Turn On The Jets 12 Pack: Eyes On The AFC East

The TOJ 12 pack looks at the moves made in the AFC East that should get the New York Jets attention

In case you haven’t noticed, all three of the New York Jets division rivals have been fairly active this off-season. Today’s 12 pack is dedicated to examining which of those moves will have the biggest impact. I can promise you the Jets will be a consensus pick to battle for last place with Miami this year while Buffalo will be everybody’s sweetheart pick to challenge New England and grab a playoff spot. To that I say…good. I am glad this team is back to playing with low expectations and in more of an underdog role.

12. Watch Him – Under the radar signing, corner/safety Richard Marshall going to Miami. He is a good, versatile player who will be a nice addition to that defense.

11. Bit Pieces – New England made a handful of minor moves on their defense by signing Jonathan Fanene, Bobby Carpenter, and ex-Jet Marquice Cole. These are the kind of transactions that don’t get much press but then you see all three of them making impact plays for the Patriots.

10. Mid-Round Steals – Credit Buffalo for getting great value in the second and third round of the NFL Draft. Cordy Glenn has a good chance to start immediately at tackle and I wouldn’t be surprised to see wide receiver T.J. Graham starting by the end of the year.

9. Quiet Secondary – New England didn’t make any major splashes in improving their consistently awful secondary this off-season. However, keep an eye on free agent Steve Gregory and second round pick Tavon Wilson to make immediate impacts at the safety position.

8. We Want An Island – Buffalo selected highly touted cornerback Stephon Gilmore in the first round to help sure up the back end of their secondary. He has the skill set to make an immediate impact on a defense that allowed Mark Sanchez to throw four touchdowns against it last season in a single game.

7. No Law Firm – New England decided to let BenJarvus Green-Ellis leave for Cincinnati in a somewhat surprising move. They will be relying heavily on Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen to step up to fill the void. Personally, I am happy to see Green-Ellis go. He was a savvy, hard running and productive back. I wouldn’t be surprised if New England added Joseph Addai in the coming weeks.

6. Light On Receivers – Miami surprisingly shipped wide receiver Brandon Marshall off to Chicago in a trade, leaving them thin at the wide receiver position unless you consider Brian Hartline and Davone Bess major threats.

5. Linebacker Nation – New England drafted two players in the first round to boost their pass rush and linebacker play, by grabbing Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower. Jones will line up all over New England’s formation and Hightower should be an instant upgrade at inside linebacker.

4. If It Ain’t Broke, Or Was It? – Buffalo decided to continue to roll with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their quarterback and Stevie Johnson as their top wideout. One thing that everybody forgets when discussing the Bills as a contender is that Ryan Fitzpatrick, outside of a few early season flashes…kind of sucks. Johnson has a weird ability to get open on Darrelle Revis on short and intermediate routes but is also an idiot and a loose cannon who frequently hurts his team more than he helps it.

3. Receivers On Receivers – New England had depth issues at wide receiver last year…not anymore. They added Brandon Lloyd, who is a viable deep threat and one of the more productive receivers in the league the past few years, along with Jabar Gaffney, Anthony Gonzalez, and Donte Stallworth. So long Ochocinco.

2. Miami Drafts Tannehill – The Dolphins finally decided to take a quarterback in the first round, not the second round. It is hard to imagine a scenario where Tannehill doesn’t start at some point this season, with apologies to the immortal Matt Moore and David Garrard. Opinions were mixed on him coming out of college, so he could be a boom or bust prospect. However, we do know there were not mixed opinions on his wife.

1. Buffalo Gets After The Quarterback – The biggest free agent signing of the NFL off-season not involving Peyton Manning was the Buffalo Bills getting Mario Williams to lead the improvement of their stagnant pass rush. They supplemented the move by bringing in Mark Anderson who had 10.5 sacks last season for New England. The popular line of thought is that Buffalo has the best front seven in football now, we’ll see about that. Either way, Tony Sparano has his work cut out for him with Wayne Hunter, Vlad Ducasse and Caleb Schlauderaff all potential parts of the line.

New York Jets Draft Pick Analysis: Running Back Terrance Ganaway

Chris Gross breaks down New York Jets 6th round pick, running back Terrance Ganaway

TOJ’s very own Mike Mayock, Chris Gross has been breaking down all of the New York Jets draft picks in the film room. Check our his previous entries –

Today we look at 6th round pick, running back Terrance Ganaway.

