For a team that went 7-10 last season, the New York Jets were very quiet during the 2023 NFL Draft with more picks being questioned than praised.
Of course, what people fail to realize is that Gang Green got to seven wins thanks to a very talented roster but poor quarterback play. They solved their quarterback troubles already before the draft.
For general manager Joe Douglas, the focus in the draft turned to solidifying the team’s future through the trenches. Offensive and defensive linemen aren’t always the sexy picks that excite fanbases, but they are vital to extending championship windows – especially when you’re quarterback is close to 40 years old.
New York’s process has been a consistent and methodical approach since Douglas was hired back in 2019. The collective effort showed out most throughout the last few days.
“Can’t thank the coaches and the scouts enough. This is their day. The scouts know these players like the back of their hand and it comes in handy on days like today. I can’t thank these guys enough, for the teamwork that was involved throughout this entire process with the scouts and coaches. It led to a really good day,” Douglas said following the draft.
There are few teams that have had the week the Jets have had. They introduced Aaron Rodgers as the newest member of the team the day before the draft and then made multiple trades throughout the draft to try and improve the team.
Douglas and even head coach Robert Saleh understand that the journey of building a championship roster has just begun though.
“To get Aaron here, it’s a blessing and then for this Draft, to get who we felt was one of the better pass rushers, to add to the o-line, then get the back from Pitt who just has so much juice and breakaway speed, then to add these guys on Day Three with Joe turning three picks into six, so we got better this week, a lot better this week, so excited to work with the group. We finally get to hit the grass on Monday with the varsity, so it’s all good things,” Saleh happily explained.
Not every pick was touted as a smart move from the Jets. Many critiqued the Will McDonald IV pick as a reach at 15 as opposed to taking a tackle, then responded by saying New York should’ve taken a different center in round two instead of Joe Tippmann.
But positional fit matters in this league, and the Jets made the selections that they felt better fit what they wanted to do offensively and defensively.
Depth along the trenches is the key component to building a sustained winner. Both Douglas and Saleh understand that.
So while the Jets may not have gone with the sexiest of picks throughout the seven rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft, they came away with plenty of substantive rookies that could enhance the 2023 club’s chances of getting to the playoffs for the first time in 12 seasons.
And as many analysts know, the substantive picks are usually better than the sexy ones when it comes to the NFL Draft.