When the NFL Draft begins selections in Arlington, Tex., April 26, the New York Jets have the No. 3 pick in the first round.
Here is an in-depth look at the team’s needs, offseason changes, potential best fit and the selections by NFLDraftScout.com’s experts.
Who would you pick and why?
TOP 5 NEEDS
- Quarterback: The only Jets team this century to finish in the top 10 in the NFL in points scored was the 2008 squad, which had Brett Favre in his only season as a Jet, so that underscores the importance of the position when it comes to something fundamentally necessary to win football games — scoring points. Josh McCown put up decent numbers last year, more so at home, but he struggled in the fourth quarter. The Jets are hoping to find their franchise quarterback with the No. 3 pick, someone who will be around the next 15 seasons or so.
- Edge rusher: The Jets only had 28 sacks last season (fifth worst in the league) and they need someone to replace Muhammad Wilkerson on the line. Their only bona fide pass rusher is Leonard Williams. They have depth guys in Xavier Cooper and Mike Pennel, but they would be well served to get some young, hungry edge rushers in the later rounds of the draft.
- Offensive line: The Jets had one of the worst lines in football last season, and it led to an extremely inconsistent run game and getting their starting quarterback injured for the season in Week 14. If the Jets are going to invest so much in their quarterback of the future, they need to better protect him. Kelvin Beachum is a solid left tackle, Long should be OK at center and right guard Brian Winters should return healthy this season after an abdominal issue. But the Jets need more depth at guard.
- Tight end: Austin Seferian-Jenkins left for the Jaguars this offseason after the Jets didn’t want to pay him what he wanted, so their tight-end crop consists of Jordan Leggett, who has never played a regular-season game, Eric Tomlinson, who is mostly a blocker, and Neal Sterling, who is a backup. They claimed Clive Walford (Raiders) and signed Bucky Hodges, but they might not even make the 53-man roster next season.
- Kickoff/punt returner: The Jets signed veteran Andre Roberts from the Falcons to fill this role, but the 30-year-old’s best days may be behind him. The Jets tried Jeremy Kerley, Elijah McGuire, ArDarius Stewart and JoJo Natson, among others, as their main return man last season, but none provided a jolt on special teams. They have a speedster on offense in Robby Anderson, and they could use one on special teams, too.
–BEST FIT: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. Yeah, he’s brash. But maybe that’s exactly what this team needs. Since Rex Ryan was fired, the Jets haven’t only been unsuccessful, they have mostly been irrelevant, which is alarming for a New York team. Certainly, there’s red flags when looking at Mayfield — he’s short, he was arrested and he’s drawn comparisons to Johnny Manziel. But he threw 119 touchdowns and 21 interceptions the last three years for the Sooners, who were 34-6 in that stretch. Now, he probably still would have been there for the Jets at No. 6, but they can’t worry about that now. Just take him third, let him learn what it’s like to lead from McCown and what it’s like to be humbled from Bridgewater, and go from there. He’s got the goods.
–Rob Rang: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. Signing veterans Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater provide the Jets options but considering their recent history — Mark Sanchez and Chad Pennington are the only quarterbacks to start the equivalent of two full seasons for the Jets since the turn of the century – general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles know full well how critical it is to find the right quarterback. What Mayfield lacks in stature, he more than makes up for with his competitive fire and playmaking instincts. He makes all the sense in the world for an offense and franchise desperate for a headliner.
–Dane Brugler: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. The Jets are searching for a quarterback to infuse energy into the offense and Mayfield not only fits that description, but he is also ready to play as a NFL rookie.
FANS ON THE CLOCK, ON THE RECORD
OK, it’s your turn. Tell us in the comments section who you would pick and why. Check out top 1,000 players rated by NFLDraftScout.com, including combine and pro day workouts, biographies, scouting reports.