Yesterday at Turn On The Jets, we reviewed the New York Jets selection of Robert T. Griffin out of Baylor University. Just prior to selecting Griffin with the 203rd overall pick, the Jets used the 202nd pick to obtain his teammate, Running Back Terrance Ganaway. Ganaway had a very productive senior season at Baylor last year, rushing for 1,547 yards and 21 touchdowns on just 250 carries, while playing alongside two first round selections in QB Robert Griffin III and WR Kendall Wright. Ganaway is a very big back at 6’0” 240 lbs, and will pair with Shonn Greene (5’11” 226 lbs) and Tim Tebow (6’3” 236 lbs) to form one of the biggest, most powerful backfields in the NFL. However, Ganaway is more than simply a power back, and will bring an interesting dynamic to the Jets’ run game this season.

One of the things about Terrance Ganaway that is very eye opening on film is how elusive he is for his size. Being such a big running back, you’d expect him to be strictly a downhill power threat. However, he has repeatedly shown the ability to make people miss, while displaying an excellent burst. Ganaway has great patience in allowing his blocks to develop, coupled with a fantastic ability to hit the seam and take off the second it opens. He has exceptional vision, and when he gets to the second level he is deceptively shifty and agile, making his game very multidimensional.

Along with his elusiveness, Ganaway is an extremely strong runner. Rather than being strictly powerful, by displaying the ability to run people over on contact, Ganaway is flat out strong. Very rarely does just one player take him down, and he has dragged and pulled defenders on multiple occasions. He is great after contact and falls forward when tackled, rather than being knocked backwards.

Ganaway will always fight for extra yardage, and proved to be a workhorse in every phase of the game. He not only runs hard, but simply plays hard. Not once did he take a play off on film, displaying an excellent drive and great work ethic. Whether he is getting the ball, blocking, or running a route, Ganaway is going 100 mph, 100 percent of the time. His pass blocking is not perfect, but very effective. He is tough, does not shy away from contact, and most importantly is more than willing to block. His technique could use a little work, as he tends to lunge and drop his head at times, however he has proved to be an effective blocker, overall. Ganaway’s ability to block is going to help him tremendously at the next level, as it will keep defenses honest when he enters the game. A running back that is unable to block in the NFL simply becomes one dimensional, and defenses know to key them as they’re the most likely to get the ball when they check in.

With the several aspects of Ganaway’s game that are good and promising, there are certainly legitimate red flags that caused the former Baylor back to fall to the sixth round. His senior year was his only significant year of production and playing time. In 2010 and 2009, he had a combined 114 carries for just 510 yards. He ran for 5 touchdowns in ’09, but just 2 the following year, so there are definitely some concerns about his consistency. Ganaway also does not possess elite receiving skills, nor does he have much experience in this area with only 12 career catches, but he hasn’t proved to be completely awful here. He is certainly capable of catching passes, he just needs to prove he can do it more regularly.

Ganaway’s lack of elite top end speed was also a cause for his slide in the draft, however he plays much faster than his 4.67 40 time shows. He was not caught from behind once on film, and claims to have never been in his entire playing career. Clearly, this is bound to happen at some point in the NFL, but he certainly shows to be much faster than he appears on paper.

The good thing about Ganaway is that he has tremendous amount of room to grow. He can complement Greene and Tebow in the Jets power running game, bringing his elusiveness and agility as a big back, to add a very interesting dynamic to the Jets’ sudden surplus of runners. I’d expect Ganaway to couple with these two to wear defenses down and open up the possibility of big plays, with Joe McKnight playing the role of the home run hitter out of the backfield.

I would not necessarily expect Ganaway to be a third down back due to his lack of receiving experience out of the backfield, however he has the ability to develop into this role in the future. He will certainly be a viable option to spell Shonn Greene, and has proved to be conditioned and durable enough to sustain long drives if necessary.

Ganaway’s role on the 2012 Jets will most likely come down to how well the offensive staff feels he can complement the other runners, something I think he will do very well. I am not sure how much the play of Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell will affect his status, because their style of play differs so greatly. I expect Greene to be the main workhorse, with Tebow running in select formations, and Ganaway developing into Greene’s primary backup. The Jets have assisted in aiding their identity of becoming a run first team with big play potential. Greene and Ganaway have the ability to wear down defenses, while McKnight and 2nd round pick Stephen Hill possess the quick strike, home run threat.

