The Jets’ offseason overhaul is almost complete, but holes still remain. And with the No. 3 pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft, the Jets could fill a big one.
Edge rusher is a glaring need. General manager Mike Maccagnan didn’t address it in free agency, but he will have another chance when the Jets select third for the second consecutive year. Maccagnan hasn’t ruled out trading down for more “draft capital,” but if the Jets hold on to the No. 3 pick, they should be able to get an impact player.
The Jets likely would pounce if Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa dropped to them, but he’s widely projected to go first or second. Presuming Arizona selects quarterback Kyler Murray and Bosa goes second to the 49ers, the Jets could be deciding among Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, athletic Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver and Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen.
“I think we’re very excited about where we are this year with the third pick in the draft,” Maccagnan said. “I think we’ll have a good player available at that spot. I think we may have a trade option or two come up, and we’ll weigh that.”
A team to watch may be the Redskins, who are said to be looking to move into the top five to take Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. The Redskins would have to part with the No. 15 pick, No. 46 in the second round plus additional picks. Maccagnan would like to recoup a second-round pick after dealing it to the Colts last year in the package that let the Jets move up from sixth to take Sam Darnold.
Dropping from three to 15 is such a big dip, and the Jets could be missing an opportunity to take a game changer. This is such an important draft for Maccagnan and the Jets that it may not be worth the risk.
At 15, the best defensive ends available could be Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell or Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat. They had fine college careers but aren’t projected to have the same effect as Williams, Oliver or Allen.
“We may be very happy to sit there and pick a really good player at three that could be a foundation player for us,” Maccagnan said.
All three met with the Jets and would fit well into aggressive coordinator Gregg Williams’ scheme. Many consider Quinnen Williams the best of three, and someone whose potential might be too high to pass on if he’s still on the board at No. 3. He played nose tackle for Alabama but was a defensive end before that. That versatility and his skill set would make Williams a solid pick.
“I can do it all,” Williams said. “I can play on the defensive line. I can pass-rush. I can stop the run. I’m good on the field, off the field, no injuries, good character in general.”
Oliver is an intriguing prospect because of his quickness and athleticism. His size – 6-2, 287 – and the way he plays reminds some of Aaron Donald, the Rams' dominant interior lineman. Gregg Williams coached Donald, whose name came up during Oliver’s visit with the Jets. Oliver believes he would fit perfectly with Williams and the Jets.
“We watched a little bit of Aaron Donald film, watched a couple more guys and watched some tape of the Browns, a lot of how they were used,” Oliver said, referring to Williams’ last team.
Oliver described himself as “a physical, dominant player. I like to wreak havoc. That’s basically what they do. I’d fit right in.”
Allen is the most proven edge rusher of the three. He had 17 sacks last season, second in the nation. No Jet has had more than seven in any of the last three seasons. Allen, a New Jersey native, has been compared to former Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston.
The Jets also need to shore up the offensive line, defensive backfield and wide receiver position. They have five other picks – Nos. 68, 93, 105, 196 and 217.
Maccagnan cautioned against drafting by “need,” saying he tries to make his choice based on the most “long-term potential.” His draft history is littered with busts and bad picks, so it’s crucial he gets this one right.
“I think we’re going to get a very good player at three,” Maccagnan said. “If we decide not to move the pick, there are some very good options at three that I think will be there for us, and I think we’ll be very happy with the player we take.”
With Bob Glauber
Jets draft picks
Barring a trade, the Jets will have a total of six picks in the 2019 NFL Draft:
Round 1: 3
Round 3: 68, 93
Round 4: 105
Round 6: 196
Round 7: 217