The New York Jets may have finished under .500 for the sixth straight season, but there is some reason for hope this time around. The culture seems to be changing under head coach Robert Saleh and rookie quarterback Zach Wilson showed signs of improvement over the second half of the year.
The Jets could take another step in the right direction by taking advantage of their multiple first-round picks in April's upcoming NFL Draft. With that being said, here are three of the most likely draft targets for the Jets.
New York Jets NFL Draft
1. Derek Stingley Jr., CB (LSU)
Saleh is a defensive-minded coach and had to be disappointed in the effort of his team's secondary in 2021. The Jets gave up the third-most passing yards per game in the NFL (259.4) and allowed an opponent completion percentage of 68.3% (No. 30 in NFL). Cornerback is an obvious need and Derek Stingley Jr. may be the top player at that position in this draft class. The LSU standout has proven over the course of three college seasons that he is a shutdown corner capable of defending any opposing pass-catcher that comes his way. The Jets need someone they can rely on to play man coverage and not get burned. Stingley is the perfect player to take on that role.
2. George Karlaftis, DE (Purdue)
The Jets finished the 2021 season with just 33.0 sacks despite rostering the likes of Carl Lawson and Quinnen Williams. Saleh was hired in part due to the success he had running the San Francisco 49ers defense. He thrived off having a deep defensive line capable of getting into the backfield on every snap. Bringing Purdue's George Karlaftis into the mix should allow the Jets to reach that level of intensity. The 6-foot-4, 275 pounds pass rusher never takes a snap off and can play along the edge or down in the trenches. Saleh is the perfect coach to get the best out of this Boilermaker's potential.
3. Ikem Ekwonu, OL (NC State)
While fans never seem to get excited about drafting an offensive lineman in the first round, front offices and coaches do. That's because they know how necessary it is to have trusted blockers in front of Wilson. Ikem Ekwonu out of NC State has the versatility to play guard or tackle and rarely let his defender get into the backfield during college. Whether it is at No. 4 or No. 10, the Jets need to address their depth issue up front. This is an offense that rushed for just 98.1 yards per game (No. 27 in NF) and saw Wilson get sacked a whopping 44 times across 13 starts. Drafting Ekwonu isn't only helping the offensive line, it is also helping the franchise QB.
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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.