Editor’s Notes – I love Ganaway’s value in the sixth round. He has the size, downhill running style and option experience to be a perfect fit in the Jets offense this season and become an immediate contributor. Personally, I think his upside is substantially higher than Bilal Powell’s and he will be the backup to Shonn Greene this year while playing in a certain package of plays, primarily with Tim Tebow. His pass protection and receiving have a long way to go but the size and motor are hard to ignore. Outside of Stephen Hill and DeMario Davis, Ganaway is the draft pick I am most excited about.

New York Jets Draft Pick Analysis: Guard Robert T. Griffin

Chris Gross breaks down New York Jets 6th round draft pick guard Robert T. Griffin

Chris Gross will be in the film room for Turn On The Jets breaking down all eight of the New York Jets draft selections. Today we look at 6th round pick, guard Robert T. Griffin. (At the bottom of the article, I offer a brief commentary on Griffin from the film I have watched). – JC

With their last of three selections in round six of the 2012 NFL Draft, the New York Jets selected Guard Robert T. Griffin out of Baylor University. The Jets were expected to select an offensive lineman at some point in the draft due to the lack of depth up front. However, it came as a surprise to many that New York opted to wait until the end of the sixth round to finally pull the trigger on one of the many big men available this year. Griffin certainly has impressive size at over 6’6” 340 lbs, but there are several aspects of his game that currently prevent him from utilizing his massive frame.

The biggest flaw in Griffin’s game that was exposed in the wide-open offense that was run at Baylor is his lack of athleticism. Although he shows flashes of quickness and agility at times, Griffin more often than not struggles immensely in space. He was frequently asked to pull last season, but was very ineffective in this area. There were times when he blocked no one, times when he showed poor balance and coordination by falling on his face, and times when he flat out ran into one of his teammates. Griffin also showed very poor blocking ability at the second level. When asked to move beyond the line of scrimmage to block linebackers, something very common for any guard to do, Griffin never seemed to be able to get his feet underneath him, and would either be beaten with agility or by strength. His poor balance and lack of center of gravity would make him an easy target for linebackers to shed at their disposal.

Griffin also does not posses the footwork that you would look for in an NFL offensive lineman. He is not very explosive out of his stance, and has a hard time sliding in pass coverage. He also has a tendency to lean his shoulders forward leaving him extremely vulnerable to pass rush moves of both speed and strength. On some plays, Griffin looks as if he is lost, completely unaware of his assignment, causing him to turn his shoulders and allow defenders to come off his backside and make a play. Overall, his footwork is very inconsistent. In short spans, Griffin’s feet can look quick and agile, but the majority of the time his footwork is slow and ineffective in getting his massive frame to be in any position of use.

Although he has several inconsistencies and imperfections, Griffin does do some things well. He has great tenacity, and seems most comfortable in straight on man blocking. The vast majority of the time when defenders were lined up directly over him, Griffin would show the ability to get into them and use his strength and size to drive them off the ball. His footwork is best shown in his kick out blocks, as he proved to be able to get his head inside of defenders and drive them toward the sideline, opening running lanes up the middle.

However, he sometimes does not use his hands to his advantage. Griffin has a very poor habit of trying to block with his shoulders, which allows defenders to get into him and gain the leverage needed to move him around as they please. He also has a tendency to play far too high, allowing defenders to gain even more leverage on him. In order to develop successfully, he needs to work on staying low and improving his hand placement in the worst of ways.

There is undoubtedly some cause for concern in the play of the former Baylor guard. However, it makes some sense that he was appealing to the Jets. First of all, he was, as previously stated, the last of three sixth round selections, so there was very little risk in taking him. Also, his size is certainly attractive. If he can ever learn to apply the proper skill to his frame, he will have tremendous success in the NFL, but that is a very big “if.”

Griffin does have decent man blocking skills, so it isn’t a complete mystery as to why Tony Sparano and the offensive staff would be open to working with this young man. The bottom line is that he will certainly need time to develop. What will work in his favor for this season is the potential lack of depth along the offensive line. Depending on how the remainder of free agency plays out, Griffin could make the active roster simply for the need of an extra body. However, he would be much better suited on the practice squad for a season or two in order to grow and develop as an NFL lineman. Sparano is surely the right man to aid in his development, and at the point in the draft in which he was selected, Griffin’s potential payoff outweighs any risk associated with him. Because of his size, he does have tremendous upside. However, don’t expect anything too soon, as he is an extremely raw product.

