The Jets have shifted from free agency to draft preparation with five weeks to go before they are on the clock with the No. 3 pick.
Yes, the Jets still will add a few free agents, but the heavy lifting is done. Now, we can examine where the moves they made over the past two weeks leave them in terms of the draft.
Their two big signings should have little effect on what they will do in the draft. Yes, bringing in Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley instantly upgraded the team, but running back and inside linebacker were not two of their biggest needs. The trade for Kelechi Osemele gives them a new starting left guard, but he is a short-term answer at that position and the Jets still should be looking to add offensive linemen in the draft.
The Jets still would love to trade down from No. 3 and acquire more picks. They enter this draft with six total picks and none in the second round after trading that one to the Colts last year in the trade to move up to No. 3 where they drafted Sam Darnold.
The question is: How much interest will there be from teams in trading up for a quarterback? The league-wide belief is the Cardinals will take Kyler Murray with the No. 1-overall pick. That would leave Dwayne Haskins as the other quarterback target in the top 10. Will teams love him enough to try to leapfrog the Giants at No. 6? Does anyone believe the Raiders are going to try to take him at No. 4? If there are Haskins believers out there who feel like they need to get ahead of the Giants or Raiders, the Jets will be in business.
CBS suggested the Redskins could be interested in moving up, but the price to go from the 15th pick to the third would be huge. It is possible Washington could employ the strategy the Eagles used in 2016, when they made two trades to get up to No. 2 to take Carson Wentz.
If the Jets do stay at No. 3, it is clear the pick will be a defensive player. They need help on the offensive line, but there are no linemen who are considered to be worth a top 5 pick. The decision looks like it could come down to Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams and Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen. This will be a fascinating decision for general manager Mike Maccagnan. Williams is considered by most people to be the better player, but Allen would fill a bigger need. The Jets have been searching for an edge rusher for more than a decade.
When the 49ers acquired Dee Ford in a trade with the Chiefs last week, it raised the possibility Ohio State’s Joey Bosa could fall to the Jets because San Francisco, which has the No. 2 pick, now had an edge rusher. But the 49ers could get rid of Ford after one year with the way his contract is structured, so if they think Bosa is the best player in the draft, Ford’s presence should not stop them from taking him.
Beyond the first round, Maccagnan still has plenty of work to do. That is why a trade back for more picks, especially a second-rounder, would be huge. The Jets desperately need to address the offensive line, where Jonotthan Harrison is currently their No. 1 center and they have no long-term answers outside of possibly Brandon Shell. Maccagnan has only drafted two offensive linemen as GM. That number has to increase this year.
Cornerback also needs to be addressed. The Jets currently have Darryl Roberts starting opposite Trumaine Johnson with Rashard Robinson and Derrick Jones as the other possibilities outside.
Maccagnan accomplished some goals in free agency. Now, he must do much, much more in the draft.