It cannot be overstated how important the 2017 NFL draft is for the New York Jets come the end of April.
For a franchise that fell so far and so hard in just one season, Gang Green is left with gaping holes within its roster that needs to be addressed before the fall. The draft won’t fix everything, but the Jets have a golden opportunity to pick up a building block for the future with the No. 6 overall pick in the first round.
They could be searching for more, according to Connor Hughes of NJ.com. After attempting to deal defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson at the trade deadline last season, the Jets could very well be trying to move him again. With a logjam of defensive talent in the form of Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson, Richardson is likely the odd man out.
Williams is the future of the Jets defense after starring in his sophomore campaign last season while Wilkerson was inked to an $86 million extension prior to the 2016 season.
Per Hughes, “odds are” that if Richardson is dealt, it could be during the draft, which would yield more opportunities to aggregate higher picks. It would allow the Jets to not only focus on drafting a quarterback, but also a highly rated offensive lineman, linebacker or cornerback.
There should be plenty of interest in Richardson considering he can produce if put in the right situation. New York’s largest mistake was constantly moving him around the defense throughout his first four years in the league.
He saw most of his success on the interior as a defensive tackle, recording a career-best eight sacks in 2014. Since then, he has been shuffled to the edge as either an end or outside linebacker and has had 6.5 sacks in his last 26 games.
Teams that are in need of interior help should not have an issue with sending the Jets draft picks if needed. Richardson is still just 26 years old and is entering the prime of his career.