Give us all the offense New York Jets!
General manager Joe Douglas entered the 2021 NFL Draft with a plan and he’s stuck to it through the first two days.
With the second overall pick, the Jets selected quarterback Zach Wilson out of BYU. Then Gang Green traded up to 14 and selected USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker. In round two, the Jets resisted phone calls to trade back and selected Ole Miss wide receiver, Elijah Moore.
Did you notice a commonality among the three players? They all play on the offensive side of the ball.
This is the first time that the Jets have started an NFL Draft with three consecutive picks on the offensive side of the ball since 2009. In that draft they selected Mark Sanchez quarterback out of USC (first round), Shonn Greene running back out of Iowa (third round), and Matt Slauson guard out of Nebraska (sixth round), per Pro Football Reference.
Douglas is doing what no other Jets general manager in recent memory has done: create an infrastructure that can develop a young quarterback. He’s provided protection (AVT) and now he’s provided playmakers (Moore). Zach Wilson should be the happiest man in the world with the Jets’ 2021 NFL Draft class so far.
This selection will have major ripple effects on the New York Jets roster
Suddenly the Jets have a first-world problem at the wide receiver position. Never thought I’d type that sentence, but here we’re in 2021.
Here are the major players on the depth chart at the position: Denzel Mims, Corey Davis, Keelan Cole, Elijah Moore, and Jamison Crowder.
The big question is, how much longer will Crowder be on the roster?
Both Crowder and the newly acquired Ole Miss wide receiver both play in the slot. If the Jets decided to release the veteran wideout they would save $10.3M in cap space. They could also look to trade him to a receiver needy team for a day three selection.
If/when the Jets move on, they can use those additional funds to fill some of the holes on the defensive side of the ball. Gang Green has neglected the defense through the first two days of the 2021 NFL Draft and that’s perfectly okay.
There are several veterans still looming on that side of the ball that could instantly step in.
Some names to keep an eye out for: Richard Sherman (cornerback), Steven Nelson (cornerback), and the team could look to bring back its’ slot corner in Brian Poole.
The Jets are also paper-thin at linebacker and could look to add some bodies like KJ Wright, Kwon Alexander, or even a reunion with Avery Williamson wouldn’t be totally out of the question.
Currently, the Jets have the second-most cap space available in the NFL, per Over The Cap. Sprinkle in an additional $10.3M and this team will have maximum flexibility heading into the summer to fill the remaining holes on their roster.
While some have complained about the Jets’ lack of balance in this draft thus far, Douglas is doing things the right way.
If the defense stinks this year, oh well. If the offense stinks this year, it stunts the growth of your franchise quarterback in a quarterback-driven league. Keep going offense.
Plus you hired a defensive mastermind in Robert Saleh. You handed $45M to Carl Lawson in free agency to go sack quarterbacks in 2021. Trusting Saleh to figure it out isn’t the worst plan in the world. Although putting your rookie quarterback in the best position to succeed sure seems like the best possible plan in the world.