Jets’ Joe Douglas didn’t get Sam Darnold enough weapons

Jets’ Joe Douglas didn’t get Sam Darnold enough weapons

So, how do you think they did?

There’s little doubt that Joe Douglas, conducting his first NFL draft as a general manager, made the Jets better over the past three days.

He targeted one of the top collegiate tackles and he pounced on Louisville’s Mekhi Becton with the 11th-overall pick in the first round Thursday night. Then he deftly traded down in the second round, acquired an extra third-round pick and still landed one of the receivers he coveted in Baylor’s Denzel Mims.

But did Douglas do enough?

The unofficial theme to this draft for the Jets was about “protection and playmakers’’ — all of that geared to build around franchise quarterback Sam Darnold, who hasn’t had enough protection or playmakers in his first two NFL seasons.

The Jets drafted Becton to help protect Darnold and added another left tackle in the fourth round in Charlotte’s Cameron Clark. Those rookies join an offensive line that Douglas retooled during the offseason with the low-budget free-agent additions of tackle George Fant, center Connor McGovern and guard Greg Van Roten.

There’s the “protection’’ part.

As for the “playmaker’’ part, Douglas came up short this weekend.

This was touted as one of the deepest receiver drafts in memory. Douglas called nine picks into the NFL the past three days and only one was for a receiver. That wasn’t enough.

Denzel Mims was the only receiver the Jets drafted.
Denzel Mims was the only receiver the Jets drafted.AP

Mims was the only receiver the Jets landed, and for a team with a dearth of outside weapons for Darnold, that wasn’t sufficient. They need more. Darnold needs more.

Douglas, who has built a reputation as a keen talent evaluator who unearths talent in the mid to late rounds of the draft, should have drafted a minimum of two receivers, and probably three with hopes that two of them become starters or at least productive contributors.

Instead, he picked a project quarterback who has little chance to be anything more than a backup for them in Florida International’s James Morgan in the fourth round and then took punter Braden Mann in the sixth round.

Wouldn’t those two picks have been better used on receivers to keep building around Darnold and help him now?

Sure, an NFL-record 13 receivers were picked in the first two rounds — Mims being what Jets fans hope was the lucky 13th. But did the receiver talent drop off a cliff after Mims?

“I wouldn’t say the talent fell off the ledge,’’ Douglas said of the receivers. “We just took what the board gave us, the best player available. There were situations where there as was a receiver within a clump of players we were discussing and we felt, ‘Let’s take the best player available.’ It’s just the way it worked out.’’

Look, none of the receivers picked in the mid-to-late rounds may turn out to be stars or even starters. But if any of them does, that’ll be on Douglas.

“Joe and his guys did a great job staying true to the board and letting it come to them,’’ coach Adam Gase said, defending the fact Douglas produced only one receiver among the nine picks. “We got a lot of positions that we were thin at or missing filled and added depth to certain positions. It turned out as good as we could have hoped for.’’

I’m not 100 percent convinced Gase truly believes what he was saying there. Of course, he’s going to back Douglas publicly, which he should. But if you don’t think Gase, who’s obsessed with throwing the football, did not want more receivers out of this draft, then you believe Blair Thomas and Vernon Gholston were actually good draft picks who were simply misused by Jets coaches at the time.

Jets’ NFL Draft tracker: Live round-by-round picks and analysis

A tweet sent out by ESPN’s Adam Schefter as the draft ended particularly struck home how bare the Jets have left the receiver cupboard for Darnold.

It read: “Carson’s crew…’’ and was accompanied with pictures of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz’s pass catchers — which included tight end Zach Ertz, incumbent receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, Jalen Reagor, who was drafted in the first round, and Marquise Goodwin, whom Philadelphia traded for Saturday.

The Eagles aggressively went out and improved the weapons around Wentz. The Jets, who lost Robby Anderson to free agency, signed free agent receiver Breshad Perriman, who had an excellent final five games last season. Then they drafted one receiver in a receiver-rich draft. That just doesn’t feel like enough.

When Douglas was asked after the draft if he felt like he stuck to that “protection and playmaker’’ plan, he said, “I feel like we got a lot of that accomplished.’’

Did he? How do you think they did?

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