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Jets: An Early Look at the 2016 NFL Draft

Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland makes a tackle. (Marvin Gentry/USA TODAY Sports)

Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland makes a tackle. (Marvin Gentry/USA TODAY Sports)


Mel Kiper Jr. just released his second of many mock drafts leading up to the actual NFL draft in late April. In his latest mock draft, he predicts that the New York Jets will take Reggie Ragland, an inside linebacker from Alabama.

Kiper explained his reasoning:

Last year, the Jets took the best player available in Round 1 when they nabbed Leonard Williams at No. 6 overall, and Ragland certainly qualifies as a BPA if he’s still around at No. 20. A monster against the run, Ragland plays faster than he’ll run at the combine because of great instincts. Draft him with the expectation you can start him in Week 1.

In Kiper’s first mock draft, he predicted that the Jets would take Jaylon Smith, the linebacker/edge rusher out of Notre Dame. So Kiper seems pretty confident that the Jets will take someone on the defensive side of the ball.

And drafting a strong defensive player makes complete sense because the Jets have a lot of defensive players that are free agents. Some of the more notable ones are Calvin Pace, Demario Davis, Damon Harrison, Leger Douzable, and Muhammad Wilkerson.

The Jets will not be able to resign all of them so their defense will take a hit. So drafting a strong defensive player, and especially a solid pass rusher, would be a huge help for the defense.

The offense isn’t really losing too much this offseason. The only notable free agents are Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chris Ivory, and Bilal Powell. The Jets will probably let Ivory walk, and I would be surprised if they don’t resign Fitzpatrick and Powell.

But if there is an offensive position that the Jets should address in the draft, it is an offensive lineman, especially on the right side of the line. Breno Giacomini just has not been cutting it as the right tackle. D’Brickashaw Ferguson is solid as left tackle and Nick Mangold is the best Center in the NFL. And James Carpenter is a solid veteran at left guard. But the Jets can absolutely use some more help on the right side of the line to help protect Ryan Fitzpatrick, assuming that he will resign with the Jets.

There is still a lot of time between now and the draft, but it is always fun to look forward to the draft. And if the Jets draft another defensive player that is NFL ready like Leonard Williams was, then their defense should be more than fine for next season.

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