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N.Y. Jets' draft needs: Kelvin Benjamin could boost offense

Roster weaknesses: Every team has them, and the draft is often the best way to address them. With the 2014 NFL Draft fast approaching, NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah will be taking an up-close look at the main areas of weakness -- and the prospects who could fix them -- for all 32 squads in the league. Be sure to catch "Path to the Draft" on NFL Network at 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday for more in-depth analysis.

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Whether veteran addition Michael Vick or second-year pro Geno Smith starts at quarterback, the name of the game for the New York Jets should be acquiring offensive weapons. Gang Green's passing attack specifically was sorely in need of a major overhaul after ranking 31st last season. Consider that New York had just 13 receiving touchdowns, easily the least in the NFL. Reuniting Vick with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and signing former Broncos receiver Eric Decker was just a starting point.

That said, this draft is especially deep at receiver, which means the Jets shouldn't be afraid to grab the best player available with the No. 18 overall pick, even if he won't necessarily be catching passes for a living. Rex Ryan still wants a physical presence on the offensive line, and strengthening that unit will be a priority. I could also see the defensively minded Ryan indulging his affinity for the cornerback position.

Here are four positions of need for the Jets -- and some prospects who could fill them:

1) Wide receiver

Yes, the Jets added Decker, but I still think they'll address this position early in the draft, given that this class is one of the richest in receiving talent that we've seen in a long time.

Florida State product Kelvin Benjamin is 6-foot-5, 240 pounds; he would give New York another physical presence to pair with the 6-3, 214-pound Decker. If the Jets are inclined to find a speed receiver to complement Decker, LSU's Odell Beckham and Oregon State's Brandin Cooks could be there at No. 18. Both are dynamic vertical receivers, though I'd give the edge to Cooks, because of his ability to help with the return game.

2) Offensive guard

The team brought 31-year-old Willie Colon back on a one-year contract to man one guard spot, while second-year pro Brian Winters is penciled in at the other slot. But the jury is still out on Winters, and I'm not sure how many more years Colon, who suffered a biceps tear in Week 17 last season, has left in him. The Jets don't need to look for a guard in the first or second rounds, but I do think we'll see them add competition in the middle rounds.

Dakota Dozier, who played tackle at Furman, projects as a guard at the next level; he had a solid week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game and would be a nice fit for the Jets in the third or fourth round.

3) Outside linebacker

Calvin Pace will be back, but he'll also turn 34 this season, which means the Jets might want to look for a young, explosive edge presence in the draft. Unfortunately for them, this class is not particularly deep at the position, but there are a few intriguing mid-round candidates.

Marcus Smith out of Louisville and Jeremiah Attaochu out of Georgia Tech both have nice burst off the edge and are very good with their hands. The Jets would be an ideal fit for either player; whoever is picked would get an opportunity to develop over the next year or two before taking over a starting position.

4) Cornerback

Path to the Draft
Airing weekdays at 7 p.m. ET on NFL Network, "Path to the Draft" previews the 2014 NFL Draft by providing in-depth expert analysis of the top prospects and each team's needs.

» 'Path to the Draft' videos
» NFL Network broadcast schedule

I spent four years working with Rex Ryan in Baltimore, and I know there's no position he loves more than cornerback. Even though New York took Dee Milliner with the ninth overall pick last year, it wouldn't surprise me if the Jets went back to this well early in May.

At No. 18, Justin Gilbert will likely be off the board, but I see three candidates who would fit well in Ryan's scheme: Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State), Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech) and Bradley Roby (Ohio State). All three are physical players who excel in press coverage. If the Jets are indeed looking for a cornerback and that trio is still around when their turn comes up, it might make sense for the team to trade down and stockpile some extra picks.

Projections

So what will the Jets do with their first-round pick (No. 18 overall)? Here's what NFL Media's analysts see happening, according to their mock draft projections (click here for the Mock Draft Central):

Daniel Jeremiah: Odell Beckham
Bucky Brooks: Marquise Lee
Charles Davis: Odell Beckham
Matt Smith: Brandin Cooks
Chase Goodbread: Marquise Lee

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.

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