The New York Jets have made history in the 2021 NFL Draft.
For the first time in over 38 years, the green and white have started a draft with four straight offensive selections. That hasn’t happened since 1983.
The latest selection came on the third day of the 2021 NFL Draft with the No. 107 overall pick in the fourth round when the team picked North Carolina running back Michael Carter. Former Jets’ great and current coach Leon Washington made the announcement.
Jets add some necessary juice to the backfield
The Jets running back group heading into the draft was super underwhelming. It was littered with undrafted free agents (Josh Adams), late rounders (Ty Johnson), injured dudes (Tevin Coleman), and disappointment (La’Mical Perine).
Michael Carter won’t be the savior or bell cow the team hasn’t had since Thomas Jones, but that’s okay. Back during his time with the Tar Heels, he was the Robin to Javontae Williams’ Batman. He’ll embrace that same role at the professional level.
A clear fit in this zone-based running scheme the Jets will be working with. An undersized tailback that does bring a level of decisiveness to the table, but his receiving game is still a work in progress. During his time at UNC, he registered over 82 receptions during his collegiate career but never had more than 25 receptions in any single season.
What about the defense?
Every selection for the Jets thus far has been on the offensive side of the ball, so what does that mean?
It says a few things.
Firstly, Joe Douglas believes in his defensive-minded head coach to figure it out. Robert Saleh has a long track record of making chicken salad out of chicken you know what.
Also, don’t rule out free agency being an option after the 2021 NFL Draft. New York has the second-most cap space in the NFL (nearly $25M per Over The Cap) and that’s before making any other roster moves.
A few of their earlier selections will cause a domino effect.
For instance, the Jets drafted Alijah Vera-Tucker in the first round will likely allow the team to move on from veteran guard Alex Lewis. If they made that move they’d create an additional $4.4M in cap space.
Additionally, in the second round of the NFL Draft, the Jets selected Elijah Moore, wide receiver out of Ole Miss. That suddenly makes veteran wideout Jamison Crowder expendable (regardless of what Joe Douglas says publicly). Options could include straight-up releasing him or trading him for a future day three pick.
All of those moves could put the team in a prime position to capitalize on their defensive vacancies on the open market. Douglas could add one of several veteran cornerbacks that are available. The Jets also have needs at linebacker and it wouldn’t hurt to add some more bodies at EDGE rusher.
It’s absolutely refreshing to see a general manager talk about doing something than actually putting his money where his mouth is. Douglas said he would get protection, playmakers for Zach Wilson and that’s exactly what he’s done early on.