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New York Jets Off the Clock: 2019 NFL Draft Defensive Needs Checklist
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5 May 2019 12:47 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Edge rusher Jachai Polite gets to quarterback Kyle Shurmur. (Image Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

With the 2019 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror we take the New York Jets off the clock. Having already broken down their picks on the offensive side of the ball, we take a look at how the NYJ did in addressing their defensive needs:

1. Outside Linebacker: Jachai Polite, Florida (3rd Round, No. 68 overall)  

In the re-signed Brandon Copeland and fourth-year man Jordan Jenkins the Jets return their starting linebackers, but they are far from set at the position. Copeland is more of a stop-gap and Jenkins is still establishing himself. The team desperately needed an edge rusher going into the draft and may have nabbed one in Jachai Polite. The Florida man produced 11 sacks last season for the Gators. He’s a playmaker who forces fumbles and bats passes down. Polite didn’t test very well at the NFL Scouting Combine, which appeared to hurt his stock, but he wasn’t 100 percent. It’s possible the Jets got a steal here as they look to fill their biggest defensive need.

Who Was Available at No. 3: Clelin Ferrell, Clemson (No. 4); Josh Allen, Kentucky (No. 7)

There are some who would argue that Josh Allen should have been the pick at No. 3, because as an edge rusher he fills a bigger need in New York’s defense. As it turns out, the UK product wasn’t even the first edge rusher off the board, as Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell went fourth to the Oakland Raiders as they look to replace Khalil Mack.

2. Nose Tackle: Quinnen Williams, Alabama (1st Round, No. 3 overall)  

When the No. 3 pick was made, Quinnen Williams was announced as a nose tackle, so that’s at least an inkling in how the Jets plan on using the defensive tackle. Throwing the Crimson Tide in between Leonard Williams and Henry Anderson gives the Jets one of the most formidable defensive lines in the NFL. The Alabama product is not only stout, but so quick and athletic. He can take on double teams and eats up one-on-ones with the ability to get into the backfield both against the run and as a pass rusher. We could also see the Jets mix in some four-man fronts. Maybe it wasn’t the biggest need, but in some evaluations New York landed the best prospect in this draft class. Can’t hate that.

Off the Clock: First-Round Picks: 1-4, 5-8, 9-14, 15-20, 21-26, 27-32;

Who Was Available at No. 34: None

There are very few nose tackle prospects and no one who would have warranted going at No. 34 had the Jets kept their second-round pick.  

3. Cornerback: Blessuan Austin, Rutgers (6th Round, No. 196 overall)  

The Jets added one cornerback via free agency in Brian Poole and lost another in Buster Skrine with Morris Claiborne still in limbo as the draft concluded. Cornerback was a big need for the team, but they need someone who can compete for a starting job, rather than adding to the young depth they already have. In Blessuan Austin, the Jets went for a boom-or-bust prospect who has the potential to develop into an effective cover corner, but comes with injury concerns as he’s suffered multiple season-ending knee injuries. The fact the Jets are rumored to be coming around to considering a Claiborne reunion after reportedly having moved on from him tells you they don’t believe they’ve filled the need.

Who Was Available at No. 34: Rock Ya-Sin, Temple (No. 34); Sean Bunting, Central Michigan (No. 39); Trayvon Mullen, Clemson (No. 40); Joejaun Williams, Vanderbilt (No. 45); Greedy Williams, LSU (No. 46);

If the Jets had their second-round pick, there’s a very good chance they would have selected a cornerback there. That’s what Indianapolis did when they called Rock Ya-Sin’s name with the pick they acquired from New York. The Temple product was a viable option, as was Clemson’s Trayvon Mullen. Central Michigan’s Sean Bunting was a prospect the Jets looked into prior to the draft and fans would have been clamoring for Greedy Williams from DBU (LSU), who was long considered a first-round pick.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.

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