11. In that case, their options are thin, and they will have to settle for a developmental tackle, wide receiver, or edge rusher.
A segment of the fan base would love the team to draft a wide receiver at No. 11. The sentiment is understandable due to the lack of weapons the Jets have had since their consecutive trips to the AFC title game (with the exception of the great year that Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker had together). There is a dearth of weapons — outside Jamison Crowder — at wide receiver, and it would behoove the Jets to come away with two.
The best thing that could happen would be the Jets being able to double up in the second and third rounds. Landing a player like Brandon Aiyuk or Michael Pittman, Jr. in the second round and pairing him with a player like Chase Claypool, Van Jefferson, or Bryan Edwards would be great for Sam Darnold.
This is not a terrible scenario, but it’s a problematic one. The Jets drafting a wide receiver at No. 11 would be the worst thing that could happen. Their OL is a mess still, and may not be good enough to help Darnold get the ball to a great receiver like Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, or Henry Ruggs III consistently. Therefore, they won’t be able to showcase their skills.
The two main keys to success in the pass-based NFL of the present are: protect the quarterback and get after the opposing quarterback. The last edge rusher to be able to do that consistently for New York — year in and year out — was John Abraham.
Joe Douglas needs to find a diamond-in-the-rough at this position. The best time for this particular Jets team to draft one is the third round. If a player like Jonathan Greenard, Joshua Uche, or Bradlee Anae were to get to either No. 68 or No. 79 that would be the ideal scenario. Although none are elite, they are good edge rushers, and with their ability, can help 2019 first-round pick, Quinnen Williams, be able to get to the quarterback more regularly.
Again, this centers around the No. 11 pick. If they can’t find a trade partner, all three top receivers, and the four top offensive tackles are off the board, the Jets would have to reach for a player like K’Lavon Chaisson. He’s not worth the No. 11 pick, and he likely won’t be the elite rusher a team would look for at No. 11.
While it would be nice to fill all the major holes (tackle, edge, wide receiver, and cornerback), it will be hard to envision all of them in this draft, because the Jets could also use interior offensive line and overall depth on the line and a punter.
The Jets need to come away with two starters on the offensive line (preferably at tackle), two wide receivers and an edge rusher in 2020. If they do that, it can be deemed a successful draft in 2020.