Team Needs: Jets Offense

Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com

With the Jets hunkering down for the NFL Draft next week, here’s a quick review of where the team is at each position. What do they have? What do they need? We’ll make note of the spots that the Jets could look to upgrade starting as soon as next Thursday. Today we’ll do the offensive group, tomorrow the defense.

Stephen HillWide Receiver — Assuming that Holmes recovers from his surgeries, Hill makes the leaps that many expect he will in his second year and Kerley continues his pace, the Jets receiving corps might look solid for 2013. The problem is that is planning for the perfect outcome, and that rarely happens in the NFL. Moreover, the Jets are going to need to address the position sooner or later to have a plan at the position for the 2014 season. As we saw from Stephen Hill in 2012, rookies have a tough time making major contributions to the team so a long-term planner would want to draft a player now who would fit the system for 2014. With the large and athletically gifted Hill and the nimble and excellent Kerley, the Jets might consider a well-rounded receiver, or a potential possession receiver to complement and play within Morhinweg’s West Coast system.

Tight End — One of the biggest problems in the last year and a half with the emergence of Jeremy Kerley is the conundrum of how to use Dustin Keller. Historically Keller was one of the most targeted tight ends out of the slot in the league in 2011 and so the value of playing there with Kerley on the roster seems to me to be less valuable. Jeff Cumberland has been a three-year project for the Jets and he filled in decently in 2012 for the oft-injured Keller. Even so the Jets have been tied to a number of free agent tight ends and Idzik is said to like some of the tight ends in the draft class. The Jets need a tight end who can play in-line yet still be a integral part of the receiving game. Look to see if the Jets don’t grab a player by the first part of the third day of the draft.

Guard/Right Tackle — The Jets signed former Steeler Willie Colon, a move meant to mitigate the loss of both Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore, but are the Jets ready to go into the season with Vlad Ducasse and Willie Colon as their starters? This might be one of the best guard classes in the last 10-15 years, and immediate starter level players could be had well into the third or fourth round. Will the Jets find a player like Warmack or Warford in one of the earlier rounds? It’s possible. Also, while Austin Howard was a solid plug-in at RT last year, should the Jets find a right tackle early, he might become one of the interior starters and do well by it.

Quarterback — The Jets quarterback depth chart is less than overwhelming. Mark Sanchez hasn’t demonstrated he can elevate his play, David Garrard hasn’t been healthy in two years, Tim Tebow isn’t long for this team and Greg McElroy might never get the chance to truly compete for the job. Combine that with a less than stellar class of QBs, and it’s hard to say what the Jets would do. They’ve been linked with players like Nassib and Dysert and there’s been some lesser known players that have caught the the team’s eye. Still, this might not be the year to find a future franchise QB in the draft, so look to see if the Jets don’t prioritize other players or needs.

Running Back — Bilal Powell and Mike Goodson has the potential to be a promising committee for the Jets, but could the team be interested in adding another player? While it’s routine stuff, the Jets did bring in 2nd round tender Saints RB Chris Ivory, which might have been meant to level-set the talent against their draft board. Idzik’s Seahawks had a eye for fitting the right talent into their system at the running back spot, something that has been missing from the Jets backfield for a while. The Jets are said to be implementing a West Coast system so look out for players like Johnathan Franklin, Gio Bernard or Stepfan Taylor in connection with the Jets.