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Jets won't draft another defensive lineman -- or will they?

This is the sixth installment of our position-by-position breakdown for the New York Jets as we head to the April 28-30 draft:

Position: Defensive line

Current personnel: Muhammad Wilkerson (franchise tag), Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams, Steve McLendon, Jarvis Jenkins, Deon Simon

Key newcomers: McLendon, Jenkins

Departures: Damon Harrison (free agent/New York Giants), Leger Douzable (free agent), Stephen Bowen (free agent)

Projected starters: Wilkerson, McLendon, Richardson, Williams.

Overview: The main storyline heading into the draft is whether Wilkerson, disgruntled with his contract situation, will be traded. The groundwork has to be set before the draft because the new team would want to negotiate a long-term contract and examine his surgically repaired leg before finalizing a trade. You can't do that on the clock. Defensive line is the Jets' strongest position, so the draft need is minimal. Then again, this is one of the best defensive-line drafts in history and we know general manager Mike Maccagnan drafts for value -- or at least he says he does.

The last defensive lineman drafted: Williams was picked sixth overall last year, a decision the Jets don't regret for a second. They also used first-round picks on defensive linemen in 2013 (Richardson), 2012 (Quinton Coples) and 2011 (Wilkerson). It's time to spread the wealth.

Potential targets (projected round)

  • Shaq Lawson, Clemson (first round): He hasn't been linked to the Jets in any mock drafts, but Lawson (6-foot-3, 269 pounds) has piqued the Jets' interest. The issue is whether he can make the transition from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker. If they believe he can, he becomes a consideration with the 20th pick. He lacks the first-step burst of an elite edge rusher, but he's powerful, relentless and wins with a spin move. He posted an Atlantic Coast Conference-best 12.5 sacks last season and led the NCAA with 24.5 tackles for loss. He's a real football player, as coaches like to say. Again, his value hinges on the 3-4 projection. He could be a edge-setting outside linebacker in the Calvin Pace mold.

  • Jarran Reed, Alabama (first round): He's an outstanding run-stuffer, the kind of big man you want as the anchor of your defense. He's 6-foot-3 and 307 pounds, with the versatility to play 3-4 nose tackle or 4-3 defensive tackle. Reed (two sacks) isn't much of a pass-rusher, so you'd be drafting a two-down player at 20. Also, it would be hard to rationalize another defensive-line pick in Round 1, but they need a long-term replacement for Harrison. Reed took a pre-draft visit to the Jets.

  • Jonathan Bullard, Florida (second round): At 6-3, 285 pounds, he's not an ideal size fit in the Jets' 3-4 front, but they're showing interest. Basically, he's a lighter version of Richardson. Bullard beats people with a quick first step and his motor never stops. He recorded 6.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss last season.

Need factor (based on a scale of 1 to 10): 3