Previously at Turn On The Jets, we have evaluated the Safeties the New York Jets could target if they opted to pass on Alabama’s Mark Barron and draft one of the many DE/OLB prospects that they so desperately need. But what if the Jets do end up taking Barron, and pass on the chance to land Mark Ingram, Courtney Upshaw, Quinton Coples, Chandler Jones, etc? Although the value of these players will be extremely high in the first round, this is certainly a scenario that could play out. If the Jets do opt to take Barron, there are still several quality prospects that could be the answer to New York’s desperate need for an outside pass rusher.
Recent TOJ Draft Coverage
Perhaps the most intriguing name to keep an eye on is West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin. With 22.5 sacks in his past two seasons at WVU, Irvin has proved to be one of the top pass rushers in the nation during his time as a Mountaineer. He also blew scouts away with his speed and agility posting a 4.5 40 yard dash and a lightning quick 4.03 short shuttle at this year’s combine. At 6’3 245 lbs, Irvin doesn’t have ideal size, but his talent and production help him overcome that.
So, the obvious question is, how could such a productive prospect not even be discussed as a possible first round selection?
The answer is character issues. Irvin is a former high school dropout who already has more than one arrest on his resume. This has been hanging over him for his entire collegiate career, despite his immense production, and he unfortunately did nothing to ease the minds of NFL teams on this issue after he was arrested following his pro day this year. Irvin’s character issues will almost certainly cause him to fall to at least the third round, where based on production and potential alone, he would be an absolute steal.
However, are his talents enough for the Jets, who are already mending their locker room image, to take such a risk? The answer lies with Rex Ryan. Although Ryan admitted he lost the locker room last season, he is still a coach who prides himself on being able to mold his players into strong characters. If it were up to Rex alone, there is little doubt that the Jets would take a shot on Irvin. However, after the events of last year, Rex will have to convince Mike Tannebaum to select the immensely skilled, yet controversial pass rusher. If Rex believes that he can aid Irvin to overcome the issues that have haunted him for so long, he may be able to talk Mike T into taking him, in the event that he is available in the later rounds. This could be a very interesting scenario to keep an eye on as the draft plays out.