The NFL Draft is only 22 days away. Let’s take a look around at what various mock drafts have the New York Jets doing with the 16th overall pick and then we will give our current projection:
Don Banks, Sports Illustrated – Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com – Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama
Mel Kiper Jr, ESPN – Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama
Todd McShay, ESPN – Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama
Walter Football – Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama
Rob Rang, CBS – Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
Pete Prisco, CBS – Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama
Draft Countdown – Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama
TOJ – Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama
Analysis: Roll Tide. Barron and Upshaw have been popular picks for the Jets since the day the season ended. Both players were key parts of a National Championship defense and both players fill huge areas of need for the Jets. At this point it seems that Upshaw is the pass rusher who matches up the best to the Jets spot in the draft. Melvin Ingram and Quinton Coples should both be off the board. Andre Branch probably could be selected in the late 20s. Despite rumors of the Cowboys being interested, #16 seems a little high for Barron who the Jets might be able to trade back a few spots and still grab. Floyd’s stock has been soaring and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him selected in the top ten.
Upshaw would be a solid selection, although there should be concern about him fitting into the 3-4 outside linebacker role. At 279 pounds and lacking an elite burst off the ball, Upshaw could be Calvin Pace 2.0. A player good against the run, who struggles in coverage and gives you 6-8 sacks per year. He has also had knee issues over the past few months.
At the moment, Upshaw does seem like the safest bet for the Jets at 16, if he is still on the board. Here are TOJ’s projections as of right now in descending order of likelihood
5. Stay Put and Take Michael Floyd – It is hard to see the Jets prioritizing a receiver in the first round with the type of offense they plan to run but Floyd’s talent could be too much to ignore if he is still available at 16.
4. Trade Up For Melvin Ingram/Quinton Coples – Mike Tannenbaum has never been shy about going to get his guy. It would cost the Jets a hefty price to move into the 7-9 range needed to select one of these guys but they could view Ingram’s value as too much to ignore.
3. Trade Down For Andre Branch – Depending on how the board breaks, the Jets could look to move back 10-12 spots and select Branch, a player they are apparently pretty high on while accumulating another pick.
2. Stay Put Or Trade Down A Few Spots For Mark Barron – The Jets could be content to take Barron at #16 if Upshaw is off the board or they could trade back a few spots and look to still grab him. An intriguing scenario could arise if the Jets trade back to the 27-29 range for Branch, see Barron beginning to fall and then use the extra pick/picks acquired in the Branch trade to hop into the first with a second pick and maybe grab both.
1. Stay Put And Take Courtney Upshaw – Seems like the safest bet at the time.