The Jets hold the #18 pick and have a few glaring needs on their roster. The biggest need is CB where they need to fill the hole left by Antonio Cromartie leaving. That is followed by WR where they desperately need talent at. Luckily both of those positions have very talented prospects that will be available at the time the Jets are picking. However this presents a dilemma for them as each of them are very pressing needs but only can be chosen in the 1st. What should the Jets do?
The Case for Taking a WR
Last year the Jets averaged 183 ypg through the air last year and finished deal last in the league with only 13 passing TDs total. A big reason for that was last year the Jets receiving corp lacked any great talent. They tried fixing that by signing Eric Decker but they could use another receiver to go with him. With a young QB like Geno Smith, the Jets need to give him as many weapons as possible to be a successful QB and hopefully be the franchise savior they’ve been looking for. The 1st round would be the perfect spot to get an elite WR prospect to help out Geno.
The three choices that are in play at the #18 pick are Odell Beckham Jr, Brandin Cooks and Marquise Lee. All three players have come in for pre-draft visits and at some point in the offseason have been heavily linked to the Jets. All three are smaller shift receivers that are able to return kicks, be used in the run game, and take a short pass to the house. Picking any of them would be a good compliment to Decker and could allow Decker to slide into the #2 role where he is better fit.
Upgrading an anemic offense is a very high priority for the Jets and getting one of these guys would be a step in the right direction.
The Case for Taking a CB
Last year the Jets finished near the bottom of the NFL in passing ypg allowed, which is very unusual for a Rex Ryan defense. With the NFL moving towards a passing league, improving the secondary is a good step in the right direction to make the defense elite again.
The top 3 CBs in this draft are Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard and Kyle Fuller. All three are considered more complete corners with Dennard considered the most “NFL-ready” as he is versatile enough to play press and zone. Each of them gives the Jets a solid #1 or #2 corner to go with Dee Millner and keep Kyle Wilson as a nickel corner. Plus with the lack of a real FS and the Jets prefer putting their corners on an island, having one of the top CBs would be good and allow the Front 7 to do their thing.
Another reason of taking CB in the 1st over WR is the WR class is far deeper than the CB class. The WR class is considered the best in quite a while with at least 12 WRs having potential to be a #1. However after the top 5 CBs, the talent level takes a noticeable dip. After Gilber, Dennard, Fuller and Bradley Roby/Jason Verrett the elite CB talent is gone and only serviceable players remain. However for the WR class, after the 1st round you still have players like Davante Adams, Donte Moncrief, Martavis Bryant and Jarvis Landry all are very good receiving prospects who in any other draft would be a 1st round talent but due to this class get pushed down.
The final reason for taking a CB is fairly obvious. Rex Ryan is a defensive coach and he will win or lose by his defense. Plus in every draft since the 2009 draft, the Jets have drafted defense in the 1st. Plus for a young QB like Geno, having a really good defense will alleviate some pressure. That is why getting a stud CB in the 1st to help with a weak secondary will mean Geno Smith will develop properly and keep the Jets in every game.
Both arguments illustrate pressing needs for the Jets. On the one hand the Jets need to actually care about the offense, on the secondary looks pretty weak. Either way the Jets will have a good chance to get a good player that will help their team out in the long run.