Looking At New York Jets Post-Draft Depth Chart

TOJ breaks down the New York Jets post-draft depth chart and looks what other transactions could be on the horizon

At this point of the off-season, we are starting to get a good idea of what the New York Jets 53 man roster will look like heading into the 2012 season. There will still be a handful of minor transactions, injuries and surprises that could shake a few things up but here is a general overview of what we know and what to potentially expect in the coming months –

Quarterback – Mark Sanchez is going to be the starter. Tim Tebow will be the backup/option running/occasional h-backing guy and Greg McElroy will be the 3rd quarterback. Unless there is some type injury, these three are locks.

Running Back – Shonn Greene will be back as the starter. Joe McKnight should start out as the primary third down back and will hopefully get more of a chance to play to his potential under Tony Sparano. John Conner is the only pure fullback on the roster. After that it gets interesting, sixth round pick Terrance Ganaway is a bruising back who fits as a natural backup to Shonn Greene and is experienced running the option which should get him a chance for playing time when Tebow is on the field. Where does that leave last year’s fourth round pick Bilal Powell? I am not sure if the Jets will carry five backs or if Powell is good enough to beat out McKnight or Ganaway for a spot.

Tight End – Dustin Keller survived a few trade rumors and will be back as one of the Jets top options in the passing game. Beyond him, the depth chart is very cloudy. The Jets still lack a pure blocking tight end. Jeff Cumberland is a taller, slower version of Keller who is coming off major surgery. Josh Baker is more of a H-Back. Hayden Smith has a tough transition to make from rugby to football. I would not be surprised if the team added a blocking tight end at some point. It is a complete crapshoot who the number two tight end will be at this point and if the team will carry two or three tight ends.

Wide Receiver – Santonio Holmes is the number one. Rookie Stephen Hill is going to be given every opportunity to be the number two. Jeremy Kerley fits well as the slot receiver and should be a high impact player on the offense. Patrick Turner is experienced, familiar with Sparano’s offense and can contribute on special teams so he has the inside track at the number four spot. Recently signed Chaz Schilens has big play potential and if he can stay healthy should stick on the roster. It will be an uphill battle for seventh round pick Jordan White and players like Logan Payne, Scotty McKnight and Eron Riley. A safe bet for now is that they will carry five receivers (Holmes, Hill, Kerley, Turner, Schilens).

Offensive Line – We know Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson will be back as starters. Despite the objections of most rational people in the free world, it appears the plan is to have Wayne Hunter, Vladimir Ducasse and Austin Howard compete for the starting right tackle spot. My guess is that the Jets will see how they look in training camp and if it appears to be a disaster, they could place a quick call over to veteran Vernon Carey who knows Tony Sparano’s offense to step in. Mike Tannenbaum’s favorite player Caleb Schlauderaff projects as the being the top interior backup and rookie Robert T. Griffin could have a decent chance to make the team, if he shows the versatility to play guard and tackle.

Defensive Line – Arguably the deepest position on the team. As of now the starters are Muhammad Wilkerson, Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito. However, do not be surprised if DeVito is cut or traded at some point before the season to pave the way for first round Quntion Coples to step into the starting line-up. It would save the team 3 million dollars and the Jets have capable backups in Marcus Dixon and Ropati Pitoitua. Kenrick Ellis should also see a little more time this year spelling Pouha in certain situations.

Linebackers – David Harris remains one of the best inside linebackers in football. Calvin Pace is a good outside linebacker who can set the edge to help stop the run but has lost explosiveness in getting after the passer. The Jets are risking the other two starting spots to Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas. Scott looked just about finished last year but is returning at a lighter weight and can hopefully be the solid two down linebacker he was in 2009 and 2010. Bryan Thomas is coming off major surgery but should open camp as starting outside backer opposite Pace.

The depth is intriguing, third round pick DeMario Davis has an exciting skill set and should be able to help on passing downs this year and be the long term replacement for Bart Scott. Aaron Maybin will be a year better in Rex Ryan’s system as a pass rushing specialist and hopefully the addition of Coples will lead to him seeing more one on ones in pass rushing situations. Garret McIntyre, Josh Magua got experience last year and should be able to grab roster spots.

Corner – Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson are one of the better trios in the league. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets added veteran Chris Johnson to be their 4th corner. If not Ellis Lankster and Isaiah Trufant will be the frontrunners to compete for the spot.

Safety – LaRon Landry and Eric Smith are the starters as of right now and arguably rookies Josh Bush and Antonio Allen project as the top backups. I would not be surprised if the Jets added another veteran to the mix, whether it is Yeremiah Bell or Jim Leonhard for insurance.

Special Teams – Nick Folk and TJ Conley remain the frontrunners to return as kicker and punter, respectively. Tanner Purdum will be the long snapper.

