The New York Jets' relative inactivity in NFL free agency has increased the importance of the upcoming draft. The Jets could hold 12 picks, which means they could fill multiple glaring voids on their roster with the acquisition of rookie talent.
General manager John Idzik holds a deliberate approach in trying to construct a formidable 53-man roster that is capable of contending for a playoff berth in 2014. The draft is a big component of his long-term plan for success. This means it's vital for the Jets to select players who can make an immediate impact at the next level.
The Jets are at a crossroads. They boast one of the best front sevens in the NFL but suddenly possess arguably the worst secondary in the league. As the free-agent market begins to dwindle, the Jets are seemingly out of options.
New York must acquire a cornerback who can excel in press coverage, a safety who can prevent big plays, a legitimate starting-caliber tight end, a speed-oriented wideout and potentially a pass-catching running back in order to satisfy their biggest needs this offseason.
The draft is flush with several potential difference-makers at numerous positions for the Jets. Idzik's brain trust is under the limelight. As he and his staff work to make the Jets contenders next season, the draft is suddenly on the horizon.
The following slideshow examines seven prospects the Jets can't afford to pass up in the first three rounds of the draft.
(All NFL Scouting Combine information is courtesy of NFL.com)