The Jets have the 10th overall pick, but where should they be allocating premium draft resources?

New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas addresses the media during the introductory press conference for quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) (not pictured) at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center
Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets are coming off a rocky season that left many more fans and experts scratching their heads rather than intrigued with excitement. But entering the 2024 season, the Jets have a clean slate to work with once again as they embark on their quest to produce a deep playoff run, if not make a highly coveted Super Bowl appearance.

Though the Jets were active over free agency, there’s a handful of areas that still need to be addressed, and the NFL Draft will certainly play a factor. The Jets have a total of seven picks in the NFL Draft this year, and their most valuable selection is that of their 10th overall pick in the first round.

The Jets can go several different ways with their 10th overall pick, whether it’s to bolster their offense or add another asset for their defense. And with two weeks left before the draft, we here at Empire Sports Media decided to cast our own take on which positions the Jets should prioritize with their first-round pick and what players they should target.

1. Offensive Tackle

Although the Jets did sign veteran Tyron Smith to be their new left tackle, it’s the right tackle position that remains quite vulnerable, even with the return of Morgan Moses. Over 2022 and 2023, Moses did produce career bests in pressures allowed, conceding 24 in 2022 and 26 in 2023.

However, this is also the same tackle that gave up a concerning career-high 49 pressures in over 1,000 offensive snaps as a Jet in 2021. And if the Jets are planning on stabilizing their offensive line with the talent needed to protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers this season, they should seriously prioritize selecting a tackle with their 10th overall pick.

Of all the options available, the best choice for the Jets would be Notre Dame prospect Joe Alt. With a 6’9”, 321-pound frame, Alt is an excellent pass protector that comes with outstanding arm extension and a pair of quick hands to keep his opponents at bay. Despite playing as a left tackle in college, Alt has all the tools to be a Day 1 starter from the right side and would be a steal with the 10th overall pick.

If by some chance Alt isn’t on the board come the 10th pick, the Jets should consider pursuing Alabama right tackle JC Latham. Unlike a handful of the top tackle prospects, Latham is one of the few that played right tackle in college and just so happens to come with strong pass-blocking skills as well.

2. Tight End

Because the Jets have the 10th overall pick in the first round, there’s a possibility that the best tight end prospect in Brock Bowers out of Georgia, could still be on the board. Should Alt wind up being off the board come the Jets first-round pick, they should definitely consider selecting Bowers, and for a couple of big reasons.

The first and foremost point is that if the Jets are going to make it work with Aaron Rodgers in 2024, they might as well provide him with as many weapons as possible, and Bowers has everything in his toolbox to transform into an elite receiving threat in the NFL.

Though there’s a lot to like about Bowers, his underrated speed and astute awareness grant him not only a significant edge with beating opponents in man coverage but also allow him to locate the open pockets in zone, making him one versatile tight end threat at all times.

However, the second and most important point the Jets have to consider is that Bowers is regarded as one of the brightest tight end prospects since Kyle Pitts went fourth overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. In fact, Bowers has been compared to the likes of San Francisco 49er George Kittle, highlighting just how much potential he has to be one of the next great tight ends in the league.

When all is said and done, the Jets did address their offensive line over free agency. So if Bowers is available come the 10th overall pick and Alt is gone, he’s simply too good to say no to and the Jets should select him. Plus with Tyler Conklin starting at tight end, Bowers would provide a tremendous boost for a Jets offense that’s facing a ton of pressure in 2024.

Key Lingering Questions

1. Is selecting a defensive lineman at 10th overall a possibility?

The Jets under Robert Saleh like to send a four man pass rush and will probably continue to do so in 2024. So it’s hard to rule out this possibility entirely, considering their need for more depth and the fact that this year they could very well have the option of selecting top-tier defensive line prospects in Jared Verse (Florida State), Jer’Zhan Newton (Illinois), or Byron Murphy II (Texas).

But after the Jets recently signed elite pass rusher Haason Reddick to join their ranks with Quinnen Williams and John Franklin-Myers, the Jets have now a fortified defensive line that’s also home to the likes of Javon Kinlaw and Solomon Thomas, who combined for a total of 8.5 sacks last season (3.5 for Kinlaw and 5.0 for Thomas).

Moreover, Thomas was selected third overall in the 2017 NFL Draft by the 49ers, while Kinlaw was selected 14th overall in 2020, also by the 49ers. Though it might be tempting for the Jets to allocate their first-round pick toward a defensive lineman, this position is not as big of a concern as it seems to be, and they should refrain from doing so.

2. Should the Jets consider drafting a guard in the first round?

Despite the guard position being one of the biggest concerns for the Jets’ offense heading into the 2024 season, the guard talent level within this year’s draft class is not great. As a result, if the Jets do opt to select a guard in the draft, they should do so in the third or fourth round and save their first-round pick for a more pressing need.

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