NFL Draft 2011: Why the New York Jets Could Have a Big First Round in Store

Chris Dela RosaContributor IApril 28, 2011

Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum (left), Head Coach Rex Ryan (middle), Jets Owner Woody Johnson (right)
Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum (left), Head Coach Rex Ryan (middle), Jets Owner Woody Johnson (right)Andy Marlin/Getty Images

Draft day is finally here, and many Jets fans will be waiting anxiously when the clock strikes 8:00 tonight. For months, analysts have been evaluating teams, figuring out what they need, while scouts and front offices work tirelessly for the next three days.

Entering this year's draft, the Jets and Jets fans are right in the middle of the "Rex Ryan era." With that, it's a great sign for loyal fans who want results in the offseason showing them that their team wants the Lombardi Trophy.

Since 2009, Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum have not been afraid of trading up during the draft. In the 2009 draft, the Jets traded up twice, once to get Mark Sanchez in the first round and again in the third round to get Shonn Greene.

As soon as the Jets' season ended in late January after suffering a loss to the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, it has been shared all over that the Jets need a pass rusher.

With that, it comes as part of the "Rex Ryan era" that if the Jets really need something, they'll go out and get it. Between the 2009 and 2010 season, the Jets traded for Antonio Cromartie so Darrelle Revis was not the only great cornerback on the team.

Fans should embrace the fact that while their team gets bad publicity, the front office does a great job at putting together a talented team that can make a run for the Lombardi Trophy.

Therefore, the Jets may trade up in the first round and draft a defensive line player. If they do so, they'll hope to not have another Vernon Gholston case on their hands, and the reality is there aren't many good pass rushers available as free agents.

If the Jets move up in the draft, they may go for a mid first-round pick. In order to do so, the Jets can clear out some later picks and draft a prospect that should be able to make an impact the moment he sets foot in New Meadowlands Stadium.

The Jets front office knows what kind of players it needs to draft Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but when it chooses to do so is a mystery to most people outside of the organization. One thing is for sure, though: They're going to get the players they need.

The 2011 NFL draft will be an exciting day for the Jets organization and their fans. Hopefully they'll be able to fulfill those needs in order to have a successful 2011 regular season.