New York Jets Top 5 Draft Needs


Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL Draft just a week away, teams and front offices are busy across the league creating draft boards and reviewing scouting reports among other things. The New York Jets have a decent amount of roster needs, and their ability to fill these voids with quality players in the draft will likely determine the success of the 2014 NFL Draft for GM John Idzik and the Jets.

The New York Jets’ draft needs include several positions, including those on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Fortunately, this draft class is arguably one of the deepest of all time, and with 12 draft picks the Jets are in a position to excel this draft. If they are to do so, they will have to address the following positions.


Despite signing free agents Eric Decker and Jacoby Ford, there is still a gaping hole at wide receiver for the New York Jets. The Jets lack another wide receiver to compliment Decker and play as the #2 receiver. Stephen Hill has failed to develop and improve his hands, and Ford and Jeremy Kerley are not talented enough to fill the void. Thus, the Jets must turn to the draft.

Fortunately, this wide receiver class is extremely deep. With the 18th pick, the Jets can find top talent such as Marqise Lee (USC), Brandin Cooks (Oregon State), and Odell Beckham (LSU). However, depth at the position means it is impossible to draft a high quality receiver in the later rounds. The Jets could still take a top receiver in the second round including Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt), Jarvis Landry (LSU), or Cody Latimer (Indiana). Other picks later in the draft could include Allen Robinson (Penn State), Paul Richardson (Colorado), or Davante Adams (Fresno State). With such a deep draft class, the Jets should be able to find a quality receiver to supplement Eric Decker.


After four years of frustration, it is finally time for Rex Ryan to give up on trying to make Jeff Cumberland a starting-caliber tight end. Coming off a mere 26 catch season, the Jets still resigned Cumberland, although one should not expect him to be the premier tight end in 2014. However, the Jets will have more than enough oppurtunities in the draft to select a tight end to serve as another weapon for Geno Smith.

Unlike wide receiver, the tight end position in this draft class is not that deep. In this year’s pool, there are only five tight ends that could potentially make an immediate impact in the NFL. Obviously, Eric Ebron (UNC) has the best talent at the position, but the likelihood of Ebron being available with the 18th overall pick is very slim. That would force the Jets to pass on a tight end until the second or third round. The other top tight ends are Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Washington), Jace Amaro (Texas Tech), Troy Niklas (Notre Dame), and C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa). The Jets should be able to have their pick of the litter in the second round, but if they wait until the third round odds are Fiedorowicz will be the only one of the five available. Because of the lack of depth, the Jets will have to select a TE in the first three rounds if they wish to address the roster need.


Currently, the New York Jets’ starting guards are Brian Winters and Willie Colon. However, both players are coming off a sub-par season, and Colon’s age and decreasing production means that it is time to start looking for potential starters. Although any guard the Jets select will most likely not start in 2014, they could still be an impact player for Gang Green for years to come.

The Jets will only take a guard in the mid to late rounds, meaning that properly scouting the guards to find the best available talent is pivotal to any offensive guard selection the Jets make. David Yankey from Stanford or Cyril Richardson from Baylor both have the potential to fall late in the draft, and the Jets might jump on the oppurtunity to select one of these players in one of the middle rounds.


Although this is not an urgent need, if they wish to prepare for the future the Jets should address the outside linebacker position in the draft. This offseason, the Jets resigned OLB Calvin Pace, and one could assume that he will start in 2014. However, Pace is 33 years old, and his durability and long-term productivity are at an all time low. Finding a quality backup to essentially ease into the starting role would be extremely convenient and beneficial to the Jets’ organization.

Because the need is not pressing, it is extremely unlikely that the Jets take an OLB in the first round. Fortunately, there is still a lot of talent that can be found at the position in the later rounds. For example, Kyle Van Noy (BYU) is a projected 2nd-3rd round pick, although he has all the talent and capability to start and succeed in the NFL. Other possible selections could include Jordan Zumwalt in the 3rd or 4th round (UCLA), Jeremiah Attaochu (Georgia Tech) in the 2nd round, and Telvin Smith (Florida State) in the 3rd or 4th round, who would be a perfect scheme fit for the Jets. Although outside linebackers aren’t as deep as wide receivers this draft, there is still enough talent to find a good player in the middle rounds.


Probably the most glaring need on the defensive side of the ball, the New York Jets desperately need a cornerback. Dee Milliner has showed flashes of greatness, although he is nowhere near capable of excelling as a number one corner. The Jets went out and signed Dmitri Patterson in free agency, although he has only performed well as a nickel back and asking him to cover the opposing team’s #1 0r #2 receiver may not end well. Thus, the Jets need to find a corner who can supplement Milliner and Patterson to improve an abysmal pass defense from a year ago.

With the 18th pick, it is hard to picture the Jets selecting a cornerback. Darqueze Dennard (Michigan) and Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State) are probably the only two corners worth taking 18th overall, but odds are neither of them will be available. The Jets could draft Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech) or Bradley Roby (Ohio State) in the first round, although either selection would definitely be a reach. The Jets could potentially wait until the second or third round to take a different yet still talented corner such as Keith McGill (Utah) or Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska). Another possible selection could be Chris Davis from Auburn, who is most famously known for his game winning field goal-return touchdown against Alabama. His playmaking ability combined with his above average coverage makes him an intriguing mid round selection. Although it is hard to tell exactly when Idzik and the Jets will take a corner, the Jets will definitely select one at some point in the draft.