When John Idzik introduced himself to the New York media, the Jets' general manager expressed how vital the NFL draft would be.
"The draft will be very important to us,'' Idzik said in January 2013. "That will be a lifeline for us, year in and year out.''
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Idzik received fairly positive reviews from the draft in his first year, mainly because of quarterback Geno Smith's early success, the suffocating defense of lineman Sheldon Richardson and the team's .500 finish. But fans are particularly anxious to see what Idzik has up his sleeve come Thursday night.
The 2014 draft class is loaded with game-changing athletes, particularly at wide receiver. But in order to snag a surefire talent, the Jets might have to outmaneuver teams with the same areas of need.
Working in Idzik's favor is the fact that the Jets have 12 draft picks -- the most for the franchise since 1998. They all won't be used as bargaining chips, but rest assured the Jets will try to package picks if it means getting a shot at a top-tier playmaker.
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, linebacker Khalil Mack, wide receiver Sammy Watkins, tackle Jake Matthews and wideouts Mike Evans and Odell Beckham are just some of the headliners on Day 1 of the draft. But unless the Jets are able to move up from 18th into the top 10, it's unlikely one of those players will fall to them.
Idzik has been relatively frugal in free agency, preferring to pick his spots to dole out big-money contracts. He gave receiver Eric Decker a five-year, $36.26-million deal, right tackle Breno Giacomini $18 million over four years and running back Chris Johnson a two-year, $8-million contract. But Idzik hasn't spent a lot this offseason, particularly on cornerback, despite the Jets' abundant cap space.
For that reason, Jets Nation hopes Idzik will make a splash Thursday night. With holes at cornerback, wide receiver, tight end, outside linebacker and guard, Idzik needs to be somewhat aggressive.
He noted during his predraft news conference that he didn't have "the benefit of scouting the college season" with the Jets staff during the previous offseason. But now there are no excuses for Idzik. The time is now for the Jets to build on what he started in 2013.