New York waiting until the sixth round of the draft to select a lineman, especially one who is going to be such a work in progress, only solidifies the notion that they are ready to move into camp with Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse competing for the starting job at Right Tackle. Mike Tannenbaum and the coaching staff can say that Austin Howard will be in the mix as well, but everyone associated with this team knows that is simply untrue. Expect the Jets to look into adding a veteran that is still left on the free agent market at some point before the season, perhaps Vernon Carey, whose name has come up countless times due to his familiarity with Sparano. As for Griffin, he is a long way away from becoming a capable offensive lineman in this league, if ever.

Editor’s Notes – From the Baylor film I watched, Griffin doesn’t look like a player who merited a draft pick. The Jets clearly picked him because of his size and their faith in Tony Sparano. Griffin did show good drive blocking skills when he could get on his man, which does translate well to this offense. However he is very, very raw and simply gets lost out there way too much. His field awareness and ability to move around or get to the second level have a long way to go. He looks like the type of player to store on the practice squad for a couple of years.

New York Jets Rookie Camp – The Path To Playing Time

How can the 2012 New York Jets draft picks find themselves playing time this season?

The New York Jets eight draft picks and a large collection of undrafted free agents and tryout players will gather for a mini-camp this weekend. Focusing down on the eight draft picks, what will it take for each of them to receive playing time this season? Who will be their primary competition? Let’s take a closer look –

Quinton Coples – Regardless of whether Coples starts at defensive end or not, he is going to see substantial reps on the defensive line rotation particularly on third downs. In a way Marcus Dixon, Kenrick Ellis and Mike DeVito are competing for playing time with him but in reality Coples has a much different skill set than all three and will likely be used in many unique ways by Rex Ryan. Ideally, at a minimum Coples is a pass rushing specialist this year and then sees the rest of his game develop in the coming years.

Stephen Hill – Unless he bombs out in the pre-season, Hill will be the opening day starter at split end. He has too much speed and size to keep on the bench. Chaz Schilens and Patrick Turner will be competing to be his backup but shouldn’t see anywhere near the amount of playing time Hill does this season.

DeMario Davis – Outside of Aaron Maybin, Davis will be the fastest of the Jets linebackers. While I do not think we will see him in a starting role this season unless there is an injury, he should fill in for Bart Scott at inside linebacker in certain packages and could also line up at outside linebacker for Bryan Thomas to utilize his ability to cover the tight end. He will be competing with players like Josh Mauga, Nick Bellore and Garret McIntyre but considering his skill set and where the Jets drafted him, I’d look for Davis to both make the roster and be a regular contributor on defense.

Josh Bush – Bush’s skill set make him the most natural free safety on the Jets roster. Unless he is beat out by Tracy Wilson or DeAngelo Smith, he should immediately contribute in a handful of defensive packages and be the top backup to Eric Smith who is technically the team’s free safety even though he is miscast in that role.

Terrance Ganaway – He will be competing with Bilal Powell to be active on a weekly basis and then competing with Joe McKnight and Shonn Greene for playing time. His comfort of playing in an option offense makes him an immediate candidate to be a factor on offense when Tim Tebow is under center. Don’t be surprised if Ganaway ends up contributing a few hundred yards of offense this season.

Robert T. Griffin – As our breakdown later in the day will show, Griffin has a long, long way to go before becoming a contributor on a NFL team. This season he will compete with Caleb Schlauderaff and Austin Howard for a spot on the active roster. However, it is much more likely he will end up on the practice squad.

Antonio AllenMake sure you click the link to read Chris Gross’ full breakdown of Allen, who should end up being LaRon Landry’s backup this season, a contributor as a blitzer and play special teams. I’d be surprised to see a journeyman like Tracy Wilson or DeAngelo Smith beat him out.

Jordan WhiteMake sure you click the link to read Chris Gross’ full breakdown of White. He will compete with Patrick Turner and Eron Riley for a roster spot and projects to backing up Jeremy Kerley in the slot if he can make the roster.

New York Jets Draft Pick Analysis: Safety Antonio Allen

Chris Gross breaks down New York Jets seventh round draft pick, safety Antonio Allen

Chris Gross will be in the film room for Turn On The Jets breaking down all eight of the New York Jets draft selections. Today we look at 7th round pick, safety Antonio Allen. (At the bottom of the article, I offer a brief commentary on White from the film I have watched). – JC

When watching game film of New York Jets seventh round selection Antonio Allen, one thing is obvious; he is very much a true Strong Safety. Having played the “Spur” position during his collegiate career at South Carolina, Allen was a rover type safety for the Gamecocks, a position that is almost a strong safety/outside linebacker hybrid. Very rarely was he ever lined up as a true safety, and often times he was placed right in the box alongside the linebackers. Allen’s experience here has allowed him to develop many qualities that should assist his play at the next level.

