We will be going a little mock draft crazy here at TOJ in the final days leading up to the NFL Draft. Today, guest contributor Justin Fritze kicks it off with his projections for who the New York Jets will take with their top seven picks in the draft. Stay tuned for my final mock draft for the Jets and for the entire first round, along with Chris Gross’ mock draft. – JC
Let’s assume that Mike Tannenbaum doesn’t completely lose his mind and mortgage the future of the Jets in the 2012 draft. A move up of two or so spots in round one might do the trick, but nothing too out of the ordinary this year.
6th round – Brandon Lindsey, Outside Linebacker, Pittsburgh - Think about this scenario. 46 defense against a 2 tight end, 2 wide receiver set. AKA The Patriot formation. The Jets can roll out this package as a 4-3 speed rush while clogging up the middle against the draw. Lindsey on the left end, Kenrick Ellis and Sione Pouha as the Nose Tackles, and Muhammad Wilkerson sitting on the right edge as the other defensive end. Fill in the linebackers with David Harris/Bart Scott/Calvin Pace and you’ve got a pretty serious pass rush if you bring 6 and let Harris drop back into coverage.
6th round – Ryan Miller, Guard, Colorado - Sure he’s slow. Sure he needs to get down to 300 lbs to be effective in Tony Sparano’s offense. But this guy can smack around linebackers with the best of them. You know for a fact that Tony Sparano is going to have an open competition for all offensive line spots other than Center and Left Tackle, so it will be good to add some competition to guys like Matt Slauson, Wayne Hunter and Vlad Ducasse.
6th round – Jeff Adams, Left Tackle, Columbia – A good backup to Ferguson who hopefully learns right tackle so Wayne Hunter can spend less time getting our quarterbacks killed. Sparano is going to want to go to camp with no less than 15 offensive lineman, and most likely use 6-8 throughout the regular season, knowing injuries to offensive lineman are going to pile up with this new run heavy offense.
5th round – Robert Blanton, Cornerback, Notre Dame - One of my favorites in the list, Blanto saved 6-10 touchdowns this season for a dreadful Notre Dame team. Again, scenario time. Dime formation. Jets love it against pass happy offenses. Cromartie and Revis one on one, Kyle Wilson taking the third receiver, and a safety covering the fourth receiver as Blanton rushes the QB along with the 4 defensive lineman. He can add pressure up front and also drop back while a safety blitzes from the edge.
3rd Round – Juron Criner, Wide Receiver, Arizona - He’s got size and length, but he’s going to need some serious coaching and consistency to compete at the next level. He’s a project, but in the red zone he can be a big help on the naked bootleg. Please come back Tom Moore.
2nd Round – David Wilson, Running Back, Virginia Tech - The antidote to the Jets lack of running success. Wilson, coupled with the previously mentioned additions to the offensive line, will fill the void left by LT and complement the speed of Joe McKnight and the Shonn Greene power running game. He’s a counter play machine, and he’s good for the occasional power sweep that will keep defenses honest if Tim Tebow lines up out of the spread option.
1st Round - Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama - The worthy (much improved) successor to Jim Leonhard. They’re probably going to keep Leonhard for one more season, and they should use it to have Leonhard teach Barron everything about the Rex Ryan defense. Add him to a 46 with Laron Landry and you could at any point have a safety blitz, a corner blitz or two linebackers blitz. A pick of Barron would be giving Ryan security in the secondary for the next 5 years.