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At the end of his first draft as Jets general manager, Joe Douglas walked away with nine new additions to the roster, not including any undrafted free agent signings which will no doubt be finalized in the coming days.
Douglas will obviously be hoping that first round choice Mekhi Becton will be able to step in and contribute right off the bat, presumably as the starting left tackle. However, what about the other eight players they selected? What expectations should Jets fans have for each player's role in 2020?
Wide receiver Denzel Mims seems likely to have a role, especially with the Jets' lack of proven depth at the position. However, it might take him a while to get used to a pro-style system and become adept at running the full route tree because he played in a spread offense at Baylor. He therefore may not start, although he could have a specific role -- one that will perhaps involve him being a red zone threat.
Edge rusher Jabari Zuniga also plays a position where the Jets need upgrades, so he should get a shot to contribute, even if it's only in a rotational role at first. The Jets will hope Zuniga catches on a lot faster than Jachai Polite, another Florida edge whom they picked in the same round last year. Zuniga's film arguably isn't even as good as Polite's, so he has some developing to do. However, he's a better athlete and has a much better attitude, so this gives him a shot to grow into his role.
The other Day Two selection, Ashtyn Davis, was a bit of a head-scratcher since the Jets already have two established starters at safety in Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. However, Davis has tremendous positional versatility and could contribute in various roles, improving the overall flexibility of the group. It also gives the team added flexibility in case they don't -- or choose not to -- extend both Adams and Maye by the end of the year. Davis could also be the team's kickoff returner in 2020.
In the short term, running back La'Michal Perine will compete for a backup role behind Le'Veon Bell, which -- based on last year -- might not see him get many touches with Bell getting the majority of the workload. Perine can contribute in the passing game and his more direct style could complement Bell well. His best opportunity to contribute may come next season depending on Bell's status, so he'll be looking to prove worthy of a longer look by the end of the year.
Offensive lineman Cameron Clark and cornerback Bryce Hall were two good value picks in the middle rounds who will each have a good chance at earning a backup role and, again, could bring some positional flexibility.
Finally, the one player no Jets fan wants to see making contributions in 2020 is quarterback James Morgan. If he does -- and it's anything other than mop-up duties -- that suggests something has gone horribly wrong. However, the hope will be that he shows some potential in the preseason as a future option to back up Sam Darnold.
It's possible more than half of these picks will have little to no impact upon the team's fortunes in their rookie year. However, in each case the pick won't have been made just with 2020 in mind. In fact, the Jets have shown foresight with a couple of these moves, perhaps anticipating moves that could be made in 12 months' time and bringing in some potential solutions early so that they can maximize their flexibility and won't find themselves relying heavily on unknown quantities.
Rather than just filling obvious holes with unproven rookies, the Jets have taken a more holistic approach to building their roster this offseason, adding versatile players and building depth at some key positions to maximize their flexibility. If they have injuries or young players are slow to develop next season, the Jets have alternatives with starting experience at most positions and several players who can play multiple positions to enable them to shuffle the pack.
In the spirit of competition, it would be ideal for some of these draft picks to step up and grab themselves a role in training camp. However, with the uncertainty surrounding when camp could open and what form it could take, the Jets are wise to ensure they have as much flexibility as possible.
In a year when it might be more difficult than usual for a rookie to prepare himself for a jump to the NFL level, thinking ahead seems more than wise and indications are that this is the kind of pragmatic approach Douglas and the Jets have taken.