New York Jets: Early 2018 NFL Draft First Round Targets [Opinion]

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The New York Jets entered the 2017 NFL season as a team many expected to be a pushover win for most teams that faced them. That did not end up being the case, as Josh McCown led the Jets to a 5-11 record, which was much better than many were expecting from them.

That being said, the Jets will be picking with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

It has been a while since the Jets were viewed as a team that could compete for a playoff spot. They have gone through quite a bit as a franchise, but the path to contention could start with the sixth overall pick this year. There are quite a few players that could make a major difference for them.

Many believe that the Jets will go with a quarterback in the first round this year. McCown could be brought back, although he is nothing close to a long-term option for New York. Outside of McCown, it has become obvious that Bryce Petty is not the future signal caller for the Jets and Christian Hackenberg has failed to develop.

Even if the Jets don’t go with a quarterback, there are some names that could take their rebuilding process forward a notch.

Which prospects should the Jets consider taking with their first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft?

Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Oklahoma

Who didn’t know that this would be one of the top options for the Jets with the sixth pick? Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy in 2017 and completed 70.5 percent of his passes for 4,627 yards, 43 touchdowns, and just six interceptions, according to ESPN statistics. Some critics think he will be a bust at the next level, but the Jets should take the risk and bring him in to be their new quarterback.

Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, Louisville

Keeping with the idea of a quarterback at No. 6, Lamar Jackson could be the pick for the Jets. He has been a dual-threat nightmare throughout his college career and has been a Heisman Trophy winner himself. Jackson has some issues that he will need to work through with his arm, but he has a great work ethic and could turn into a Deshaun Watson type of talent.

Calvin Ridley, Wide Receiver, Alabama

It has become obvious that the Jets could use some help at the wide receiver position as well this offseason. Calvin Ridley is the best receiver available in the 2018 draft and would fit perfectly in New York. At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Ridley has true superstar potential and would immediately be the No. 1 target for the Jets.

Quenton Nelson, Offensive Line, Notre Dame

New York will also need to focus on their offensive line this offseason. Quenton Nelson may not be the flashiest pick at No. 6, but the Notre Dame star lineman would be a huge upgrade for the Jets. He is projected to go in the top 10, and it wouldn’t be a bad move for New York to draft him.

Joshua Jackson, Cornerback, Iowa

Defensively, there are quite a few needs for the Jets as well. Joshua Jackson would be a huge addition for the Jets at the cornerback position, after racking up eight interceptions and 18 defended passes last season. Jackson has big-play potential and would be a welcome addition for the New York secondary.