Moeller: Jets’ Pre-Draft Check List Has More Gains Than Losses

As expected, the Jets made a splash in the free-agent signing period landing big names such as running back Le’Veon Bell and linebacker C.J. Mosley as well as a horde of others to help raise the talent base and expectations of a mediocre team.

Now, with the draft countdown already in motion, the Jets’ focus will turn to the third overall pick and a final round of free agents to help fill any missing gaps.

Here’s an early look at the Jets at each position with their latest additions:

Running back: Bell has the potential to be the Jets’ biggest impact back since Curtis Martin. The team is optimistic that he can put his past behind him and stay healthy. If so, he can form a lethal tandem with Bilal Powell, who is coming back from an injury. Promising Eli McGuire gives the team another strong option if he continues to improve.

Tackle: This is one area the Jets will continue to investigate through free agency as well as the draft. Currently, Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell are the holdovers.

Guard: Free agent signee Kelechi Osemele is a huge upgrade, and holdover Brian Winters will need to bolster his game. Tom Compton was recently signed to provide depth. This will be another area for free agency and the draft.

Center: Jonotthan Harrison steadily improved his game last season in his initial stay. The Jets were busy to trying to add a starter via free agency, but they struck out on several fronts. Again, look to the draft and another round of free agency.

Quarterback: Josh McCown showed his age last season, and he saw the light his future is a coach. Ex- Bronco pickup Trevor Siemian is a viable backup and Davis Webb still could get a shot.

Wide Receiver: The Jets were looking for a gamebreaker to lead the inconsistent Robbie Anderson and oft-injured Quincy Enunwa. They signed possession receiver Jamison Crowder and also added special teamer Joshua Bellamy. Anderson needs to fulfill his potential and Enunwa needs to stay healthy.

Tight end: The Jets found a gem last year in Chris Herndon to finally solve their tight end woes. Eric Tomlinson is back and Jordan Leggett is coming back off an injury.

Defensive line: This is where the Jets will likely take a pass rusher with their pick and hopefully solve a major issue. Leonard Williams needs to have a breakout year on the end. Henry Anderson had a solid rookie season and can be an anchor. Steve McLendon resigned, but overall, the Jets need more here.

Linebacker: Mosley can be a one-man wrecking crew and can solve some issues here. Brandon Copeland, Jordan Jenkins, and Avery Williamson were an effective crew and will get better. Darron Lee is also back, but he could be dealt. With Mosley, this can be one of the best units in the league.

Secondary: look for the Jets to continue to search for help. Trumaine Johnson needs to return to the form he had with the Rams. Darryl Roberts, who had his share of good and bad moments, currently is the other corner. Brian Poole was signed as a free agent corner. The safety tandem of Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye –back from an injury – should be one of the league’s finest.

Special teams: The Jets’ took a hit when they didn’t resign pro-bowlers returner Andre Roberts and kicker Jason Myers. Instead, they brought back kicker Chandler Cantanzaro and added Bellamy. Trent Cannon will get a further look in the returns.

Analysis: The Jets did a good job in their free agent signings and will need an encore or better in the draft. Both lines still have some questions. However, the offense should be more consistent especially if quarterback Sam Darnold reaches another level.

The next month can be very interesting.

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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