New York Jets: Running Back Prospects In NFL Draft

A look at what running backs the New York Jets could consider in this year’s NFL Draft

The New York Jets are likely to add another running back to their current depth chart which features Shonn Greene, Joe McKnight, and Bilal Powell. Unless they are looking to make an unexpected power move into the top six, they probably aren’t going to end up with Trent Richardson who is the consensus top back in the draft. If for some reason Richardson begins to slide at all, I wouldn’t be stunned if the Jets made a strong push to move up for him. He is the type of player who could change the dynamic of their offense and is exactly the type of power back Rex Ryan/Tony Sparano craves. Regardless, it is more likely the Jets will spend one of their other nine picks on a running back. Here is a quick review of a few potential targets –

Doug Martin, Boise State – 5’9, 223 pounds, 4.47 forty – Martin has been climbing up draft boards and is expected by some to sneak into the bottom of the first round. The Jets would have to take a long look at him if he was still on the board at #47. Martin is a versatile, well-rounded back who could immediately push Shonn Greene for carries and develop into the long term number one back. He catches the football exceptionally well.

David Wilson, Virginia Tech – 5’10, 206 pounds, 4.40 forty – Another back quickly rising up draft boards, who the Jets could be hard pressed to ignore in the second round. Wilson had a monster combine and has potential to be a much needed home run hitter for the Jets. Similar to Martin, he catches the football very well and would immediately press for substantial playing time.

LaMicheal James, Oregon – 5’8, 194 pounds, 4.37 forty – A burner who projects to being a third down back in the NFL. If the Jets took him in the 3rd round, it wouldn’t bode well for Joe McKnight’s future with the team.

Chris Polk, Washington – 5’11, 215 pounds, 4.46 forty – A back the Jets could also consider in the third round. He has good size and is a power runner. Polk is cut from a similar mold as Shonn Greene and could be groomed as a replacement for him if he showed potential in his rookie season.

Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati – 5’10, 197 pounds, 4.41 forty – A player the Jets could look at in the 5th round. Pead has the skill set to be an explosive third down back, with his speed and ability to catch the football. He would compete directly with Joe McKnight for reps.

Robert Turbin, Utah State, 5’10, 222 pounds – 4.44 forty – Could be a very good value pick in the 5th round if he is still around. He has very good speed for a back with his size and is also elusive for a bigger back. He is the type of guy who surprise early in training camp and become a contributor immediately.

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New York Jets: Linebackers Not Named Ingram or Upshaw

Chris Gross breaks down linebackers the New York Jets could target in the NFL Draft, not named Courtney Upshaw or Melvin Ingram

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

Nebraska’s Lavonte David is a popular sleeper on many boards, but at just over 6’0 230 lbs, he is much more suited as a 4-3 OLB and not the DE/OLB hybrid the Jets need in their 3-4 scheme. Andre Branch is certainly a possibility, but if the Jets are interested in him, they will most likely have to trade back into the 30-40 range. Branch has superlative size for the DE/OLB position at 6’4” 260 lbs. Although his strength is not ideal with only 19 reps on the bench, his speed is certainly adequate for his size with a 4.70 40-yard dash. Branch also has the explosiveness that you look for in evaluating a pass-rushing prospect, as he showed at the combine with his 10’ broad jump. The production is there as well. Branch posted 10.5 sacks last season including 4 against Virginia Tech, a game in which he also had 11 tackles, including 8 solos. If the Jets were to take Barron in the first round, Branch would certainly not be a bad consolation prize to losing out on Ingram or Upshaw, assuming that they could get him in the second.

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.

New York Jets: Mid/Late Round Wide Receiver Prospects

TOJ runs down the wide receivers the New York Jets could target in the middle and late rounds of the NFL Draft

It would be a shock if the New York Jets didn’t draft at a wide receiver with one of their ten picks in the NFL Draft next week. Their current depth chart beyond Santonio Holmes is second year slot receiver Jeremy Kerley, injury prone Chaz Schilens and reserve Patrick Turner.

