Grading the Jets Draft; Gang Green Appears to Take Long-Term Approach to Draft With Short-Term Window to win
It’s always silly to grade an NFL draft as soon as it ends solely from a talent perspective because as you know, three years is the standard time frame most allow before rendering a final verdict on the Jets draft or any other for that matter. However, grading a draft with a heavy emphasis on the team’s approach seems more appropriate.
With that in mind, the Jets class can be best summed up with one word: Confusing.
For a team that just acquired quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the expectation was that the Jets would go all out to add players who were sure to start or at least see a significant amount of playing time. In the end, they opted for a group of players that appeared to focus primarily on years that would go beyond the time Rodgers would be spending a 1 Jets Drive.
Did the Jets add some talented players with their selections? Absolutely. First round pick Will McDonald has the ability to be a force off the edge. However, in the Jets scheme with heavy rotation, he’ll likely see fewer reps than he would on most clubs that tend to give their best players the vast majority of reps. For McDonald, that’s unlikely. Even still, for what he brings, one can understand the pick.
In round two it was center Joe Tippman out of Wisconsin who may start, but who may also spend the season behind veteran Connor McGovern, who was re-signed just days before the draft. Even if the Jets give Tippman every chance in the world to win the starting job as a younger and more agile player, it’s far from out of the question to suggest McGovern could outplay the rookie and man the pivot.
There are a few centers in this class who have looked pretty impressive thus far. Top of my list at this point is Wisconsin's Joe Tippman. Consistently used to pull and blow up opposing defenders. pic.twitter.com/EU4V3GPBl4
— Glenn Naughton (@AceFan23) September 29, 2022
It was more of the same with their next choice as Pitt offensive tackle Carter Warren was taken with the 120th overall choice. An adept pass blocker with great measurables, Carter would be a fantastic selection in most drafts. But for the Jets, this isn’t most drafts. They need players who are going to play from day 1. As is the case with Tippman potentially sitting behind McGovern, Warren will likely sit behind Duane Brown unless he proves to be a quick study and outplays the 40-year-old Brown.
After Warren came what we believe is the Jets best pick of this class in Pitt running back Israel Abanikanda. The explosive Abanikanda should see plenty of playing time with a chance to have a huge impact with his ability to score from anywhere on the field.
Want an explosive back who can do it all? Run, catch out of the backfield and block? You'll love @Pitt_FB running back Israel Abanikanda. pic.twitter.com/eqQrSQoG94
— Glenn Naughton (@AceFan23) September 22, 2022
Western Michigan linebacker Zaire Barnes was a fourth-round selection who will likely look to earn a role on special teams while the team acclimates him to the pro game with the hopes of him eventually becoming a starter. But for this season? It’s likely special teams and backup reps.
Sixth round choice Jarrick Bernard-Converse could surprise and earn some playing time in the secondary if the Jets give him a look at safety. Prior to transferring to LSU where he played cornerback, Bernard-Converse played safety for Oklahoma State.
With their final pick the Jets snagged an athletic freak who, in time could be a very good player. But again, for the short term will offer very little in Zach Kuntz. The tight end out of old Dominion may be used as a 6′ 7” red zone target or big slot, but he’s still a raw player with a lot of work to do before he’ll be a starting NFL tight end.
In all, the Jets grabbed some very athletic and talented players, but there’s a better that you’d like chance of most of them spending a huge part of this season on the bench. Not exactly what fans had in mind when the Jets opened up what will likely be a two-year window to win a Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers under center.
Long-term planning for a short-term window? That gets this class a C.
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