What Needs Could the Jets Address with the No. 23 and No. 34 Picks in the NFL Draft?

GM Joe Douglas Has 10 Picks in 2021 NFL Draft and 5 Picks in Rounds 1-3

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Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg and Randy Lange will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.

Today's question: What needs could the Jets address with the No. 23 and No. 34 overall selections in the NFL Draft?

EA: I'm focused on edge, offensive line and cornerback.While the Jets added Carl Lawson in free agency and bolstered depth on the outside with Vinny Curry, you cannot have enough quality pass rushers in a 4-3. The Green & White can take a project on Day 3 or they could strike early at No. 23 or No. 34 from a group that may include Azeez Ojulari (Georgia), Jaelan Phillips (Miami) and Gregory Rosseau (Miami). Phillips might have the highest ceiling of the group (I don't think Kwity Paye will be there at 23) if his medical checks out. As the Jets install the wide-zone scheme offensively, they'll have flexibility to address the O-line throughout draft weekend because this is a deep class. Do they run up the card if Alijah Vera-Tucker (USC) is on the board with that second first-rounder? Brian Baldinger loves Landon Dickerson (Alabama), but he'll have to pass the injury test as well. At corner, the wild card of this class is Caleb Farley. Alabama corner Patrick Surtain II could be the first defensive player taken, Jaycee Horn (South Carolina) has elevated his stock this offseason and Virginia Tech's Farley, who had offseason back surgery, is an elite athlete with great size. I do think the Jets will have to take a long look at Clemson's Travis Etienne because he's a home-run hitter whose real position is offensive weapon. Lastly, GM Joe Douglas is working the phones and seeing if any groundwork for deals can be made before to the draft. It might be more likely you move down from 23 than up, but the Jets have the capital to jump around early and often.

EG: All of this depends on how the board and who is available at both of these picks, but the mock-draft winds are blowing in the Edge/CB/RB direction. A handful of mock drafts have GM Joe Douglas selecting an Edge at No. 23 such as Georgia's Azeez Ojulari or a CB like Northwestern's Greg Newsome II. Then there's Clemson RB Travis Etienne, who many draft analysts believe would be a great fit in OC Mike LaFleur's system. I think the Jets could address a number of positions at either spot. Linebacker is a position that doesn't deserve enough attention. If the Green & White lined up today, their starting LBs would be C.J. Mosley, who has played one game over the last two seasons; Jarrad Davis, a free-agent addition; and Blake Cashman, who played in four games in 2020. I'm not suggesting the Jets will select a LB at No. 23 or No. 34, but it's a position they could address with players like Zaven Collins (Tulsa), Nick Bolton (Missouri), Jamin Davis (Kentucky) or even someone like Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Notre Dame) if he's available at No. 23. Other positions the Jets could address are WR and OL. Douglas has stressed the importance of the offensive line. He only signed Dan Feeney in free agency, so it wouldn't surprise me if he decided to add to the group. So that's the long answer, but the short answer is the Jets could go in any direction, which is why it's such a fun pick to discuss.

RL: We can go round and round on this. With a QB coming at No. 2, should Joe Douglas & Co. address defense at No. 23 and go back to offense on No. 34? Or more offense for the new QB, then defense? Or two more on O or two more on D? Of course the Jets' value board will have something to say about this, but with WR and OL being addressed last year in free agency and the draft, and then again this year in FA, I would like to see the Jets answer some defensive questions with the best available LB or CB with No. 23. Then the best available RB at No. 34, then bounce back to defense with No. 66 and offense with No. 86 in Round 3. I'll leave the specific names up to the Jets but two things in this draft are key to me: Getting some help for all position groups that need it, and bringing in Robert Saleh's kind of player with all picks.

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