The 2023 NFL draft is in the rearview mirror and the next big milestone will be the schedule release coming in mid-May.
Before we get to all that fun jazz, our two experts Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden and Michael Obermuller sift through sizzling draft takes and look forward to next season.
Problems at Safety for Jets, Biggest Needs Post-Draft
1. Is anything else going to happen at safety? If not, did the Jets make a mistake believing in their own guys in the building?
I don’t think so and no, I don’t see it as a mistake. I really liked what I saw in Tony Adams last year and I could see him taking another step in 2023.
Jordan Whitehead is another player that should improve with a better safety partner. If Chuck Clark or Adams can become that, Whitehead should be fine with another year inside the system.
It will be interesting to see what the Jets do with 2020 draft pick Ashtyn Davis. My personal opinion?
After the versatile Jarrick Bernard-Converse selection in 2023 and a couple of promising UDFA signings at the position, not to mention Davis’ increased cap hit, I think this is finally the summer that Douglas gives up on the failed safety prospect.
2. What is the biggest need left for the Jets following the 2023 NFL draft?
It’s got to be a run-stuffing defensive tackle, and I have the perfect answer to this problem: Al Woods.
The Jets brought in the veteran nose tackle for a visit and seemed to like what they saw according to reports. This could have been one of those, “we’ll get back to you after the draft situations,” and after the Jets struck out at D-tackle over the three-day weekend, it makes sense that they’ll touch base with Woods again sometime in May.
Veterans like Woods sometimes take their time and sign after OTAs, so maybe it doesn’t happen until June but this is one of those matches that feels like a lock to happen before training camp.
3. Give me your best Aaron Rodgers prediction ahead of the 2023 season.
I’ll start conservatively and say that Aaron Rodgers leads the Jets into the playoffs, breaking the 12-year drought in 2023.
Realistically, I think the postseason is just the tip of the iceberg for this Gang Green roster though. I mean, on paper, this is a legitimate Super Bowl contender that rivals the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals as the second-best team in the AFC behind the Kansas City Chiefs.
As the old saying goes, so long as you snag a ticket to the dance, anything can happen! Why not the Jets and Rodgers, orchestrating a beautiful swan song together to round out his career? Forget Brett Favre, all of this is eerily similar to what Peyton Manning did with a stacked Denver roster before his retirement.
Jets Replacements and WR Surprises?
4. Will any of the players the Jets drafted replace a veteran in the starting lineup? If so, who?
I mean, the easy answer here is Joe Tippmann, who should replace Connor McGovern either before the 2023 season or during it. I won’t harp on that too much, as that’s a slam dunk to happen.
Having said that, an interesting one could be Israel Abanikanda. No, he won’t start at running back over Breece Hall, but I could see the dynamic Pittsburgh product winning the kick returner job this summer.
He could also push backup ball carriers Michael Carter and Zonovan Knight for snaps behind Hall if the pair of RBs don’t pick up the pace.
5. Are you surprised that the Jets didn’t select a WR in the draft after pursuing Odell Beckham Jr pretty hard? Could they still add a big name ahead of the 2023 season?
Honestly, no. I was never one of the Jets fans that wanted Beckham. In fact, I was adamantly against signing him.
I always felt that the coaching staff liked Corey Davis more than the fanbase did and I don’t think Joe Douglas or Robert Saleh ever felt that they truly needed a wide receiver. More likely, Rodgers’ interest in OBJ led to that pursuit and once it was clear it wasn’t going to happen, the Jets front office reverted back to their initial opinion: We have a pretty strong WR corps already.
Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Davis, Tyler Conklin, Mecole Hardman, Hall, C.J. Uzomah, Carter, Abanikanda, Knight, Jeremy Ruckert, Denzel Mims, Irvin Charles, and more honestly could be the best group of skill position players that Rodgers has ever had. I’m not even joking, Green Bay never bulked up on offensive weapons like this.