The New York Jets have been to the AFC Championship game two years in a row, and both times have fallen victim to the eventual Super Bowl runner up. One has to think the Jets can’t stand the taste in their mouths thinking they could have put up a better fight on the NFL’s biggest stage.
Led by such a colorful personality in Rex Ryan, the Jets are a team that is fun to watch, if nothing else. They combine power football with a very aggressive defense, and combine it all with a little luck, you have your team going deep in the playoffs for two straight years. A huge factor for the Jets is the confidence instilled by their coaching staff, and the great veteran players they have acquired via trade and free agency over the last couple of years.
As far as the draft goes, the Jets have used a lot of their assets in the draft to move up and get the guy they want. In 2009, they used a good amount of their assets to move up and take USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, and 2010 was considerably more conservative. Here are what I think the Jets’ needs are going into 2011.
1. Defensive Line Makeover
The Jets are getting long in the tooth on the defensive line, and where that’s not the case, they really lack pure talent. The scheme has really worked for the guys they have in-house, but the Jets undoubtedly need some serious talent up front. A guy who seems like he would be a perfect fit for this team both on the field and in terms of his personality is defensive end Cameron Jordan from Cal. The Jets could also upgrade the nose tackle position and take a guy like Phil Taylor at the bottom of the first round.
Brodney Pool is a free agent, Jim Leonhard isn’t exactly an All-Pro safety, and the Jets definitely struggled in this area when he went down. Pool had a fine season, but who knows if he will be back. This draft is not deep at the safety position, but the Jets could get a really good player in the 3rd round like Tyler Sash from Iowa. He would be a great addition to this team as an aggressive guy who has great ball awareness. Jaiquawn Jarrett is also a hard-hitter that I like, and he could be a nice fit in the Jets’ backfield.
3. Wide Receiver
On paper, this might not seem like a huge need for the Jets, but considering their top two receivers are free agents, it certainly could be. Both Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes will be on the open market this offseason, and while they certainly could return to New York, it’s no guarantee. The Jets could even look to this position in the first round. They don’t have a second round pick from the Antonio Cromartie trade, and that’s really where the value is for the receivers in this draft. The third round is also an option, or possibly later. I like Vincent Brown from San Diego State as an option in the third round.