There has been some speculation they could end up with Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd in the first round but it is both highly unlikely he will fall to them and that they would even choose him if he was on the board at that point. They have more pressing needs at pass rusher and safety. It is more likely the Jets will spend either their 2nd, 3rd, 5th or one of their 6th or 7th round picks on a receiver. Let’s review some of the players they could target in later rounds –

Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina – 6’3, 216 pounds, 4.48 forty – Jeffery would be a second round target. He was highly productive in college but there are questions about his ability to separate and keep his weight down. Apparently Jeffery loves to eat and has a tough time keeping weight off. I am not sure if you want him around Rex Ryan. In all seriousness, the Jets would probably take a long look at him with their 2nd rounder if he was still available and he has the ability to compete immediately for a starting position.

Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers – 6’2, 211 pounds, 4.67 forty – There is more of a chance of him being available than Jeffery for the Jets in round two but I am not sure how high they are on him. I think they’d like a guy with a little more size and speed. Sanu is a crisp route runner with very good hands but he won’t provide many explosive plays at the next level.

Reuben Randle, LSU – 6’3, 210 pounds, 4.55 forty – Another second round target. Many are projecting Randle to be a solid possession receiver at the next level but question his ability to consistently get separation and create big plays.

Nick Toon, Wisconsin – 6’2, 215 pounds, 4.54 forty – A third round target. Toon has been a player Jets fans have been calling for since last college football season simply because of his last name. He is the son of former Jets great Al Toon. He would be a very good value pick at this point. Toon does everything well but nothing great and lacks top end speed. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he stepped right into being a productive starter.

Brian Quick, Appalachian State – 6’4, 220 pounds, 4.55 forty – A third round target who was productive throughout his college career. He projects as a very good red-zone threat. But can he consistently get separation between the 20s?

Joe Adams, Arkansas – 5’11, 179 pounds, 4.55 forty – He lacks the size the Jets are looking for but plays quicker than his forty time. He also runs well after the catch. The problem is he might best suited for the slot, where the Jets already have Jeremy Kerley ready to take over full time. Adams is generally projected as a 4th round player so the Jets may have to move up from their 5th round selection to get him.

Marvin McNutt, Iowa – 6’3, 215 pounds, 4.54 forty – A mid-round prospect who could end up producing more than many of the players selected in front of him. He has the skill set the Jets desperately need with his combination of size and speed. McNutt made his share of big plays down the field in college despite questions about his ability to gain separation against top end cornerbacks.

Gerrell Robinson, Arizona State – 6’3, 227 pounds, 4.62 forty – Great size but doesn’t have good outside speed. Many think he is a one year wonder who could be a bust at the next level. Robinson would be 6th or 7th round pick and could be worth a flier with one of the team’s compensatory picks.

T.J. Graham, North Carolina State – 5’11, 188 pounds, 4.41 forty – A burner who has the ability to return kicks. He wasn’t highly productive in college but could be a good deep threat and special teams player. Another 6th or 7th round prospect.

New York Jets Draft Scenarios: What Are The Best Options?

Chris reviews the New York Jets options at number 16 in the first round of the draft

Check out Turn On The Jets most recent mock draft projection for the New York Jets by myself and then where Chris Gross argues about my undervaluing of Courtney Upshaw. Today Chris reviews the Jets primary options with the 16th overall pick. I will be publishing my updated mock draft this Friday and then a full first round mock draft next Wednesday.

Take it away Chris… – JC

When it comes to the New York Jets,  there is a number of ways they could go with their first selection. So who will it be? Here are the options the Jets might consider, ranking from top to bottom in terms of what I think they should do.

1A – Stay put at 16 and Draft Courtney Upshaw – I’ve said this before in a previous article, I think Upshaw is unfairly falling down draft boards. He has everything the Jets need as an outside linebacker: pass rush ability, every down capability, high motor, and plays his best football in big games.

1B – Trade Up for Melvin Ingram – In my defense of Upshaw, I made note that I do not think the Jets would be making a bad move in trading up for Ingram. However, these two players are similar enough for the Jets to not sacrifice the picks and stay put at 16. However, if Mike T and Rex love Ingram enough, I am on board for the move and would not hate to see them grab the South Carolina product.

