Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange and Caroline Hendershot will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: What are the Jets' needs entering the 2023 NFL Draft?
EA: In no order, the Jets' top four needs are tackle, center, defensive tackle and linebacker. Duane Brown (37) is entering his 17thseason, Mehki Becton, who has transformed his body, played one game in the past two seasons, and Max Mitchell showed promise as a rookie before dealing with blood clots. The Jets may address tackle in Round 1: Peter Skoronski (Northwestern), Paris Johnson (Ohio State), Broderick Jones (Georgia) and Darnell Wright (Tennessee) are at the top of this OL class. Speaking of offensive line, center is a position to watch. It will be interesting to see if Joe Tippmann (Wisconsin) and John Michael Schmitz (Minnesota) are on the board early in Round 2. Defensive tackle also figures to be addressed and could one of the following three — Bryan Breese (Clemson), Mazi Smith (Michigan) and Keeanu Benton (Wisconsin) — be appealing with one of those two second-rounders (Nos. 42 and 43)? And with Kwon Alexander still on the market and Pro Bowler C.J. Mosley turning 31 in June, the Jets figure to add another youngster in a room that includes Quincy Williams, Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen.
EG: The Jets are in a good spot entering the draft. While tackle is by far the most popular selection for the Jets at No. 13 in mock drafts, you could make the argument that it's not their biggest need for the 2023 season. Center and defensive tackle could be viewed as at least an equal need. The Jets lost Sheldon Rankins and Nathan Shepherd in free agency. They signed Quinton Jefferson, who is versatile (290 snaps at DT and 274 at DE in 2022, according to PFF) and re-signed Solomon Thomas. But they're down one more body in the middle of the D-line compared to last season. If that's Tier 1, Tier 2 is linebacker. C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams return, but who will be the team's No. 3 linebacker with Kwon Alexander a free agent? I could see GM Joe Douglas wanting to add depth there. Those four positions – OT, C, DT and LB – are the biggest needs, but I could see the Jets drafting for any position as Douglas builds the team for 2023 and beyond.
RL: Their biggest need is in the trenches, so either an offensive or defensive lineman, positions right in GM Joe Douglas' wheelhouse. And with their QB situation as it is, protection for the signal-caller and a stone wall for the running game take precedence, and tackle and center are in the spotlight. The T issue is durability. The four experienced tackles on the roster (Duane Brown, Mekhi Becton, just-re-signed Cedric Ogbuehi and Max Mitchell) all spent time on IR last season, and Becton has managed one game and 48 offensive snaps the past two seasons due to knee injuries. If Douglas and HC Robert Saleh are happy with where all four are rehab-wise, they could postpone addressing tackle until later and focus on center. Wes Schweitzer and Trystan Colon have starting experience at C but the position seems to be in search of competition, which could mean signing another available vet, such as Titans C Ben Jones or maneuvering to take the best center in Round 1 or 2. Keep in mind that the center taken highest in the past 20 drafts was Damien Woody, 17th overall in 1999 and in the pivot for only the first half of his 12-year pro career that ended as the Jets' RT in 2010. Douglas knows all about this, which is why it wouldn't surprise me if the Jets were to trade down from No. 13 and pick up another high selection.
CH: In no particular order I think the Jets needs include an offensive lineman, defensive linemen and a linebacker. After last season's turmoil on the O-line due to injury, the Jets could use more depth across the board in the group. Duane Brown, Mekhi Becton, Max Mitchell and Alijah Vera-Tucker all sustained injuries and missed games throughout last season. Not only do the Jets need to consider O-linemen, but also the situation at center -- Conner McGovern is also a free agent. Overall, solidifying the line will help the offense's consistency. In terms of defensive linemen, with the departure of Sheldon Rankins and Nathan Shepherd, the Jets need someone to play next to Quinnen Williams. LB Kwon Alexander is also a free agent, so the Jets need to fill his spot in the LB room as well. Overall, I would say the most important need is on the offensive line.