New York Jets Draft Fit Over “Need”

Chris Gross breaks down the New York Jets drafting strategy to select players who fit their offensive and defensive scheme in 2012

With the 2012 NFL Draft officially in the books, the common theme among draft analysts seems to be placing grades on how each team did based on the players selected, and at which point they were taken. However, it is unfair to grade each team or each pick this early. Other than the fact that some of these guys have most likely not even arrived at their team facilities yet, there never seems to be enough emphasis placed on the value they hold with the particular team they’ve been drafted by. Often times when teams complete their drafts they are analyzed by how well they filled their needs and whether or not they got good value at the point in which they took particular players. However, there are variables not accounted for in this practice.

The first is that a team may not necessarily view their biggest needs the same as the people analyzing their draft. The Jets, for example, opted to pass on selecting what seem to be their most pressing needs this year – a Right Tackle, and a pass rushing Outside Linebacker. However, New York may not have viewed these positions as their highest priorities heading into the draft. There are several reasons for this.

First, with a new offensive coaching staff in place, and an offensive coordinator whose main area of expertise is with the offensive line, the team may feel that the players currently on the roster may be their best options at Right Tackle. Previously, at Turn On The Jets, we reviewed the idea that Mike Tannenbaum may still have faith in Vladimir Ducasse, a notion that seems to be getting stronger as each day passes without any activity at the position. It seems as though the Jets are confident that Tony Sparano will be able to get the most out of some combination of Ducasse, Wayne Hunter, and Austin Howard opposite D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Therefore, the Right Tackles available at certain points throughout the draft may not have held the same value to the organization as they would have with other teams.

Second, schematics of a team are often times omitted in draft evaluations. When Sparano arrived in New York this offseason, he made two things that he intended to do with the Jets’ offense very clear. He wants to be a run first team, and he wants to be able to stretch the field with big plays. Based on this, the Jets did very well in this year’s draft. Although the question marks with the team’s approach at Right Tackle will certainly be questioned into the season, and rightfully so, New York’s first three offensive selections all hold the potential to be excellent fits in Sparano’s system.

Terrance Ganaway is a very big, physical back, who will form a hard-nosed trio of runners with Shonn Greene and Tim Tebow. Robert T. Griffin should, at the least, provide some added depth to the interior of the offensive line this year, which has proved to be very crucial to this team, as displayed through the struggles it faced during Nick Mangold’s absence last season. Griffin has potential to develop and contribute nicely down the road.

Stephen Hill holds the greatest potential of all the offensive players selected by the Jets this year. Aside from the fact that his physical abilities give him one of the highest ceilings out of any player in his class, Hill seems to be perfect for the type of offense Sparano plans to implement. He has great size at nearly 6’5” and plays in the 215 lbs range with blazing speed (4.31 40). He comes from a run first offense at Georgia Tech, therefore he has a large amount of blocking experience, which will be critical to the Jets’ ground and pound approach. Most importantly, though, is his big play ability. The Jets were looking for a wide receiver to stretch the field and take the top off of opposing defense, and that is exactly what they got in Hill, who had nine catches of over 30 yards last season. He also has proved he can make people miss and create after the catch, so his big play ability is not just limited to the deep ball. To New York, Hill’s value was most likely higher than other receivers because of how well he fits with what they plan to do on offense.

Defensively, the Jets seem to have taken a similar approach. Although the verdict on selecting Quinton Coples over Melvin Ingram will be open for some time, New York most likely viewed Coples’ value as higher for what they plan to do schematically on defense. Rex Ryan seems to be focused on building this team’s pass rush from the interior before focusing on obtaining an edge rusher. Ryan has already declared that, although Coples has the athleticism to play OLB, he was brought to New York to put his hand in the dirt. Expect Ryan to run several different fronts defensively this year, as he could show more 4-3 looks than the Jets are used to. The Jets depth at defensive line is greater than it has ever been in the Ryan era, so it will be interesting to see how Rex uses that.

Among the other defensive players, DeMario Davis has the ability to be used all over the field. He will be more of a fit in the Jets’ scheme as a 3-4 ILB, but if Rex does choose to show more 4-3 looks this season, he has experience as an OLB there as well. Either way, his speed will likely make him a situational weapon for the Jets this year, as he will be able to provide help on passing downs in coverage and with blitzes from the interior.

Of the two safeties selected, Josh Bush has the potential to play right away because the Free Safety position is more open. Bush has deemed himself a safety with cornerback cover skills, so it will be interesting to see how the first team All-ACC product will do in the area the Jets struggled so badly last year. Antonio Allen will provide much needed depth at Strong Safety, while giving New York a bit of an insurance policy if LaRon Landry gets injured. Allen should contribute on special teams, and could be groomed behind the veteran leadership of Landry for the future.

It is difficult to judge how the Jets did in their draft this early. Many view them neglecting the most glaring needs on their team. While this may be the case, it is just hard to imagine an NFL team doing something like that without a plan. It is certainly fair to assume that the Jets did their homework on each player selected, and depending on what they intend to do in all three phases of the game this year, these guys were most likely viewed as the best fits for New York, which in turn made their value with the team higher than it may have been somewhere else. While the future of this team and these players is somewhat unclear at this point, the Jets, if anything, seem to have drafted for a particular type of identity, something that could finally provide some much needed stability in New York.

Initial Reaction – New York Jets 2012 Draft Class

Initial reaction to the New York Jets 2012 draft class. Boom or Bust.

