Robert Saleh, NY Jets, Draft Needs, 2022
Robert Saleh, New York Jets, Getty Images

Rumors circulate regarding New York Jets’ draft plans

It’s Senior Bowl week in Mobile. With a multitude of league insiders descended upon one location, that means it’s time for rumors to start spreading like wildfire.

Many of the rumors that have begun to spread are focused upon the New York Jets. After all, with New York’s coaching staff in town to lead the Senior Bowl’s National team, Gang Green has been at the centerpiece of the Mobile rumor mill.

ESPN’s Rich Cimini shared an interesting tidbit on Thursday evening. Cimini reports that it sounds like the Jets’ top priorities in the 2022 NFL draft will be the following four position groups: defensive line, offensive line, safety, and wide receiver.

Cimini adds that while the Jets like the draft’s tight end class, New York may address that position in free agency. On the free agent market, Dallas’ Dalton Schultz would be an excellent Plan A target for New York, while David Njoku and Maxx Williams come to mind as strong Plan B options.

Jet X Offseason Tool 2023 4

The four position groups mentioned by Cimini cover a large portion of the roster, but they leave two positions as notable omissions: linebacker and cornerback.

Putting the linebacker and cornerback units on the backburner would not be anything new for general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh. Over the past two offseasons, the Jets did not sign any starting linebackers or starting cornerbacks to multi-year contracts nor did they draft any linebackers or cornerbacks prior to the fifth round.

New York appears confident in its ability to develop linebacker talent without investing premium assets into the position. Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich have extensive backgrounds as linebackers coaches and have coached non-first-round picks like Fred Warner and Deion Jones to stardom.

C.J. Mosley is a near-lock to start for the Jets at linebacker once more in 2022. Quincy Williams is the incumbent starter beside Mosley, although the Jets can improve in that spot due to Williams’ inconsistency. New York also has Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen waiting in the wings – two developmental third-day draft selections in 2021 who converted from the safety position.

If the Jets again decide not to invest premium assets into the cornerback position, it would be a continuation of the inside-out team-building philosophy that Saleh and Douglas have preached. Both men have consistently stated that they prioritize strengthening the offensive and defensive lines first and foremost.

Saleh reiterated this philosophy when speaking to reporters at the Senior Bowl on Wednesday. He said of the defensive line, “It’s the one group that makes everyone better on defense and it’s the one group that can take away everybody on offense.”

The Jets’ starting cornerback trio in 2021 was comprised of three homegrown late-round picks: 2020 fifth-round pick Bryce Hall, 2021 fifth-round pick Michael Carter II, and 2021 sixth-round pick Brandin Echols. It was a unit that held up well relative to expectations but ultimately still left a hefty amount of room for improvement.

Time will tell if New York truly does adhere to its rumored list of top-four draft priorities.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at] - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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1 year ago

“They like TE class a lot, but I think they could go that way in free agency.”

If, as suggested, Lafleur has an affinity for two TE sets, I don’t see the sense in strictly using FA to acquire two starting TEs. Signing Dalton Schultz in FA and drafting McBride or Ruckert would mitigate the strain on the salary cap and seems the more likely Joe Douglas play.

I have very little faith in Mekhi Becton morphing into the picture of discipline and durability over a single offseason and, for myself, I believe the jury is still out on whether George Fant was/is even a top 15 LT given the mediocre competition he faced this past season. To that end, I still fully believe Ikem Ekwonu should be a strong consideration at 4 given his ability to play all over the offensive line barring center. And while he MIGHT have to start his career at RG, with Fant coming into the last year of his contract and both he and Becton being question marks (for varying reasons) at LT for 2022. It would behoove the Jets to invest in an upgrade over both now.

With regards to the DL, Kayvon Thibodeaux is far from the talent that is either of the Bosa brothers and I actually prefer the ceiling of David Ojabo and his ability to reach it through the guidance of the Jets’ coaching staff. Plus, his floor is rather decent and he’s shown tremendous growth at the position in the short time he’s played it.

verge tibbs
verge tibbs
1 year ago
Reply to  rex

Thumbs up.. . Yeah, i read that cimini comment and just chuckled a little bit, lol. This guy. They absolutely should hit both fa and the draft for TEs, i wouldnt even be mad if they came away with 3. The 3rd b3ing a late rounder or practice squad swing from another team. They have almost nothing on the roster there and this system cant reach its heights without it. Imo.