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5 players the NY Jets should dream of adding in 2024 NFL draft

LSU, Malik Nabers, NFL Draft, NY Jets
Malik Nabers, LSU Football, NFL Draft, Getty Images

The New York Jets will have a chance to draft an offensive difference-maker

Well, it has been one crazy season for the New York Jets.

Or it’s been a normal one. Depends on who you ask.

Regardless of how the season is framed, the reality of the situation is that the Jets’ season is dead in the water. With a 6-10 record, the team was officially eliminated from playoff contention two games ago after losing in Week 15 to the Dolphins 30-0.

Even with the Jets’ playoff drought extended, there is a familiar silver lining: Draft season is almost here.

There is still plenty of time for the Jets’ final draft position to be decided, but in the spirit of providing some optimism, here are five prospects the Jets should be eager to add as they aim to turn around their offense in 2024.

Malik Nabers

It is no secret that the Jets need skill-position players in the worst way.

Outside of star players Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall, the Jets are getting next to nothing out of everyone else. Between not adding much to the wide receiver position in the off-season and whiffing on both Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman, the Jets have one of the worst skill groups in the NFL.

While it is enticing to pursue adding a receiver through free agency or a trade, like Tee Higgins or Davante Adams, the team’s best option may be addressing the need in the draft.

Marvin Harrison Jr., otherwise known as Maserati Marv (only if you ask Gus Johnson), is the consensus top receiver in the draft. Yet with some of the Jets’ recent wins, the Ohio State star is most likely out of reach for the Jets. Harrison is largely expected to be taken in the top three.

Even if the Jets miss out on Harrison, there are still some other great prospects available at the wide receiver position, such as LSU star Malik Nabers.

Widely considered to be one of the best players in college football, Nabers is everything a modern number-one wide receiver should be.

If not for Harrison, it is very possible Nabers would be the first receiver off the board in the draft. The LSU superstar can make every type of play on the field. Whether it’s contested catches, creating separation, or pushing defenses vertically, Nabers can do it all.

The stats back up the talent. In his past two seasons, Nabers has 2,562 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has an ADOT (average depth of target) of over 11 yards across those seasons while also having 23 contested catches.

The 2023 season was Nabers’s big breakout, as he led the entire country in receiving yards with 1,545 and was tied for second in touchdowns with 14. He also was fourth in missed tackles forced with 30.

Landing Nabers would be an absolute home run for the Jets.

Paired with Garrett Wilson, Nabers would help form an electric wide receiver duo in the short and long term. The LSU product is just as versatile as Wilson, doing damage from both the slot and out wide.

The pairing would help put lots of stress on opposing defenses, setting the Jets up for lots of success on offense. With Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, it would be very difficult for defenses to stop an offense having two upper-tier receiver talents.

Rome Odunze

As intriguing as Nabers is, there is a high chance he will be gone by the time the Jets pick. Another possibility is that the Jets opt to trade down from their selection to accumulate more draft capital to improve the roster.

Luckily for New York, there are other tantalizing wide receivers in the draft if they do not land Harrison or Nabers.

Washington’s Rome Odunze is one of the primary options at receiver in the draft, and he is a tremendous prospect in his own right.

Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 213 pounds, Odunze is another all-around receiver who can win in multiple ways. In the past two seasons, the Washington star has 2,573 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns on 156 receptions.

One of the receiver’s main calling cards is his ability to haul in the deep ball. In 2023, on passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield, Odunze has 20 receptions for 655 yards and six touchdowns. This was good for an elite 99.9 PFF receiving grade, leading the country.

A huge reason for this is Odunze’s knack for contested catches. Odunze had 17 contested catches, including an FBS-high seven of them coming on deep passes.

While not providing the blazing speed of other prospects, Odunze would be a great addition to the Jets’ offense. With contested-catch ability and sharp route running, he would be an ideal complement to Garrett Wilson and another weapon for an Aaron-Rodgers-led offense.

Olu Fashanu

While wide receiver is a gigantic need for the Jets, the offensive line might be even more important for the team this offseason.

Between numerous injuries and massive struggles, the unit’s deficiencies are among the main reasons for the Jets failing in 2023. To be competitive, the organization needs to ensure it has an offensive line that can allow the offense to be competitive.

Luckily for the Jets, there are two elite-level prospects that the team could be in range to select. One of these players is Olu Fashanu, an offensive tackle out of Penn State.

A two-year starter at left tackle, Fashanu possesses high-level athleticism and skill at a premium position.

In the passing game, Fashanu is as good as it gets. On 382 pass-blocking opportunities, the Penn State product only allowed ten total pressures. He did not allow any sacks in 2023, repeating the accomplishment he achieved in 2022.

