Limited draft pick value adds urgency to Jets’ free agency strategy

With somewhat limited draft capital, it’s going to be vital that the New York Jets approach free agency with some urgency in order to provide them with some flexibility in the draft.

While the Jets were awarded three compensatory draft picks, they still rank 22nd overall in total draft pick value, according to Tankathon. In fact, the Jets are one of only three teams to rank in the bottom 11 of the league in draft pick value that didn’t make the playoffs last season.

To determine the value of each team’s draft class, Tankathon uses a draft pick value chart, where each selection, one through 257, is assigned an individual value and totaled based on where the team is picking.

Although the Jets do hold the 10th overall pick, after trading their second-round pick to Green Bay for Aaron Rodgers, they won’t select again until pick 72 in the third round.

The Jets have eight total picks, with only two coming in the top 100. They also have two fourth-round selections and four picks between Rounds 5 through 7. The general consensus seems to be that this is more of a top-heavy draft class and not as deep as in previous years.

Every team wants flexibility and options going into the draft. When teams feel that they have to take a specific position in a certain part of the draft instead of letting the board dictate what they do, it can lead to overreaching and drafting a prospect earlier than what they should have.

As of now, the Jets don’t have much of that flexibility. In terms of their positional needs, adding to the offensive line is an absolute must, as is the receiver position. The good news is that the strengths of this year’s draft class are at those two positions, but that also boxes the Jets into their first two selections. And by not having a second-round pick, they are going to miss out on a lot of top talent.

This is a key reason why free agency is going to be so important for the Jets, as it will take some of the pressure off of the draft.

Depending on who they sign in free agency at receiver, Joe Douglas could use that 72nd overall pick differently if he doesn’t add a receiver at pick 10. Adding two starting-caliber offensive linemen in free agency could give Douglas the flexibility to trade down from pick 10, accumulating an additional top-100 selection.

From a salary cap perspective, the Jets have the ability to make some impact additions but will likely have to free up more cap space throughout the offseason as well. To read more about the Jets’ cap situation, click here.

Teams can begin negotiating with agents on Monday at 11:00 AM EST during the legal tampering period, and then free agency opens on Wednesday. Given the Jets draft situation, I would expect them to be somewhat active during these first few days.

Story originally appeared on Jets Wire