Jets Urged to Sign Former First Rounder: ‘Could Be Missing Link’

Danny Shelton Browns

Getty Former Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Danny Shelton stretching before the start of an NFL game.

The bulk of free agency is in the books for the New York Jets and it is time to catch our collective breath.

One way we do that every week is by digging deep into our mailbag so our two experts, Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller, can share their takes on what is happening around the team.

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Good Memories and Solid Needs

1. Who was your favorite Jets free-agent addition and why?


Favorite is different than best. I think the number one addition was easily Laken Tomlinson in terms of securing a positional need with a perfect scheme fit but I’ll say that my favorite was TE C.J. Uzomah.

This guy is a leader through and through and I’ve always rooted for him from afar. Then, hearing him speak — that personality is infectious, man! I loved both tight-end acquisitions for many reasons but Uzomah’s signing stands out because he wanted to come here based on the culture we’re building.

He also didn’t rule out a Super Bowl in 2022 — which might sound crazy — but they said the same thing about his Bengals last year.

Boy Green:

SUPER BOWL?! You’re getting me excited there Michael.

It is hard to go against the Uzomah pick because he is an excellent player at an obvious position of need and has a huge personality.

I’ll actually go with the other tight end that was arguably the more surprising add in Tyler Conklin. We all knew the Jets needed a tight end and once they grabbed one it seemed unlikely they’d invest significantly in the position, especially so quickly, yet that is exactly what happened.

After throwing $24 million at the former Bengals’ weapon, they turned around and handed $21 million to the former stud of the Vikings. It was like Oprah handing out bags of cash to members of her audience, stunning.

No one saw that coming and after watching the New England Patriots dominate the NFL with one of the best tight end duos of all time, it is awesome to see the Jets pull a page out of that very playbook.

2. What is the Jets’ biggest need heading into the 2022 NFL draft?


The biggest need is currently a run-stuffing defensive tackle, although I would not draft one of those at No. 4 overall (just to clarify). Still, it’s our largest hole right now — so much so that on my Google doc depth chart that I keep, I literally have no one in that position.

Our run defense was pathetic in 2021 and that was with Foley Fatukasi on the field (statistically, he was one of the NFL’s top run-stuffers in 2020). Well, Fatukasi is gone! And the rest of these D-tackles are all pass-rushers at heart.

I’m shocked that Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh have not filled this void yet, but I’m sure they plan to. This is a subtle hint if I’ve ever seen one and it tells me that they might have a mind to address it high in the draft. Georgia big man, Jordan Davis, at No. 10? At this moment, it is certainly a possibility.

Boy Green:

That is a sneaky good answer from Obermuller and it is certainly the most overlooked need for the Jets on paper.

I’m going to go with EDGE rusher and that might sound strange because on paper there are a lot of names on the Jets’ defensive line.

However, how much can you expect back from Carl Lawson? I live my life by this very motto: hope for the best and expect the worst. There is nothing wrong with optimism, heck I encourage it, but you must also be pragmatic.

With that always in mind, you’ll be ready for any situation and the door is left open to be pleasantly surprised. Gang Green needs to add a superstar pass rusher in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft.

If Lawson comes back at 80 percent of what he was then that is gravy, but you can’t rely on that. Saleh requires juice up front and that is exactly what one of the top pass rushers will be able to provide.

Painful Mistakes and Interesting Solutions

3. Did you agree with the decision for the Jets to bypass trading for Amari Cooper and Robert Woods for day three selections?


I wasn’t crazy about Cooper, but that was more about his personality than his game. I feel like he’s been inconsistent throughout his career and that’s usually come down to his motivation, not his talent. I don’t want guys like that on the Jets.

Woods did entice me and felt like more of a Uzomah move. Everywhere he’s played, teammates have spoken highly of the ex-Rams wide-out — John Franklin-Myers even campaigned for him to journey to NYC. He’s a selfless leader that adds just as much as a blocker as he does as a receiver. He’s also got great hands and rarely drops the football.

