Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |
If the 2020 NFL Draft continues to remain on schedule, the Jets have less than a month to decide what they want to do with their No. 11 overall pick -- if they haven't done so already.
Jets GM Joe Douglas is leading his first draft ever in New York, so he definitely wants to get the pick right. For awhile, it looked like a new offensive tackle to cover Sam Darnold would be the only avenue for him to explore as NFL free agency kicked off.
Douglas added a few pieces to his line, an objective he had from the start. However, George Fant, a depth player with the Seahawks, being the only tackle that he brought in pointed to the fact that he might explore the deep market of first-round tackles.
Then, Robby Anderson decided to sign with the Panthers, throwing a wrench into that theory.
While Douglas can still have the O-line on his mind, especially after signing Breshad Perriman immediately after Anderson's news broke, a No. 1 receiver could be taken in the first round, too.
So let's break down the pros and cons to each pick to see which makes the most sense for Douglas at the end of the day...
Top Options: Tristan Wirfs (Iowa), Mekhi Becton (Louisville), Jedrick Wills (Alabama), Andrew Thomas (Georgia)
- Overhaul complete: With the exception of returning G Alex Lewis, Douglas would complete his offensive line overhaul by taking a top tackle in the draft. Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and Fant are all the new faces who are expected to start from Day One. The Jets' line was that poor last season that a completely new look needs to happen for Darnold to have time in the pocket, and Le'Veon Bell to find a hole.
- Darnold's protection for the future: Assuming Fant plays on the right side, the Jets will want to have someone protecting Darnold's blindside for years to come. Matching these two up for, say, the next 10 years sounds like a pretty good deal. We all know how far good, consistent line play can go, especially on that side.
- Depth in WR class: All four of those above options might not even make it to the Jets -- that's how confident experts are in this tackle class. On the other hand, experts are also confident this class might be one of the most deep in playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. So the Jets could easily go tackle in the first, if one falls to them, and go receiver in the second round.
- Not a necessity: Yes, the line was terrible. But upgrades, a few of them, were already made. Would drafting another lineman really be the smart thing to do when the Jets could get their pick of this deep WR class to be Darnold's No. 1 receiver? Wideout might be more of a necessity than tackle at this point.
- Bottom of the barrel: It sounds weird, but what if the Jets end up getting the short end of the stick in the tackles market. Wills and Thomas are expected to be the last two taken, and there are question marks surrounding both of them. It'd be a shame if the Jets' tackle pick didn't pan out, and the other 10 teams went through their choices and had options.
Top Options: Jerry Jeudy (Alabama), CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma), Henry Ruggs III (Alabama), Tee Higgins (Clemson)
- Darnold's No. 1: Perriman is that man right now, because after him is Jamison Crowder, maybe Quincy Enunwa and then nothing. Getting one of these top options, which will be there by the way, gives Darnold someone who he can grow with and trust for years to come.
- Spreading the offense: OK, yes, a tackle would contribute to help Darnold work in peace and Bell get better yardage. But the impact of a top receiver changes defensive mindsets entirely. Teams will have to focus on that receiver, not allowing one-on-one coverage to happen. And because those eyes are there, players like Bell, Crowder and the rest will have opportunities.
- Hall of Fame potential: Some believe Jeudy is the best wideout since Julio Jones left the Crimson Tide. Ruggs has been compared to Tyreek Hill. And the list goes on and on. These receivers are can't-miss prospects for a reason. So should the Jets really miss here?
- Depth is a curse: As we mentioned before, depth in the receiver market is high whereas a tackle isn't as accessible. In some mock drafts, players like LSU's Justin Jefferson and Colorado's Laviska Shenault are falling to the second round. Douglas can easily be content with taking his tackle and waiting for the next-best available receiver.
- Hit or miss: If you take a receiver, you want that player to have an immediate impact. And being a first-round pick always means that. So what if Douglas makes the wrong pick and that receiver still needs time to grow into his role? The first receiver might be off the board, too, with that Jets pick. Douglas cannot get that wrong.
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So... what's the right pick after all of this? If I'm Douglas, it would be extremely tough, but I would go with a receiver at No. 11 overall.
Having the pick of the litter compared to the next-best option is always better, in my opinion. And that's especially true in this case because, once again, the Jets don't need a tackle right now. Douglas believes in Fant, so he can see that through this season. Also, Darnold has better options at guard and center now, so he'll be more protected overall.
There is the risk the receiver doesn't pan out, but with someone like Jeudy, or Lamb, or Ruggs, there's a small chance that would be the case. These receivers are NFL ready and head coach Adam Gase would love being able to draw up plays in his offense with them.
THE PICK: Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb