NFL Draft Gives Jets Chance to Rebuild

Josh Casazza, Staff

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The 2017 NFL Draft will be held on Apr 27, 201,7 and the New York Jets hold the 6th overall pick. With holes all over their roster and roughly $2 Million in cap space available for free agency, the 5-11 Jets will turn to the draft to try to rebuild their team.

Key roster weaknesses for the Jets include a Quarterback (QB), Tight End (TE), Offensive Tackle (OT), Corner Back (CB), and Outside Line Backer (OLB), with the 6th pick they can get a guy who they can rely on, or at least they hope so. Top NFL analysts seem like they cannot agree on who the Jets will select on draft day.

Star LSU RB Leonard Fournette is rumored to be the Jets favorite prospect at this point, while the Jets don’t need a RB at the moment. Their starters Matt Forte (31) and Bilal Powell (28) are not getting any younger and Fournette could be a once in a lifetime type of player. Jets GM Mike MacCagnan has a history of drafting “the best available player” rather than take an immediate team need. Two drafts ago MacCagnan took USC standout DT Leonard Williams with the 6th pick even though the Jets defensive line is a strength in New York.

Arguably, the Jets biggest need is a QB and they need one badly. Since Chad Pennington left in 2008, the Jets have struggled to find a franchise QB year after year. In 2009, they thought they found a QB that they could depend on: Mark Sanchez. Then they signed West Virginia star Geno Smith in the second round, next was Baylor QB Bryce Petty in the 4th round of the 2015 draft, and most recently Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg in last year’s draft.

With Quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Geno Smith leaving for free agency the Jets will be left with Bryce Petty, and Hackenberg on the roster. Hackenberg didn’t see the field last year and is regarded as very raw and unready, Petty played in 6 games this past season throwing for an unimpressive 809 Yards, 3 TDs, and 7 INTs.

There are 3 realistic options to take at number 6 if they want a potential franchise QB. Clemson QB DeShaun Watson helped lead Clemson to a National championship over Alabama this past season, he threw for 10168 Yards, 90 TDs, and 32 INTs over his 3 year college career. North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky started only 1 year for the Tar Heels throwing for 3748 Yards, 30 TDs, and 6 INTs in 2016. Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer played 2 seasons with the Fighting Irish, throwing for 5805 Yards, 47 TDs, and 19 INTs.

The New York Jets defensive secondary was regarded as one of the worst in Football during the 2016 season. The Jets allowed a 98.5 QBR against them this past season to opposing QBs, which was the 3rd worst in the NFL behind the Lions and Browns. Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore has been mention as someone the Jets could have their eye on.

The 6’1”, 192 lb. Buckeye looks to be a top pick in this year’s draft and most scouts agree. Lance Zierlein, NFL analyst, says, “Lattimore is an average-sized, one-year starter with explosive athleticism and a loaded tool box. He has the feet, hips and agility to be a lock-down corner back and the ball skills to make teams pay for looking in his direction. His lack of experience could show up early, but he has the confidence and competitive nature that should help him overcome those issues. He has the ability to become a Pro Bowl corner back early in his career.”

No matter who New York selects in this year’s draft there are still plenty of holes to fill. From Marshon Lattimore to DeShaun Watson the 2017 NFL Draft may be the most talented one in recent memory. The team’s issues won’t all get fixed this off-season. But the Jets have a chance to start their crucial rebuilding process now.

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