2 – Jump Ahead of Dallas and Grab Mark Barron – It is no secret the Jets need help at the Safety position. Even with the signing of LaRon Landry, Barron is a high quality young prospect who could be a top tier Safety in this league for years to come. In a division where you play Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez twice a year, safety is one position you can never have enough depth at.

3 – Do Whatever it Takes to Get a Right Tackle – Whether this means trading into the top 10 and drafting Iowa’s Riley Reiff or trading down for someone like Cordy Glenn from Georgia or Jonathan Martin of Stanford, the Jets would not be killing themselves in selecting an Offensive Tackle. We all know how poor the play at Right Tackle was last season, which in my opinion was the biggest factor in Sanchez struggling at times. However, I still firmly believe that Gang Green has full intentions of entering training camp with Ducasse and Hunter battling it out, so I wouldn’t put a lot of faith into a move like this. Still, it cannot be ruled completely out.

4 – Move up into the top 10 and draft Michael Floyd – I am completely against this move, only because I think the Jets have too many needs to take a wide receiver that I am not completely sold on. In an offense that lacks a WR who has the ability to stretch the field, Floyd had only one catch over 35 yards last season, and has had some off the field issues. I am not saying that he will not be a good pro, but for what New York needs, I think this would be far too great a risk. However, with only Chaz Schilens and Jeremy Kerley opposite Santonio Holmes, this is not completely out of the question.

5 – Sell the farm and trade up for Trent Richardson – I know, on the surface this seems crazy. But if the Jets are truly committed to returning to ground and pound, what better way to do that then to pair this year’s top running back prospect with Shonn Greene and Tim Tebow, who is expected to see a lot of time at H-Back, for the toughest, most lethal backfield in the draft. Clearly, the Jets have too many other needs to make a move like this, but with Mike Tannenbaum, we can never say never. Ideally, the Jets make one of the other 5 moves, and address running back in the later rounds, possibly with Miami’s Lamar Miller or LaMichael James out of Oregon, but would anyone truly hate seeing Richardson in Green and White next year?

If I could have it my way, I’d have New York stay put at 16 and take Upshaw, while either trading back into the first round for S Harrison Smith, or waiting to grab Lamar Miller in the second, if available. Miller has the home run speed the Jets lacked on offense last year (4.38 40), which would be fantastic paired with Greene and Tebow grinding out the tough yards.

Analysis Of New York Jets 2012 Schedule

An analysis of the New York Jets 2012 schedule

Full New York Jets 2012 Schedule

When it comes to analyzing the NFL schedule, it is crucial to keep in mind how much things will change from now until these games are actually played. If you follow the league, you understand the turnover from year to year and even from week to week. That being said, who doesn’t want to pick through this right now? Let’s take a closer look –

Bills Mafia – The New York Jets open and close the season with the Buffalo Bills…or Fredo of the AFC East as I like to call them. You can be sure that everybody will be picking the Bills to eclipse the Jets in the AFC East as the main competitor to the New England Patriots. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets were underdogs despite being at home week 1. They have a great opportunity to knock the air out of the Bills hype balloon right out of the gate.

Rough Start – The Jets play three playoff teams from 2011, outside of the New England Patriots and all three of them come before week 6. In week 2 they are at Pittsburgh, in week 4 they are home against San Francisco and then in week 5 they will be at home on Monday Night against Houston. Plenty of people will be picking a 49ers/Texans Super Bowl…the Jets get them back to back in their building.

Perfect Split – Week 9 is the bye week for the Jets, which splits the season perfectly in half. In the first half, they have 5 home games and 3 road games. In the second half, they have 5 road games and 3 home games. Yet, they don’t play a single team who made the playoffs last year outside of New England.

Primetime – 4 of them for the Jets, including the headliner home Thanksgiving game against New England. It is hard to find another game to be more excited about. Start telling your family now you’ll be busy for the holiday…

Divisional Breakdown – The Jets have Buffalo in week 1 and week 17, New England in week 7 and week 12 and Miami in week 3 and week 8.

