The Jets have been active this offseason in the wake of Aaron Rodgers’ eventual arrival. But the work is far from over. General manager Joe Douglas currently has six picks in the upcoming draft and various roster holes to fill.
How should Douglas attack the draft later this month — an event that could coincide with Aaron Rodgers’ official arrival to town?
Day 1 (first round). All indications are the Jets will hold onto the No. 13 pick. It appears to be off the table in any Rodgers talks with the Packers.
Using the 13th selection on a tackle should be the Jets’ first priority. Mekhi Becton has played just one game over the last two seasons due to injury and Duane Brown and George Fant are free agents. The 2023 draft’s tackle market is too competitive for the Jets to trade back and trading up will likely be too expensive. And they need to protect Rodgers, of course.
Douglas should stay put and take the top tackle available. Pick a name: Georgia’s Broderick Jones, Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison, Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr., Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski or Tennessee’s Darnell Wright.
Day 2 (rounds 2-3). The Jets own the 42nd and 43rd picks in the second round and have no third-round selections. One of those second-rounders is almost assuredly going to Green Bay for Rodgers.
Back to the offensive line. There is also a void at center. The Jets have moved on from Connor McGovern and don’t have many intriguing long-term replacement options. They signed Wes Schweitzer in free agency, but he has a potential out in his contract after the season. Someone like Ohio State’s Luke Wypler or Minnesota’s John Michael Schmitz could be the pick.
The Jets could also look for a defensive lineman or linebacker. Quinnen Williams is signed through next season and is eligible for a multi-year extension, but the Jets need depth and an eventual starter after allowing Sheldon Rankins to walk in free agency. The same at linebacker — the Jets have C.J. Mosley and the newly re-signed Quincy Williams on the roster but don’t employ much behind them on the depth chart.
Day 3 (rounds 4-7). The Jets have the 112th pick in the fourth round, No. 143 in the fifth round and No. 207 in the sixth round. They figure to attack whatever needs mentioned above that remain on the board in the fourth round. And you could see a trade to garner an extra fourth-round pick as well — that is the round where starters can be found if you scout well.
In the fifth and sixth rounds, the Jets should absolutely address secondary depth as well. They employ reliable and talented starters in cornerbacks Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed along with safeties Jordan Whitehead and Chuck Clark. But not much behind them on the depth chart. If the Jets decide not to take this route in the sixth round, they could take a running back for special teams purposes.
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