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Jets need a weapon or protection for Sam Darnold in NFL Draft, analyst says

Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb stands on the

Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb stands on the field during warmups prior to an NCAA football game against Baylor in Waco, Texas, on Nov. 16, 2019. Credit: AP/Ray Carlin

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah is confident that Jets general manager Joe Douglas will be able to really improve the roster in next week’s draft, and he wouldn’t be surprised if Douglas is active on the trade front.

Douglas, who is running his first NFL Draft as a general manager, will have the difficult decision of whether to take an offensive tackle or a wide receiver with the No. 11 pick. If he opts to draft a tackle in the first round, Douglas likely will grab a receiver in the second round with the No. 48 pick.

Jeremiah worked in the Ravens' scouting department when Douglas was a member of the organization. Jeremiah said Douglas likes players who are tough and are “really, really highly competitive.”

In his most recent mock draft, Jeremiah has the Jets taking Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb in the first round. But he could see Douglas making a deal for draft capital with either the Jets’ first- or second-round pick.

“I would not be shocked if either at 11 or 48, he traded down to get even more picks in that third-, fourth-round range because then they can really upgrade their roster in this draft at that point in time,” Jeremiah said during a conference call on Thursday.

He noted that the Jets really have no “blue-chip players” at the most important positions, other than Sam Darnold at quarterback. Jeremiah expects Douglas to make offense a main focus in this draft to ensure that Darnold can be successful.

Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Louisville’s Mekhi Becton, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas are considered the top four tackles. Jeremiah believes Wills or Wirfs will be taken by the Giants at No. 4. If the Jets can’t grab one of the top tackles on their board, Jeremiah believes they should take a game-changing receiver. After Lamb, the best receivers are Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III.

“They’ve got to find ways to score points,” Jeremiah said. “They just couldn’t do it last year. When you’re 32nd in scoring and 31st on third down, I don’t know how they won seven games. You give the defense all the credit in the world. They got to go get that fixed. That starts with getting much better up front, and then it gets to you got to get Sam Darnold some weapons. That’s going to be high on the priority list with this draft.

“They have an opportunity at 11 -- do you want to finish the run on tackles or do you want to begin the run on wide receivers or do you want to trade down? That’s kind of the decision that they’ll have to make there.”

The Jets have two third-round picks – 68 from the Giants and 79. Jeremiah said the Jets could grab two starters with those picks.

“I think they can get a starter on the interior of the offensive line with one of those and I think they can get a starter at wide receiver with the other pick,” Jeremiah said. “Joe’s going to do very well in the middle rounds of this draft. That’s where his sweet spot is.”

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