We haven’t covered the Jets draft needs a ton because simply, the Jets don’t have a lot of holes to fill and it’s tough to project who’ll be available when they first pick at 30th overall. Even though the Jets have had three coaches over the last decade (Edwards, Mangini, and Ryan), let’s take a look at the Jets draft trends to see if we can identify any parallels.

Dats Right, I Am Da Coach In NY!

Let’s start with the Jets approach to the first round. Since 2006, the Jets have only drafted one skill position player in the first round. Three of these six picks have come during the Top 6 selections in the draft. The jury is still out on Wilson, but the Jets hit a home run on four of these five selections.

Outside of trading up for Mark Sanchez in 2009, the Jets have focused their attention on the defensive side of the ball. Revis is the league’s best corner, Vernon Gholston had an impressive billing come out of college, but looked rather uninterested and was released in the winter. The Jets have built one of the league’s best offensive lines through the draft by selecting Mangold and Ferguson years back.

After looking at first round picks, let’s take a look at total picks over the last decade.

Surprisingly, the Jets have selected more running backs than any other position. The Jets had Curtis Martin for half the decade, but never seemed to find a complementary second option in the draft. Shonn Greene is a nice player, but he’s proven he’s not an every-down back. The Jets have selected eight tackles as well, but presently find themselves set on the left side with Ferguson. They may try to upgrade on the right side after Damien Woody began to physically struggle in 2010 and was subsequently cut. Vlad Ducasse has been used in a variety of ways, but there’s no guarantee that he’s the answer at right tackle going forward.

The majority of the picks over the last decade came on offense, but I think the Jets will look on the defensive side of the ball, mainly at a position that they have not drafted, outside linebacker. Jason Taylor is gone, and Calvin Pace/Bryan Thomas are not explosive enough to play in the Jets’ blitz-heavy style. The need for one or two, young explosive outside linebackers is apparent for the Jets.

Main Needs:

  1. Outside linebacker
  2. Defensive End (Gholston is gone; Shaun Ellis won’t likely return; Mike DeVito is a good tackler, but is not much of a pass rushing threat, and Trevor Pryce is nothing more than a stop gap)
  3. Nose Tackle (Kris Jenkins is gone and Sione Pouha played extremely well last season, but he’s not the long-term answer)
  4. Offensive Tackle (The team needs depth at right tackle)

There’s no apparent trend in draft selections for the Jets and this team does not have many holes. The team will need to retain many of their free agents when the CBA gets settled. I can see them going the route of an outside linebacker/defensive end player in the first round, but it’s tough to predict who will be there. In our recent mock draft, Jeff had the Jets selecting UCLA OLB/DE Akeem Ayers, which seems like a logical fit if he’s there. Mike did a profile on him earlier on, so be sure to check that out.

The Jets already have their foundation in place. Adding a solid, disruptive rusher at the end of the first round will definitely help this team. Will it push them over the hump? No. The team has work to do in free agency. Until then, the Jet season officially kicks off tonight with the 30th overall selection.