New York Jets: How Was Their Roster Built?

The New York Jets have built a roster in 2023 that they hope not only competes for the AFC East but also the conference. Here's how they did it.

It would be an understatement to say that the New York Jets‘ roster looks different than it did a year ago. They made perhaps the most notable addition this offseason of any team in the league. On top of that, they will look to incorporate their 2023 NFL Draft picks into what was already a strong foundation. The hope is that these new additions put them over the top as they look to contend in a crowded AFC East. Here is how their 2023 roster was built.

How the New York Jets Were Built Through the Draft

The Jets made seven draft picks in 2023. They entered the NFL Draft with significant holes at some of the most important positions. They had needs on the edge of their defense and at multiple places along the offensive line. Following a really strong 2022 draft class, getting these picks right will surely propel them in the right direction.

That said, their draft wasn’t without a little controversy. They entered the 2023 NFL Draft with significant questions at offensive tackle.

Sitting at No. 15, which they got after swapping first-rounders with the Green Bay Packers, they seemed poised to get one of the top tackles in the draft. But with rival New England picking one selection in front of them, they facilitated a trade with the Steelers, who also needed a tackle. Pittsburgh jumped into pick 14 and reportedly took the tackle the Jets were targeting.

This forced the Jets to settle on an EDGE that some felt was a bit of a reach. That said, Will McDonald IV will add talent to an already elite defense that will not put pressure on him to be a one-man show. He will be able to join incredible talent at every level and should contribute right away.

The Jets did get offensive line help in the very next round when they selected Joe Tippmann 43rd overall. The center out of Wisconsin figures to be a Day 1 starter at a position the Jets had a desperate need for. Adding him was a huge move for New York, who got maybe the best center in the entire NFL Draft.

They added again to their offensive line two rounds later with their next pick. Taking Carter Warren out of Pittsburgh gives them a player worthy of development and hopeful insurance at tackle this year. He isn’t the best run blocker, but with the right coaching, he can be an asset in the passing game if one of the starting tackles goes down.

Here is every pick New York made in 2023:

  • Round 1, Pick 15 (from GB)
    • Will McDonald IV, EDGE | Iowa State
  • Round 2, Pick 43
    • Joe Tippmann, C | Wisconsin
  • Round 4, Pick 112
    • Carter Warren, OT | Pittsburgh
  • Round 5, Pick 143
    • Israel Abanikanda, RB | Pittsburgh
  • Round 6, Pick 184
    • Zaire Barnes, LB | Western Michigan
  • Round 6, Pick 204
    • Jarrick Bernard-Converse, DB | LSU
  • Round 7, Pick 220
    • Zack Kuntz, TE | Old Dominion

How the New York Jets Were Built Through Free Agency

The Jets made significant signings in free agency to build out their 2023 roster. Most notably, they bolstered the wide receiver room, for obvious reasons. One of the surefire signs that they were going to upgrade at quarterback was the early March signing of Allen Lazard.

Signing him to a four-year deal, the Jets hope he provides some familiarity with their new quarterback and their new offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett. Lazard spent his whole career with both of them in Green Bay.

They also signed Randall Cobb. Cobb has an even deeper history with their new quarterback and offensive coordinator than Lazard does. The veteran will add not only experience to a relatively young receiver room but also brings functional experience in what it is they will be tasked with executing in 2023.

They also added receiver Mecole Hardman, who was previously in Kansas City. Hardman is a run-after-the-catch wide receiver who excels in space. That figures to be the plan in New York as they look to take pressure off of 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson.

Here is the full list of free agent additions the Jets brought in for 2023:

  • Tim Boyle, quarterback
  • Quinton Jefferson, defensive tackle
  • Mecole Hardman, wide receiver
  • Ty Johnson, running back
  • Wes Schweitzer, center
  • Allen Lazard, wide receiver
  • Trystan Colon, center
  • Thomas Morstead, punter
  • Solomon Thomas, defensive tackle
  • Randall Cobb, wide receiver

How The New York Jets Were Built Through Trades

This was the prized roster-building move for the Jets during this offseason. On April 24, 2023, the inevitable became official when the Packers agreed to trade four-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers to the Jets for multiple picks and a first-round pick swap. Every move the Jets have made in the draft and free agency was around this roster-building move.

The list is endless. Bringing in Hackett as offensive coordinator, signing Lazard, signing Cobb, and fortifying the trenches in the draft. All of it was done to ensure a solid foundation around Rodgers.

Trading for him at quarterback gives New York the crucial missing piece they did not have in 2022 when they squandered one of the best defenses in the NFL. If Rodgers is even just average, the Jets may not have one of the best offenses in the NFL, but they could be looking at the playoffs in 2023.

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