Overview: The Jets have some positions solidified that would make other teams envious — they don’t need a cornerback and are pretty deep at defensive line and on the interior O-line. And although there may not be a whole lot of confidence in the Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow QB tandem, the team does not need a signalcaller. However, the Jets do have clear needs at multiple positions in a crucial season for Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum and the entire organization after a disappointing finish to the 2011 season. The Jets, like the Bills, have 10 picks, giving them plenty of opportunities to improve the roster. The focus on defense will be on adding playmakers, with an offensive focus at the skill positions.
Need No. 1: Outside linebacker
The Jets have been absent a consistent pass rusher since John Abraham left. Calvin Pace is their top edge rusher on the roster, but he is getting up in years and his production is not what you’d expect out of an aggressive, Ryan-coached defense. Aaron Maybin showed some promise last season getting into the backfield, but he is not an every-down player. Jamaal Westerman was thought to be an option, but he was not tendered and is now a Dolphin. The Jets need a pass-rushing outside linebacker who can get into the backfield and make plays. Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw is certainly a possibility for them at No. 16.
Need No. 2: Safety
Signing LaRon Landry was the first step in addressing what was originally the team’s biggest need. Jim Leonhard has not been re-signed and is coming off a second straight season-ending leg injury. Eric Smith had a host of struggles last season, and with the Jets playing the Patriots’ TE tandem twice a year, it’s important for the team to shore things up in center field. Landry’s health will be a question mark, and the Jets could still use a rangy player who can excel in coverage, which would help put Landry in position to make big plays.
Need No. 3: Running back
With LaDainian Tomlinson’s days as a Jet, and likely as an NFL player, over, the Gang Green could gain from adding another body in the backfield. Shonn Greene is coming off a career year, but he is not one of the league’s elite backs. Joe McKnight has not proven he can be any more than a change-of-pace back, and Bilal Powell, last year’s fourth-rounder, didn’t get an opportunity. Sparano’s offense will have a run-first mentality and can use a speedy back to complement Greene, especially if new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano is not sold on McKnight’s skills.