By Connor Rogers, Staff Writer
The Jets have a ton of needs and barely any salary cap space, often a recipe for a disaster of an offseason. Although many contracts will be restructured and some completely terminated, the most viable solution will be the draft. All seven of the Jets draft picks this year are vital, from filling starting spots to special teams roles. Lets take a look at how the Jets might handle each round.
Round 1: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jones is the best defensive playmaker in this entire draft and happens to play Outside Linebacker, arguably the Jets biggest need. Many have concerns with his spinal stenosis injury that USC doctors wouldn’t clear years ago, but he has apparently been cleared by doctors recently before the combine. Jones is the type of player Rex Ryan can let run free while the defensive line clears a path for him. Not only is he a sound tackler, but often jars the ball loose. He also plays fast, an element the Jets front seven has been missing for far too long.
Round 2: Matt Elam, S, Florida
If Elam slides to the Jets in round two they most likely won’t pass him up. Continuing with the strategy of bringing in playmakers, Elam brings a lot to the table. LaRon Landry will be very difficult to retain due to cap concerns and Elam’s style of play is very similar. His downhill strategy and big hitting nature would fit very nicely behind a cornerback tandem of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie.
Round 3: Barrett Jones, OG/OT/C, Alabama
Jones was a vital piece on the best offensive line in the country, often garnering less attention then top guard prospect Chance Warmack. The Jets might not be able to retain free agents Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore. Grabbing Jones in the third brings excellent value as he has the potential to be a very rock solid interior lineman.
Round 4: Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati
The Jets need to move on from the Dustin Keller era and find a two way tight end. Kelce is a physical blocker but also has the athleticism to be a receiving threat in the NFL.
Round 5: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Barner is one of my favorite players in this entire draft. He’s not a workhorse running back the Jets can rely on for 30 carries but his big play potential is off the charts. If the Jets want to run a west coast offense and refuse to rely on Joe McKnight, they need to find a speedy pass catcher for the backfield.
Round 6: Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State
Before his second serious knee injury Mauti had second day pick potential. He was the leader of an 8-4 Penn State team facing a ton of adversity. While the Jets have penciled in Demario Davis as the starting weakside linebacker, they need to bring in more competition. Even if Mauti struggles to find a starting role, his tenacity and love for the game would bring a new element to the Jets special teams.
Round 7: Meshak Williams, DE/OLB, Kansas State
Williams improved as the season went on, a promising sign for the speedy 250 pounder. In Rex Ryan’s scheme he would fit nicely as a third down outside pass rusher. He has a knack for getting to the quarterback, a skill the Jets need to find in an abundance.