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New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh on November 14, 2021.

There are different ways to build a lasting winner in the NFL, but when you choose a path, you have to stick to it and stick to your decision.

When Joe Douglas was hired as general manager, he told New York Jets fans that he was going to rebuild this franchise through the draft while supplementing those prospects with top veterans. For the most part, he stuck to those words even though some parts didn’t work as expected.

Then Robert Saleh joined the administration as the head coach and while the wins didn’t increase dramatically, the scouting did. There is a clear and united plan under this new regime and it starts with Douglas and his HC.

We’ve never seen that with Adam Gase, or Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles before him, and those failed partnerships dating back to Rex Ryan and John Idzik got Gang Green into this mess in the first place.

Douglas and Saleh are on the same page and that will be key as the Jets enter one of their most important offseasons in decades.

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ESPN rankings list jets in rare territory

It’s not often we see the Greens and Whites ranked second in the NFL — unless we’re talking about draft position. However, in a recent ESPN ranking by Kevin Seifert, the Jets found themselves one spot off the leader.

The veteran staff writer cross-referenced the analyzes used to determine total project capital and available cap space to create an asset order or ranking for “off-season capital.”

After analyzing the numbers, Seifert explained how the Jets worked their way up to No. 2 in the standings. He wrote:

The trades that shipped safety Jamal Adams (2020), quarterback Sam Darnold (2021) and tight end Chris Herndon (2021) left the Jets with four picks in the first two rounds and six in the first four rounds of the 2022 draft. They’re in a pretty good place, but after compiling the NFL’s worst record of 27-70 in the past six seasons, they’ve been here before.

Seifert is right — the Jets have been in positions like this before and they’ve failed to do the job in free agency and the draft. That’s what gives 2022 a decisive mood for Douglas and Saleh, who need to show signs of progress after two consecutive non-competitive years (Gase coached the 2020 team).

Gang Green’s AV Capital Project [approximate value] sum” — which encompasses all picks scheduled for April — ranks fourth behind the New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles. Combined with the available cap, their tally is second only to the Jags.

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Hit on assets

Douglas has racked up the perfect mix of draft capital and cap space to position the Jets for a meteoric rise from worst to first in the AFC East, but making those decisions is easier said than done.

Using these nine draft picks correctly will be paramount, whether on prospects or trade targets. This list has a lot of needs and this front office can’t afford to waste it.

The defense needs an overhaul and an influx of talent, but you can never add too much around a young quarterback. Remember, the Jets organization pretty much admitted to failing Sam Darnold and they’re determined to “lift” Zach Wilson — as Saleh said on draft night.

The next steps will be in 2022. After all, not a single analyst in the world had Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl a year ago.

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