Should the Jets draft defense in the first round? Rex's draft history suggests probably . . . and we should like it.

I know this is not a popular opinion around here as our offense is a mess right now, but hear my out. First, lets take a look at the Jets first round draft picks since Rex began his tenure as the jets coach.

2009 5 Mark Sanchez QB USC 4* 4* [33]
2010 29 Kyle Wilson CB Boise State 3* 3* [34]
2011 30 Muhammad Wilkerson DL Temple University 2* 2* [35]
2012 16 Quinton Coples DE North Carolina 1* 1*
2013 9 Dee Milliner CB Alabama 0* 0*
13 Sheldon Richardson DT Missouri 0* 0*

Most of these picks have been on the defensive side of the ball and from them we have two potential All-Pro caliber players (Wilkerson and Richardson), two very promising players that we are hoping to make the leap to Pro Bowl level players (Milliner and Coples), one very good starting caliber player (Wilson), and Mark Sanchez. I would say these are 5 successes and one failure and the failure was an offensive player (No pun intended).

Now let's expand this inquiry to the second and third round selections:

2009 Shonn Greene RB IOWA 3
2010 Vlad Ducasse OL Mass 2
2011 Kenrick Ellis DT Hampton 3
2012 Stephan Hill WR Georgia Tech 2
2012 Demario Davis LB Arkansas State 3
2013 Geno Smith QB West Virginia 2
2013 Brian Winters OL Kent State 3

First, we can see that the Jets have not had many second and third round draft picks since Rex has been the coach, due to Tannebaum, and we have drafted many more offensive players (5/7) in these rounds. Two of these picks have been 2nd round busts (Ducasse and Hill), three have been successes (Greene, Ellis, Davis), and two are too early to tell (Smith and Winters)

So what does this all mean? Well of the 13 1-3 round picks the Jets have, I graded 3 as failures and all three of those players were drafted on the offense. Also the greatest picks (Wilkerson and Richardson) are both defensive players. Also the only starter that we have gotten from the 2-3 rounds, 2013 draft excluded, is on the defense. While this may be a small sample size, I think the take away here is that Rex and the Jets are not good at evaluating talent on the Offensive side of the ball, but are very good at identifying Defensive talent. With this nugget in mind I think the Jets should approach Free Agency/Draft as follows; try to add Offensive talent through Free Agency and add Defensive talent through the draft. Here is one course of action the Jets could take during the rest of the offseason:

Sign two more WR (Sanders, Edelman, Jones)

Sign one TE (Dickson, King, Hartstock)

Sign one pass catching/blocking RB (MJD, Moreno, Starks)

Offensive-line (Joseph, Colon, Strief)

I believe that we can sign all these players for about ~20-25 million in our available cap space this year. These moves would allow us to pursue defensive players in the draft, particularly if Barr or Gilbert fall to us or maybe we like Dix or some other defensive player. Don't get me wrong, I think you should still draft Best Player available and if that is a WR you have to get them, but given Rex's track record I trust his ranking of defensive players much more than the offensive ones. This may be a moot point if the Jets don't think there are any defensive players of value available at 18, but I wrote this post to the Jets fans out there thinking that we have to draft an offensive player in the first round. I'm making the case here that it may be prudent to stick to drafting defensive talent and why we as Jets fans shouldn't go crazy if we take a defensive player at number 18.

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