(CBSNewYork)- The New York Jets will be on the clock Thursday night with the 11th overall pick in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft. This year’s draft will look substantially different than in previous years with a virtual format due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Though the process has changed a lot since last year, the Jets’ biggest needs really haven’t changed that much. CBS New York sports anchor Steve Overmyer points out two glaring issues that the team needs to address, both of which focus on the offensive side of the ball: tackle and wide receiver.
Both of those holes need filling in order to help the continued development of starting quarterback Sam Darnold. It’s hard to say which is more needed. Last season, the Jets ranked 29th in sacks allowed (52) and 27th in receiving yards. They didn’t have a 1,000-yard receiver, and their third-leading pass-catcher, Robby Anderson, departed for Carolina in free agency.
General manager Joe Douglas was aggressive in attempting to reshape the offensive line by signing tackle George Fant, interior lineman Connor McGovern, and re-signing guard Alex Lewis. Overmyer says that up until this week, he thought the team would further address the line, but now he’s not so sure.
“Recently, I found out that Adam Gase really loves Henry Ruggs III the wide receiver who has extra speed. And that’s what Gase loves for this offense,” said Overmyer in an interview with CBS Local’s Katie Johnston. “You can help Sam Darnold out in two ways: one, by protecting him or two, by giving him a weapon to throw to. And it’s starting to feel like the Jets could be leaning more towards giving him that big weapon, especially now that Robby Anderson is in Carolina.”
Ruggs III would certainly add speed to the offense. The Alabama junior ran the fastest 40 time at the Combine (4.27 seconds) and was an explosive over-the-top threat for the Tide in each of the past two seasons. Adding a vertical threat to the offense would mesh well with Jamison Crowder’s abilities in the slot and Le’Veon Bell’s pass-catching ability coming out of the backfield.
Now, the wait is on for Thursday night when the Jets hope the board breaks their way and they can snag Ruggs (or potentially Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb) with the 11th overall pick. The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft begins Thursday night at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.