Friendly Break – The bye week is directly before the Jets cross country trip to play in Seattle.

Rough Break – After Seattle, the Jets play in St. Louis and then have 4 days to get ready for New England on Thanksgiving at home.

No predictions yet…we will have enough of those on the draft in the next week

New York Jets 2012 Schedule

The New York Jets 2012 schedule

Here is the New York Jets 2012 Schedule

Week 1: Vs. Buffalo, 1 PM

Week 2: At Pittsburgh, 4:15 PM

Week 3: At Miami, 1 PM

Week 4: Vs San Francisco, 1 PM

Week 5: Vs Houston, 8:30 PM (Monday Night)

Week 6: Vs Colts, 1 PM

Week 7: At Pats, 4:15 PM

Week 8: Vs Miami, 1 PM

Week 9: Bye

Week 10: At Seattle, 4:05 PM

Week 11: At St. Louis, 1 PM

Week 12: Vs. New England, 8:20 PM (Thanksgiving Night)

Week 13: Vs. Arizona, 1 PM

Week 14: At Jacksonville, 1 PM

Week 15: At Tennessee, 8:30 PM (Monday Night)

Week 16: Vs San Diego, 8:20 PM (Sunday Night * Could Be Flexed)

Week 17: At Buffalo, 1 PM

Bring on the Bills

Analysis coming shortly…

New York Jets: Expanding Tebow Past Quarterback Is Smart Move

The New York Jets plan to use Tim Tebow as more than a quarterback is a wise decision

The early talk out of the New York Jets first voluntary workouts yesterday is that Tim Tebow will not just be used as a backup quarterback but will also line up at H-Back, fullback, running back and the personal protector on the punt team. This is a smart decision that will allow the Jets to both maximize Tebow’s skill set and add another dimension to their offense and special teams.

If Tebow is going to be on the field 20-25 snaps a game as Rex Ryan indicated. You don’t want him throwing the football on anywhere a high percentage of them. You also want him disrupting Mark Sanchez’s rhythm as little as possible. Tebow lined up as H-Back or running back provides the threat of a trick play or given his size and running skill set, the opportunity to simply hand the football off or throw a screen pass to a strong runner.

You are maximizing your investment on Tebow if he is your number two quarterback, Wildcat quarterback, number three running back and backup H-Back, along with him contributing on special teams.

The potential for Tebow on Mike Westhoff’s punt and kick units is exciting. When lined up as a personal protector, there is a constant threat for a fake. If he is the team’s holder, the same threat is there. If you line up to punt on 4th and 3 from the 50 yard line, you can have Tebow take a shotgun snap and hopefully barrel through a lane for the first down or pull up and deliver a short pass to one of the ends.

Ideally, Tebow’s presence will push Sanchez to performing more consistently and the Jets will use Tebow in enough ways to fill up the stat sheet. How about 20 snaps that have Tebow finishing with 5 carries for 25 yards, with 3 of those carries converting first downs, 2/2 passing for 15 yards, 1 reception for 10 yards, and a special teams tackle along with serving as a valuable decoy on the rest of plays?

It could happen if the Jets are smart about his usage.

New York Jets: Safety Needs Multiple Player Solution

The New York Jets current depth chart at safety needs more than one player added to it

The New York Jets current depth chart at safety is almost as scary as their depth chart at right tackle. Right now their starters would be LaRon Landry who hasn’t played a full 16 games since 2008 and Eric Smith, who in comparison to Landry would be relied upon to be the primary coverage safety. The top two backups? Tracy Wilson who has never played a snap in the NFL and the recently signed DeAngelo Smith who didn’t play in the NFL last season.

The problems with this depth chart can’t be solved with one draft pick, especially if that pick comes in the second or third round. Unless the Jets draft Mark Barron in the first round, you can’t bank on your draft pick to walk in, immediately take over the starting role and keep it for the entire 16 games.

