With the draft clock ticks becoming louder, the Jets’ draft picture is becoming more intense with the needs of filling two major holes with one major pick at number 11.
Do they take a top five offensive tackle to help sew together a line to protect quarterback Sam Darnold for the future or do they select a wide receiver as a top target that could elevate the offense for Darnold?
The popular theory is that the Jets will play it safe and take one of the top five presumed locks at tackle.
But what if they chose a wide receiver or draft down to pick up some extra picks and still chose a target for Darnold.
They should have an eventual sure starter of they choose a possession or burner with the likes of of the elite class of CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, or Henry Ruggs III along with the possibilities of Brandon Aiyuk, Michael Pittman Jr., Donovan Peoples-Jonnes, K.J. Hill, Chase Claypool, or Gabriel Davis to name a few.
If they choose the latter, the Jets have had a reasonable amount of successful wide receiver picks from the first- through the seventh-round.
Since 1960, Johnny “Lam” Jones (1980), Al Toon (1988), Keyshawn Johnson (1996) and Santana Moss (2001) were number one picks, and all of them were staples in their schemes and experienced various degrees of success. Jerome Barkum (1972) was drafted as a tight end, but he also spent some time on the outside as one of the precursors for the Jason Kelce prototypes.
Wesley Walker was a productive second-round pick (1977), but fellow second-rounder Devin Smith (2015) never reached his potential.
In 2017, the Jets has high aspirations for third-rounder ArDarius Stewart and fourth-rounder Chad Hansen.
It turned out to be a short fuse. Stewart caught six passes and Hansen caught nine games that year. Both were gone the following year.
A year earlier, Charone Peake was a seventh-round peak, and he has managed to be a regular contributor the past couple of years as backup and special teamer.
Quincy Enunwa was a sixth rounder in 2014 ahead of flunkees Jalen Saunders and Shaq Evans in the fourth.
In 2012, second-rounder Stephen Hill (remember him?) was seen a solution and seventh-rounder Jordan White was a flyer. Both never moved forward.
A year earlier, Jeremy Kerley had a five-year stint primarily as a kick returner. Brad Smith (2006, fourth round) was the Jets answer to a kick returner and wildcat option for a few seasons.
Chansi Stuckey (2007, seventh) had a promising career cut short due to injuries.
Jerricho Cotchery (2004, fourth), and Laveraneous Coles (200, third) both had memorable careers.
Jo-Jo Townsell (1983, third), Terance Mathis (1990, sixth) and Dedric Ward (1997, third) made their presence felt for a period of time.
Back in 1972, the Jets chose Rich Caster as a second-round tight end, and — like Barkum – Caster proved to be a big target for Joe Namath. They also discovered tiny and legendary Eddie “The Flea” Bell in the ninth round. Derrick Gaffney had some moments as an eight-rounder in 1978.
Those who fell to the Jets’ drafted receivers bust bowl were Scott McKnight, Marcus Henry, Windrell Hayes, Titus Dixon, Alex Van Dyke, Tyrone Davis, Curtis Ceasar, Tracy Martin, Perry Griggs, Orlando Parker, Kenny Shedd, Tyrone Davis, Gary Hammond, Ralph Clayton, Reggie Rembert, and Ryan Yarborough.