The New York Jets were one of the big winners of the yearly process that hands out compensatory draft picks. The Jets picked up a fourth round pick and three sixth rounders as compensation for losing Laron Landry, Mike DeVito, Shonn Greene, Dustin Keller, Yeremiah Bell and Matt Slauson, all starters on the 2012 team. That brings the Jets’ total draft pick count to 12, including six in the first four rounds.
The Jets still have a lot of holes to fill, but now John Idzik and Rex Ryan have all the ammunition they need to fix those slots. The Jets have clear needs for starters at wide receiver, cornerback and free safety, and one could argue they need starting caliber talent at right guard, outside linebacker and tight end. Finally, the Jets could also use a third down back and some depth behind D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Breno Giacomini at tackle.
That is obviously a long list of needs, but the Jets are capable of landing some key contributors. Idzik’s first draft with the team produced five rookie starters (Dee Milliner, Sheldon Richardson, Geno Smith, Brian Winters and Tommy Bohanon), though they met with varying degrees of success. If things go right, the Jets could have an even bigger tally this season.
Receiver and cornerback are by far their two biggest needs, as the Jets are lacking starters opposite Eric Decker and Milliner. Luckily, each position has exceptional depth in this year’s draft, and the Jets should easily be able to land starters if they use their first two picks on the positions. Pairing first round receivers like Marqise Lee or Brandin Cooks with second round corners like Lamarcus Joyner or Marcus Roberson would be excellent, as would scenarios involving first round corners Justin Gilbert or Darqueze Dennard with second round receivers such as Jordan Matthews or Davante Adams. Any combination of those or similar players should thrill Jets fans.
In the third the Jets could look to improve their free safety situation with a player like Terrence Brooks, and their three fourth round picks should allow them to fill their other needs. A fourth round that lands the Jets some combination of players like C.J. Fiedorowicz, Cyril Richardson, Dri Archer and Trent Murphy would be a fantastic result, and it would greatly solidify the Jets’ roster.
Obviously all the above is a bit of the best case scenario for the Jets, but it’s not unrealistic and it shows just how many options the Jets have. Idzik also has plenty of picks to make any trades for players he wants, giving the Jets more flexibility than almost any team. With this kind of draft ammunition, there is no excuse for Idzik not to land multiple starters in this draft. He sat out free agency because he believes in building through the draft, and the Jets must use their wealth of picks to make huge strides in rebuilding their roster.