The New York Jets are tied with the St. Louis Rams for most picks in the 2014 NFL Draft with 12, and that gives general manager John Idzik the opportunity to remodel his roster in the course of one weekend. The best teams in the NFL are built through the draft, and Idzik must land impact players for the Jets to have any shot at competing for a playoff spot this season.
There has been a lot of discussion regarding whether or not the Jets should look to trade up in the draft, with likely targets including Mike Evans, Eric Ebron, Darqueze Dennard, and Odell Beckham. It is impossible to know for sure what pick the Jets would need to get to, and it obviously depends on the player. Still, it looks like the Jets would need to move up close to the top 10, if not inside it, meaning that they would have to give up valuable mid round picks. For a team with as many needs as the Jets, such a move would be a mistake.
The Jets need six new starters, and my personal ranking of the needs is cornerback, wide receiver, free safety, right guard, outside linebacker and tight end, though the first two stand head and shoulders above the rest. No matter how you order them, the Jets must get an infusion of young talent at those positions. With six picks in the first four rounds, there is no reason the Jets can’t find prospects who can come in and compete at each of those positions, hopefully with several of them earning starting jobs.
In the later rounds, the Jets need depth at tackle and on the defensive line, a young inside linebacker, and probably another cornerback and receiver. That’s 10 picks right there, and you could make arguments for them to draft a quarterback, running back and even a punter. Given all that, it seems that Idzik won’t be making any luxury picks with his 12 selections.
The Jets are not one or two pieces away from contending, but rather still in their rebuilding process. The weak AFC means they have an outside shot at the playoffs, but packaging a large amount of picks to get into the top 10, or back into the first round for that matter, could hurt the team in the long run. Given how many key needs the Jets have and how many below par starters they have penciled in, the best course of action for the Jets is to hang onto their picks and try to get both quantity and quality. Obviously, the Jets should listen to any and all trade offers and make a move if it’s the right one. However, making a big trade that eats up picks is not the best way for this team to improve.