The Jets will select LSU DE Arden Key with the ninth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, predicts ESPN's Todd McShay.
Despite the Jets' need for a steady arm at the quarterback position, McShay points out their edge rushers need some improvement as well. This is why McShay can't see the Jets passing up on who he thinks is the most natural defensive end coming out of college this season.
"The Jets are another QB-needy team, but in this mock, the top three QBs are all already off the board," McShay wrote. "This is a spot where Baker Mayfield could be considered (or [Josh] Allen if he's still available). The pass rush needs help, though, and Key is the most talented natural edge rusher in the draft. He left LSU this summer for personal reasons and has been banged up this season (only 4.0 sacks), so his draft stock could slip a bit, but the talent is there."
The Jets' current defensive ends -- Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams -- have a combined five sacks on the season thus far, which isn't going to cut it. Also, it isn't clear if Wilkerson will be returning next season as his under production this year could warrant the Jets to release him. It would save $11 million in cap space to use in the offseason.
Key would be an immediate upgrade to the defensive line. As McShay pointed out, his sack totals this season have been mediocre due to injury. However, he tallied 11 sacks in his sophomore season in 2016, and it must be noted he is playing in the always-tough SEC conference.