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NFL draft options to rebuild struggling Jets defense

No one expected miracles from Robert Saleh in his rookie season, not with a rookie franchise quarterback enduring the foreseeable growing pains. But no one expected his defense to come up like this, wondering aloud why no one respects the Jets.

Jets fans have witnessed a proper product that is the opposite of, say, Joe Klecko and Mark Gastineau firing the quarterback with Darrelle Revis intercepting the quarterback behind them.

Thankfully, there are only five games left in another miserable season that leads directly to yet another winter of discontent for these long-suffering masochists, five more months before what amounts to the Jets’ annual Super Bowl, also known as NFL Draft.

Because it’s there, starting with Super Bowl Thursday night, when general manager Joe Douglas has a huge opportunity to get his rookie head coach the goods to validate his vow to change the Same Old narrative and return the Same Old script.

Hope is eternal for the Jets… every spring!

Douglas, as Jets fans watching the Weekly Pin-and-Needle Draft are well aware, has a pair of top-five picks – kudos to Jamal Adams and the Seahawks here – and a pair of picks in the second round of the. Super Bowl Friday night.

NFL draft options to rebuild struggling Jets defense
Joe Douglas will have plenty of options available to him during the NFL Draft to improve the Jets’ defense.
Bill Kostroun, AP, Getty (2)

Saleh spoke on Monday about growing and improving his young players, but in order for him to field a defense that doesn’t give up 31 points or more in five of the last seven games, he’ll need a cornerback. An impact against Bryce Hall emerges and a sleight of hand bookend impact advantage to Carl Lawson upon his return in 2022.

And here’s some good news for Jets fans: The 2022 draft favors teams that pick in the top 10 due to a shallow talent pool.

“Right now you have eight, maybe 10 at the top who have strong first round scores,” said Tony Pauline, project analyst at

When asked if this draft was the weakest at the top – a bad quarterback harvest – he saw it, Pauline replied, “For a long, long time.”

“Usually you look at 24 guys who have strong marks in the first round,” said.

LSU’s Derek Stingley is the highest rated cornerback.

“The problem with Stingley is that he played really well in 2018, he had some ups and downs in 2019 and he was doing well this year before he got injured,” said Pauline. “So if you get the Stingley you had in 2018, you get a real stopping corner. If you get the guy who’s been playing for the last year and a half… Which guy do you get? ”

NFL draft options to rebuild struggling Jets defense
Derek Stingley forces a fumble in LSU’s 49-21 win over central Michigan.

If Stingley isn’t on the board or Douglas passes for some reason, he might have to strike in the second round.

“A lot of people like Ahmad Gardner from Cincinnati, including the OK,” Pauline said. “I love Roger McCreary of Auburn, who was one of the top rated seniors at the start of the season. He’s probably a day 2 pick. If he runs in the 4.4s, with corners selected as soon as they are, I think he’s good value for money. If it runs into the 4.5s, you must be wondering if they are going to take it or not.

Both are great physical corners.

“McCreary is smart, he has great ball skills, he is instinctive,” said Pauline. “The problem with him is that maybe deep speed is a concern. He was exploited by Alabama receivers in the Iron Bowl. Gardner struggles to play with his back to the ball, which could be a problem.

Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux is the current favorite to be the first overall pick, but Douglas might be looking at a few mouth-watering edge options: Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan and George Karlaftis of Purdue.

Pauline likes the intensity, the intelligence of Hutchinson and the fact that he is basically healthy.

“What concerns me about Hutchinson is that he’s kind of a ‘Put your head down and the bull rushes the offensive tackle of the ball,’ said Pauline. “You can do that on Saturday, it won’t come so easily on Sunday. Unlike his teammate, David Ojabo, who will probably also go to the first round. Ojabu is much more because they like to say ‘fast twitch’. It is much more explosive, it is much more sudden. And Ojabo is probably a better choice for the Jets. Now I don’t know if Ojabo will be in the top 12.

Pauline sees Karlaftis as a better system for the Jets than Hutchinson, who is more of a traditional 4-3 defensive end.

“He’s kind of a Lawrence Taylor type and he’s got that body, you put him on top of the tackles, he comes out of a three-point position. … The problem with him is that he’s not really a big guy, he’s not a really strong guy, ”said Pauline. “He’s a former water polo guy.”

NFL draft options to rebuild struggling Jets defense
George Karlaftis celebrates a bag.

An advantage in the second round? ”

“The Anderson kid from Georgia [OLB Adam Anderson] would be a perfect fit, but you don’t know what’s going to happen with it with all the stuff off the pitch [charged last month with rape]whether it’s true or not, ”said Pauline. “Colby Wooden is a guy to consider. He would probably be a good fit for the Jets. It is like the [Bryce] Huff kid, but much more athletic and explosive.

Pauline sees Alabama taking on Evan Neal as the only offensive lineman who could draw Douglas in the first round. He could play left and right tackles.

Free agents? CB Carlton Davis and JC Jackson are enticing. Edge? Haason Reddick and Harold Landry Jr. maybe.

Douglas should and will take the best players on his board. Remember, his top four picks last season were on the offensive end of the ball. Next time around, two of his top four picks should be all about a top-notch corner and advantage to help your head coach line up the defense he needs and the respect the franchise needs.

New York Post

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