There are many off-season questions for the New York Jets that need to be answered before we really know the extent of their needs. The Jets seemed to take a huge step forward last off-season by bringing in Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosely, two of the biggest free agents. They had another high draft pick in Quinnen Williams, and things seem to be on the rise for the Jets. After another losing season, the Jets now turn to see what they can do to get over the hump. It will not be easy, as wide receiver Robby Anderson will most likely hit free agency. Rumors also state that the Jets and Bell are interesting in parting ways. The Jets may also be open to Jamal Adams trade talks. With all the speculation, let us break down their biggest needs.
Offensive Line – The offensive line is the biggest need for the New York Jets. The Jets had the second worst adjusted line yards, and it showed mightily in the running game. Bell was not able to get anything going, as he was frequently hit at the line of scrimmage or before it. The team had a stuff rate of 21%, which was near the bottom of the league. The unit also struggled mightily in pass protection. The Jets gave up 52 sacks on the year and had an adjusted sack rate of 9.8%. This means that Jets quarterbacks were sacked almost once in every ten drop backs. The team should look to draft a franchise tackle with their first pick, and try to move up to do so. They may also look into free agency as well for veteran leadership.
Cornerback – If the New York Jets are to improve anywhere on defense, it needs to be on the outside. This defense was top notch in the run game, but struggled shutting down opposing team’s wide receivers in crucial situations. Darryl Roberts struggled when he was healthy, and Trumaine Johnson was put on injured reserve. In order to make this a better overall unit, the Jets should try to draft a cornerback in the draft to add depth, and potentially try to get an experience corner in free agency to try and lock down studs.
Wide Receivers – If Anderson leaves in free agency, which most likely will happen, this becomes another top priority. Jamison Crowder is currently the only wide receiver scheduled to be back, which means they will have to fill the big play role. Crowder has tremendous chemistry with Darnold, but he is more of a possession wide receiver that a true number 1. The Jets will need a play-maker who could spread the field and win 50/50 balls to bail out Darnold if he is under pressure. They would want someone to spread the field. They should try to look for a player like Amari Cooper if he hits free agency. If not the draft is loaded with playmakers at the wide receiver position.
Edge Rusher – The New York Jets will have to try again to find a top notch pass rusher. The Jets struggled to not only get pressure on the quarterback, but sack them. The Jets only sacked the quarterback 35 times this year, which was bottom 10 in the NFL this year. That also includes 6.5 sacks from Adams who more often than not was pressuring the quarterback from his safety position. The Jets need to change this by adding a clear cut rusher who has been proven in the NFL or a stud pass rusher. If they do not take a tackle with their draft pick, they would be wise to take a pass rusher if free agency is slim.
To be Determined
Running Back – The running back position is all dependent on what the New York Jets and Le’veon Bell decide to do this offseason. If they part ways, or if the Jets want to add depth, they may be inclined to take a back. Of course losing Bell would be a big blow, however with the down year he had it could be good for both sides to move on. The Jets could look to draft a running back in the mid to late rounds that will fit Adam Gases’ system, or they may try free agency again. I think the first option would be much more plausible as the Jets would not want to pay another back in free agency.
The New York Jets have a lot of promise with the pieces they have on their roster. The only question is how much they strip down the roster in the off-season. If the Jets were to lose Anderson and Bell, then they will have to retool all of their play-makers. It is clear that the Jets will have priorities, but they can add depth in multiple spots on the roster. If the Jets are able to hit on some of their draft picks and free agents, they should be able to compete for the playoffs. Next time we will tell you who we think the Jets should target for all of their needs. For now the next few weeks will be crucial for the future of the New York Jets. Jet Up!