Not a lot went right for the New York Jets this year.
They finished 2-14, officially ending the Adam Gase experiment after just two seasons.
Now that he Browns have finally made the playoffs, the longest active playoff drought belongs to
… the New York Jets pic.twitter.com/a4YdL7FNMM
— SB Nation (@SBNation) January 3, 2021
Their roster, devoid of talent, was dysfunctional at all three phases of the game.
The Jets also lost out on the chance to take Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick of the 2021 draft.
If there is a silver lining, though, this offseason is the perfect opportunity to turn the franchise into AFC East contenders for years to come.
With the second overall selection, the Jets can still take a difference-maker on either side of the ball.
They also have a second first-round choice from Seattle as a part of the Jamal Adams trade.
Ultimately, 2020 was a season to forget for Jets fans, but the new year also brings a clean slate.
Here are the ways the Jets can rebuild their team in the 2021 draft.
Though the Jets were actually respectable against the run, offenses continually gashed them through the air.
They ranked in the bottom five in opposing completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns.
Additionally, PFF graded the Jets pass coverage as the third-worst unit in the league this past year.
A subpar pass rush is partly responsible for their woes, but a weak secondary was the primary source of their issues.
Starters like Bless Austin, Lamar Jackson, and Correy Ballentine were liabilities and are better suited for backup roles.
Luckily for the Jets, they can capitalize on this strong cornerback class and improve a position of need.
Some notable players include Caleb Fairley from Virginia Tech, Patrick Surtain II from Alabama, or Jaycee Horn from South Carolina.
All three project to be mid-to-late first-round picks, despite Fairley opting out of this season.
Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley, a projected first-round pick, is the first college player to opt out of the coming season, a source tells ESPN. Farley will spend the year training for the NFL draft. He has seen NFL players opt out and is uncomfortable with playing this year.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 29, 2020
Patrick Surtain II: Highest-graded CB since 2018 (93.0) pic.twitter.com/gmToSmGmMg
— PFF College (@PFF_College) January 5, 2021
South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn is impressive on tape! Big time quicks and ball skills. Love his his feisty play style too! Here’s an example of that 👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/9PzWPjNXSb
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) December 10, 2020
Adding any one of them would be a wise investment for Gang Green.
Regardless of who the Jets have under center next year, it is paramount that their signal-caller be well protected.
While they nailed the selection of Mekhi Becton, they could use an upgrade everywhere else.
Amongst eligible quarterbacks, defenses sacked Sam Darnold on 8.8% percent of his dropbacks, the third-highest mark in the league.
And while some fans may argue that sacks are a quarterback stat, the Jets also came in as the second-worst pass-blocking unit in the league, according to PFF.
So, should the Jets stick with Darnold or pick a quarterback later in the draft, they could use the second overall selection on Penei Sewell.
Sewell is a highly decorated offensive tackle out of Oregon, considered to be the best non-quarterback prospect in the draft.
— PFF (@PFF) June 12, 2020
He opted out this year, but his track record is so strong that he is essentially a lock for the top five.
The Jets could also wait and select an interior offensive lineman such as Wyatt Davis out of Ohio State or Alijah Vera-Tucker from USC.
— 247Sports (@247Sports) January 20, 2020
After what happened to Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals, management should prioritize protecting the most vital position in football.
Darnold never developed into the franchise quarterback the Jets thought they drafted, but he is not solely responsible for his failures.
Poor coaching and a lack of weapons are difficult circumstances for any young quarterback to overcome.
However, GM Joe Douglas did not draft Darnold and may choose to move on from the 23-year old.
Joe Douglas: “I think Sam’s going to be a great QB.” #NYJ
— Kim Jones (@KimJonesSports) January 5, 2021
If that were the case, Justin Fields out of Ohio State would be a fine addition.
He may not be the generational talent Lawrence is, but Fields is a strong prospect in his own right.
Justin Fields showed out last night and the sports world took notice.
He's got next 😤 pic.twitter.com/56YjWh1c5l
— ESPN (@espn) January 2, 2021
Across 21 games as the Buckeyes’ starter, Fields compiled a 20-1 record with 77 total touchdowns and just nine interceptions.
He also has a chance to boost his resume with a win over Alabama in the College Football Championship.
If the Jets go in a different direction with their first pick, there are plenty of other options to consider.
Zach Wilson from BYU and Trey Lance from North Dakota State are highly coveted quarterbacks but would likely require the Jets to trade up from the second first-round pick.
Other possibilities include Alabama quarterback Mac Jones or Kyle Trask out of Florida.
🚨 YOUR 2020 HEISMAN FINALISTS 🚨
-DeVonta Smith pic.twitter.com/cUPaQIDBHI
— ESPN (@espn) December 25, 2020
If the Jets strike gold at this position, it has the potential to set the Jets on the right path for years to come.