As part of The Post’s 2022 NFL Draft preview, we examine what the Jets might do at each position. Today: offensive line Next up: defensive line.
When Joe Douglas was hired in 2019 as the Jets general manager, he made it a priority to fix the offensive line. His last two drafts have backed that up. He used first-round picks in each of the last two years to take offensive linemen — tackle Mekhi Becton in 2020 and guard Alijah Vera-Tucker last year.
Will he use another first-round pick on an offensive lineman and make it three-for-three? It seems unlikely.
The Jets don’t have a starting spot on the line open at the moment. Becton and George Fant are penciled in as the tackles. Vera-Tucker and free-agent acquisition Laken Tomlinson are at guard and Connor McGovern returns as the center.
However, Douglas lives by the “best player available” mantra in the draft, and what if Ikem Ekwonu or Evan Neal are sitting there when the Jets are on the clock at No. 4 and that player is at the top of the Jets’ board? Will Douglas add another lineman? It seems unlikely, but it can’t be ruled out.
Once you get past the top of the draft, the Jets are likely to add a lineman or two with their nine picks. While the starting offensive line seems set, the Jets still need depth. Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum is extremely popular with Jets fans and could be a target early in the second round if he is still on the board. While the Jets still have McGovern, Douglas may want a long-term answer at center.
Tulsa’s Tyler Smith could be a second-day pick for the Jets as a depth pick at tackle and possible replacement for Fant in 2023. On Day 3, keep an eye on Tennessee Chattanooga interior lineman Cole Strange or Arizona State’s Dohnovan West.