In the finale of our four part series, we’ll take a look at the New York Jets and their defensive needs for the looming 2010 NFL Draft. Last year, the Jets’ defense was phenomenal, leading the league in scoring defense (14.8 points per game) and total yards (252.3 yards per game). However, there are still some holes that could be filled via the draft, so let’s see what positions the Jets should look at.

Defensive End: This may be the Jets’ biggest need on defense. Shaun Ellis and Mike DeVito are solid, but nothing spectacular. Unless you mezmorize depth charts, you would have no idea who their backups are, so that’s usually a decent indicator that an upgrade is needed.
Highest round they will draft one? 1st or 2nd round. Wide receiver is still a bigger need for the Jets, but defensive end will shortly be one as important to fill.

Defensive Tackle: The Jets knew they had it good with Kris Jenkins. They didn’t realize how good until he was lost for the season with a torn ACL. How high the Jets will draft a defensive tackle directly correlates with the status with Jenkins’ knee.
Highest round they will draft one? 2nd or 3rd round. Again, the earlier they pick a tackle, the more nervous they are for Kris Jenkins to make a full recovery.

Outside Linebacker: The Jets look fine here upon first glance. However, there is not much depth behind Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace. Vernon Gholston has been a major bust for the Jets since he was picked 6th by the Jets in 2008.
Highest round they will draft one? 3rd or 4th round. This probably depends on where they feel they can get the best value. If Gholston gets replaced on the depth chart by a rookie mid-round draft pick, he can kiss his career goodbye.

Inside Linebacker: David Harris is one of the best young linebackers in the game. Bart Scott just might be the most ferocious linebacker in the game. They anchor the middle of the Jets defense very well.
Highest round they will draft one? 5th round or later. Last year, Harris and Scott combined for 219 tackles. That’s production.

Cornerback: Earlier in the offseason, I was a HUGE advocate of the Jets using their first round pick on a corner to start opposite Darrelle Revis. In an older article, I talked of how Revis would shut down a great wide receiver, but an average one on the other side would make huge plays. That issue was addressed with the addition of Antonio Cromartie. As the #2 corner, he is a huge step-up from Dwight Lowery or Drew Coleman.
Highest round they will draft one? 4th-6th round. Like I said, the reserve cornerbacks aren’t anything to write home about.

Safety: With the departure of veteran Kerry Rhodes, one would think the Jets would have an urgent need at safety. Wrong. Backup Eric Smith was basically starting for Rhodes halfway through the year anyway. Also, strong safety Jim Leonard plays quarterback for the defense. Addition Brodney Pool can be a valueable asset if he can remain healthy.
Highest round they will draft one? 2nd-4th round. They will likely miss out on the “Big Three” safeties (Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, and Taylor Mays), so they will look for value later on in the draft.

What do you think the Jets should do in the draft? Focus on making the offense more effective? Or solidify an already great defense? You be the judge.

Photo Credit: New York Jets