The New York Jets have been one of the worst teams in the league for quite some time now. They seem to be the butt of the joke lately, especially since the Cleveland Browns have finally turned things around. However, the Jets are in a great position to rebuild the roster and put themselves back in playoff contention in a few years.
The front office made an excellent hire after signing Robert Saleh as their head coach. He’s a defensive-minded coach that stems from the San Francisco 49ers’ sturdy defense. San Francisco rebuilt their program through the trenches, and it’s expected Saleh takes the same approach in the draft this year.
They have the leisure of owning two picks in the first round. The Jets will be selecting a quarterback with the second overall selection, however, they also own pick 23 as well. This is where the Jets can take advantage and stack the trenches. They could go offense or defense, as the roster is rather depleted.
After selecting a quarterback with their first selection, the smart move would be to add another piece to the offensive line. However, choosing a defensive player wouldn’t hurt either. With that said, here are three perfect options for the New York Jets pick at 23 overall.
Tevin Jenkins | OL | Oklahoma State
Tevin Jenkins enters the NFL draft as one of the more underrated offensive line prospects. The main reason being, he’s a right tackle. All of the lineman ahead of him on the rankings play on the left side. Luckily for the Jets, they already secured their left tackle position by taking Mekhi Becton in the first round last year.
Coming out of Oklahoma State, Jenkins has played as a consistent starter for the Cowboys. He’s drawn comparisons to Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan, as Jenkins is a fierce competitor and has is known to be hot-headed. Even so, Jenkins is the top right tackle prospect in the draft. By selecting him, New York would solidify their offensive tackle positions for years, giving their new rookie quarterback the protection he needs to succeed.
Jaelan Phillips | EDGE | Miami (Fla)
Jaelan Phillips has been projected all over the draft boards, so it’s unclear where he’ll end up. However, the former Miami Hurricane had a breakout season his junior year after transferring from UCLA. He finished last season with 45 total tackles (15.5 for a loss), eight sacks, and one interception.
Jaelen Phillips 👀
That's a tight corner for a man who's 6-6, 265 pic.twitter.com/2E3CGk44mb
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) November 16, 2020
He’s a true pass rusher that could provide the Jets with some speed off the edge. Getting Phillips in a rotation with Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry would be fantastic for this defense. Especially with Quinnen Williams locking down the interior defensive line, and C.J. Mosely providing veteran leadership at the linebacker position. Phillips would stack the Jets’ front seven, making them a tough team to run the ball against.
Asante Samuel Jr. | CB | Florida State
He doesn’t play in the trenches, but Asante Samuel Jr. would be a perfect selection for the Jets at 23. Samuel Jr. has had the privilege of learning from his father, Asante Samuel, who is considered one of the all-time greats at the cornerback position. Playing out of Florida State, Samuel Jr. was able to tally up career totals of 97 combined tackles, four interceptions, 29 pass deflections, and two fumble recoveries.
The Jets were the third-worst team at stopping the pass, allowing 4,409 yards and 34 touchdowns through the air. The front office hasn’t made many moves to improve the cornerback room, which would make Samuel Jr. a great selection. He’s one of the top cornerbacks available in the draft this year, but there is a chance he drops. If he does, the Jets could be walking away with the steal of the draft.