 

The New York Jets left the 2012 NFL Draft with eight selected players. Many of the team’s decisions were somewhat surprising and fairly questionable. However, they did get good value in a few situations. Throughout the week we will be breaking down each player in-depth, looking at where they could fit in 2012 and beyond, along with plenty more. For now here are a few initial thoughts. The eight selections were as follows –

  • Quinton Coples – Defensive End – North Carolina – 1st round
  • Stephen Hill – Wide Receiver – Georgia Tech – 2nd round
  • DeMario Davis – Inside Linebacker – Arkansas State – 3rd round
  • Josh Bush – Free Safety – Wake Forest – 6th round
  • Terrance Ganaway – Running Back – Baylor – 6th round
  • Robert T. Griffin – Guard – Baylor – 6th round
  • Antonio Allen – Strong Safety – South Carolina – 7th round
  • Jordan White – Wide Receiver – Western Michigan – 7th round

Boom or Bust – The Jets rolled the dice with this draft class, many times choosing potential over production. The first three picks in particular have immensely high ceilings because of their athletic ability but viable questions about their transition to the NFL. At least with Hill and Davis, their motor/passion for the game is not in question. Coples is the player who needs to prove more than anybody that last year was a fluke situation and he can bring it 100 percent on every play.

In the late rounds, Bush was an off the radar prospect who apparently has the smarts to compensate for a lack of athleticism. Doesn’t that sound like Eric Smith? Ganaway had one big year and was aided by having RGIII at quarterback. However, he will now have the benefit of working with Tim Tebow in an option package.

Speed Kills – Without the question, the Jets got substantially faster and more athletic in this draft. Hill is a physical freak who has the ability to blow the top off of defenses in a way a Jets receiver hasn’t since the 1980s. Davis runs a sub 4.5 forty as an inside linebacker and should have a good chance to contribute immediately on passing downs.

How Is That Possible – The Jets didn’t select a right tackle or outside linebacker. We will get into this more throughout the week but this a borderline mind boggling decision. For now, it looks like they are ready to roll with Wayne Hunter, Bryan Thomas and Vladimir Ducasse all potentially playing big roles on the 2012 team.

Value Picks – Two stand out in particular to me, Antonio Allen in the 7th round and Terrance Ganaway in the 6th round. Allen was projected by many as a 3rd to 5th round pick but slipped because of how much time he spent in the box while at South Carolina. Allen projects as a traditional strong safety and provides needed depth behind LaRon Landry this year and could become the long term starter at the position. Ganaway is experienced with the option and could be an immediately productive player in the Jets Tebow package of plays. Bilal Powell should be on notice for a roster spot.

The Home Run – Even more so than Coples, I think Hill has the most potential to become the star of this draft class. He will start from day one and provide a much needed deep threat opposite Santonio Holmes. 6’5, 206 pounds, 4.31 forty is scary. Beyond that, Hill routinely produced monster plays down the field in college, is a willing and strong blocker on the second level and has a terrific attitude by all accounts. He could be a special player from the first second he steps on the field in this offense.

Question Coples – I have offered some harsh criticism for the Coples pick. I hate to hear motor/effort/attitude questions on a player. I also liked the Jets depth at defensive end and I’m not crazy about Mike DeVito potentially being moved to clear more reps for him. However, physically Coples has the ability to not just be a 10-12 sack guy but a 14-16 sack guy. Can Rex get it out of him?

New York Jets Draft: Thoughts On Hill And Davis

Thoughts on the Jets selection of Stephen Hill and DeMario Davis

A few quick thoughts on the New York Jets decision to trade up for wide receiver Stephen Hill and draft linebacker DeMario Davis

1. It appears the New York Jets are taking the best player available instead of looking to fill needs. They have ignored right tackle, outside linebacker, and safety despite major holes in their depth chart. With no picks in the 4th or 5th round, look for them to sign Yeremiah Bell, Chris Johnson, and maybe Vernon Carey down the road when they come to the realization that Wayne Hunter, Vlad Ducasse or Austin Howard isn’t the answer at right tackle.

2. I love the Stephen Hill selection, he is a physical freak who has the right attitude to take advantage of his natural abilities to become a big time player in the NFL. It is fair to question the value of spending a 2nd round pick on a receiver in a Ground and Pound offense but if Hill becomes the needed big play threat opposite Santonio Holmes and makes Sanchez that much better it will be worth it.

3. Davis is a great athlete with a high motor who will hopefully be starting next to David Harris at inside linebacker by next year. The Jets have put together the pieces to play a much larger share of snaps in the 4-3 instead of a 3-4. How about this for a 3rd down line up? Coples and Maybin at end. Wilkerson and Pouha at defensive tackle. Harris and Davis at linebacker. Revis, Cromartie, Wilson, Landry and a free safety in the secondary. That should be a line up that gets after the quarterback.

New York Knicks First Round Preview: Rise Up

A first round preview of Knicks/Heat and the rest of the NBA first round match-ups

After all the ups and downs of the roller coaster regular season for the New York Knicks, they finished with a respectable 36-30 regular season record. Unfortunately it was only good enough for the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference and has set them up with a match-up with the Miami Heat in round one, where they find themselves substantial underdogs. Can the Knicks shock the world and send the league’s most hated team packing home early?

