Sports

Jets’ biggest areas of need left

The big moves in free agency are over, and we are five weeks away from the draft. Jets general manager Joe Douglas made some splashes in free agency, but there are still plenty of holes on the roster.

Here is a look at the biggest areas of need remaining:

1. Cornerback: At the moment, the Jets projected starters are Bless Austin and Bryce Hall. Both have shown potential after recovering from devastating injuries in college, but neither has proven he is a long-term answer at the position. The Jets like their potential, but they really need to add some experience at this position. The problem is this was a really weak position in free agency this year to begin with, and what is left now are players past their prime. They could add Richard Sherman, who knows Robert Saleh’s scheme from San Francisco, but how much does he have left? They probably will draft a cornerback in the first three rounds, but that won’t help the inexperience of the room. They still could bring back Brian Poole, who has played in the slot for the past two years and is currently a free agent. The Jets have to hope that their rebuilt defensive line will get enough pressure on the quarterback to take some off of their secondary.

richard Sherman looks on during an nfl game
Does Richard Sherman have enough left in the tank?
Getty Images

2. Guard: This is another position where it is easy to scream that Douglas needs to upgrade, but how? Joe Thuney got $16 million a year from the Chiefs. Douglas would have had to blow that offer out of the water to get Thuney to pick the rebuilding Jets over the AFC champion Chiefs. After Thuney, there was a giant drop-off at the position in free agency. The Jets signed Dan Feeney to compete with incumbents Alex Lewis and Greg Van Roten at the position. This is another position that Douglas needs to address early in the draft, but he won’t be able to fill all these holes early, even with five picks in the first three rounds.

3. Linebacker: No position on defense is more affected by the coaching change than linebacker. The move from a 3-4 to a 4-3 means many of the players the Jets had at the position are no longer fits. They added Jarrad Davis in free agency and C.J. Mosley (unless he is traded) is expected to be back. They still need to add at this position, even if it is just depth signings right now. Blake Cashman could be the third starter, but he has not been able to stay healthy in his two years in the NFL.

4. Running back: The Kyle Shanahan offense is predicated on having a good running game, and it usually means having a stable of backs. The Jets added Tevin Coleman, the former 49er, on Wednesday, and he joins La’Mical Perine, Ty Johnson and Josh Adams on the roster. The options in free agency were not great at the position, and there are always backs to be found in the draft. It will be interesting to see if Douglas takes a back No. 23 overall, like Travis Etienne out of Clemson or Najee Harris from Alabama, or if he waits and tries to find a gem in the middle rounds.

5. Backup quarterback: Though most of the offseason focus is on what the Jets are going to do at starting quarterback, whoever that is needs a good backup. The Jets have not won a game with a backup quarterback since 2016. It has been a problem. Joe Flacco, last year’s backup, signed with the Eagles, and now the Jets need to find a veteran to join James Morgan behind Sam Darnold, Zach Wilson or whoever. The top veterans still available are Alex Smith, Nick Mullens, Colt McCoy and Chase Daniel. 


Source link