In part 1 of our final thoughts on the NFL Draft, staff writer Chris Gross gives us a review of what to look for this weekend. Check back in a few hours for my final thoughts and a first round mock – JC
After extensive review and evaluation at Turn On The Jets all week, I have a few final thoughts regarding the Jets potential moves before Roger Goodell takes the podium at Radio City Music Hall tonight.
5 Moves I’ll Be Happy With
1. Stay put and draft Courtney Upshaw - By now its obvious that I feel this will be the best move for the Jets. I’ve gone over everything I love about Upshaw and how I think he will be a tremendous fit in Rex Ryan’s defense.
2. Trade Up for Mark Barron - Barron is another player I feel will be a great fit under Ryan. The Jets still need help at safety, and although Yeremiah Bell is on the radar, Barron could team with Revis to form a dominant secondary for years to come. Depending on the asking price, I think Barron is worth jumping ahead a few spots.
3. Stay at 16 and draft Melvin Ingram – I have not been very high on Ingram at all. I still feel Upshaw is the better player and should be taken over him if both are available. However, if Ingram can be had without making a trade and New York opts to select him, I will be all for it. As I have said, he has tremendous upside. He is strong, fast, athletic, and versatile and I have to believe that if Ryan takes him, it is for good reason. Rex can certainly get this promising prospect to fulfill his potential.
4. Somehow end up with Fletcher Cox - Odds are Fletcher Cox will be selected before pick 16, so if this were to happen, the Jets would likely have to trade up for him. However, like Barron, I think he is one of the few players worthy of the sacrifice. Cox will undoubtedly have an impact right away, and his explosiveness and tenacity will upgrade the D-Line to one of the best in football.
5. Select Michael Brockers at pick 16 - I would not be very fond of trading up for Brockers, simply because I do not think he holds high enough value at his position to be worthy of such a move. However, if he can be had at pick 16, or even by trading back a few spots, I would gladly be on board. Brockers has tremendous size and ability to be a great 5-technique on the Jets defensive line, and would provide a great interior pass rush playing opposite Muhammed Wilkerson. This would help to get pressure off of the edge with the amount of attention offensive lines would have to pay to the interior.
5 Moves That Will Have To Prove Their Worth
1. Trade Up For Melvin Ingram - As I said, if Rex sees something to take Ingram over Upshaw, I trust his judgment. However, from what I have seen on him, I don’t like the idea of sacrificing picks to get him.
2. Select Chandler Jones at any point - Whether they take him at 16 or trade back, Jones will have a lot to prove. I do think that he has the potential to be a fantastic player in this league. His size and athletic ability give him an extremely high ceiling.
3. Draft Quinton Coples – Like Jones, Coples has a very high upside as he is very athletically gifted and has great size. However, as much as I hate to say it, I see too much of Vernon Gholston in him to immediately support a move like this.
4. Trade Up For Trent Richardson - The only reason I put this move in this category is because of what it will cost the Jets. There is no doubt in my mind that Richardson will be an elite NFL Running Back, however if New York is going to sacrifice the necessary picks to obtain him, he better become that in a hurry. Giving up a first rounder next year is a serious gamble, and although I think it will pay off, I’d still need to see it happen.
5. Draft Michael Floyd - I do like Floyd, but with the holes on defense, and the Jets clear commitment to the run game, I’m not very fond of the idea of taking a Wide Receiver in the first round. Alshon Jeffery could be available in round two, and although he may not be as polished as Floyd, he could still develop into a great player.
2 Moves I Would Hate
1. Taking Dontari Poe - As I wrote in my D-Line preview, Poe would not be a good choice for the Jets and they should not consider him at any point. He does not play up to what his combine numbers show, and he seems extremely lazy. I’m not saying he will not develop into a good player, I just think the Jets would be wasting their pick on him. This would be a terrible decision, and one that I would be shocked to see.
2. Taking an Offensive Lineman In Round One - I do realize the Jets need a Right Tackle, but there is so much talent at other positions of need in the first round. The Jets have neglected this position while there is decent talent still available on the free agent market (Vernon Carey), so to see them use their pick on a position they seem comfortable with would not be good.
Names to Keep An Eye On
Running Backs – David Wilson, Lamar Miller, Doug Martin, LaMichael James. All of these players would be quality second round selections, and would all add speed and explosiveness to the Jets running attack. Each of them would bring a different dynamic to the table and would complement Shonn Greene well. Of the bunch, Miller is probably the fastest, Wilson is the most complete, and James has been the most productive at the college level.
Outside Linebackers – Vinny Curry, Jonathan Massaquoi, Bruce Irvin. Curry and Massaquoi have good size and average speed at the position. Conversely, Irvin has below average size, but excellent speed. Curry has the potential to be drafted the highest, but I don’t necessarily see him as being that much better than Massaquoi or Irvin. Irvin certainly has the highest ceiling, but comes with some baggage, having had multiple run ins with the law in his past. None of these players are comparable to the OLBs who could be obtained in round 1, but if the Jets opt to go in another direction, they all could develop nicely down the road.
Alshon Jeffery, WR South Carolina - Jeffery is reportedly on the Jets radar and for good reason. He has tremendous size at nearly 6’3” 216 lbs, and good speed to go with it, having run a sub 4.5 40 at his pro day. He would provide the Jets with the big target capable of stretching the field that they need opposite Santonio Holmes.
Vontaze Burfict, LB Arizona State - I’ve defended Burfict throughout the entire draft process arguing that his character was being unfairly judged and that his lackluster testing numbers do not hamper his abilities on the field. However, Burfict made me eat my words this week when news broke of a positive drug test at the combine. Although I do think he has some mental issues he needs to work out, I still stand by my assertion that Burfict has the ability to be a great linebacker in this league. He needs to get into the right situation, with the right people around him, and believe it or not, I think the Jets would be perfect for him. As much as the Jets are perceived to have a circus like atmosphere, I do think that Rex Ryan is one of the best player coaches in the league, and despite what happened last year, can still get his guys to buy in as good as anyone. It would do Burfict wonders to be around guys like Mangold, Revis, Harris, and Ferguson. If he could be had in one of the later rounds, which I think is very realistic, he would be a pick worthy of the risk for New York. He has the potential to form a deadly combination at Inside Linebacker with David Harris in the future.