Rex Ryan’s two seasons in New York have been pretty similar. Uneven regular season was followed by excellent play in the postseason, coming up just short of a Super Bowl.
So is this a juggernaut roster that underachieves before the playoffs or a solid squad that maxes out its potential at the right time? We lean towards the latter, which is one reason why they need to draft well and replenish the defense with young talent.
DL: Mike Devito is an underrated should-be star, but Shaun Ellis is headed for free agency and there isn’t much young talent here to get excited about. Sione Pioha is serviceable at nose tackle, but Ryan would like another run-plugger in the middle that could eat up snaps.
OLB: Rex Ryan’s scheme has covered up a relative lack of talent on his defense the last two years. This group threatens to get old all at once.
Calvin Pace is coming off a down year and Bryan Thomas is ordinary on the other side. Where are the guys on the Jets front seven that other teams have to gameplan for? They need pass rush help.
CB: Kyle Wilson struggled last year and Antonio Cromartie may be difficult to keep in free agency. Ryan relies on his cornerbacks so much that he’s going to want to improve his depth with Cromartie’s situation uncertain.
WR: Their need here depends partly on how confident they are in re-signing Braylon Edwards. Santonio Holmes looks likely to leave and Brad Smith is also a free agent. Old reliable Jerricho Cotchery will be back, but a speed receiver in the middle rounds could make sense.
Overview: The Jets rely so much on trades and free agency that their roster looks especially barren at the moment. No matter who they get after the lockout, this team still needs an infusion of homegrown young talent on defense.
Expect Ryan to focus on his side of the ball, although the lack of a second round pick limits options.