How far away are the Jets?

Options for New York in the draft and why the team will improve in 2013

Originally Published: March 28, 2013
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Jets FanAl Bello/Getty ImagesIt has been a rough couple of seasons for fans of the New York Jets.

Over the past five seasons, the New York Jets haven't had a single player go over 1,000 yards receiving in a season. That's not some exclamation point meant to define the era, it's part of a bigger point. Four of those years consist of the unofficial Mark Sanchez era -- a period that has been defined by very good defense and consistently inconsistent play on offense. (The high point for passing yards per game during this period was 21st in the NFL, in 2011.)

We tend to call the Jets a team built on defense, one that needs to "control the ball." Except the running game also has fallen apart over the past two seasons, as the Jets have averaged 3.8 yards per carry each year. Add it up and you have an official period of decline over the past two seasons consisting of 8-8 and 6-10 records.

It's an outmoded way of thinking to say offenses need to establish the run or establish the pass. Teams play to their strengths, and you don't consistently do something likely to be less successful just to set up something better. The fact with the Jets over the past two seasons is it really hasn't mattered what they have tried to do. The running game has been completely devoid of explosiveness, and the passing game under Sanchez has been simply bad. One side hasn't been able to set up the other, because neither side can consistently offer a threat.

Bottom line: The offense has been the problem. And despite where the offense is in terms of personnel, I still don't believe the Jets are in some total rebuild mode.

Here are some reasons why and why the draft can be a part of the solution.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst