Let’s conduct a thought experiment.
Let's say tomorrow the NFL dissolved all of its 32 rosters and held a draft of all players that were rostered prior to the dissolution. Let's say the draft is 25 rounds, corresponding roughly to the number of players on an NFL roster that play starters minutes or close to it. Let's say no special teamers are eligible for the draft.
By definition the average NFL team would have 25 of their players drafted. Better teams would have more drafted; worse teams would have less drafted.
The draft would result in a somewhat skewed result differing from just who are the best players right now, since teams would be trying to build a winner not just for today but for future years. Thus some players with little or no NFL experience, but huge upside, would be drafted, while some very accomplished players, but with few years left, would go undrafted. The first round would be dominated by quarterbacks. The result should reflect to a large degree the prospects of a team for the near future.
Now we come to the crucial question: roughly how many Jets players would be drafted? How many would be undrafted free agents? And how many would be drafted in the first 3 rounds (corresponding roughly to the top 100 players in the league)? First 6 rounds (roughly top 200)? First 10 rounds (roughly top 300)?
Here are my guesses.
Jets players drafted (in no particular order):
- Leonard Williams
- Muhammad Wilkerson
- Sheldon Richardson
- Darron Lee
- Jamal Adams
- Brian Winters
- James Carpenter
- Quincy Enunwa
On the bubble: Jordan Jenkins, Kelvin Beachum, Morris Claiborne, Bilal Powell
That’s it. Even in this fantasy draft, where the rules to some extent favor potential over immediate impact, the Jets in my opinion would have only eight players likely to be drafted (i.e., starter level players in a league where the talent was distributed evenly), and a handful of additional players who might squeak in, but more likely they go undrafted. For all the talk about rebuilding and the young talent on this team, the current roster is for the most part bereft of young talent that is likely to start now or in the near future for an average NFL team.
As for the top level talent, I think only one player, Leonard Williams, would go in the first three rounds. Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson might go in the first six rounds, and Jamal Adams and Darron Lee have a shot at the first ten rounds. That’s five guys who are possibly the type of top level talent teams would want to build around. Winters, Carpenter and Enunwa, while useful pieces, in my opinion would not go in the first 10 rounds. If things played out that way it would indicate just how few building blocks the Jets currently have on their roster in their attempt to build a top contender, keeping in mind the average NFL team would have 25 players drafted, three in the top three rounds, six in the top six rounds, and ten in the top ten rounds. Teams with better than average rosters would have even more players drafted at every level.
From this perspective the Jets have a very long way to go to build a consistent contender. Just to get to the level of an average team the Jets would need anywhere from 13 to 17 of the younger players unmentioned here to develop in the near future to the point where they would be draftable. That’s a very tall order considering the top talents of recent Jets drafts have already been accounted for.
Of course one top level quarterback prospect changes everything, but if we assume the Jets are not fortunate enough to find a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback in the near future, the roster is going to need a lot of upgrading just to get to the level of average, let alone a perennial contender.
Now let’s hear from you. Who do you think would get drafted? How many would go in the first three rounds? The first six rounds? The first ten rounds?
Let us know how your NFL fantasy draft treats the Jets roster in your comments.