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Jets Draft Needs: Defense

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday we took a look at where the Draft needs of the Jets stood on offense. Now let's examine the defense using our Rex Ryan/Mark Sanchez color coded system.

Red: The Jets do not have any immediate need.

Yellow: The Jets do not have a pressing need at this position, but an additional quality player could take the position to another level.

Green: The Jets have a glaring need.

Defensive Line

At this point, you have to think it is unlikely Muhammad Wilkerson is getting traded. The logistics of working out trade compensation and a contract with a new team would make it difficult to pull off on short notice. Even if the Jets were to trade Wilkerson, this would still be a defensive line with a lot of talent. The Jets still have a young star in Sheldon Richardson, an emerging young star in Leonard Williams, and a quality nose tackle in Steve McLendon. If Wilkerson gets traded, this line is set. If he stays, it is top notch.

Grade: Red

Edge Rusher

The edge rusher spot looks as dicey as the defensive line looks good. The Jets are going to rely on Lorenzo Mauldin to take on a bigger role. That is natural. A team needs a third round pick to step up. What is there behind Mauldin? It would be nice if Freddie Bishop turned into a quality player, but we have no idea what the CFL import can do. Trevor Reilly might be the next guy on the depth chart. He looks like a career special teamer.

Grade: Green


The Jets have adequate short-term linebackers in David Harris and Erin Henderson. These guys are both going to be on the wrong side of 30 once the season starts, though, and either could be easily cut in a year. It is not a dire situation, but some youth at this spot would not hurt.

Grade: Yellow


The Jets have three corners who played well to varying extents last season in Darrelle Revis, Buster Skrine, and Marcus Williams. Questions do remain, though. How much longer can Revis stay a top end corner? Can Williams handle a bigger role? The Jets will eventually need a replacement for Revis. The defense they run almost requires a top end cornerback who can shut down number one receivers. It is not something the Jets necessarily need to acquire right now, but it would be nice to have somebody they can ease into the league while Revis is still around.

Grade: Yellow


If there was a true difference-making future star safety, the Jets could take that player. Safety is not a need where the team currently stands, though. There are quality starters in Calvin Pryor and Marcus Gilchrist. There also are backups in Dion Bailey and Rontez Miles who played well when called upon last year.

Grade: Red