The answer is probably not. The safe money in this series is the Heat in 5 or 6. I think the Knicks take it to 6 games but will ultimately fall short 4-2. How can they prove me wrong?

The Knicks must split with Miami in the first two games to create some type of pressure on the Heat when game 3 arrives at Madison Square Garden. Miami has no home court advantage. Their stands will be filled with fair weather fans, Knicks fans and white shirts covering empty chairs while people are arriving late and leaving early. Madison Square Garden is going to be a madhouse. The Knicks are a different team at home and should be able to at least split in games 3 and 4. The longer this series goes, the more pressure is on the Dream Team who is led by a player who isn’t known for his exploits in pressure situations.

Now is Carmelo Anthony’s moment. He has been playing as well as, if not better than any player in the NBA the past month. He needs to match LeBron James shot for shot and go beyond him in the 4th quarter. Yet even that won’t be enough for the Knicks, as they will need their supporting cast led by Amare Stoudemire to have enough firepower to match Dwayne Wade and to a lesser extent Chris Bosh.

Beyond that, it is on Tyson Chandler to dominate the paint with Miami running out a Ronny Turiaf and Joel Anthony combination at center. Iman Shumpert to D up Dwyane Wade like he did Derrick Rose a few weeks back and the JR Smith/Steve Novak combination to outscore Miami’s questionable bench.

Miami brings a defensive intensity matched by few, if any teams in the league and the Knicks have major issues at point guard and finding consistent secondary scoring options to Anthony. Can Stoudemire give them 18-22 points a night? Can JR Smith find any type of consistency? Will Iman Shumpert hit his open threes? These are the questions that will determine if this series will be a long one or a laugher.

The rest of my first round picks –

Chicago over Philadelphia in 5 – The Sixers have been a disaster the second half of the season. Chicago has been the East’s best team from start to finish and will use Evan Turner’s foolish words about wanting them in round one as fuel. The Sixers don’t have a single reliable scorer who can get them points in a big spot. That isn’t going to cut it against Chicago’s D.

Indiana over Orlando in 6 – The Magic have been a circus all year. Some think they rally around Dwight Howard quitting on them and make a bit of a “Ewing Theory” run. They might steal a game or two here but that’s it.

Boston over Atlanta in 6 – This will be a tighter series than many expect. The Hawks are confident against Boston and have athleticism that will be tough for them to deal with but in the end, the old heads are a safe bet.

San Antonio over Utah in 6 – Utah is feisty and will be tough to beat in their building yet Greg Popovich’s unbelievable coaching job will continue into the second round. The Spurs are too good to lose in the first round in back to back years.

Oklahoma City over Dallas in 7 – Awesome first round series. The champs will put up a hell of a fight but they simply aren’t on Oklahoma City’s level.

Memphis over Los Angeles Clippers in 6 – I love Memphis as a NBA Finals darkhorse.

Los Angeles Lakers over Denver  in 5 – Andrew Bynum has developed into arguably one of the ten best players in the NBA this year and will be too much for Denver to handle inside. The Nuggets also lack a big time scorer to go shot for shot with Kobe.

Guest Contributor Justin Fritze, weighs in with his Eastern and Western Conference picks –

Bulls vs. Sixers –

This series is going to be fascinating to watch. Will Derrick Rose be able to find his groove or is he going to just muscle his way into the lane and hope he draws fouls? Like the year before when the Sixers gave the Heat trouble, I can see the pass-first Sixers taking two games at best (one on the road/one in Chicago’s shiny new arena), but the newly acquired Rip Hamilton finally coming through with 3 pointers to put away the Sixers with inside out passing off the double team.

But what if that doesn’t happen? What if Derrick Rose turns it over, Iguodala gets to the line, and Boozer once and for all proves that he isn’t worth the contract he was given? Derrick Rose, despite the weight of the city crushing his soul, should get a pass if he doesn’t play lights out. This guy has had an injury to almost every part of his body throughout the year. Still taking Bulls in 6.

Knicks vs. Heat –

A few things will happen if the Heat don’t win this in 4. Knick fans will become psychotic, Lebron James will have that PTSD look in his eyes, and Dwyane Wade will become a man on fire.

But let us all have a little reflection on the roster of guards the Knicks have, because next year half of them will retire or look for big money. Mike Bibby, the oldest “33 year old” I’ve ever seen, sounded fun at the beginning of the year but looks genuinely tired, physically/spiritually/subconsciously. Baron Davis, who after tossing Blake Griffin a basketball through a moonroof was sent to basketball purgatory, rebounding to the Knicks and looking like a little fat Buddha with a bad back, to now possibly being the savior of the Knicks playoff hopes. Toney Douglas, who as soon as he enters the game causes Knick fans to pour out a double shot of Jager, and the always social media savvy JR Smith. JR Smith loves the ladies.

