Jets GM Joe Douglas gives sneak peek at strategy for 2022 NFL Draft

·3 min read
Joe Douglas in news conference
Joe Douglas in news conference

Joe Douglas wiped the floor with last year's draft class - if he does the same this year, the Jets can be a serious sleeper in 2022.

The Jets GM met with reporters on Thursday, and while he wouldn't explicitly give away his plans, he does seem like he has a basis for how he wants to attack next week's NFL Draft.

Gang Green still has several team needs, but Douglas isn't letting that affect his strategy - he's taking who he feels is going to make the biggest impact.

“I think you get in trouble if you’re breaking it up by position and need. I think you have to take best player available," Douglas said. "I used to always have a saying: a luxury today could be a necessity tomorrow. If you get away from your process, you get away from your board, I think that’s when you can get into a real jam.”

Douglas also sounded like he wants to focus on the trenches - he said that the offensive and defensive lines have "always been our focus and will remain our focus."

There are several O-linemen that could go anywhere in the top 10, like Evan Neal, Charles Cross, and Ikem Ekwonu, but Douglas seems satisfied with the offensive linemen already at his disposal.

"[I] do feel that this unit is vastly improved, especially from several years ago. Just with the additions we made with a Pro Bowl caliber player in Laken Tomlinson. We feel like we have one of, if not, the best guard combinations in the league moving forward. And then on top of it, George [Fant] and Mekhi [Becton] and the depth that we have at tackle, Connor’s coming back… I feel good about our offensive line.”

Douglas also added that he is "absolutely factoring [in] a healthy Carl Lawson" when addressing the D-line, and seemed pretty content with his current wide receiver and cornerback groups.

But despite Douglas' words, he noted that there are still plenty of conversations behind the scenes.

“We get together, everyone checks their ego at door when they get into these draft meetings. Everyone has their own opinion," he said. "There’s some good dialogue, good discussions, good back and forth. I think the art to it is you’re trying to get players that everyone is excited about – the coaches and the scouts. Everyone’s excited about these players.

"Quite a few guys, there was some agreement on, and then there’s other guys where you’re having discussions, you’re trying to see it from their point of view, they’re trying to see it from our point of view. That’s what really makes this process special, but at the end of the day, we’re to get guys that we’re all excited about being Jets.”

No matter whom they take, Douglas "expect[s] to be playing in meaningful games in December." That won't happen his first four picks don't pan out - which is certainly not only his expectation, but what he knows needs to happen.

“The expectation [is] those four players are gonna be impact players for us," said Douglas. "You’re expecting those players in the first two rounds to be starters for you. That’s our viewpoint going into any draft. In a perfect world, those first-, second-, third-round picks are starters for you. We know the odds don’t always go that way, but that’s what you’re looking to do.”

The Jets, at the moment, have the fourth and 10th picks a week from Thursday.