He would have fit the Saleh mentality and because of that, I would have been down to give Woods a shot based on the easy-out built into his contract in 2023. Having said that, I’m perfectly fine with drafting a WR1 as well.

Boy Green:

For anyone that follows me on social media, watches my videos on YouTube, or enjoys my columns you know I’m an emotional guy. So sure with that being said there was some initial, what the heck are the Jets doing not getting involved in this?

Now that I’ve calmed down about the moves, I can speak freely.

I believe the Jets need to surround Zach Wilson with as much talent as possible. Another important factor is pieces that can help right now. Cooper and Woods are high floor players that you know exactly what they bring to the table, just look at their resumes.

A rookie will have to transition to the NFL and who knows how long that’ll take. Again could they be good? Sure they can and I actually like the five receivers who are considered first-round guys, but that is the one item that scares me.

4. Is there someone hanging out in free agency that you would still add if you were the Jets? (If so, who and why?)


This answer will piggyback off question two when I spoke about adding a run-stuffer. I would rather not spend a premium pick on this position, which means I’d be looking to sign or trade for a reliable veteran.

I can’t lie, the FA market at DT is a barren wasteland of players that are mostly past their prime and some others that just aren’t any good. One name does appeal, however, Danny Shelton.

He’s made stops with the Browns, Patriots, Lions, and Giants, generally performing wherever he’s been. The nose tackle has also seen snaps in a 4-3 before and should fit well enough. In a rotational role on early downs, Shelton could be the affordable missing link that this defensive line needs before the draft.

Boy Green:

Love the Shelton pick, he is a former first-rounder who went No. 12 overall in the 2015 NFL draft to the Cleveland Browns. While he hasn’t lived up to the hype of his draft status, Shelton has carved out a nice career in the NFL.

The positions that I would look at are run-stuffing defensive tackle, linebacker, pass rusher, and wide receiver.

Sure we’ve explained why they need a true No. 1 guy, but I’m not even talking about that. They need depth: Keelan Cole and Jamison Crowder are both hanging in the wind as free agents. I’d be open to bringing one of them back, with a slight lean towards Crowder because he is more proven and has a good fit in this offense.

Although price is pending on that one and if it gets too rich I’d bring Cole back. You need depth at wide receiver because injuries are inevitably going to happen. That would be a big target of mine ahead of the draft.

5. What has been the biggest mistake the Jets have made so far during the 2022 offseason?


I really think we’ve seen solid execution from Douglas so far. You could say not dishing out the extra cash for Marcus Williams or Carlton Davis, but I really like the scheme fits in DB Jordan Whitehead and CB D.J. Reed Jr.

Just like last year, the Jets GM targeted ascending talents and although injuries really hampered their free-agent class in 2021, you hope that both groups (Carl Lawson and Corey Davis included) can come together to make a difference in 2022.

Having said that, I’ll harp on something I’ve talked about in multiple mailbag columns — linebacker. Reports claim that Douglas and Saleh are really excited about this group led by C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams. To put it bluntly, I am not.

These guys cannot cover to save their lives and they were also undisciplined on their gap assignments in the run game. Tackles don’t matter when you can make a stop on third down. I wish we committed to bringing in starting 4-3 linebacker to help but because of Mosley’s contract and Saleh’s faith, that doesn’t seem likely until 2023.

Boy Green:

Linebacker is a good answer, but I’ll go back to what I said about wide receiver.

I’m not ready to call it a mistake yet on passing on Cooper/Woods. I think both would’ve been interesting fits, particularly Woods who fits the scheme and is a great leader in the locker room.

However, this now forces the Jets to either make a crazy trade none of us see coming or take a top wideout in April’s draft. If they do that, then everything was peaches and cream and it all works out.

However, if the Jets swing and miss on bringing in a top wide receiver, I will be livid. There have been so many available options in a variety of forms that there is no excuse for them not to have a No. 1 guy this September.

So this is cheating the question a little bit but this is very much a TBD answer.

Follow @BoyGreen25 @obermuller_nyj on Twitter for all the latest New York Jets breaking news, rumors, fresh takes, and more!

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