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New York Jets' 2019 draft: Analysis for every pick

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NFL draft profile: Quinnen Williams (1:04)

Quinnen Williams is a well-built defensive tackle out of Alabama who rarely loses one-on-ones. (1:04)

Breaking down the New York Jets' class in the 2019 NFL draft.

Round 1, No. 3 overall: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

My take: The Jets passed on a rare chance to select a top edge rushing prospect in outside linebacker Josh Allen, opting for arguably the safest prospect in the draft. Look, you can't bash them for picking a player with Williams' upside -- some talent evaluators rated him the No. 1 player in the class -- but they could have solved a decade-old problem with Allen. He would have been the missing piece in their front seven. Count on this: A year from now, the Jets will be looking to pull off a Frank Clark-type trade for an edge rusher. The good news: The defense should be strong up the middle, with Williams, Leonard Williams and new middle linebacker C.J. Mosley.

High Q rating: Williams is a freakishly gifted interior player who can play multiple positions -- nose tackle, 3-technique tackle and, in some cases, defensive end. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay called him "the best defensive player in college football last year." Williams generated 52 pressures at defensive tackle, more than any interior rusher last season. His ability to push the pocket should be helpful against quarterback Tom Brady, who doesn't like pressure up the middle.

Too many Williamses? The big question is, how does Williams fit? He joins a group that includes three returning starters, Leonard Williams, Henry Anderson and nose tackle Steve McLendon. The Jets have big money invested in Anderson ($17 million guaranteed) and Williams ($14 million), who enters a contract year with questions about his future. Coordinator Gregg Williams can be creative with his 3-4 fronts, but it will be hard to get the Williams duo and Anderson on the field at the same time. The upside: The depth is terrific. That should help their fourth-quarter pass rush, which produced only seven sacks last season.


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NFL draft profile: Jachai Polite

Jachai Polite is a defensive end out of Florida who had a team-high 11 sacks last season while tying the school record with six forced fumbles.

Round 3, No. 68 overall: Jachai Polite, OLB, Florida

My take: After drafting Williams in Round 1, the Jets added another player to their front seven. Polite projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but he's a boom-or-bust prospect. Yes, he was productive in college (17.5 tackles-for-loss and 11 sacks in 2018). Yes, he has first-step explosiveness. But scouts have concerns about his character and maturity. His scouting combine performance was awful, on and off the field. One NFL scout said of Polite, "He doesn't have issues; he IS an issue." The same scout called him "arrogant" and "not a team player." This is the latest attempt by general manager Mike Maccagnan to find an edge rusher in the third round. (Lorenzo Mauldin, anyone?) Polite has the talent to be a good one, but he needs an attitude adjustment.

What's next: The Jets have another pick in the third round (No. 93 overall). Center and cornerback are their top needs.


Round 3, No. 92 overall: Chuma Edoga , OT, USC

My take: The Jets really wanted Edoga, Sam Darnold's former college teammate, because they traded up one spot with the Vikings to get him. (They sent a seventh-round pick to Minnesota.) At 6-foot-3, Edoga projects as an undersized right tackle. The move makes sense because starting OTs Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell are entering the final year of their contracts. Interestingly, Edoga has drawn comparisons to Beachum because of his quick feet. A former 5-star recruit, Edoga was inconsistent in college, but he impressed at the Senior Bowl, where he played left and right tackle. He ranked No. 2 last season in pass-blocking efficiency among draft-eligible tackles, per Pro Football Focus. He was ejected for making contact with a game official. In a separate incident, he was suspended one game for violating a team rule.


Round 4, No. 121 overall: Trevon Wesco, TE, West Virginia

My take: After trading down twice in the fourth round, the Jets added a blocker to their stable of tight ends. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay called Wesco the best blocking tight end in the draft. This doesn't bode well for Eric Tomlinson, who held that role last season. Wesco (6-foot-3, 267) is big, strong and nasty at the point of attack. He can also line up as a fullback. His body of work as a receiver is thin -- only 28 career catches, including 26 for 366 yards and one TD last season. It's a little high to take a one-dimensional tight end; he'd better one heck of a blocker. Ideally, he'd be a complement to the pass-catching Chris Herndon.

Round 5, No. 157 overall: Blake Cashman, ILB, Minnesota

My take: Cashman is a classic overachiever who projects as a core special-teams player. He went from walk-on to team captain at Minnesota, leading the team last season in tackles (104). He made 15 tackles-for-loss and 2.5 sacks. He isn't big (6-foot-1, 235), and he's not particularly fast (4.50 in the 40), but he has a nose for the ball. There are medical questions. He's had three shoulder procedures since 2016 -- two on his left shoulder, one on the right. Cashman said he's been rehabbing with a specialist and has no lingering issues. He has a chance to stick as a backup to C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson.


Round 6, No. 196 overall: Blessuan Austin, CB, Rutgers

My take: The Jets waited until late in the draft to address a pressing need at cornerback, and they're gambling on a medical risk. Austin, once regarded as a rising prospect, is coming off back-to-back knee surgeries (same knee) in 2017 and 2018. As a result, he played in only five games combined in those seasons. He's long (6-foot-1) and athletic, so the physical traits are there. But can he stay out of the operating room? He described himself as a "freakish athlete," capable of bouncing back. Austin grew up in Queens,, New York as a Giants fan. "The switch over," he said, "won't be hard at all." Unless he can contribute on special teams, Austin is looking at a developmental season.