A day after focusing solely on defense – taking cornerback Dee Milliner ninth overall and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson 13th – the Jets addressed their offensive needs in Rounds 2, 3 and 4.
After taking quarterback Geno Smith 39th in the second round, they picked Kent State offensive lineman Brian Winters 72nd overall. Shortly thereafter, general manager John Idzik nabbed the running back he wanted: Chris Ivory.
The Jets have been interested in the Saints restricted free agent for some time, but they weren’t willing to sign Ivory, 25, to an offer sheet because they didn’t want to part with their second-round pick. (Coincidentally, that was the pick they used to bring Geno Smith to Florham Park.)
"It's an opportunity for me to really get the carries that I deserve," Ivory said Friday night, according to NOLA.com. "I put the work in every day and every week. I just feel like it's my time. ... I feel like I can go out there and do some great things with the opportunities I'll be given, and I know I'm going to make the most of it. With every little glimpse I had in New Orleans, I did great things. If I'm getting more than six and seven carries a game, the sky is the limit for me.
"I can do some great things and put up some crazy numbers in New York."
Winters was a left tackle in college, but is expected to slide inside and line up at guard. He’s no Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper, but Winters fills an immediate need for the Jets. After losing former left guard Matt Slauson, and unrestricted free agent right guard Brandon Moore not expected to return, Winters could potentially start right away.
"I couldn't ask for a better situation," said Winters, who is only the second Kent State offensive lineman drafted since 1998. "I'm really excited for what's to come and to go out there with a great team, I couldnt be more excited."
Ivory, who was caught behind running back behind Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas in New Orleans, will compete with Mike Goodson and Bilal Powell for a starting job this summer. Though Ivory was slowed by injuries during his three seasons in New Orleans, the Jets are expected to sign him to a long-term deal.
The team inked Goodson to a three-year deal worth $6.9 million in March after former No. 1 back Shonn Greene left in free agency to join the Titans.