Fashanu has some work to do as a run blocker, but has consistently improved during his three college seasons. His run-blocking grade at PFF improved each year, and in 2023, he graded out as a positive run blocker with a 70.5 grade.

Simply put, Fashanu would be an elite addition to the Jets. With above-average ability in all aspects of the game, he would be a perfect pick to be the left tackle of the future for the Jets.

Joe Alt

Outside of Fashanu, Joe Alt is another talented offensive line prospect potentially in play for the Jets.

Standing at a mammoth 6-foot-8 and weighing 322 pounds, Alt is a force in both the passing and running games as well.

In 1,052 career pass-blocking opportunities, Alt only allowed 24 total pressures. On those pressures, Alt allowed four sacks and five quarterback hits.

Alt is just as good of a run-blocker, using his frame and athleticism to clear lanes. According to PFF, the Notre Dame tackle had elite run-blocking grades in the past two seasons. Additionally, he graded out as a high-level blocker in both gap and zone-blocking schemes, registering at 90.4 and 75.4, respectively.

For a team that wants to utilize the rushing attack and let Aaron Rodgers rip the ball around the field, Alt would be an ideal prospect to help establish that vision.

Micheal Penix

As important as the Jets’ other issues are in the present, the future of their quarterback position needs to be addressed.

With Zach Wilson most likely moving on from the team, New York needs to find both a backup to Aaron Rodgers and someone to be ready to take over once he retires.

While it is unlikely the Jets address the quarterback position in the first round, it needs to be addressed in some capacity in the 2024 draft.

Drake Maye and Caleb Willaims will be off the board quickly, and while LSU’s Jayden Daniels would have been an ideal developmental option, further progression and a Heisman Trophy have made him a lock for the early first round.

If those options are off the board, there could be an opportunity for the team to pick up Washington’s Micheal Penix.

Off talent alone, the Huskies’ superstar deserves to be an early-round selection. Throwing for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2023, Penix consistently carved defenses up.

No matter what throw needed to be made on the field, the quarterback was able to hit it. Penix showed the ideal touch, timing, accuracy, and arm strength to play at the next level.

Yet, there is the possibility that Penix slips in the draft. Before transferring to Washington, the quarterback suffered two major knee injuries at Indiana.

If Penix starts to slide on draft day, the Jets should look to stop it immediately. Having the chance to sit and learn behind Aaron Rodgers, the Jets could hit the post-Rodgers ground running with their new quarterback of the future if their cards break the right way.

With two weeks left in the season, there is plenty of time for the Jets’ draft slot to change, which will alter the list of potentially available prospects. Whether the team moves up or down in the draft, nothing is set in stone just yet.

Still, it is always good to look ahead and identify the top prospects who fit the team’s needs. The Jets need multiple additions to reach their final goal, and they must hit on their preferred prospects to have the best chance to achieve it.

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Peter Buell
5 months ago

What helped accelerate this team getting to within a line was the trade of Adams.
Not popular but when you have a gangrenous foot you might need to cut off the leg to save the body.
It’s a long shot but Sauce is much more valuable than Adams on that he plays a more important position AND has 3 years left on his rookie deal. Adams got paid the next year.
I’d only do this if the picks return come this year.
There are a few.up and coming teams whose O is there but the D is costing them games.
A 3rd team can get involved to get the picks this year but a simple example would be a Jets Arizona trade.
AZ gets: Sauce, John Franklin-Meyers, Zack Wilson, 2025 1st

Jets get OT DJ Humphries, (at the moment) picks 4, 18, 34

Would cover one tackle and the following draft picks if Jets are 7

#4 OT Olu Fashanu or Joe Alt
#7 WR Malik Nabers
#18 CB Kool-Aid McKenstry
#34 OT/G Jordon Morgon
#73 S-WR Ladd McConkey

Line
Fasanu/Alt, Morgon, Tippman, Vera-Tucker Humphries

WR G. Wilson
WR Malik Nabers
S-WR Ladd McConkey

CB Reed
CB McKinstry
S-CB Carter-2

Would be tough to lose Sauce but difficult to imagine the team not being better this way..Some version can be done but it needs to be a haul..like above

Jets71
Jets71
5 months ago

You hit the top prospects, while I love both the WR’s you have here if the Jets have the opportunity for their choice at OT they need to take it. It’s that simple, and I think they need to double down and get another OL as soon as possible. All of the skill groups look better with a good OL. There was a time when I thought a trade back was the move but as the losses added up, they have to take that top 10 player…if they get one.

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