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ESPN's Adam Schefter: Joe Douglas Has 'Taken the Pressure' Off the Jets in NFL Draft

Pundits Mostly Project Green & White to Select OT, WR or Georgia TE Brock Bowers with No. 10 Pick

New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas speaks during a press conference at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday, Feb. 28 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Kevin Sabitus/NFL)

The only certainty in the NFL Draft is that it's unpredictable.

Prior to the new league year, which began on March 14, nearly all mock drafts had GM Joe Douglas selecting either a tackle, wide receiver or Georgia TE Brock Bowers. After addressing OT and WR in free agency, most pundits remain at the same juxtaposition – protect 40-year-quarterback Aaron Rodgers or provide him with another weapon?

"That's the great part about it," ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter said at the NFL League Meetings last week in Orlando. "They addressed so many needs that they don't have to come away with anything. I don't mind the idea if there's a guy like [Michigan QB] J.J. McCarthy still sitting there, if Minnesota or Denver or Las Vegas wants to come up to the Jets spot and the Jets get extra picks, there's nothing wrong with that. They have options. … They've taken the pressure off them with what they've done during free agency."

This year's draft class is deep at both tackle and receiver. If the Jets take one of the top tackles – such as Notre Dame's Joe Alt, Penn State's Olu Fashanu, Oregon State's Taliese Fuaga or Washington's Troy Fautanu -- he may not play as a rookie and serve primarily as an insurance policy for the newly acquired tackles – LT Tyron Smith and RT Morgan Moses, who are both 33 years old and under contract for one season.

"It's hard to count on [Smith and Moses] for 2025 whether they're signed or not, so I think you absolutely have to get someone in the pipeline," Senior NFL Reporter for "The MMQB" Albert Breer said. "What I'm saying is you don't have to do it in the first round if you don't necessarily want to. You could pick a developmental guy in the third round, but it's harder to find tackles outside of the first round than it is at other positions."

Receivers selected on Day 2 (Rounds 2 and 3), on the other hand, have a higher hit rate of translating to successful players. Last year's examples include the Chiefs' Rashee Rice, the Texans' Tank Dell and Packers' Jayden Reed. Most mock drafts don't have this year's top-three receivers -- Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr., LSU's Malik Nabers and Washington's Rome Odunze -- available at No. 10 when the Jets pick.

"Let's assume that quarterbacks go 1-2-3 and maybe 4," NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said. "Then you have three receivers, probably two tackles, at least one edge rusher, maybe more. There are only so many picks, so someone is going to get [to No. 10]. Could the Jets jump up a little bit for a guy they really like? Sure could. … Here's the problem or issue with having such a deep receiver draft. You don't have to get one early because you'll get one. They'll get a second-round talent receiver in the third round if that's where they go."

Bowers, while listed at TE, is a receiving threat. Among Power 5 tight ends since 2014, the first two-time Mackey Award winner led the FBS in receiving yards (2,541), receiving touchdowns (26), yards after contact (689) and missed tackles forced (44).

"He obviously can line up anywhere," SiriusXM's Jim Miller said. "He's a motion guy, he's only about 243 pounds, so he's not as big as Travis Kelce. He's a little bit shorter than Travis Kelce, but nobody can deny his aggressiveness. That guy goes and gets the football and is aggressive doing it."

Teams must be prepared for every possibility in the draft, no matter how unlikely. What if there's a top quarterback available when Douglas and the Jets are on the clock?

"At that point, if you're a general manager, you'd be torn," NFL Network's Mike Garafolo said. "I know I would be because I got something that can help right away or I could set myself up to potentially not have to worry about jockeying up for a quarterback of the future because I got him because he fell into my lap."

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