After missing out on Tyreek Hill the New York Jets’ will likely address receiver in the draft. Yet, the Jets had the league’s worst defense in the 2021 NFL season. Here’s what they can do with their two top 10 picks.
The New York Jets had some promising returns in the 2021 NFL Draft, but they still only managed a 4-win 2021 campaign. During that season, the Jets had the league’s worst-ranked defense in both yardage and points allowed, according to Sports Reference.
On the surface, it would be logical that the Jets should bring in as much young talent as possible to improve their league-worst defense through the draft. They addressed cornerback and safety respectively with the signings of D.J. Reed and Jordan Whitehead, yet more work needs to be done to revamp the unit. Nevertheless, selecting two defenders with the Jets’ two top 10 picks in the 2022 NFL draft is not a guarantee.
The Jets’ involvement in the Tyreek Hill sweepstakes indicated they are intent on adding a true number one receiver to surround Zach Wilson with top-end talent.
Furthermore, recent years suggest the Jets placed a high priority on selecting premium positions in the early portions of the draft, eliminating certain positions on the defense with top-end talent in this years’ draft. The Jets could certainly add talent to the premium positions that exist on defense, but how will they balance all these possibilities?
Who the Jets may select?
With this focus, I think it’s unlikely the Jets select an off-ball linebacker or safety in the first round, which most notably likely eliminates Notre Dame’s star safety, Kyle Hamilton as a possibility
The next position is cornerback. Both Cincinnati’s Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, and LSU’s Derrick Stingley, are long and skilled corners who would fit the Jets’ scheme have been highly productive in their careers. Both these players, but especially Gardner, are possibilities with one of the Jets’ two first-round picks.
On the other hand, the Jets were able to get solid play from 2nd-year man, Bryce Hall, and last year’s fifth-round rookie, Michael Carter II. Additionally, with the signing of D.J. Reed from the Seahawks, it is no longer as dire a need as it was in previous years.
Secondly, the Jets could also select an edge with either of their top 10 picks. It is likely that Aidan Hutchinson will be selected before the Jets pick at 10, but Kayvon Thibodeaux, Jermaine Johnson, and Trevon Walker are all intriguing options to put opposite Carl Lawson for the team next year.
Like previous years, this wide receiver class is deep with options that have the potential to become the number 1 option. Assuming the Jets do not continue to explore the trade market, I would expect them to get one of these receiver options at 10: Garrett Wilson, Drake London, Jameson Williams, and Treylon Burks are all possibilities.
Lastly, you can never count out the Jets taking an offensive lineman in the first round – especially with Mekhi Becton hurt for most of last year, which raises the question of whether the Jets will even select a defender at all in the first round.
Assuming they do not revisit the trade market for a starting receiver, I fully expect the Jets to address the position with their second pick in the first round.
I do also expect the Jets to address the defense at pick 4, with Sauce Gardner, Jermaine Johnson, or Thibodeaux as the most likely possibilities. This scenario would give the Jets the right balance as they finalize their rebuild.