Who should the New York Jets select in the first round of the draft?
As of right now, team general manager Joe Douglas has two first-round selections in his draft arsenal. The Adam Gase-led Jets went 2-14 in the former head coach’s second and final season at the helm. Therefore, that netted the team the second-overall selection.
Douglas picked up that second pick, 23rd overall, from the Seattle Seahawks in the trade that sent All-Pro safety Jamal Adams to Seattle before last season.
Now, things can change quickly. Meaning, Douglas may pick up the phone and package one of, or both, those picks in a potential deal for Deshaun Watson. Of course, that speculation around the 25-year old wanting out of Houston and possibly pinpointing the Jets as his desired new home are just rumors right now.
So, as it currently stands, Douglas and his front office will break down who to select with those first two picks. Which names should he look at, and which five players should they evaluate to pick in the first round?
5. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Derrick Henry was giant, both literally and figuratively, for Alabama in 2015. He ran for over 2,200 yards with 28 touchdowns on his way to claiming the Heisman Trophy. In the NFL, all he has done has become one of the best running backs in the league, with 3,567 yards and 33 scores in the last two years.
Why bring Henry up? Because Alabama will send another physically large running back to the NFL this year in Najee Harris.
If you follow the sport, Harris is nearly a household name. In 2020, he ran for 1,466 yards with 26 rushing scores. He also caught 43 passes for 425 yards and four touchdowns. In 2019, he was great as a junior as well.
Harris may be around when Douglas is on the phone at pick 23, and the general manager should consider drafting him. Why? Harris seems to have every-down, or at least three-down, potential. Meaning, he could be the featured back and take reps no matter the game situation. Ty Johnson and La’Mical Perine had nice showings at times in 2020, but neither is better than Harris.
Yes, the running back position is not a dire need with new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur coming in and bringing with him parts of that Kyle Shanahan offense. We have seen those two have success with the likes of Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Matt Breida, while Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon have been in and out of the lineup over the last two seasons for the 49ers.
Although, Harris on a rookie deal is potentially cheaper than adding someone in free agency. He is also probably better. He could elevate this offense right away with whoever is under center at his size with his skill set as a runner and pass-catcher.