TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 21: Henry Ruggs III #11 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs for a 45-yard touchdown in the first quarter after catching a pass behind D.Q. Thomas #12 of the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

ESNY’s New York Jets draft roundtable continues with bold predictions for Gang Green’s 2020 NFL Draft strategy.

Go big or go home. That might not be the phrase that New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas is using to describe his draft strategy, but any draft is bound to have some surprises.

The 2020 NFL Draft should be no different. The Jets are set up with seven picks, five of which are in the fourth round or earlier. It would seem that the overall draft strategy will be about providing Sam Darnold with as much help as possible. Expect offensive linemen and wide receivers to be high on Joe Douglas’ list of needs.

After making our first-round picks, forecasting the day two choices, and providing a day three sleeper, ESNY’s New York Jets draft roundtable turns to bold predictions.

Kyle Newman

The New York Jets will trade back into the first round.

The Jets have two gaping holes on their roster—tackle and wide receiver. Both positions are vital to the success of a young quarterback and lucky for the Jets, the 2020 NFL Draft is deep at both positions. That doesn’t mean the Jets should wait to take advantage.

Joe Douglas has the resources at his disposal to make a bold draft-day move. By trading his second-round picks and one of his two third-round picks, he could snag a late first-round selection.

This move makes sense no matter what move the Jets make at 11. If the Jets go offensive tackle, as many believe they will, this allows them to jump the competition for a wide receiver. That could put them in a position to draft a receiver like Justin Jefferson or Denzel Mims, who they would otherwise have no shot at.

If they go wide receiver at 11, then this move becomes vital. It puts them in a position take a first-round offensive tackle like Austin Jackson who would certainly be off the board by pick 48.

Joe Douglas needs to do everything in his power to add premium talent to the New York Jets offense. That’s why he’ll make his first bold move as general manager on draft night.

Danny Small

The New York Jets will take two wide receivers on day two of the draft.

OK, stay with me here. The Jets only have seven picks in this year’s draft so burning two middle-round picks on the same position would seem crazy. However, this would make sense for the Jets for one reason alone—Sam Darnold.

The expectation is that Douglas will go with an offensive tackle in the first round. Protecting Darnold is priority No. 1 this offseason. After addressing the offensive line, the Jets have to add some talent to their questionable receiving corps.

Jamison Crowder is a reliable slot receiver, but aside from him, the Jets have few wideouts they can trust. Quincy Enunwa is injury-prone, Breshad Perriman has speed, but he’s still a mystery, and the rest of the unit leaves a lot to be desired.

The 2020 wide receiver class is insanely deep and although the Jets are likely going to pass on the top-tier guys in round one, there are plenty of guys with high upside who can be had on day two. Jalen Reagor and Michael Pittman Jr. are two names to watch.

Brian Paget

With the 11th overall pick, the New York Jets select… Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III. 

I expected the Jets to add an offensive tackle in round one until recently. It seemed inevitable that one of the top-four elite tackles would be available to Gang Green at pick 11, resulting in a no-brainer for Joe Douglas. Protecting Sam Darnold is still the priority.

And then Mekhi Becton had a drug test flagged. I believe the former Louisville Cardinal will plummet down Joe Douglas’ draft board, as the first-time general manager has stressed the importance of adding hard-working, high-character players. There seems to be concern regarding whether or not Becton fits this mold.

With Becton as the only top-ranked tackle available, the Jets will look to add a playmaker, and ultimately provide Darnold with his No. 1 wide receiver of the future.

But it won’t be CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy. Instead, it will be Henry Ruggs III.

There have been conflicting reports about who’s atop the Gang Green’s wideout rankings. Some believe the Jets love Lamb, and others say they’re enamored with Ruggs. In the end, they shock the world and select Ruggs.

Joe Douglas and head coach Adam Gase have repeatedly discussed the need for speed on Gang Green’s offense, and Ruggs adds just that. He can fly, but he’s more than a one-dimensional deep-threat. The 21-year-old also has excellent ball skills and is a decent route-runner. He’s less polished than Jeudy and Lamb, but he may have the highest ceiling

It has been clear throughout the offseason that Joe Douglas understands that this isn’t a one-year-rebuild. It’s going to be a process. And he continued to look toward the future by adding a high-upside speedster in Henry Ruggs.

ESNY staff reports.