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As NFL Draft Nears, Joe Douglas Remains on a Mission

Jets GM: 'I Want to Improve Every Room Any Time I Can Do It'

New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

In a little more than two weeks, GM Joe Douglas will lead the Jets into the 2024 NFL Draft. While this spring's annual selection meeting will be held in Detroit, Douglas has been "motor city" throughout the offseason while upgrading his roster at every turn.

When Douglas was asked about his wide receiver room following the signing of Mike Williams, he provided insight on his overall mindset about roster construction.

"I don't feel good about any room – I want to improve every room any time I can do it," he said during the League Meetings in Orlando.

Douglas has been moving furniture since the opening of the new league year. He traded for edge rusher Haason Reddick (PHI) and tackle Morgan Moses (BAL).,Signed six unrestricted free agents: T Tyron Smith (DAL), WR Mike Williams (LAC), QB Tyrod Taylor (NYG), LG John Simpson (BAL) and DTs Javon Kinlaw (SF) and Leki Fotu (AZ). Andre-signed five: S Chuck Clark, K Greg Zeurlein, P Thomas Morstead, TE Kenny Yeboah and OL Jake Hanson; and grabbed a street free agent to boot in CB Isaiah Oliver (SF).

"I thought Joe has done a really nice job," HC Robert Saleh said during the AFC Coaches Breakfast. "It has given us a lot of flexibility with regards to the draft, so still lots of work to do, a lot of things we need to accomplish, but good so far."

And that was before Douglas landed Reddick, who has racked up 50.5 sacks over the past four seasons, from Philly in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in 2026. The Jets own seven selections in this year's draft, beginning with the No. 10 pick in Round 1. After fortifying the offensive line with three starters, might Douglas add another tackle considering Smith, a five-time first- and second-team All-Pro, signed a one-year deal; and Moses, a Jet in 2021, is entering the final year of a three-year deal?

"Well, I think this is an unbelievable O-line class," Douglas said. "It's an unbelievable class at quite a few positions, but I think where we are at now, we have great flexibility to go in any direction that we see is best for us moving forward. I think it opens the door to a lot of possibilities at 10."

Seven tackles could be taken in the opening round and those dominoes are expected to start with Joe Alt (Notre Dame) and Olu Fashanu (Penn State). But Troy Fautanu (Washington), Taliese Fuaga (Oregon State) and J.C. Latham (Alabama) are all intriguing prospects. This could be a historic WR class, and it would be fascinating if one of the big three – Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State), Rome Odunze (Washington) and Malik Nabers (LSU) – make it to No. 10. Williams, who will look to return to form following an ACL tear last season, is also on a one-year deal.

"I think Mike is a great complement to what Garrett [Wilson] does in terms of both of their strengths," Douglas said of Williams. "We know that Garrett can separate, we know he is an elite level route runner and to have another receiver that is a big physical guy go up and 50/50 balls become 80/20 balls with Mike, that adds different dimension to the group."

See's Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The Jets promise to have a different dimension at quarterback next season. Aaron Rodgers (40) will return following recovery from his Achilles tendon tear., Taylor (35 in August) will provide an experienced backup and the team, which granted Zach Wilson permission to pursue a trade, could be on the hunt for a developmental prospect.

"If there is a player that we feel helps the Jets, we have the flexibility to do that," Douglas said. "So, we are thinking not only for this year, but for future too. But ultimately, we want to do what is best for the 2024 Jets as well."

The Jets don't have gaping holes heading into the draft. They'll have to add another safety and will likely add another depth piece at RB. Douglas will continue to target the trenches and Georgia TE Brock Bowers could join the talk with the wideouts and tackles at No. 10. As free agency illustrated, sleep on Douglas at your own risk.

"We're open to anyone that can come in here and make an immediate impact," he said.

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