2010 NFL Draft: New York Jets Team Needs
by Kevin Roberts
Written on March 21, 2010
After a disappointing ending with Brett Favre in 2008, the New York Jets kicked Eric Mangini to the curb, released Favre, and officially started over.
Accepting what they had been doing wasn't working was the tough part. However, then they moved on quickly, hired a defensive guru in Rex Ryan, and found a new offensive nucleus in rookies Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene.
It took almost the entire season and a deep playoff run to the AFC Championship game to figure it all out, but Ryan's crew seems to be stacked to contend in the AFC East for years to come.
The true future of this team undoubtedly hinges on the development of their star rookie quarterback, but if the off-season has been any indication, at least the Jets' faithful know that the front office is doing everything in it's power to make life easy on Sanchez and the offense.
Biggest Needs: WR, QB, OL Depth
The Jets couldn't keep a good thing going, as they cut Thomas Jones loose, figuring that the money just wasn't worth keeping a 32-year old around, especially when it was only a matter of time before the wheels fell off.
That showed the team was fully backing Shonn Greene after an impressive playoff run, but with the signing of 30-year old LaDainian Tomlinson just a week ago, it seems we're right back where we started.
On paper, this isn't a drop-off or an upgrade, and this shouldn't really change things in New York, so long as the impressive and productive Greene continues to tote the rock more than any other back on the Jets' roster.
With the running back position still holding great depth and talent, the next set of issues resides in keeping the offensive line fresh and full of blooming talent, while also pairing Mark Sanchez with another capable signal caller.
Kellen Clemens just isn't the answer as the long-term back-up, and the Jets could find themselves a real gem in the middle-to-late rounds if they took a chance on Jevean Snead, Zac Robinson, or even Jarrett Brown.
All three of these guys have the potential and talent to possibly make it as a starter at the next level, but all three also have enough flaws to make it very likely that they'll drop past the third round. All three would arguably be significant upgrade over the quarterbacks behind Sanchez, as well.
The last, but not least important position of need, would be the slot receiver position. New York could even grab a receiver for the future, as Braylon Edwards is only signed-on for one more season. However, their current starters for the position appear to be set in stone.
New York could really use a crafty, speedy receiver in the slot, and if it's a guy with enough talent that can man the third spot his rookie season and then take over down the road as a starter, then that's even better.
Golden Tate is one guy that has been heavily rumored to have caught New York's eye, as he can shake things up immediately from the slot, but still has the upside of a future star receiver, and could even develop into a true No. 1 receiver.
If the Jets are looking more for a big, possession receiver who can also make plays down the field, they could also land LSU's Brandon LaFell. And if they stick with the pure-slot receiver talents, they could be seeking the services of former Texas product, Jordan Shipley.
Biggest Needs: OLB, DE, DT
Cornerback and free safety were definitely huge question marks heading into the off-season, but at least on paper, these problems were addressed.
New York swung a trade for Antonio Cromartie, potentially giving the Jets one of the most feared corner duo's, while also replacing the departed Kerry Rhodes with the signing of Brodney Pool.
Both of these positions could easily use some youth and/or depth behind them, but these big moves show solid optimism that they won't be problem areas in 2010.
However, as good as the Jets defense was in 2009, New York could definitely stand to improve it's pass rush, and could even use some better coverage out of it's line-backing corps.
Calvin Pace is their best outside linebacker, and while he's solid, that just shows you how much better their explosiveness could be from the outside rush.
The Jets already know what it's like to look for a play-maker at outside linebacker and then watch him struggle to develop, so it's not crazy to think they could wait until the second or third round to address this need.
If they do go for a pass-rusher in the first-round however, guys like Ricky Sapp or Brandon Graham could be available, while if they wait a round or two, they could still get a quality OLB like Iowa's A.J. Edds.
While landing an elite pass-rusher is always something teams like to talk about, preventing future collapses is also a huge concern.
The Jets have two 30+ year old defensive ends, and have spent much of the past three season being disappointed by injuries to 31-year old defensive tackle, Kris Jenkins.
Their defensive line is built to win now and is one of the more stout and productive against the run in all of football, but making sure it stays that way means spending some picks on the meat up front in their defense.
The Jets could be competing with the Patriots and a few other teams for the services of Jared Odrick, an athletic, big, and versatile defensive end who could even play in the middle.
Overall, the Jets are already built to compete for their division, and just need to see steady improvement from their offense, which lacks consistency or flash.
If they can draft well and get 2-3 guys who can step up out of their rookie class, they should easily be in the Super Bowl talk again in 2010.