As draft week looms, the New York Jets have their options laid out for them with the 11th overall pick. With needs at multiple positions and finishing with a .500 record or below for the eighth time in the last nine years, the Jets need to restore the same juice that took them to the AFC championship game almost a decade ago.
GM Joe Douglas and Adam Gase have a lot to consider to figure out what is best for the team on April 23rd. So what exactly is that? One simple philosophy that the Jets, and quite frankly all NFL teams should try to keep in mind is the key to effective drafting, but it is also the age-old question:
Draft for need, or draft the best player available?
It is the timeless question that general managers and head coaches have been struggling with for ages. But what is the right answer? In summary, it is subjective to the team and their situation.
Perfect example: In 2018, the Giants selected Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick. Barkley was the highest-graded running back coming out of college football since Adrian Peterson, eventually went on to win offensive rookie of the year, and was the consensus most talented player in the entire draft class. While this is pick is considered by many to be the right move, the Giants very clearly had other positions that needed to be addressed. Eli Manning was in the twilight of his career, the offensive line was one of the bottom units in the league, and in a draft class with Quenton Nelson and Sam Darnold, they elected to go with the sensational Penn State running back.
The New York Jets face a similar issue this year. Their needs range from cornerback, receiver, to the offensive line. The two things that are most important to the team are giving Sam Darnold weapons to use, and to protect him as well. Getting C.J. Mosley back on the defensive side solves a big issue, and if they ever manage to pay Jamal Adams, the defense has much fewer holes to fill than the offense.
It is unknown who will be the best player available by the 11th pick, but the Jets need to address their needs responsibly and effectively. It is time for the team to get back on track, and it all starts with one pick.