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The main case for NY Jets to take a tackle in the first round

Olu Fashanu
Olu Fashanu

Whether they trade or stay put, offensive tackle should be the New York Jets’ first-round target

What position will the New York Jets target in the first round of the draft?

That has become the million-dollar question in Jetsland lately.

Joe Douglas gave an interesting answer when asked if quarterback could be on the table in that spot.

The Jets have done their due diligence on quarterbacks, meeting with Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, and Jordan Travis. Still, reading between the lines, Douglas does not seem inclined to take a quarterback in the first round.

Instead, there should be only one position the Jets target in the first round: offensive tackle. Ultimately, I believe this regardless of which players are available at 10 or which tackle it is. How the draft works in terms of value should seal the decision.

The team has two primary needs heading into the draft: swing tackle (and 2025 starter) and another skill-position playmaker. This draft is top-heavy at the tackle position. Although as many as eight tackles could go in the first round, there is a drop-off from there. That is often the case at tackle, where those drafted in later rounds are either developmental or likely to play guard in the NFL.

Meanwhile, this is one of the deepest receiver classes in a long time. Beyond Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, and Rome Odunze, there are excellent options that could be available down to the third or fourth round.

Therefore, to maximize the value they receive at both positions, the Jets should take a tackle in the first round. They should get a player who can fill in for Tyron Smith if injured and step into a starting tackle role in 2025. That won’t be the case if they wait past the first round.

Meanwhile, at the skill positions, the Jets need a No. 3 weapon for 2024 behind Garrett Wilson and Mike Williams. Ideally, that player can step into the No. 2 role in 2025 when Williams is a free agent. It is far more likely that the Jets could find a player like that in the middle rounds of the draft.

That’s why drafting Brock Bowers in the first round would be a mistake even if the Jets love the player. Bowers fits the skill profile that the Jets should seek in a No. 3 weapon: slot versatility and crossing route YAC ability. Still, if the Jets could find value in the third round, taking Bowers at No. 10 would weaken their team as a whole.

I would go as far as to say this even if a top receiver falls into their laps at No. 10. With a 40-year-old quarterback, pass protection supersedes weaponry. Aaron Rodgers won his last two MVPs with Davante Adams and a bunch of No. 4-caliber weapons. He already has far more firepower than that on the team. If a receiver is there at 10, the Jets should get a haul from trading back and have more capital to find their weapon.

To me, this is the best way for the Jets to maximize their window with Rodgers. Otherwise, even if they gain a top player at one position, they’ll sell themselves short at the other one.

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1 month ago

I’ve read in several places that the Jets are sticklers for good blocking in their TEs and even their receivers, and it seems that Bowers might be a little iffy in that regard. Plus, I doubt the Jets have given up on the potential of Ruckert and Kuntz at this early stage. I’d be shocked if they drafted Bowers instead of an OT.

Braden Bethwaite
Braden Bethwaite
1 month ago

I agree 100

1 month ago

It’s pretty simple. As deep as this OT class is, the fact that the Jets do not have a second round pick, eliminates the possibility of getting an OT that can play even in a limited role in 2024. There will be WR’s at 72 and the fourth round, but only developmental Tackles.