New York Jets: Assessing the plethora of team needs before the 2021 NFL Draft

Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images /
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Quinnen Williams New York Jets 2021 NFL Draft
Oct 18, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (95) reaches for Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin (37) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Edge Rusher(s)

One of the most important positions in football is someone who can put pressure on the quarterback off the edge. The best that the New York Jets have on their roster right now? Tarell Basham.

I don’t mean this as a knock on Basham who had a decent year in 2020, but he isn’t exactly a household name. Basham led the team’s edge rushers with just 3.5 sacks. That is not the sort of production you need from your edge rushers if you want a dominant defense in the NFL.

Once again, I don’t think there is a prospect worth taking at pick two of the 2021 NFL Draft, but there are plenty of veteran free agent options out there including Matt Judon, Shaq Barrett, Melvin Ingram, Bud Dupree, Jadeveon Clowney, Ryan Kerrigan, and even Von Miller.

There should certainly be a lot of viable candidates on the board with the 23rd overall selection of the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the second of the New York Jets two first-round picks this year.

Edge rusher should be a top priority in free agency for the New York Jets, regardless of who the team ends up hiring as their head coach. If that selection is Robert Saleh, even more importance will likely be placed on the position. Coming from a team that had Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, and Dee Ford coming off the edge, Saleh will likely want to find a dominant force of his own for the New York Jets.

Whether that is in free agency, the 2021 NFL Draft or both, the Jets absolutely need to find some playmakers on the edge.

3. Interior Defensive Line

While 2019 third overall pick Quinnen Williams showed flashes of what he is capable of in 2020, the New York Jets once again lacked depth and production across the rest of their defensive line. After letting Leonard Williams switch MetLife Stadium locker rooms, Williams has been the only top talent on the New York Jets defensive front.

The 2021 NFL Draft is not top-heavy when it comes to defensive linemen, meaning that the
New York Jets could find an impactful player or two a little later in the 2021 NFL Draft that could help their defense right away and in the future.

Be it in the 2021 NFL Draft or via free agency, grabbing a guy or two that can play next to Williams on the inside could really help a struggling New York Jets defense in 2021 and moving forward.