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Edge rusher just one of holes the Jets must fill

Gang Green owns No. 3 pick of NFL Draft but might look to trade down for more picks.

Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen (41) rallies fans in

Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen (41) rallies fans in Lexington, Kentucky.  Photo Credit: AP/Bryan Woolston

One potential Jets free-agent target is off the board.

On Saturday, the Chiefs placed the franchise tag on linebacker Dee Ford, who finished tied for seventh in the NFL with 13 sacks.

ESPN reported that Kansas City will listen to trade offers for Ford, who is represented by the same agent as running back Le’Veon Bell. But the Jets — who are in the market for an edge rusher — are looking to acquire more draft picks, not give any up.

They might be able to grab an edge rusher with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft in April if they don’t trade down. Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen has the potential to be a disruptive and game-changing edge rusher if he’s available.

The New Jersey native had an SEC-leading 17 sacks in his senior season, which ranked second in the nation behind Jaylon Ferguson’s 17 1⁄2 for Louisiana Tech.

“I think I’m the best player in the draft,” Allen said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday.

“I believe that. I think every guy here should believe that, and if a team doesn’t believe that, I’ll see them during the season.’’

Allen doesn’t lack confidence and plays with a chip on his shoulder at all times. He wasn’t highly recruited out of Montclair (N.J.) High School, but his play during his senior season for Kentucky earned him the Defensive Player of the Year awards in college football and the SEC.

Allen is projected to go in the top five — and even No. 1 in some mock drafts — and compares himself to the Bears’ Khalil Mack and the Broncos’ Von Miller.

“I say that because they’re both the best at the position and I feel I’m the best, so I feel I should compare myself to the best,” Allen said.

“I feel my game symbolizes both of theirs.’’

Allen was set to meet Saturday night with the Jets and Giants, who own the No. 6 pick. He said it would be “pretty cool” to play for either team. Florham Park and East Rutherford both are less than 15 miles from Montclair.

It’s unlikely that Allen will be there when the Giants pick. They could trade up, but the belief is that if they do that, it will be to draft a quarterback. As of now, the Jets have the better chance of landing Allen, which would solve a major problem.

Unless the Cardinals take quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 pick, the first three players chosen could be impactful defensive players: Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Allen and Alabama’s Quinnen Williams. Any of them would help the Jets, who will meet with all three.

Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan made it clear at the combine that he is willing to trade down to get more picks.

The Jets have many holes to fill and don’t own a second-round choice this year. It was part of the haul the Jets sent to Indianapolis when they acquired the No. 3 pick last year and selected Sam Darnold.

What the Jets do could depend on how free agency plays out. They’ll have roughly $100 million to spend, and an edge rusher, a left guard and a running back will be their top targets.

If a team in the top 10 wants to move up to select a quarterback and gives up multiple picks, including a second-rounder this year, the Jets are open for business.

They still could select a pass rusher if they trade down. Michigan’s Rashan Gary and Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell could be options for the Jets later in the draft.

“According to the scouts, it’s one of the best D-line classes yet,” Bosa said. “If you look at all the mocks or whatever, it’s straight defense.”

The Jets could use the help.

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