Let’s not forget the greatest 3 point shooter in the universe Steve “I Am Legend” Novak. I will be buying a Novak jersey regardless of what happens at any point after today. Ok Knick fans. Are you ready? Knicks in 7. KNICKS IN 7! Am I drunk still from the Rangers game 7 win? You bet your ass I am.

Pacers vs. Magic –

Fun series right? Nope. No Dwight Howard (who I loathe almost as much as Metta Call Of Duty), so now it’s going to be a 3 point festival on the Magic side of the ball. The Pacers are going to take this in 5, and I don’t even imagine it being close. Sure the Magic are going to try and change their philosophy of 3 ball/inside to Dwight, but Stan Van Gundy is already thinking of a new job. Why stress this thing when you know for a fact everything is getting blown up at the end of the year? Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert are going to dominate inside, and guys like Ryan Anderson and JJ Reddick are going to get desperate real early in game 4, chucking up 3’s a la Novakia (a Russian cousin of Steve Novak). Pacers in 5.

Celtics vs. Hawks –

The great battle of old soldiers against the constant underachievers. They should put a picture of Joe Johnson/JR Smith/Al Horford in the digital version of Merriam Webster’s new dictionary right next to the word. Great 2K12 team, not so much in reality. I really think the Celtics are going to put in a statement game at home, get that fire going early, and put the Hawks down 2-0 quick. This is going to go 6 though, as the Celtics can’t keep the pace up all the way through. Rondo is going to put up a triple double at some point in this series, and Ray Allen will rain 3’s from the high heavens. My only fear is Josh Smith and his scowl. Want something to chew on? Josh Smith has never made an all star game. Celtics in 6. Fear the eyes of Pavlovic.

Thunder vs. Mavericks 

Last night does not make anyone in Oklahoma City feel good. The Thunder looked lost, anxious, nervous, and generally off balance for most of the night as Dallas looked every bit the team that got them to the Finals last year. There were a few things swinging the wrong way. Durant couldn’t get an open look, the knife’s edge that is Russell Westbrook taking jumpers became the only steady thing the Thunder had going, and the enforcer of the Thunder (Kendrick Perkins) was getting worked over by the bigs of Dallas. So where does that leave the series? 7 games. No less. Dirk is going to shoot the lights out, Jason Terry is again crushing the souls of opposing fans with effortless 3 pointers, and the duo of Vince Carter and Jason Kidd has more playoff experience than the entire Thunder roster. Durant and his game winner will quickly be forgotten if they split games going into Dallas. Thunder in 7.

Spurs vs. Jazz 

While I am a big fan of the new look Jazz (without Williams/Boozer), I know that the Spurs want to get this series out of the way as fast as possible. Call it the will of the ancients, the old man strength syndrome or simply the wisdom of the ages, the Spurs and the Mavericks are going to simply out-scheme teams like the Thunder and the Jazz. The Spurs are healthier, younger (Joseph/Leonard), and somehow outpaced every single team in the West with the best coach in the NBA manning the helm like an old fishing boat captain. Spurs in 5

Clippers vs. Grizzlies

The Clippers have everything they need to counter the inside out game of the Grizzlies. Chris Paul has proven this entire season that he is the best closing point guard in the game, but I (along with the rest of casual observers) do not trust Vinny in crunch time. Despite an assistant coach masquerading as a head coach, I see the force of Nick Young/Mo Williams and Chris Paul doing too much to let the Grizzlies run away with it. Clippers in 6.

Lakers vs. Nuggets

Denver has one thing going for it. Age. Their guards are 21, 24, 24, 26, 27, 27 and the ancient Andre Miller at 36. They might actually outcoach the Lakers, but the coinflip that is Kobe Bryant’s mentality on whether to shoot/get others involved is going to be the outcome of this series. He knows the window is just about closed, so look for him to try and get this thing out of the way in 5 games. Lakers in 5. Nuggets will be back next year, and probably the year after that so don’t get too discouraged Denver.

Jets Select OLB DeMario Davis

The New York Jets ended their second day of the NFL Draft by selecting OLB DeMario Davis out of Arkansas State University with the 77th overall pick. This is an interesting pick, because there seemed to be players of higher value at positions of need for New York with Bobby Massie and George Iloka still on the board. However, Davis certainly plays Rex Ryan’s brand of football.

Other than the fact that Davis possess great strength (32 reps) and speed (4.53 40), he is extremely explosive, having posted a 124″ broad jump, coupled with a 38.5″ vertical, both of which set the bar for Outside Linebackers in the entire class this year. Over his past two seasons at Arkansas State, Davis had 132 tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 interceptions. Most importantly, Davis plays with some of the greatest tenacity you will see from any player selected this year. He repeatedly delivered punishing hits last season, leading ESPN’s Mel Kiper to deem him a man among boys at his level of play. Several analysts believe Davis would have been an earlier selection had he played in a major conference.

Davis is also a very versatile player. At 6’2″, 235 pounds, he can certainly afford to add a little weight, but he has the combination of strength, speed, and athleticism that will allow Rex Ryan to move him all over the box, and he could end up filling the void left at Inside Linebacker when Bart Scott eventually departs. Ryan certainly loves versatile players in his defense, especially at the linebacker position.

