In an ideal world, Adam Gase would have a Von Miller or a Cameron Wake - two premiere pass rushers who he's seen up close how they can disrupt an offense and change a game. Every team needs a player like that, and it's clear that's something his Jets are missing.
It also seems pretty clear that's the kind of player the Jets will be seeking in the first round of the draft -- if a player like that is even there.
"You have to find the guys that rush the passer right because you can get hurt," Gase said at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix last week. "How many times do you see Tom Brady get sacked? It's not a ton. He gets rid of the ball quick. You play Buffalo, Josh Allen is a tough guy to bring down.
"You have to rush the passer a certain way. So really it's about getting the right pass rusher or getting the right group of pass rushers. I don't know if it's really, 'Hey, one guy fixes this at this spot. One guy fixes this.'"
Maybe not. Maybe it will take a village of pass rushers for the Jets' defense to thrive in the AFC East. But with the third overall pick in the draft, the Jets will have a shot at some of the best defensive players and pass rushers available this year. And in a draft deep in defensive talent, they could have that shot even if they decide to trade down.
So here's a look at some of the top defensive talent available, ranked in the order of likelihood they'll end up being the Jets' guy:
1) DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
He's not the edge-rusher the Jets so obviously need, but remember that Gase said "it's about getting … the right group of pass rushers." Just ask the Rams how they feel about getting a big interior push from Aaron Donald.
The 6-foot-3, 303-pound Williams may not be there yet, but he's that kind of player - quick, strong enough, and productive (8 sacks, 19 ½ tackles for a loss last season). The Jets might have to choose between Williams and Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen at No. 3 if Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray goes No. 1.
It's a tough call. But Williams, learning from Steve McLendon, with Leonard Williams and Henry Anderson on either side, would give the Jets a very formidable front line.
2) DE/LB Josh Allen, Kentucky
The Jets seemed to tip their hand on their draft intentions when they pursued expensive edge rushers in free agency, but when Anthony Barr backed out of their agreement, the Jets were left with nothing at that spot.
That means the 6-foot-5, 262-pound Allen could re-enter the picture. He's certainly the most productive edge rusher available, with 17 sacks last season and 31 in his three seasons as a starter. The New Jersey native could be an instant star in New York, if the 49ers don't grab him at No. 2 first.
3) DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
He is generally acknowledged as the best defensive prospect in the draft, and it seems unlikely - but not impossible - that he's there for the Jets. He's in play for the No. 1 pick with the Cardinals, and if they go for Murray instead, then Bosa figures to go to the 49ers at No. 2.
If somehow he slips through - and you never know if teams decide to trade up for quarterbacks - this will be an easy call for the Jets. He had 8 ½ sacks two years ago before missing most of last season with a core muscle injury. Now that he's healthy, scouts have fallen back in love with the 6-foot-4, 266-pounder's ability, and his flexibility to play end in any defense. He can even be a stand-up edge-rusher if necessary.
4) DE Rashan Gary, Michigan
His measurables and potential are off the charts, and if he backed it up with even moderate collegiate production, he might be a Top-2 pick in this draft. But 9 ½ sacks in his three-year career have some worried that he can't put it all together. The potential is certainly there, though.
Gary is 6-foot-4, 277 pounds and has 4.58 speed in the 40. Many scouts think his biggest issue is a lack of technique and pass-rushing moves, which can be taught by the right coach. Give him the right defensive coordinator who knows how to use him and develop him, and he could be an All-Pro. Jets DC Gregg Williams might be that guy, but most likely if the Jets decide to trade down.
5) DT Ed Oliver, Houston
Given the injury and character concerns around him, it's hard to see the Jets drafting him at No. 3, but he'd certainly be in play if they traded down a few spots. It's unclear how long he'll last, though, after he dazzled the league at his Pro Day last week, running a 4.73 in the 40, a 4.22 in the short shuttle drill, and a 7.15 in the three-cone drill. Notably, he had a better short-shuttle time than Saquon Barkley, and a better three-cone time than Jason Pierre-Paul.
For an interior lineman who is 6-foot-2, 287 pounds, those numbers are crazy. He probably needs to get a little bigger, and that's a concern too. But his athleticism will be hard to pass up.