FLORHAM PARK — The Jets may have found their starting offensive tackle of the future on Friday night, when they traded up one spot to draft Chuma Edoga with their second pick in the third round of the NFL Draft.
That’s the ceiling for Edoga, a 6-foot-3, 308-pound offensive lineman out of USC, who has the length and athleticism to become an NFL starter and a number of positions.
“We saw a lot of potential,” general manager Mike Maccagnan said. “We think he has some position flexibility, both on the left and the right side and to swing inside to guard.”
But it’s also fair to wonder if Edoga will ever reach that potential after a frustratingly inconsistent college career.
Here’s the dream scenario for the Jets: Edoga impresses in training camp and beats out Brandon Shell, who is in the final year of his contract, for the starting right tackle job — the same position he played in college. Edoga could also eventually become the replacement for starting left tackle Kelvin Beachum, whose contract also runs out after this year.
His presence could add comfort for quarterback Sam Darnold, who played behind Edoga in 2017 at USC. It would also give the Jets some versatile depth.
If everything goes right, Edoga has the potential to be a fixture on the Jets’ offensive line for years to come, either at guard or at tackle.
Even if Edoga doesn’t become a starter, his physical skills, size and versatility gives him a chance to be a key depth piece for the line. This pick makes a lot of sense in a lot of ways, if Edoga holds up his end of the bargain.
But that is a considerable “if.”
Most scouting reports tout Edoga for his physical skills, but there are questions about his focus and desire to become a better football player. He also missed several games in college because of a variety of injuries.
If Edoga loses focus or becomes disinterested, his stay in Florham Park could be short.
It’s a high risk, high reward pick. And it makes some sense for the Jets, who badly needed to address their offensive line depth.
What doesn’t make as much sense: the Jets trading their early seventh-round pick (No. 217 overall) to Minnesota for the right to move up just one spot.
But if Edoga reaches his potential, it will have been well worth it.The Jets have only two picks on Saturday in the final four rounds of the draft. They’re scheduled to pick early in the fourth round (105th overall) and late in the sixth round (196th overall).
Their biggest areas of need? They still don’t have a starting-level center, and are unlikely to find one now. Two potential options: Ohio State’s Michael Jordan and Georgia’s Lamont Gaillard. The Jets also need to add cornerback depth: Notre Dame’s Julian Love, Texas’ Chris Boyd and Penn State’s Amani Oruwariye are all options.