By Ryan of The Sportmeisters
What does taking a risk on an old quarterback get you? Losing four of your last five games, going from an all-but-guaranteed division title to missing the playoffs. Then your old quarterback retires and your head coach is fired.
Such is the life for New York Jet fans, but they shouldn’t fret too much. They have a new defensive minded coach in Rex Ryan, and newly signed Bart Scott as their marquee centerpiece on defense.
With so much defensive focus in the offseason, the Jets are going to have to address their offensive concerns early if they plan on backing up their new coach’s claims of early success.
New York Jets Draft Picks
Round One, Pick 17 (17)
Round Two, Pick 20 (52)
Round Three, Pick 12 (76)
Round Four, Pick 15 (115)
Round Six, Pick 20 (193)
Round Seven, Pick 19 (228)
Team Need One: QB
As mentioned above, the Jets need to focus on their offensive weapons, and that starts with the quarterback. Right now, the battle is between Kellen Clemens, Erik Ainge, or Brett Ratliff. Nothing against those guys, because it’s likely one of them will win the starting battle, but the Jets need to find a franchise quarterback of the future.
Clemens was supposed to fill that role, but has been subpar at this point. With a few teams above the Jets' pick looking at taking a quarterback, and there only being two, possibly three sure first rounders, the Jets might have to hemorrhage the future a little to grab either Mark Sanchez from USC or Josh Freeman from Kansas State.
If one of those two fall to them, it is all but guaranteed they will make the pick. If all three are picked up, it is doubtful the Jets will waste a pick later on, when they already have three projects they have to develop this year.
Team Need Two: WR
If the QB position does not get filled in the first round, the Jets should most certainly entertain a receiver here. With Laveranues Coles defecting to the Bengals in the offseason, that leaves Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey as the top two on the depth chart.
Brad Smith is a converted college quarterback, so the team is in need of some help. If looking in the first round, options that could fall to them include Darrius Heyward-Bey, who at 6’0’’, 210 lbs, falls right into the same model as Cotchery.
If they choose to wait into the second or third round, they will most likely be looking at Mohammed Massaquoi, 6’0’’ 194, Brian Robiskie, 6’2’’, 209, or Brooks Foster, at 6’0’’ 211. All three are tall guys who could see plenty of playing time in the new system. Should the Jets grab a QB and then a WR, developing this relationship will be key in year one.
Team Need Three: DE
Rex Ryan runs an aggressive 3-4 scheme, and the Jets have a good guy in Shaun Ellis, but now would be a good time for the team to invest in younger blood. Ellis is 32, and still has a good year or two left, but to help the depth at this point would be the right route.
Kenyon Coleman did not have a good season in 2008, and the Jets need someone with speed that can assist the OLBs in getting off the edge in the rush game, and have the ability to drop back in some zone defense packages.
If they chose to use a first day pick, they could go for Michael Johnson, a 6’6’’ DE out of Georgia Tech, but he has been known to slack. Considering they are looking more for depth, a late pickup would work here. David Veikune would be a strong choice at this point.
Coach Ryan has stated he wants the team to compete, and compete early. They have a lot of defensive strength, but the offense, especially the QB and the WR positions, have plenty of questions marks. With a solid running game, and an outstanding offensive line, if the Jets shore up those positions, they could be competitive all the way through December this season.