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Why the Jets May Take an Edge Rusher in First Round of NFL Draft

After addressing the defensive line in free agency, there's no way the Jets take an edge rusher in the first round of this week's NFL draft, right?

Think again. 

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer spoke to an ex-Robert Saleh co-worker for his MMQB this week. Based on what Breer was told, don't be surprised if New York tries to bolster their pass rush even further at No. 23.

“Saleh can never have enough edge guys.” So even with Carl Lawson aboard, if one of the edge rushers slides, it’s not hard to see GM Joe Douglas doing his coach a solid and scooping whoever that might be up.

As Breer mentioned, Carl Lawson was New York's biggest defensive acquisition in free agency, coming to Gang Green on a massive three-year deal. Veterans like Sheldon Rankins and Vinny Curry also signed on the dotted line to join forces with Saleh, new defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich and star defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. 

The 'Sky is the Limit' For the Jets' Defensive Line

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Douglas has also alluded to the possibility of trading up in the first round.

Last week, the general manager said that he and his team are laying the "groundwork" for a move. Could New York jump up a few picks to try and get their hands on a top edge rusher or even move back if they think a certain player will be available?

It'll be hard for Douglas, Saleh and the Jets to pass up on a cornerback and offensive lineman if they're available. That said, if internal evaluations point toward a prospect like Azeez Ojulari from George, Kwity Paye from Michigan or Jayson Oweh of Penn State—and they're available toward the end of the first round—the Jets could pounce.

Paye was included in this piece at Jets Country back in February, highlighting a handful of edge rushers the Jets might target in the first round: Five Edge Rushers the Jets Should Target in the First Round


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