“Protect the Investment”.

This has been a personal mantra of mine since the season ended when it comes to the New York Jets preparing for the 2019 draft and season. That should be their biggest and most important goal.

The investment, of course, is Sam Darnold. The Jets need to put a premium on building around this quarterback during his rookie contract. Once that contract is up they are going to have to pay him a lot of money.

If they don’t, that means Darnold didn’t turn out the way we all thought he would. If all things go well, Sam Darnold is going to be a very rich man in his next contract. With that, roster building won’t be so simple. They won’t be able to throw money at inside linebackers and running backs once Darnold breaks the bank.

They can’t do it then, it must be done now. Protect the investment and put him in the best position to succeed.

What does that mean? It means get him weapons to play with and linemen to protect him. Admittedly they did work on the weapons with Jamison Crowder, Josh Bellamy, Ty Montgomery and of course Le’Veon Bell.

Now does that mean to abandon weapons in the draft? Of course not. It DOES mean that it is time to spend premium draft capital on the offensive line. Signing Kelechi Osemele is not enough to turn this group around. Drafting two linemen in four years is not nearly enough. Time for a change.

The rub here is that to spend high draft capital on the line means they will have to trade back. None of these players are on the level that would make the Jets spend pick number three. Whether we are talking about Jonah Williams, Jawaan Taylor, Garrett Bradbury, or anyone else, their value comes in the middle of round one at a minimum.

To me, as valuable as the left tackle is, Garrett Bradbury is the guy to get to play the center position. The line calls are made by the center, making the center the quarterback of the offensive line. That blind side tackle will not perform to his capability without a quality center.

We saw how the Jets played when Nick Mangold missed a game or two, and since he has been gone. Anyone remember this fiasco from last season?

We cannot have that happen again. Darnold could have gotten seriously hurt. He did get injured and miss time after that one. Taking that chance again is simply too risky.

Jets fans, we must pray that Kyler Murray doesn’t go number one. If he goes number one, there really isn’t another quarterback that teams are yearning for. Nobody is jumping to trade for Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock or anyone else. On the other hand, if the Cardinals go elsewhere, the floodgates may just open for teams looking to move up for him.

Then the Jets could get their shot. Whether that’s a move into the teens for a guy like Bradbury or a smaller jump for Williams or Taylor, Kyler Murray is the key.

Yes, the Jets need help in the pass rush. But, guys are going to be available later in this draft. Jachai Polite is just one example. There is talent to be had here later on, it doesn’t have to be one of the top tier guys.

What must improve is the offensive line. It should be a top, if not the top, priority. Trade back if you can, select it in the third round if you can’t. Erik McCoy would be a solid choice in round three. But they cannot wait until the later rounds yet again. They have to…

“Protect the Investment”.
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