While it is still fall, and winter is approaching, this time of year the spring begins to be a focus point for many fanbases. Specifically, April which is the NFL Draft, and with the New York Jets standing at 4-7 it is okay to begin looking ahead to April.
The Jets currently hold the eighth pick which could change as the season goes on, so let’s take a look at a few of the draft’s best players that they could target in round one.
Four Early Top Draft Prospects the Jets Should Target
Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
Weight: 205 lbs
Marvin Harrison Jr. is a beast. Arguably the most hyped-up wide receiver prospect since Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson who was drafted in 2007 by the Detroit Lions. Harrison son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison Sr., is following in his dad’s footsteps as a top receiver entering this draft. For the Jets they need all the help they can get in the receiving room and Harrison would help with that.
Going into the 2023 campaign the Jets receiving core looked promising, but that quickly changed negatively. Corey Davis retired, Mecole Hardman was traded, Randall Cobb is nothing without Rodgers, and Allen Lazard has not lived up to the $44 million contract he signed in the offseason. Leaving the Jets with Garrett Wilson and a bunch of unknowns. A wide receiver core consisting of two Ohio State products, Garrett Wilson and Marvin Harrison Jr. would not lack any big play ability.
Harrison, through his Ohio State career, has 155 receptions for 2,613 yards and 31 touchdowns. His receptions, yards, and touchdowns all rank within the top five in Ohio State program history. Along with these numbers, Harrison’s athleticism, route running, and hands make him such a high-profile prospect. He currently ranks as the number one wide receiver in the draft and second overall prospect.
The chances are high that he goes within the top three, with the Jets standing at eight it will be tough to draft him, but a lot of time remains for the draft order to potentially change. Aaron Rodgers having Wilson and Harrison at his disposal would be huge for a 2024 season that will mean so much.
Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame, and Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State
Alt: 6’8″, 322 lbs, Junior
Fashanu: 6’6″, 319 lbs, Redshirt Junior
The Jets’ offensive line will be a question mark entering the 2024 offseason, and to say this year has been a bumpy ride is an understatement. A lot of the issues up front have been caused by injuries leading to a lack of chemistry. While it seems Alijah Vera-Tucker and Joe Tippmann are future pieces, the other three spots on the offensive line are questions.
The biggest question of them all is the tackle spot. Right now it seems Duane Brown won’t be back and Mekhi Becton‘s future is unknown. Luckily for the Jets, this draft is loaded with tackle talent, especially at the top with Joe Alt and Olu Fashanu.
Starting with Alt, his athleticism and control over his body is something that stands out with a taller and leaner frame. He was a team captain in 2023 and started 11 games at left tackle. His ability in pass protection on Rodgers’ blind side would be crucial in 2024.
As for Fashanu, he is also a team captain in 2023 and has made 18 career at left tackle, nine of those coming this season up to this point. He has fit in well as both a run and pass blocker in Penn State’s balanced offensive scheme. Many scouts feel one of his best traits is his awareness at the line and ability to recognize different pass rush sets and stunts.
Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
Weight: 240 lbs
Another position that the Jets could and should look to upgrade that isn’t being talked about much is tight end. Right now when you look at the Jets’ tight end room questions begin to arise. Outside of Tyler Conklin who has put together a solid season, C.J. Uzomah has not produced and Jeremy Ruckert hasn’t gotten many opportunities. Chances are Uzomah is out in the offseason and assuming Conklin returns, Bowers is a much-needed boost.
To put it simply Brock Bowers‘ athleticism and explosiveness for a tight end is special and it’s been on display throughout his entire college career up to this point. Bowers in his career so far has 170 receptions for 2,485 yards and 26 touchdowns. Similar to where Marvin Harrison Jr. ranks in Ohio State program history, Bowers ranks in Georgia program history. His receptions, yards, and touchdowns all rank within the top five.
If Bowers falls to the Jets and they take him it creates an intriguing tight end room going into next season. Conklin is the veteran along with Ruckert who will be entering his third season and the rookie Bowers. The Jets have been searching for a legitimate franchise tight end. Bowers has all the tools to become that.