<
>

Jets would spark fireworks by drafting Jerry Jeudy, as Todd McShay predicts

play
First-round OL prospect displays his strength by pushing a truck (0:17)

Former Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton pushes a truck in preparation of the 2020 NFL draft. (0:17)

Due to defection (Robby Anderson) and injury (Quincy Enunwa), the New York Jets' most accomplished wide receivers are slot man Jamison Crowder and former first-round castoffs Breshad Perriman and Josh Doctson. They need help -- badly. It would be a disservice to Jets quarterback Sam Darnold if they roll with the current cast of characters.

With the No. 11 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, the Jets are in great position to land one of the top wideouts -- Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb or Henry Ruggs III. Heck, they might have their choice of all three. Thing is, they also need an offensive tackle, and there should be a good one available.

Therein lies the question for general manager Joe Douglas: Blocker or catcher?

In his latest mock draft, ESPN analyst Todd McShay has the Jets taking Jeudy, the silky-smooth route runner who caught 77 passes for 1,173 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2019. What's surprising about McShay's pick is that two highly regarded left tackles, Mekhi Becton and Andrew Thomas, remain on the board. This would spark a revolt among Jets' fans, who want their GM to build a wall for Darnold.

Know this about Douglas: He was schooled by his mentor, former Baltimore Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, to pick the best player over the biggest need. If it's a tie, opt for the need.

In this case, he could justify either position -- receiver or tackle -- as being the No. 1 need on offense, which ranked 32nd in total yards. Personally, I'd say a tie should go to a big fella -- Becton, in particular -- but Douglas might be comfortable with free-agent addition George Fant and holdover Chuma Edoga as his starting tackles. It's risky, though. Fant was a part-time starter with the Seattle Seahawks and Edoga didn't show much as a rookie, although the coaches like his athleticism and upside.

Jeudy would immediately become the most talented receiver on the team. So would Lamb, for that matter; he's bigger and more physical than Jeudy, but less polished as a route runner. The point is, Darnold needs a WR1. Douglas could find one in the second round in what is being called the best wide receiver class in more than a decade, but let's stop with this idea that the depth of the position should influence the decision in Round 1. As in: There's no point in drafting a receiver at 11 because there will plenty of choices later.

That's foolish logic. It's overthinking the decision. Quite simply, the Jets must take the best player at 11. You'd like it to be a massive bodyguard for Darnold, but it would be bad business to reach for a tackle if a potentially elite receiver falls into your lap.