Jets Insider Predicts Joe Douglas’ 4 Positional ‘Draft Priorities’

Robert Saleh

Getty New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh on July 30, 2021.

The New York Jets have an advantage that only one other NFL franchise shares with them in 2022 — they get to coach the top college prospects in the Senior Bowl.

Add in the fact that Gang Green has two top-10 draft selections and you have a fanbase that is dialed into rookie rumors and speculation. Don’t think the Jets beat isn’t aware of that and ESPN reporter Rich Cimini provided some gossip for NYJ faithful to nibble at on February 3.

He tweeted: “From talking to people/listening to scuttlebutt, it sounds like #Jets draft priorities are DL, OL, S, WR. They like TE class a lot, but I think they could go that way in free agency.”

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4 Focus Units Feature Trench Warfare & Playmakers

If Cimini’s rumor mill is correct, some Jets fans will be pretty happy after hearing this news and others will be pretty upset. First, we’ll focus on the four areas he named.

Offensive Line

This was always a given with Joe Douglas. The Jets GM is a former O-lineman himself and he promised he would rebuild this unit from the ground up when he arrived.

So far, he’s already invested two first-round picks into this unit. One made the All-Rookie team in 2021 — Alijah Vera-Tucker — while the other has become a polarizing figure due to injury and motivational concerns — Mekhi Becton.

Assuming for a moment that Becton regains his standing within the organization, Douglas could flaunt an offensive line with three first-round picks in 2022 and many fans are all for it. Here are the top candidates in the first and second round with some links to player breakdowns.

  • Evan Neal, Alabama, tackle with potential guard flexibility.
  • Ikem Ekwonu, NC State, guard/tackle.
  • Charles Cross, Mississippi State, tackle.
  • Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa, center.
  • Kenyon Green, Texas A&M, guard.
  • Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa, tackle.
  • Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan, tackle.
  • Daniel Faalele, Minnesota, tackle.
  • Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State, tackle.
  • Darian Kinnard, Kentucky, tackle/guard.
  • Zion Johnson, Boston College, guard/center.

Defensive Line

Like Douglas, head coach Robert Saleh also has a favorite positional group and that’s defensive line. Recently, he discussed how he’s “always going to want to improve that group” while answering questions in Mobile.

Everyone knows the two big names — Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux — but could the Jets draft an edge rusher or defensive tackle in the first round if neither of those two blue-chip prospects fall to them at No. 4?

The defensive line underperformed mightily in year one and don’t be surprised if Saleh and Douglas make some wholesale changes to this group in 2022. Below are the top candidates once again.

  • Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan, EDGE.
  • Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon, EDGE.
  • George Karlaftis, Purdue, EDGE.
  • David Ojabo, Michigan, EDGE.
  • Jordan Davis, Georgia, DT.
  • DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M, DT.
  • Kingsley Enagbare, South Carolina, EDGE.
  • Drake Jackson, USC, EDGE.
  • Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State, EDGE.
  • Devonte Wyatt, Georgia, DT.
  • Jermaine Johnson, Florida State, EDGE.
  • Cameron Thomas, San Diego State, EDGE.
  • Travon Walker, Georgia, EDGE.
  • Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati, EDGE.

Wide Receiver

Other fans recognize that the Jets are still missing a true WR1 on the outside. Elijah Moore can become your swiss-army knife but he may not have the physicality to dominate on a level like his rookie counterpart, Ja’Marr Chase.

Corey Davis on the other hand looks more like a secondary option. Two WR2s don’t combine to make a superstar, unfortunately, but a stud draft pick in 2022 could complete this trio.

Assuming the Jets don’t attempt to trade for or sign a veteran wide-out, here are their best options in the draft.


Don’t assume this means Kyle Hamilton will become a Jet. When Cimini listed safety as a draft priority, he didn’t say which round.

I still find it hard to believe Douglas drafts a safety at No. 4, based on his track record. The only way that changes is if Saleh has plans to use Hamilton as a do-it-all hybrid that plays a sort of buzz-linebacker role.

Even that may be wishful thinking for the Hamilton fan club. The safety class includes:

  • Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame.
  • Jaquan Brisker, Penn State.
  • Jordan Battle, Alabama.
  • Daxton Hill, Michigan.
  • Lewis Cine, Georgia.
  • Jalen Catalon, Arkansas.

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Top Snubs at Linebacker, Cornerback & Tight End

Cimini did mention tight end as an area of need, and a draft class that the Jets like “a lot,” but he noted that you could see a veteran at the position.

That may keep a prospect like Jeremy Ruckert in the mix — a recent fan favorite and Long Island native out of Ohio State. However, it could mean the end of any Trey McBride fantasies.

The Colorado State product is expected to be the first tight end off the board in 2022, which may cost a little more than Douglas is willing to spend if these reports are true.

One personal target that I’m disappointed to hear the Jets may not be looking at is linebacker — more specifically Devin Lloyd or Nakobe Dean. The analytics show that Gang Green needs help in the middle of their defense (30th ranked linebacker core in NFL) but perhaps Saleh likes what he has in C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams.

Of course, the final snub is at cornerback. We did say it in our most recent mailbag article, don’t expect Douglas and Saleh to prioritize a CB like Derek Stingley Jr.

This type of draft pick goes against their entire philosophy and Cimini just confirmed that it’s unlikely we’ll see it happen in 2022.

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