What will the New York Jets be thinking in the 2017 NFL Draft?
Here we break down their five core draft questions and provide our best answers.
1. Should the Jets think about a franchise QB early?
Yes. It doesn't matter that the Jets used a second-round pick on Christian Hackenberg last year and have consistently selected a quarterback somewhere in the draft. Since Geno Smith in 2013, New York hasn't tabbed a true young QB for the future, but the end of the Ryan Fitzpatrick era means the time is now.
Given the desperation for a viable rookie alternative to an even shakier stopgap in Josh McCown, the No. 6 overall pick isn't a stretch to address the position. The Jets have been a bit torn between Clemson's Deshaun Watson and North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky, but the former offers the better winning resume and skill set for Todd Bowles and his staff. If the defensive options aren't up to snuff early, expect them to go quarterback.
2. Will the Jets primarily have secondary in mind?
Yes, and it's not just finding cornerback help without Darrelle Revis. Although an outside cover man takes precedence — Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore would be ideal if still there at No. 6 — it might be hard for the Jets to pass up on either elite safety prospect, LSU's Jamal Adams and Ohio State's Malik Hooker, if one falls.
The Jets have a big playmaking void on the back end. Raising the quotient with either a free safety or a corner to line up opposite former Cowboy Morris Claiborne would address the need.
3. Can the Jets afford to go luxury with a running back or tight end?
It depends. LSU RB Leonard Fournette and Alabama TE O.J. Howard have popped up for the Jets in several mock drafts. Neither is a crazy pick over a quarterback despite the fact that both are more complementary offensive skill players. Either Fournette or Howard would make a second- or later-round rookie QB's job easier.
The Cowboys got their workhorse back, Ezekiel Elliott, at No. 4 last year, and he was a big reason why QB Dak Prescott had a big, efficient rookie year. The Jets also could flip that script; get Watson first and then go after a player such as Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara or Ole Miss TE Evan Engram later in the draft.
4. Which pass rushers should the Jets have on their radar?
Based on where they're picking in the first round, the Jets should think about pass rushers early in second round, instead, where there's a chance either Missouri's Charles Harris or UCLA's Takkarist McKinley will be waiting.
In the third round, Alabama's Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson both could be in play. This draft is peppered with better 3-4 outside linebacker prospects than 4-3 end types, so Bowles will be in business wherever New York dives for such help.
5. How much do the Jets need to rebuild their offensive line?
After the first round, expect the Jets to go after multiple options to potentially help them at center, guard and right tackle following their transition away from veterans such as Nick Mangold and Breno Giacomini. Baylor C Kyle Fuller (fourth round) and Oregon State G Sean Harlow (fifth round) are two names to watch.
SN's 2017 Mock Drafts: Jets picks
— Eric Galko (from April 11 Mock Draft)
No. 6: Hooker: While the Jets have displayed interest in Trubisky, we have not heard specifically that they will take him at No. 6 overall. If their interest in Trubisky is merely to get the Bills or Browns to trade up, the Jets could target Hooker or Marshon Lattimore.
— Vinnie Iyer (from April 10 Mock Draft)
No. 6: Lattimore: The Darrelle Revis era is over, and New York needs more answers at corner beyond free-agent signing Morris Claiborne. The former Cowboy is more of a complementary cover man, and Lattimore is more of a blanketing, shadowing shutdown type, the clear-cut best in this class.
MORE: Latest NFL Draft rumors
Jets 2017 NFL Draft picks
First round: No. 6 overall
Second round: No. 39 overall
Third round: No. 70 overall
Third round: No. 107 overall (compensatory)
Fifth round: No. 150 overall
Sixth round: No. 191 overall
Seventh round: No. 224 overall