New York Jets in Odd Position for NFL Draft

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the NFL draft, the New York Jets find themselves in an odd position.

At the time of this writing, the Jets seem to have more holes in their roster than they do draft picks. When combined with the lack of position filling in free agency — either from the Jets not wanting to be active or free agents not wanting the Jets — this could become an issue.

The Jets currently have seven draft picks — one in each round — for the upcoming draft. Usually a pick in each round would give a team a good crop of rookies to bring in and fill out the roster. The problem with the Jets right now is they need to fill some starting positions before filling in the rest of the roster.

So far in free agency, the Jets have officially lost Mike DeVito, Shonn Greene, Dustin Keller, LaRon Landry, Matt Slauson and Yeremiah Bell. That’s six 2012 starters and doesn’t include Sione Pouha, Brandon Moore, Bart Scott and Calvin Pace who have not yet signed with other teams, but are not likely to return.

This is not an argument of whether any of those players should or should not have been brought back. This is just to point out the amount of bodies lost, not only from the roster, but the starting lineup that need to be filled.

So far this offseason, the Jets have signed Mike Goodson, Willie Colon, Antonio Garay and Antwan Barnes. If we use these signings like a hockey plus/minus rating, the Jets are still a minus six in starters.

This brings us back to the draft. In past years the simple way to acquire more picks is to take advantage of a team wanting to get a specific player, trade down in that round while also picking up an extra pick in a later round.

This year’s draft might not be one where teams are desperate to move up for a specific player. Most scouts around the draft say there is not going to be a big difference in impact from the player picked No. 5 to the player pick No. 25, overall. It’s a deep draft with good players, but a very small group who stand out above the rest like an Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III have in the past.

The Jets might struggle to find a team that wants to move up to the No. 9 spot in the first round, which would make it decidedly harder for New York to pick up extra picks towards the top of the draft.

There’s always movement in the later rounds and the Jets could maneuver around to get some late extra picks, but that won’t help nearly as much in the search for starting-caliber players. In fact, the Jets have already screwed up their best chance of finding a starter at the end of the draft. The easiest position to find a potential starter in the later rounds is at running back, but the Jets have already signed Goodson to a three-year deal as one of their few free agency additions.

Of course, the ace in the hole in this situation is a Darrelle Revis trade. If the Jets trade Revis in the upcoming weeks before the draft for a first round pick, they can be less demanding in compensation for trading away their No. 9 pick and sit in a good position early in the draft. A worse case scenario of two first- and two second-round picks could potentially play out nicely.

One way or another, the Jets are going to have to bring in players who can at least compete for starting jobs. The way the roster is constructed right now, that may not be too difficult. However, the Jets are going to have to find a way to bring in those players first.

 

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