Davis does not necessarily fit the mold of the pass rushing OLB that the Jets desperately needed, but his versatility and intensity should make him a valuable piece of Ryan’s puzzle, while his outstanding speed leaves much room for improvement in his pass rushing abilities. Expect to see him delivering some highlight reel hits on special teams early in the season.

New York Jets Select WR Stephen Hill

The New York Jets have swapped 2nd round picks with Seattle to select WR Stephen Hill out of Georgia Tech. Hill gives the Jets the deep threat their offense has been lacking at Wide Receiver since the departure of Braylon Edwards.

At 6’4″ 215 lbs, Hill is an athletic freak, having run a 4.36 40-yard dash at the combine, which is remarkable considering his size.
A big play specialist, Hill had 820 receiving yards on only 28 catches in 2011, averaging a mind blowing 29.3 yards per catch. Of his 28 catches last season, 9 were for over 30 yards, 5 were for over 50, and 2 were for over 70. His season long was an 82 yard touchdown in Georgia Tech’s opener against Western Carolina. There is no doubt that he can make the big play, and with his impressive size and blocking experience (coming from a run first offense), he will contribute to the run game immediately.

The move to get Hill certainly gives New York much needed depth at Wide Receiver and he should be able to come in and compete for the starting spot opposite Santonio Holmes right away. Hill is still a raw prospect, especially coming from the option offense at Georgia Tech, but his tremendous upside gives him great value at this pick, and he should be able to open up the offense for the Jets as he develops. This move seemingly rules out any reunion with Braylon Edwards.

New York still has several needs at OLB, S, and RT, so keep an eye out for how the remainder of the night plays out. The Jets own the 77th overall pick in round 3 tonight.

NFL Draft: New York Jets Day Two Preview

The TOJ staff breaks down what to look for from the New York Jets in day two of the NFL Draft

The New York Jets have the 47th (2nd round) and 77th (3rd round) pick in tonight’s draft. Myself and staff writer Chris Gross tell you what to look for. Stay tuned throughout the night as we will be updating after each selection –

The best news coming out of last night is how much talent remains on the draft board, particularly in areas of need for the New York Jets. I am going to run down a few positions and who they could target –

Running Back – I don’t anticipate them taking a running back in round two. Maybe they would consider Lamar Miller or LaMichael James if they slipped near them in round three. However, I think it is more likely they will consider Robert Turbin with one of their late round picks.

Wide Receiver – I have a tough time seeing the Jets passing on Stephen Hill or Alshon Jeffery if they are at available at 47. The team is high on both players and both have the ability to be day one starters opposite Santonio Holmes.

Outside Linebacker – Apparently the Jets are not high enough on Courtney Upshaw to make any move to trade up for him. However, would they pass on him at 47? Upshaw, Vinny Curry, and Andre Branch could all be in play at 47 as the Jets look to continue building their front seven.

Safety – It would be frustrating to see the Jets pass on Trumaine Johnson is he somehow falls to 47 but apparently they love LSU’s Brandon Taylor who they could get after the 47th pick. The Jets are leaving this draft with a safety and I think it ends up being Taylor or George Iloka.

Offensive Tackle – Jonathan Martin, Cordy Glenn, and Bobbie Massie are all players talented enough to step in at right tackle to start day one. Isn’t that hard to ignore with New England adding Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower last night?

My prediction? They end up with Alshon Jeffery or Brandon Taylor…if they are feeling frisky, maybe both. Then again, who the hell would have thought they were taking Quinton Coples last night?

Here are five routes Chris could see the Jets taking –

1 – Trade up into the first five picks of round two and select Courtney Upshaw – Upshaw has slid into the second round, something that seemed impossible a few months ago. However, with a great need at OLB, the Jets could save face with the Coples pick by moving up and selecting the Alabama product. Having fallen this far already, Upshaw is going to be an absolute steal in this draft, and it is no secret as to how I think he could help the Jets.

2 – Get an OLB other than Courtney Upshaw – If the Jets opt to not select Upshaw again, there are two names that would also fill the void at OLB. Vinny Curry out of Marshall and Andre Branch out of Clemson are both still on the board. Although they are not quite as good as Upshaw, both of these players would still provide significant improvement on the edge for the Jets. Jonathon Massaquoi is another DE/OLB hybrid to keep an eye out for in round three.

3 – Select an explosive offensive player – Whether it is one of the remaining talented Running Backs in Lamar Miller or LaMichael James, or one of the Wide Receivers that can be used to stretch the field opposite Santonio Holmes in Alshon Jeffery or Rueben Randle out of LSU. Anyone of these players would add a very good dynamic to the Jets offense, while also giving them the home run threat they so desperately need.

4 – Select a Safety – Out of the remaining defensive backs, there are three appealing names that would improve the Jets depth at safety: Trumaine Johnson, Antonio Allen, and Brandon Taylor. All bring something a little different to the table, but would provide instant upgrade to the depth at the safety position. Of the three, Taylor may be the best, while Johnson may be the most intriguing due to his physical intangibles and versatility.

