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Jets Must Address O-Line, But Are They Looking Elsewhere In The Draft?

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

Just a year ago, Jets general manager Joe Douglas used two first-round picks in order to select cornerback Sauce Gardner and wide receiver Garrett Wilson, who both went on to become the league’s offensive and defensive rookies of the year.

New York will hope to come close to replicating that success once again in tonight’s first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. After completing the trade for Aaron Rodgers with the Green Bay Packers, the Jets have moved back two spots in the first round and will be picking with the 15th overall selection. Now the question remains, how will it all unfold?

Rumors, Rumors, Rumors

While the team is poised to make a selection that will help protect their new toy in Rodgers, ESPN’s Matt Miller says that the Jets have spent a “considerable” amount of time looking into Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

“Jaxon Smith-Njigba, my top-ranked wideout, is expected to be off the board by the time the Jets draft at No. 15 — he might even go to the Packers at No. 13 following their swap as part of the Aaron Rodgers deal — but if you’re looking for a Thursday night surprise, this could be it.” ESPN’s NFL Draft Analyst & Insider, Matt Miller

In Mel Kiper’s latest mock, he has JSN getting drafted to the Baltimore Ravens with the 22nd overall pick, while Todd McShay has the Houston Texans selecting the Ohio State Buckeye with the 12th overall pick. This year’s draft is said to be one of the most unpredictable drafts in recent memory, so the Jets’ chances of making a splash at some offensive talent may not be out of the realm of possibility.

How Will It All Play Out?

Assuming that at least one of the top offensive tackles is still on the board for the Jets at pick number fifteen, New York should make the decision that will help fortify their offensive line for the foreseeable future. Protecting your new quarterback, along with improving the trenches that second-year RB Breece Hall will be working behind, should be the number one priority for the Jets.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, Joe Douglas and the front office have already re-worked their wide receiver room this offseason, and they even held on to Corey Davis who I thought was likely going to be included in the Rodgers trade. So drafting JSN at the expense of passing on an offensive tackle does not seem like the smarter option in my opinion.

Now if it does play out tonight that there are no tackles worth selecting by the time the Jets pick, then all bets are off for New York. I would not be opposed to them selecting JSN if he’s available, or even pivoting over to the defensive side of the ball and drafting someone that can work the edge. Jets fans have had a big week and it continues tonight once the clock starts on the 2023 NFL Draft.


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