Joe Douglas may not be content with waiting for an elite offensive tackle prospect to fall into his lap at #11.
For months, the most pressing question surrounding the New York Jets’ first-round fate has been this – will one of the top-four offensive tackle prospects (Mekhi Becton, Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs) make it to the 11th overall selection?
If the rumors are true, Joe Douglas might not have interest in finding out the answer to that question.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Jets are one of a few teams that have generated the most buzz regarding a trade-up in tonight’s first round. Rapoport adds that the Jets’ target would likely be an offensive tackle.
Among the teams who have made some noise about potentially moving up in tonight’s Draft: The #Falcons, the #Jets (presumably for a tackle), the #Saints, the #Packers. New Orleans and Atlanta are always among the most aggressive.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 23, 2020
The Jets had one of the worst offensive lines in football this past season. Sam Darnold was pressured on 41.6% of his dropbacks, the second-highest rate among qualified quarterbacks. Le’Veon Bell averaged 1.2 yards before contact per attempt, worst among qualified running backs.
Fixing the offensive line has been the top priority for Douglas ever since the final whistle blew on the Jets’ season-ending victory in Buffalo. He was aggressive towards fixing the problem in free agency, adding Connor McGovern, George Fant, and Greg Van Roten while retaining Alex Lewis.
While the unit’s depth has improved, there is still a ton of work to be done. McGovern appears to be the only addition that has a high likelihood of providing above-average play in 2020, based on his career analytics and film. Lewis and Van Roten have an outside chance of forming an average-level guard duo, but tackle remains a huge problem. Both Fant and Chuma Edoga – the projected starters – have yet to play at an average level in the NFL, although the latter offers intriguing upside entering his sophomore season.
If a later pick must be coughed up to ensure the addition of a player that can be relied upon to protect Darnold from day one, it could be the best way to go.
Just a few more hours. Soon enough, the smoke will clear.