The New York Jets have struggled to get over the hump since since making back-to-back appearances in the AFC Championship Game. New York finished 8-8 this past season, which was a big step in the right direction after winning just six games in 2012. The big question is can they build on that momentum this upcoming season.
It took a lot longer than Jets’ fans had hoped, but the days of Mark Sanchez at quarterback are officially gone. Sanchez didn’t play a single snap this past season, as rookie Geno Smith took over the starting job. Despite Smith showing some promise, the Jets signed veteran Michael Vick. It’s almost as if New York wants to have a quarterback controversy.
Vick wasn’t the only piece added to the mix. The Jets signed wide out Eric Decker, right tackle Breno Giacomini, corner Dimitri Patterson and wide out/return specialist Jacoby Jones.
It’s hard to say the Jets have had a great offseason. New York cut both starting corner Antonio Cromartie and wide out Santonio Holmes. They lost a pretty solid offensive tackle in Austin Howard. They also decided against re-signing both tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. and safety Ed Reed.
The Jets must now shift their attention to the draft, where they need to do well if they want to be taken seriously in 2014. New York will have plenty of opportunities to improve their roster, as they have 12 picks at their disposal. While the Jets have just one pick in each of the first three rounds, they will be on the clock three times in the 4th and four times in the 6th. Here’s a look at the top five positions I feel New York needs to target this May.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
It’s pretty remarkable that Smith was able to throw for more than 3,000 given the lack of talent he had to work with at the wide receiver and tight end positions. I know the jury is still out on the second year quarterback, but you can’t truly judge him until you see what he can do with at least an average supporting cast. Bringing in Decker was a good start, but there’s nothing to get excited about over Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and David Nelson. Luckily for the Jets this year’s draft class is loaded at both positions, but that doesn’t mean they should sit around and hope to get lucky late.
The Jets need to find someone who can come in and take over the starting free safety job away from Antonio Allen, who is a major liability in the back end of their defense. I don’t see them using an early pick to fill this need, but they should be actively looking for help in the middle rounds.
There’s a lot of people who feel this is a bigger priority, but you have to keep in mind that New York has two former first round picks on the roster in Dee Milliner and Kyle Wilson. Milliner did struggle as a rookie last year and Wilson has been a disappointment, but you can dig yourself a big hole if you keep going after the same position in the first round. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets used multiple picks at corner, I just think offense is a much bigger need in the early rounds.
David Harris is on the wrong side of 30 and DeMario Davis is a liability in coverage. New York could probably get away with not addressing this position, but I think it would be in their best interest to at least try and add some depth and competition. Someone like Michigan State’s Max Bullough could still be on the board in the 6th round.
The Jets used a 3rd round pick in 2013 on Kent State’s Brian Winters and plugged him as the starting left guard. Unfortunately Winters was over-powered by opposing defensive linemen and needs to be replaced. Luckily they were able to re-sign right guard Willie Colon or this would have been a much bigger need.
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