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New York Jets Team Needs: Draft Wrap Up


Paul Malamood
A look at the positions that the New York Jets still need to figure out now that the 2016 NFL draft is in the rearview mirror. | Photo Credit: sportingnews.com

The New York Jets did a good job in the 2016 NFL draft of systematically addressing their positions of need that existed heading into the draft. It was of the upmost importance for them to get younger and more talented at linebacker, and that is exactly what they did in the first and third round. 20th overall pick Darron Lee will be starting opposite David Harris at middle linebacker before long. Their 3rd round selection Jordan Jenkins will have a chance to start right away as the edge setting outside linebacker to replace Calvin Pace as long as he is able to make the adjustment to standing up most of the time.

The Jets also had to add some talent to the quarterback room and improve their depth on the offensive line. In the second round the Mike Maccagnan got the quarterback they wanted when they took Christian Hackenberg. While it would take a miraculous level of growth for Hackenberg to be ready to start this season, he does have very real potential to turn into a franchise quarterback a few years from now. The Jets traded back up into the 5th round to take South Carolina Brandon Snell. While it is doubtful he will replace Breno Giacomini as the starter this year, his experience and success as a 3+-year starter in the SEC shouldn’t be overlooked.

New York was also able to add some depth at cornerback in the 4th round with Juston Burris out of N.C. State. As things currently stand, Marcus Williams will likely be the starter across from Darrelle Revis with Buster Skrine staying in the slot. Burris will likely compete with Dexter McDougle and Dee Millner for the dime back spot, but could end up pushing Williams for a starting job. They also found the potential steal of the draft in the 7th round with oft injured but extremely talented Clemson receiver Charone Peake.

While the Jets did address almost all of their positions of need heading into the draft, they still have some work left to do. Here are the positions that the Jets still need to figure out as we head towards the summer.

 

1.    Quarterback

The Jets did draft Hackenberg, a pick that I was very in favor of, but that doesn’t mean that they are done at the position. The Jets were in need of a quarterback for the future, but they also are still trying to figure out who is going to play this season. The Ryan Fitzpatrick saga continues to rage on, and until it is resolved, the Jets are set to have Geno Smith as their starting QB. Fitzpatrick had the best statistical season by a QB in Jets history, but the talent and system around him had just as big of a role in that as he did. Fitzpatrick is trying to milk the Jets of as much money as he can, but sooner or later he is going to have to accept that he isn’t going to get his absurd asking price. If by some chance he isn’t bluffing and does retire, all will not be lost if Smith is the day 1 starter, even though the media will make it appear as if they sky has fallen.

 

 2.    Offensive Line

The Jets can still use some help up front even after the Shell pick. Their situation at right guard is far from ideal with Brian Winters currently slated as the starter. There is always a chance that they will bring back Willie Colon on another one-year deal, but he is still recovering from the injury that forced him to miss most of last season and won’t be ready till close to camp. The fact that they don’t have a clear back up at left tackle for Ryan Clady is also a very big point of concern. If he can stay healthy, then he will be a big upgrade over what D’Brickashaw Ferguson had been giving them the past few years, but his health is far from a guarantee. The Jets will need to keep a very active eye on the veteran offensive lineman waiver wire, because Clady getting injured would be a disaster given the current state of the depth behind him.
 

 

3.    Tight End

Even though this isn’t a major need given how small of a role the tight end position played in their offense last year, I continue to list it as a position of need for one specific reason. The Jets need to find a blocking tight end that is at least a serviceable weapon in the passing game. The return of Jace Amaro and Zack Sudfeld will almost certainly increase the production out of the TE position in 2016, but neither of them is a strong blocker. The Jets need someone that they can stick in on obvious rushing downs that opposing defenses will have to at least respect his ability to beat them as a receiver. Kellen Davis is a great blocker, but last season he proved time and time again that he is useless in the passing game. Having a blocking tight end that can also make plays as a receiver would greatly increase the Jets effectiveness in goal line and short yardage situations.

Paul Malamood is the AFC East Division Manager and a Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter @therealmoody82, Facebook, and Instagram @moodysports.


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Just wanted somewhere to get this off my chest--I am a Bears fan and seeing Forte in the Jets jersey pics he posted on Twitter last week nearly broke my heart.  Just glad he is in the AFC at least and playing for a team I don't hate.

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The Jets top priority should be signing Ryan Fitzpatrick. This team can't win more than 6 games with Geno under center, and will likely win less if they throw Hack into the fire early

Sent from my iPhone using SPOT mobile app

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I think the quarterback and left tackle situation might be on the same level of concern. 

Starting with the quarterbacks, the Jets need Fitz more than Fitz needs them and both sides know that although only one side will admit it. It seems, from my view, the Jets are pretending Hackenberg is their guy when I think they may have overestimated his talent and didn't think too clearly. Hackenberg dropped in college dramatically from year 2 to the final two in Happy Valley. The only way he could improve would be if he had a reunion in Houston with Bill O'Brien. But I don't see Hackenberg having any progression in New York. 

If New York could develop quarterbacks, you would see Hackenberg on another team and Petty taking over for Smith. Petty and Smith being on the team further proves the Jets lack of drafting good quarterbacks The Jets really don't have a clear cut choice without Fitz. Pony up and pay the man, even thought Fitz's demands are steep for my taste. 

With Clady on the left side, the Jets stand a good chance at moving the ball through the air consistently and keep the offense balanced. But if he goes down, like you said, the Jets will be in big trouble. Teams without good left tackles can sometimes be forced to rely heavily on the run, which keeps the defense dishonest because they know whats coming. The left tackle is the lynch pin and there needs to be a stacked depth at that position. 

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Jets need to stop playing hardball and pay Fitzpatrick. With him they can make the playoffs, without him their a 5-11 or 6-10 team

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4 hours ago, Kenneth Berry said:

If they can develop something out of Jace Amaro then the Jets offense can take the next step.

Been waiting to see Amaro take the next step in his playing level but he last year's injury and the season prior to that might have him on a short leash. He has shown signs of promise.

Kenneth Berry likes this

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8 minutes ago, Jonathan Rodriguez said:

Been waiting to see Amaro take the next step in his playing level but he last year's injury and the season prior to that might have him on a short leash. He has shown signs of promise.

Yeah he's in a prove it or lose it year.

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