By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
We knew the Jets were going to lose a handful of players to free agency, and that proved to be the case. At the same time, GM John Idzik made several under-the-radar signings on lower-tier free agents to help the Jets enter the draft with as few needs as possible.
Here are the Jets needs, in order of urgency:
Outside Linebacker: The Jets added Antwan Barnes earlier in the week to give them at least one starter at the position, but one position remains wide open and Barnes is best used as a rotational player. As of now, an outside linebacker such as Barkevious Mingo or Dion Jordan is the position that is most likely to be the Jets’ top pick.
Tight End: The Jets were able to retain Jeff Cumberland with a tender, but without Dustin Keller, this position is void of elite talent. In particular a blocking tight end is much-needed, as Cumberland is more of a receiving threat. Look for the Jets to use a day two or early day three pick on the position.
Safety: As much as they wanted him back, there was no way the Jets were going to be able to afford LaRon Landry and Yermiah Bell. They have Josh Bush and Antonio Allen waiting in the wings, but neither are proven players (and neither is the rookie they would draft to fill the position.
To compound the issue, Eric Smith was released in a cap-saving move before the start of free agency, which creates another need for a third safety in “big nickel” packages.
Guard: Neither Matt Slauson nor Brandon Moore were retained, but the Jets did make a move to fill one spot with former Steeler Willie Colon. This draft is littered with quality guard prospects that the Jets could use to fill one of the guard sports immediately.
Quarterback: Despite adding David Garrard to compete with Mark Sanchez, neither man is going to be with the Jets in the long-term. It may not be this year, but the Jets need to add a young prospect to the mix sooner than later.
Defensive End: The Jets appear set with their starting defensive line of Quinton Coples, Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis, but they lack depth at the defensive end spot as Mike DeVito went to the Chiefs.
Adding Antonio Garay gives them versatility, but at least one more body is needed to fill out the roster.
Wide Receiver: Much like defensive end, the Jets (ideally) have their starting receiver group set, but Stephen Hill has not developed as quickly as they had hoped. The new regime has no ties to Hill and his development and could look to add a receiver in the first two rounds if the right player is on the board to give them value.