Heading into the 2013 draft, the biggest questions for the New York Jets aren't confined to the football field. The turnover in both the front office and coaching staff leads to questions about whose agenda holds sway as the Jets try to restore the winning ways that brought them to the brink of the Super Bowl in 2009 and 2010.
That speculation will continue no matter who the Jets pick. If the draft focuses on offense, pundits will call it a win for new coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. On the other hand, if defensive selections rule the day, those who view Rex Ryan as a glorified defensive coordinator will claim his agenda has gained control.
However, the breakdown of draft selections may reflect the composition of the draft pool itself more than the power struggles in the Jets' back rooms.
It's possible that, with the exception of wide receiver, viable defensive talent will remain after viable offensive talent is gone. It might make sense to address offensive needs in the early rounds.
General manager John Idzik's free-agent signings have taken a balanced approach, addressing both offensive and defensive needs. However, continuing that approach in the draft requires that appropriate talent be available through all seven rounds. If it is not, common sense demands that Idzik respond accordingly.
The Jets have lost or may lose the following starters because of cuts or free agency:
- Defensive tackle Mike DeVito
- Guards Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson
- Linebackers Calvin Pace and Bart Scott
- Nose tackle Sione Pouha
- Offensive tackle Austin Howard
- Running back Shonn Greene
- Safeties Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry
- Tight ends Jeff Cumberland and Dustin Keller
- Wide receiver Braylon Edwards
In addition, outside linebacker Bryan Thomas may retire and cornerback Darrelle Revis may be traded.
That's a potential loss of eight defensive starters and six offensive starters. (I only count tight end once.)
Of these, three are salary cap casualties and six have signed elsewhere. No matter who the Jets draft, they'll need to find additional bodies among undrafted free agents, other teams' discards and even their own cuts, re-signed more economically.
No matter how they fill their roster, the Jets must tackle major issues of direction and strategy as they head into the 2013 draft. Some of the biggest questions follow.
Unless otherwise stipulated, I used the following sources: