It's been years since a single draft has mattered so much to the New York Jets franchise. With the organization in shambles, new general manager John Idzik needs to make all the right moves this offseason or the team could continue its collapse.
The first round of the draft is where stars are born. A Darrelle Revis, a Patrick Willis or an Adrian Peterson could be selected with the first 32 picks.
However, a Vernon Gholston, a JaMarcus Russell or an Aaron Maybin could also be hiding within the first round. It's critical that New York does not select the latter with the ninth overall pick, as a single crucial mistake could diminish the Jets even more.
With this in mind, here are the top options for New York in the first round of the 2013 draft.
The Jets are in dire need of a legitimate pass-rushing threat at outside linebacker. Even with Rex Ryan's insane arsenal of blitz packages, the defensive unit managed only 30 sacks in 2012.
Ezekiel Ansah would be a solid selection with the team's first pick, as he would immediately upgrade a pass rush that ranked just 25th in the league last season.
While Ansah is incredibly raw, his athleticism is off the charts.
The 6'5", 271 pound defensive end-outside linebacker hybrid ran a blazing 4.63 40 at this year's combine. He also posted a 34.5-inch vertical and an impressive broad jump.
The BYU product's unbelievable athleticism and rawness have drawn comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul.
If Ansah can develop like JPP has for the Giants, he would be a tremendous selection at the ninth overall slot.
Like Ansah, Barkevious Mingo possesses freakish athleticism, but he is also raw in many areas of the game.
Mingo has been a stud at LSU over the last two years, leading a defense that has ranked among the nation's best.
The 22-year-old also enjoyed one of the finest combines of any defensive player this past weekend. He ran an unbelievable 4.58 40, while also registering a 37-inch vertical jump and a 10'8" broad jump.
Mingo ranked in the top two of defensive linemen in all three categories.
While the Florida native has much to improve on at the NFL level, his amazing athleticism makes him a perfect fit in Rex Ryan's blitz-heavy defensive schemes.
The Jets possessed one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL last season. Even with the return of Santonio Holmes from an ACL tear in 2013, the unit needs a drastic improvement.
Cordarrelle Patterson would provide an immediate boost to the abysmal group of wideouts.
Patterson is a physical freak with an intimidating combination of size and speed.
The 6'2", 216-pound wideout had an incredible combine, running a 4.42 40 and registering a 37-inch vertical leap.
Patterson isn't just a workout warrior, though. In his only season at Tennessee, he recorded nearly 1,200 total yards and eight total touchdowns on just 71 touches.
The 21-year-old would provide New York with a dangerous deep threat who could complement Santonio Holmes immediately and give time for Stephen Hill to develop.
Dion Jordan is another pass-rusher who enjoyed a tremendous combine.
Jordan ran a blazing 4.6 40, while also registering a 32.5-inch vertical leap and a 10'2" broad jump.
The 6'6" defensive end/outside linebacker has terrific athleticism, and he has produced terrific numbers at the collegiate level.
Over the last two seasons at Oregon, Jordan has recorded 86 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.
If Jordan slips to the ninth overall slot, New York would be smart to pull the trigger.
A prospect such as Chance Warmack doesn't come around often.
Warmack is regarded as one of the top prospects of this year's draft class, as well as the finest guard prospect in two decades.
The dominant offensive lineman has been crucial to the success of Alabama's rushing success in recent years, and he was one of the cogs in the Crimson Tide's back-to-back BCS national championship runs.
While Warmack lacks size at 6'2", his perfect mechanics, sheer strength and consistent effort will make him one of the top interior offensive linemen in the NFL from the moment he steps on the field.
New York has a massive hole to fill at guard with both starters due to become free agents. Warmack wouldn't just fill the hole—he would provide New York with Pro Bowl-caliber play in his rookie season.
Jarvis Jones' 2012 season was just silly.
Jones led the nation with 24.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles, while also recording 85 tackles.
The Georgia linebacker is not a one-year wonder, though. In 2011, he recorded 70 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
Jones' incredible collegiate play has solidified him as one of, if not the top, talent in this year's draft class.
However, Jones falls shorts in one main area: health concerns. A severe spinal problem is sure to hurt his draft stock, and it may even drop him out of the top 10.
If the 23-year-old falls to nine, though, New York must roll the dice on Jones.
Despite the severe health worries, Jones' upside is phenomenal. He could easily emerge as one of the top outside linebackers in the game.
The 2013 draft is a pivotal one for the future of the Jets franchise. In a high-stakes game known as the NFL draft, why not swing for the fences?