Peter Schrager of NFL Network compiled his target list for the Jets on "Good Morning Football" that included S Marcus Maye, whom the Jets franchise-tagged earlier this week. General Manager Joe Douglas has the second-most projected cap space in the NFL and five draft picks in the first three rounds, and Schrager believes the Jets could overhaul their roster for the 2021 season.
"Robert Saleh, I think he has something," Schrager said on "GMFB." "I think Joe Douglas does, too. The narrative is changing just a little bit, but they have to do something. They have to have a better roster. The football players right now are just not good enough to compete with the other teams in the AFC."
He added: "I look at the Jets with that salary cap space, the No. 2 overall pick and I'm like 'go have an offseason, build on this and be one of those teams that we're like the Jets could be that team that came from nowhere and end up in the playoffs.' "
His target list: Maye (tagged), WAS G Brandon Scherff (tagged), PIT WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, AZ RB Kenyan Drake, SF FB Kyle Juszczyk and CIN EDGE Carl Lawson.
Smith-Schuster (6-1, 215), 24
Smith-Schuster had 97 receptions in the 2020 season for 831 yards. His 8.6 yards per reception are not eye popping, but he's tough over the middle and led the Steelers with a career high 9 TDs. It's important to note QB Ben Roethlisberger ranked No. 29 among QBs averaging 6.3 yards per attmempt. Smith-Schuster, a second-round pick out of USC in 2017, is also good after the catch -- 1,746 of his 3,726 receiving yards have come after receptions (46.9%). He has 308 catches, 3,726 yards (eclipsed 1,000 yards in 2018) and 26 TDs.
Drake (6-1, 211), 27
Drake had a career season in 2020 with the Cardinals, posting 955 yards and 10 TDs. He's averaged 4.5 yards per carry over his six-year career. In his 23 games (21 starts) with the Cardinals, he's rushed for 1,598 yards and 18 TDs. Drake was drafted by the Dolphins out of Alabama in the third round in 2016 and was predominantly a backup in Miami before he was traded to Arizona midway in the 2019 season.
Juszczyk (6-1, 240), 29
Juszczyk isn't your classic blocking fullback. Last season, he had 19 receptions, 202 yards and 4 TDs. He's an integral part of the Shanahan system and would be a valuable asset as OC Mike LaFleur implements his offense. Not only does he check the box with a San-Francisco connection box, but Juszczyk was drafted by the Ravens in the fourth round in 2013 where GM Joe Douglas was a scout.
Lawson (6-2, 265), 25
Lawson led the Bengals with 5.5 sacks in 2020, but ranked No. 1 among NFL defensive linemen with 32 QB hits. His 54 QB hits over the last season trails only Chargers' DL Joey Bosa. Lawson, a fourth-round pick out of Auburn in 2017, has totaled 20 sacks (8.5 as a rookie in '17) in 51 games (14 starts). The Jets are in the market for a pass rush and perhaps Lawson could fit the bill to flank DL Quinnen Williams, who led the Green & White with 7 sacks in 2020, on the inside.
Schrager said: "Get some of those guys. I wouldn't be so necessarily concerned with finding a new quarterback. It's either [Sam] Darnold or the draft, I'd look at it that way. I wouldn't necessarily be looking at 'We need to have this top-flight defensive back who can shut down [Pats WR] N'Keal Harry and [Dolphins WR] DaVante Parker.' Go build from the inside out and get a couple splash players on offense. The Jets have the money. Don't swing and miss."