Long time no see! After a three week hiatus composed of February vacation and SAT prep, I'm back with another team draft profile. Following the Jets will come the Patriots, and that will wrap up my coverage for NFL Draft Insiders (nfldraftinsiders.net). Anyways, about those Jets. After another year of bold predictions, midseason drama, and a disappointing ending, the Jets season ended in turmoil. They seem to have almost all the pieces to the puzzle, but are missing the last part. Hopefully for the Jets, they can pull off some good offseason moves and finally win the title they have been yapping about for the past three years.
2011 Record: 8-8, 2nd in AFC East
Strengths: Tight End, Left Tackle, Center, Defensive Tackle, Outside Linebacker, Cornerbacks
The Jets have a great starting foundation to be an elite team in the NFL. When healthy, the offensive line is great, but that isn't always the case. The fact that Shonn Greene still gets carries is because of how good the offensive line is. Dustin Keller is also turning into a stud at tight end, and seems to be Sanchez's favorite target. On defense, Sione Pouha, who the Jets recently resigned to a three-year deal, adds pressure up front, while Pace and Maybin add pressure from the outside. And of course, the Jets have a great secondary led by Darrelle Revis. Overall, the Jets have a fantastic defense, and that is usually what keeps them in games. The big problem for the Jets is their production on offense, and that is what they need to address this offseason.
Weaknesses: Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receivers, Middle Linebacker, Safeties
Even though Mark Sanchez recently signed a contract extension, he is still the same old Mark Sanchez who throws more passes to the ground than to his receivers. If the Jets want to be considered serious, they need to put points on the board! How do they expect to do that with a sub-par quarterback, two not so great running backs, and a wide-receiving core made up of the two most notorious wide receivers in the league. Here's what the Jets need to do. Keep Sanchez (have no choice) but get rid of Tomlinson and Greene. Go with a young running back who can add some excitement to the team, while taking pressure off of Sanchez to throw the ball. Also, the Jets need to bring in a big named wide receiver to help out Sanchez even more. On defense, the Jets need to replace Bart Scott at middle linebacker, but also need to address some help to the secondary. As proven last season, Revis can't do it all, and needs some help especially from the safeties. I know injuries are partly to blame, but it shouldn't be that hard to have three guys cover half of the field (Revis shuts down the other side). Again, Jets are really close to becoming serious contenders but their weaknesses really bring out the worst in them.
Possible Options with 1st round pick (16th overall): Trent Richardson, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright, Luke Kuechly
Richardson- I know the Jets are worried about his knee problems, but Richardson would be the best player available for the Jets. They seriously need to reform their running game, and who's a better choice than the only running back projected to go in the first round? Richardson is a better version than Mark Ingram- a physical running back who also has impressive speed. If I was GM Mike Tannenbaum, I'd be all over Ingram at workouts.
Floyd/Wright- Floyd and Wright are the two next best wide receiver prospects after Justin Blackmon. Personally, I think Floyd would be better, because much of Wrights success is attributed to RG3, who is a much better passer than Sanchez. Floyd is used to playing in a much more traditional setup, and could really help Sanchez. He combines size with speed and athleticism and could even turn out to be better than Justin Blackmon, who is starting to receive criticism for his size.
Kuechly- The Boston College linebacker has been all over team profiles, but that is because he has an incredible work ethic, as well as excellent team leadership, personality, and could play in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Not sure if Kuechly will fall to the Jets, but if available, the Jets would have a Bart Scott replacement immediately. Other guys to consider if Kuechly is not available are Melvin Ingram, Courtey Upshaw, or Nick Perry.
What the Jets need in later picks (assuming they take Floyd): Running Back, Quarterback, Offensive Line depth, Middle Linebacker, Free Safety
Recap: The Jets had an off year, and will need to have an impressive offseason to get back to where they were two years ago. If the Jets can make the adjustments they need, they might find themselves in the AFC Championship Game again. Only time will tell if this team can make it big, or will have a painful collapse that will cause Sanchez, Rex, and maybe even Revis to leave.