The huge dilemma at center of Jets’ 2020 NFL draft

The huge dilemma at center of Jets’ 2020 NFL draft

The Jets enter this period of player procurement like Noah’s Ark: They need two of everything.

With holes all over the roster, free agency and the draft are going to present some challenging decisions for general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Adam Gase, as they try to weigh their priorities and decide the best course to take.

One draft dilemma you can already see coming is whether the Jets should take possibly the third- or fourth-best offensive lineman with the No. 11-overall pick or one of the top two wide receivers.

Early mock drafts have linemen flying off the board in the top 10. That could leave the Jets with a choice of a lineman who is not near the top of their list. Top receivers Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb are projected to be available when the Jets pick. It could create a tough decision.

“What’s the best thing, what’s best available and what are our options?” Gase said this week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “You just don’t know until you get there. I know there’s a lot of work we have to do from here until the season starts, we got to find those answers.”

The Jets desperately need to upgrade an offensive line that struggled mightily last season. Three of the primary starters are scheduled to hit free agency — tackles Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell and guard Alex Lewis. Guard Brian Winters also may be cut in the coming weeks.

Jedrick Wills Jr., Jerry Jeudy
Jedrick Wills Jr., Jerry JeudyAP (2)

That leaves a lot of holes for Douglas to fill. Some of them will be filled in free agency, but it would not be surprising to see the Jets take multiple linemen in the draft.

“I think that’s our starting point because I think on both sides of the ball that’s where it starts — up front,” Gase said. “Just over the last 15 years seeing that, that’s always been the toughest thing to put together. Guys that work well together, that’s when you have success. When they don’t, that’s when you’re not as good.”

This draft class is top-heavy with linemen. Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Louisville’s Mekhi Becton, Houston’s Josh Jones and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas are all expected to be first-round picks. There is a drop off after them.

Wide receiver, on the other hand, is considered the deepest position in this draft.

That is where the decision comes for Douglas. It is a supply-and-demand question. Do you take your third or fourth favorite lineman, knowing you may not find a starter in the later rounds, or do you take the top receiver early, even though you probably can find a starter in a later round?

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he has 27 wide receivers with a grade in the top three rounds. Douglas and his staff should be able to find a good one in the middle rounds if they pass on one in the first round.

There is no doubt the Jets need to address the position. They could lose Robby Anderson in free agency, and Quicny Enunwa’s future is unknown because of neck injuries.

Anderson was the Jets’ best speedster and he may now be gone. Douglas knows he needs playmakers.

“I think you saw that in the two teams that competed for the Super Bowl this year,” Douglas said. “How many explosive players they had on both sides of the ball. Everyone is trying to get bigger, faster, smarter, tougher. We need explosive guys. We need explosive, dynamic playmakers.”

Does Douglas grab one in the first round? That will be a fascinating decision for him to make when the draft arrives in April.

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