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Jets go offense early before making run on defense in draft

NEW YORK (AP) – The New York Jets offense was downright offensive on most Sundays the past few seasons.

Pick by pick early in the NFL draft, Joe Douglas worked on changing all that.

The Jets went with offense on their first four selections, kicking things off by taking their newest franchise quarterback in BYU’s Zach Wilson, at No. 2 overall. Next came a trade-up from No. 23 to No. 14 to pick USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker. New York stayed put at No. 34 despite calls from teams looking to move up and selected speedy and versatile Ole Miss wide receiver, Elijah Moore. The Jets remained on that side of the ball to start the fourth round, taking elusive North Carolina running back Michael Carter.

It marked the first time the Jets drafted offensive players with their first four picks since 1983 when they took quarterback Ken O’Brien, running back Johnny Hector, wide receiver JoJo Townsell, and tight end Wes Howell.

“We take the quarterback, and then Vera-Tucker is sitting there, and Joe was aggressive in getting him, which was awesome,” coach Robert Saleh said. “We had no idea and no expectations to see Elijah Moore sitting there, and there he is, sitting in the second round, so that was a no-brainer. “We go through and just watched the third round unfold, and we’re just looking at Michael Carter fall, and we’re like, ‘Holy cow, he might get to us.’ So we went to bed (Saturday) night as excited as heck because Michael Carter’s sitting there.”


Then, Douglas took defensive players with the team’s final six picks.

Auburn linebacker Jamien Sherwood, Duke safety Michael Carter II (yes, another Michael Carter), and Pittsburgh cornerback Jason Pinnock went in the fifth round. In contrast, Florida State linebacker Hamsah Nasirildeen, Kentucky cornerback Brandin Echols and Arkansas defensive tackle Jonathan Marshall were selected in the sixth round.

ultimate success of the 10-player draft class will be largely determined by the performance of one person: Wilson. The Jets knew it would be Wilson after Douglas, Saleh, and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur were awed by the former BYU star’s performance at his pro day. After Douglas pressed the reset button at the quarterback position by trading Sam Darnold to Carolina, the focus shifted to his replacement.

Wilson is the quarterback to help lead the Jets back to respectability finally – and someday back to the Super Bowl. “This is an opportunity for me to come to an amazing organization and take the same approach that I did when no one believed in me back at BYU after my sophomore year,” Wilson said. “So it’s that prove-them-wrong mentality of just being able to have that chip on your shoulder and making sure every day you’re working and doing everything you can, no matter how high or low the lows are.”


Sherwood and Nasirildeen were defensive backs in college, primarily playing safety. But the Jets announced both as linebackers, and they’re expected to stick there as hybrids in New York’s 4-3 base defense. “With the chaos that we create upfront, our guys are more run and hit more lateral players,” Saleh said. “When you look at Sherwood and Hamsah, these young men are down safeties, which is a linebacker.”

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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