In a perfect world, Landry will play the full season at strong safety, your draft pick will learn the defense quickly and be a capable starter at free safety as a rookie and Eric Smith will provide the needed depth at both spots, performing in the situational role he has always thrived in. Yet, this isn’t a perfect world which is why the Jets are paying Landry on a week to week basis and went hard after Reggie Nelson to pair with him but unfortunately came up short.

As it stands now and on the assumption the Jets add a draft pick at safety, it is more than likely Landry will miss a few games leading to Smith being overextended as a starter again and a rookie, especially if it is a 2nd or 3rd rounder, being overextended as well.

The Jets are going to need more than one addition at the safety position. Jim Leonhard is a logical addition if his rehab continues to go well. If Barron is taken in the first round, he is starting from day one and Leonhard is a clear cut backup which is where he should start the season off. If the Jets end up with somebody like Harrison Smith, George Iloka, or Markelle Martin. They may need to add a better option than Leonhard, whether that is Yeremiah Bell or a player acquired via trade.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets looked to boost their depth by spending one of their 6th or 7th round picks on a safety. They are thin enough right now where you can justify taking two safeties in one draft.

Check out TOJ’s selection for the Jets in the Zone Blitz Mock Draft

New York Jets: Day One Of New Offense

The New York Jets process of learning Tony Sparano’s new offense officially started today

The headlines surrounding the New York Jets first day of voluntary workouts centered on Santonio Holmes tone with reporters and his entertaining decision to Tweet a picture of himself wearing a shirt that said “captain.” Personally, I couldn’t give a damn if Holmes gave an attitude to reporters and how could you not crack a smile at that picture?

Let’s talk about more important things. In case you haven’t noticed, the Jets roster isn’t going to look much different from last season. They are relying on improvement to come from within and from a new offensive system led by Tony Sparano.

Not only does Sparano have to teach starting quarterback Mark Sanchez a new offense, different from the only one he has ever learned in the NFL, he needs to figure out how to best incorporate Tim Tebow’s Wildcat/Option package. He also needs to help the Jets rediscover their elite power running game, which was absent last year and find a way to hit big plays down the field in the passing game. Should be a busy man, no?

At a minimum, Tebow’s arrival should make the running game more dangerous and dynamic. If designed properly there will be more lanes for Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight from Tebow’s presence under center. Yet, the Jets will need Tebow to not just be their backup quarterback but be a primary ball carrying option. Greene hasn’t proven to be the “bell cow” the team thought he could be and McKnight, despite showing potential, hasn’t shown he is capable of being a 1B option full time.

Basically you are hoping Greene can be a 1A when he has produced like a 1B and that McKnight can be a 1B when he has produced like a backup. If they can both improve and Tebow gives them 5-10 strong carries a game, the Jets have the makings a capable three headed monster running the football. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they spent a late round pick on a running back to compete with Bilal Powell for a roster spot.

In the passing game, Sparano must find a way to compensate for Wayne Hunter or Vladimir Ducasse’s shortcomings at right tackle in pass protection. If the Jets can protect Sanchez, he has the ability to connect on passes down the field and outside of the hashes, areas he rarely had the opportunity to throw to in Brian Schottenheimer’s scheme.

Who will stretch the field? Santonio Holmes isn’t a true vertical receiver. He works better in the intermediate passing game and then making people miss after the catch. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t shake a defender with a double move every now and then, as he did in the Washington game last season on his game winning catch. Chaz Schilens has the top end speed and the size to be a good candidate to run go routes down the sideline, but can he stay healthy and can he produce consistently? Perhaps at a minimum he can give the Jets a Dedric Ward type threat. In 1998, Ward caught only 25 passes but averaged 19.8 yards per catch and hauled in 4 long touchdowns.

Dustin Keller and Jeremy Kerley both have the ability to get down the seam. Yet, with Kerley I would expect him to be used in a Davone Bess type role in Sparano’s offense, working in the slot and primarily in the short passing game. Bess averaged between 10 and 10.5 yards per catch the last four seasons under Sparano.

When it comes to Keller, interestingly enough Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano has averaged more yards per catch in three of the last four seasons. Most people have talked about Sparano using the tight end primarily as a blocker yet he has found ways to create a higher YPC for Fasano, despite him being much less than athletic and versatile than Keller. As we say every year, Keller has the skill set to consistently be a big play weapon. Can Sparano get the most out of him and have him picking up the big chunks of yardage this offense desperately needs?