5 -Select a Right Tackle – There is still plenty of talent on the board here as well. Cordy Glenn, Jonathan Martin, Bobby Massie, and Mike Adams are all have first round talent, and with a need at RT, one of them must be considered if available at pick 47.

Noticeably, the top two ranked moves on this list are to select a pass rusher. Although the Jets selected Coples, he will play a 5-technique Defensive End in the Jets scheme, so they still need to get themselves someone to apply pressure off the edge. There is plenty of talent left at this position, and New York needs to do whatever it can to get their hands on one of these players. Here are some notable non-first round picks that have made a name for themselves getting after the quarterback throughout their careers: Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Jared Allen, Elvis Dumervil, Mike Vrabel, Joey Porter, and Adalius Thomas, just to name a few.

The Problem With Drafting Quinton Coples

TOJ looks at the problem with taking Quinton Coples in the first round of the NFL Draft

If you couldn’t tell last night, I was not happy about the Quinton Coples selection. Staff writer Chris Gross has me feeling a little better about it this morning but I still have many reservations, so let me explain why.

I love Rex Ryan as head coach and I like Mike Tannenbaum as a General Manager. Both individuals have been successful more than they have not since becoming employed by the New York Jets. However, part of what makes them good at their jobs is also what leads them to making occasional poor personnel decisions. Lately, the poor personnel decisions have been outnumbering the smart ones.

They are both head strong, stubborn individuals which leads to overestimation of talent and belief in their ability to salvage any situation. We have seen Tannenbaum neglect the offensive line, believing they would be okay with Anthony Clement and Adrien Clarke starting in 2007 instead renegotiating with Pete Kendall and signing a right tackle. He repeated the mistake last year by letting Damien Woody walk, installing backup Wayne Hunter as a starter and then finding no depth behind his starting offensive line.

Since Rex has taken over, he espouses the belief that he can make any player or situation work in his locker room and we have seen Tannenbaum’s draft and free agency mistakes gradually increase. What I am talking about? Let’s review the past couple of years –

–  Taking Division I-AA lineman Vladimir Ducasse in the 2nd round, switching his position immediately and expecting him to start. Ducasse has given the team nothing through 2 years.

– Bringing Derrick Mason into the locker room when he had a history of causing problems. Mason caused problems.

– Signing Plaxico Burress over brining Braylon Edwards back. Burress couldn’t get open in between the 20s and caused problems in the locker room.

– To a lesser extent, Rex pushing for another corner in round one back in 2010 when it wasn’t an area of need as the Jets took Kyle Wilson. Through two years, he has been average at best and made one impact play (an interception last year against San Dieg0). While it is too early to fully judge him, it is fair to be disappointed with his production thus far. Rex also went crazy for John Conner in the 5th round of the same draft and we have seen Conner be average at best last year when given a full time role (watch the tape).

– Last year the Jets took Kenrick Ellis in the third round. He basically redshirted his rookie year because he was nowhere near ready to play.

These recent choices factor in my judgement of the Coples selection. The Jets are coming off a poor off-season last year which led directly to a 8-8 record. They have many holes in a roster that currently resembles that of a 7-9 team, not a 10 or 11 win team ready to compete with New England. It was a smug decision to draft Coples. It was a decision that says, “we are a player or two away and we can risk it on a boom or bust prospect.”

What you need to remember is that Coples is a defensive end, not an outside linebacker. The team has already confirmed he will play with his hand in the dirt and compete with Mike DeVito for the starting end position. Instead of addressing a glaring area of need at outside linebacker, safety, right tackle, wide receiver or running back by drafting that spot or trading back to acquire picks to fill all those holes, the Jets drafted at a position where they had two capable starters (Wilkerson and DeVito and two capable backups (Dixon and Pitoitua). Beyond that, last year’s third round pick Kenrick Ellis was supposed to see reps at defensive end along with nose tackle, which he won’t have the chance to do as much anymore.

So what do you do now? Do you trade/cut Mike DeVito, start Coples and let your run defense suffer? Or do you have Coples be a rotational player on passing downs, where he would likely be most effective? Unfortunately, the Jets needed more than a rotational player in the first round, they needed a 3 down player.

The questions about Coples effort and motor are maddeningly frustrating to hear. However, if the proper veterans (Sione Pouha) stay on him and he is coached properly (pressure on Rex and DL coach Karl Dunbar), the talent Coples has is unquestionable. On physical attributes alone, he is the best pass rushing prospect in the draft. I do believe he has the skill set to be a double digit sack guy. I also believe he has the potential to be a complete non-factor this year.

The question is why do Rex and Tannenbaum need to keep rolling the dice? Why take the player with effort/attitude issues at a position where he could struggle to get reps on your roster when you could have taken a comparable player without the effort/attitude issues at a position of need? It is stubborn. It is headstrong. It is smug. It is Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum in a nutshell. The approach worked in 2009 and 2010 but came up empty last year. Let’s hope this spin of the roulette wheel ends up on the Jets number.

