Jets fans are especially eager for the draft this year since free agency was so uninspiring and, at best, addressed next to none of our needs. I already said why I like the Tebow trade, but in reality, it’s nothing but an upgrade at a position that didn’t need upgrading, not a hole-filler. Signing Safety LaRon Landry away from the Redskins was a positive hole-filler but I’m always skeptical of what effect playing for Dan Snyder has on a man. Plus this guy has injury issues. So wildcat quarterback (which I was unaware we even needed), safety, and kicker were the positions “addressed” in free agency. (I don’t count WR Chaz Schilens as a signing until he has a season where he catches at least 30 balls.) That still leaves gaping holes at Right Tackle and Wide Receiver on the offense and Outside Linebacker and Pass Rusher on the defense. Wow, April 26th cannot come fast enough! I think we should address the following positions by order of importance.
Right Tackle and Wayne Hunter
Let’s face it; this is the position that should have been addressed with the best free agent possible. If I was Tannenbaum, Rex, or Woody, I would have thrown as much money as I could muster at this position. This is the position last year that was the weakest link, the position that sunk the boat more often than any other. Wayne Hunter has proven he cannot be trusted to guard Sanchez. He was responsible for at least a dozen of the 40 or so sacks given up by the O-line last year. This position becomes even more imperative to address now since the Bills signed Marion Williams. Facing him twice a year with Wayne Hunter is asking to go 0-2 twice a year in divisional play until we seriously invest in this position. I would love to get Riley Reiff from Iowa with our first round pick (16th overall), but he may very well be gone by then. Jonanthan Martin from Stanford should therefore be our first pick. If both these guys are gone, which is unlikely, it may be a long season.
The Jets have lacked an efficient pass rusher ever since John Abraham left for the Falcons in 2005. You know your defense isn’t getting to the QB when Aaron Maybin leads your squad in sacks. Even the greatest secondary in the NFL can’t cover NFL receivers forever. Someone is going to get open if pressure never gets applied to the QB, especially if one of the corners is Kyle Wilson! This is exactly why we are so blitz happy. It’s the only way our defense can produce pressure and sacks. I wish we saw more of Kris Jenkins for this precise reason, but knee injuries robbed us of our best pass rusher since John Abraham. All we need is one Mario Williams type of player, and our defense could be a force to be reckoned with again. I think this area should be addressed with our 2nd round pick (47th overall). I like Chandler Jones from Syracuse, or if Andre Branch from Clemson is still available.
Linebacker – Calvin Pace, Jamaal Westerman, and Bart Scott
Our two starting outside line backers last year (Calvin Pace and Bart Scott) seemed to have lost a step and became slower as the year progressed and Jamaal Westerman left for the Dolphins during the first week of free agency. Suddenly, it seems we need a lot of help at outside and inside linebacker. I think David Harris, our other inside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme, can make any partner look great. Inside backer should be an easy spot to fill since it’ll be right next to Harris, the play caller of our defense and it shouldn’t cost an arm or a leg. It’s the outside linebacker that concerns me. Our third round pick (77th overall) should be for a linebacker and if Ronnell Lewis from Oklahoma if he’s still around, and he could be since there are some “maturity” issues as former coaches put it.
With Plaxico “Gunner” Buress going elsewhere to shoot himself, we need a #1 wide receiver. It would have been awesome to have Jericho Cotchery back, but that doesn’t look like its going to happen now. I loved that guy; almost bought his #89 jersey instead of Revis’s #24. Since we have no fourth round draft pick (traded to Broncos for Tebow) we should use our fifth round draft pick to draft a receiver. At this late in the draft, I cannot possibly make any suggestions. But “Fast, tall, and with good hands” is all I need to hear.
6th and 7th round picks
The 6th and 7th round is where true value and true luck come into play. There are still some great players in these rounds. Whatever talent is left on the board should be considered for our last two picks. I hope we look for another safety to protect Laron Landry’s suspect Achilles tendon. Maybe we could look at another receiver to help out the mercurial Santonio Holmes and the rest of this rather suspect receiving corps. As long as we draft by position in this order and stay away from drafting another back up QB, we should have enough resources to fill our gaps on both sides of the ball. Who would you take this late in the draft?