Despite a lack of depth of receiver, running back, and right tackle, this offense still has talent. It is now up to Sparano to do what Brian Schottenheimer couldn’t, maximize that talent.

Why The Jets Would Be Foolish To Pass On Upshaw

Chris Gross makes the case for Courtney Upshaw, whose stock has fell recently in the NFL Draft

If you haven’t seen our updated mock draft yet, check it out from Friday. Today we have TOJ writer Chris Gross playing Devil’s Advocate to his editor and others out there who are aren’t high on Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw.

As the 2012 NFL Draft draws closer each day, prospects continue to see their stocks rise and plummet on what seems to be an hourly basis. One player in particular who has been extremely up and down since the end of the college football season is Alabama OLB/DE Courtney Upshaw. The last time scouts saw Upshaw with pads on he was celebrating the Crimson Tide’s National Championship victory over SEC rival LSU. After that game, the idea of Upshaw falling to the Jets at the 16th pick in the draft seemed extremely far fetched. Jets fans knew what Upshaw could bring to the team, but at that point, it just did not seem realistic that New York could obtain him without trading up.

However, as weeks have progressed into months this offseason, Upshaw has seen his stock dramatically fall, with fellow OLB/DE draft prospects Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram jumping ahead of him in just about every analyst’s rankings. As is the case for every draft, this practice is expected. Countless analysts and scouts lose sight of production and focus heavily on testing numbers during this time of year. Since Upshaw did not blow anyone away with his pro day numbers in comparison to Ingram and Coples, he has been drastically plummeting down draft boards. Several draft experts currently have him available at pick 16 in their latest mock drafts with the Jets passing on him. However, passing on Upshaw would be a horrible mistake for New York, one that could end up being Kyle Brady/Warren Sapp like.

Ingram and Coples are both solid prospects. Although the Jets would be foolish to trade up for Coples, it would not be a bad move to do so for Ingram. As we all know, Mike Tannenbaum has yet to miss on trading up for someone, so if he does it, believe that it is in good faith and knowledge. However, there is no reason for them to sacrifice draft picks if it looks like Upshaw will be available at pick 16. Ingram and Upshaw have very similar career statistics. Both had minor injuries early in their collegiate careers and did not start playing significantly until their junior and senior seasons. During both of those years Upshaw had 16.5 sacks and 104 tackles. Ingram, on the other hand, had 19 sacks while recording 75 tackles.

Statistically, these players are both very close, and both would help the Jets tremendously at OLB, the position this defense is literally starving for. While Ingram is seemingly the more athletic, pass rushing type, one cannot argue Upshaw’s overall production. In his last two seasons at Alabama, he had only 2.5 less sacks than Ingram, while recording nearly 30 more tackles. Testing numbers certainly don’t account for on the field production.

Aside from overall statistics and numbers, Upshaw possesses the greatest intangible that gets left out of draft evaluations, the intangible that puts him above every prospect at his position in this year’s draft, the ability to play big in big games. Not only does Upshaw have the big game experience, playing on arguably the best defense in the best conference in college football the past two seasons, but he has also has risen to the challenge in every big game he has played in. This past season alone, 9 of his 9.5 sacks came against SEC opponents. 2 of those were against rival Auburn, while he recorded 1 in each of the matchups against LSU, which proved to be the best two defensive games college football has seen in recent years.

Upshaw has answered the calling when its mattered the most, and this should certainly not be overlooked. The bottom line is that Upshaw has the “it” factor that only few players in every draft posses. Although trading up for Ingram would certainly not hurt the Jets, it would serve them right to wait at 16 and take Upshaw, who has played his best football on the biggest stages. Not only is his position a dire need for Gang Green, but so are his intangibles. Other than Darrelle Revis and David Harris, there were very few members of the Jets defense who came up in big moments last season. New York could certainly use another guy like this to bring back the vaunted defense that helped them to two straight AFC title games.