A Positive Analysis Of Quinton Coples

Chris Gross gives a positive analysis of New York Jets first round pick Quinton Coples

Our resident defensive lineman and staff writer Chris Gross breaks down Quinton Coples and comes out with a more positive feeling than I have about the pick – JC

With the 16th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the New York Jets shockingly passed on coveted prospect Melvin Ingram for Defensive End Quinton Coples out of North Carolina. As the pick was announced, analysts and fans frantically began to point out why this was a terrible decision by the Jets. How could New York be so lucky to have Ingram fall into their laps and then opt to pass on him? To make matters worse, the Jets selected a player who arguably had more question marks surrounding him than anyone else they had reportedly been interested in.

The common flaws linked to Coples are that he does not posses the high motor, killer instinct, and relentlessness needed to be a dominant defensive lineman in the NFL. As many of these contentions may be true, they also are a bit exaggerated. There are, in fact, times in games when Coples seems unmotivated and takes plays off, but these moments are not as plentiful as they are perceived to be.

Game evaluation of Coples reveals him to be many things as a player. He is extremely big (nearly 6’6” 284 lbs), and uses that size to his advantage. Coples utilizes his hands and length very well. His reach allows him to create the separation between offensive linemen necessary for him to take control and dictate what he is going to do. He has a fantastic burst off the ball, among the best at his position, and closes the gap just as fast as any defensive lineman in the draft this year. Coples is also phenomenal against the reach block, displaying excellent ability to get his head to the outside and force every play back in. Very rarely is he caught out of position, giving up the edge.

In terms of his pass rush, Coples has fantastic maneuverability. He shows great bend and ability to dip his shoulder on his rushes, causing serious problems for any guard or tackle trying to block him. He displays excellent strength and explosion, having repeatedly run through blockers at the point of attack last year in his pursuit of the quarterback, while also showing ability to execute a double move, if necessary. He can do it with speed, strength, and technique, an immeasurable combination in a defensive lineman. Along with that, Coples plays with a serious mean streak at times shown through his aggressive style of play.

So, the obvious question is, why the harsh reaction to the pick? Although many of the negative assertions about Coples are exaggerated, they are not false. At times, Coples does take plays off and can appear lazy on the field. He tends to lose discipline, sometimes getting caught too far up field, allowing open running lanes on draws and screens underneath him. However, these flaws are nowhere near as frequent as assumed. These are aspects of his game, and character that do need to be worked on at the next level, but with an elite defensive coaching staff in New York, as well as quality veteran leadership in Sione Pouha on the defensive line, Coples can certainly eliminate them in his development.

During his senior year at UNC, Coples also suffered a drop in numbers from his junior season. In 2010, he compiled 10 sacks, while in 2011, that number fell to just 7.5. However, like any position in football, when a player has success, teams will notice that and begin to account for him. During his senior year, Coples drew the attention of every offense North Carolina faced, and for good reason. During the Miami game, in particular, the Hurricanes’ slid their pass protection to Coples nearly 100% of the time, while scheming double teams to account for him on run plays. This was very common among all of Coples’ opponents during his senior year, which was a great cause for his decreased statistics. Remember, a drop in numbers is not necessarily equivalent to a drop in production at any position along the defensive line. There are countless intangibles and contributions that do not show up in the stat line.

Along with the drop in his numbers, Coples has also somehow gotten the reputation of a selfish player. There have been several reports that he developed a “me first” attitude during his time at North Carolina. However, during his junior season, when multiple members of the Tar Heels’ defense were suspended for the year, Coples was asked to play more time at Defensive Tackle, rather than his natural Defensive End position, to account for the lack of depth. Coples did not complain, just simply went out, played, and tallied 10 total sacks that year. Prototypical “selfish” players usually don’t make such sacrifices and perform at a level like that.

The claim that Coples lacks effort, as I said, is exaggerated, yet realistic. In stretches, he has a habit of catching blockers, rather than attacking them off of the ball like he usually does. Although, these plays seem much more common late in games and at the end of long drives, which suggests that it may be more of a conditioning issue, rather than an attitude issue. This seems to make more sense, because the majority of the time, Coples does actually play with valiant effort and high motor. On one play in particular against North Carolina State in 2010, Coples chased down QB Russell Wilson on a 50 yard run, before he was forced out of bounds inside the 10. Normally, “lazy” players aren’t seen chasing anyone down from behind.

Other than his play, the largest factor that contributes to the idea that Coples was a bad pick for the Jets is that Melvin Ingram was still on the board. The common thought among Jets fans was that Ingram was the best option for New York in the first round, and to be able to stay at 16 and get him would be a huge victory. Passing on Ingram was most likely going to be an unpopular move by the Jets, so anyone else drafted in that spot was going face heavy scrutiny.

The bottom line on Coples is simple: He certainly has some question marks, but also has shown he can be a dominant football player, and his superior size and athleticism give him tremendous upside. Remember, this is the same player who drew comparisons to Julius Peppers following his junior season. If there is one coach capable of maximizing his talent and turning him into an asset in the NFL, it is Rex Ryan. Ryan, along with the veteran defensive leadership in Pouha, David Harris, and Darrelle Revis, could be just the supporting cast Coples needs to develop into a force in this league for years to come.