One thing that stands right out about the 2011-second team All-American is his willingness to tackle. Allen is certainly not afraid to make a big hit, and fills the gap just as good, if not better, than most linebackers do. He seems very comfortable in the box, and is excellent against the run, a vital need for a strong safety in the NFL. He is no stranger to physicality, as on some formations at South Carolina he would line up right on the line of scrimmage, even in a three point stance during some goal line situations. His ability to shed blocks is elite for his position, and he is very aggressive when taking on lead blockers and pulling lineman, one of the reasons he led his team’s defense with 88 tackles. Allen is a tough kid who plays a very physical brand of football.

While his play against the run is very good, his pass coverage skills will most likely be more important to his success in the NFL due to the style of football that is most prevalent around the league. The majority of teams are moving toward pass-oriented offenses, many of which are using two tight end sets, especially in the AFC East with New England leading the charge. Allen’s play in this area during his collegiate career was not necessarily elite, but impressive.

Early in the 2011 season, Allen seemed much more raw in his coverage skills than he did later on in the year. The primary flaw in his game was that he seemed unsure of what he wanted to do. He would repeatedly fail to engage the offensive player, whether it was a slot receiver or tight end, as he would hesitate and allow them to initiate the contact. He would then have to rely on his long frame (nearly 6’2”) and strength to compensate. Allen would frequently be indecisive at jamming players, waiting until the last possible second to do so, often causing him to lunge at his target. This would usually throw off his balance and leave him a step or two behind in coverage. Because of this, Allen had to rely on his excellent range and closing speed to make plays. Although he was successful at this at the college level (second on the team in interceptions with 3), receivers in the NFL will be faster, and he will have to be much more fundamentally sound in his technique to avoid falling behind in coverage.

As the year progressed, though, Allen seemed to become much more polished with his hand speed and coverage ability. Later in the season, he became confident in what he wanted to do, whether it was jam his player or run with them, making him very effective in this area. He is a tremendously strong player, and when he uses his hands violently on his jams, he has a great ability to throw off the route of the offensive player, including the tight ends that he was often times manned up on. This will be key to his success with the Jets, as New York is desperate for players who cannot only cover the tight end, but also players who can disrupt what they want to do. Allen will benefit greatly from the Jets’ defensive coaching staff, especially with their planned intent to emphasize schemes and technique on how to defend tight ends during the offseason.

One of the brightest spots in Allen’s game is his blitzing ability. He is excellent at timing his blitzes, making him a serious threat to rush the passer. Sometimes, he comes in a bit recklessly, causing him to miss some tackles and run by plays, but for the majority, he is fantastic in this area and excels more often than not.

Allen’s role with the Jets will likely be limited this season if LaRon Landry can stay healthy. However, his aggressiveness and superior blitzing ability should get him into some packages that will allow Rex Ryan to send him after the quarterback or disguise various blitzes and coverages. For his rookie season, I’d expect New York to use him much like it used James Ihedigbo a few years ago, primarily as a blitzer, with a heavy role on special teams. Allen will provide good insurance in the event that Landry does get hurt, and should benefit greatly learning underneath the former first round selection out of LSU. Allen certainly has the potential to develop into a very important piece of New York’s secondary in the coming years. How he progresses in his coverage ability will be the key to his success.

Editor’s Notes – Allen is built to be the edge blitzer that Rex Ryan loves using his defensive backs for. The James Ihedigbo comparison makes sense but I think Allen has more potential in pass coverage. By that I mean, he can be utilized to jam tight ends off the line and help in short to intermediate coverage. Even if the Jets add another veteran to the safety position, Allen should stick on the roster because he fits in perfectly as a backup to LaRon Landry. Unless Landry gets banged up this season, I would only expect to see Allen in a handful of select packages on defense and on special teams where he has the physical skills to be an immediate asset.

The Jets got great value with Allen in the 7th round and he could very well be their long term strong safety if he reaches his potential and is utilized properly.

New York Jets: One Step Faster…How About Three?

The New York Jets have made their primary goal this off-season to get faster…thank god

When talking with reporters yesterday, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan revealed the team motto for 2012 is “One Step Faster,” and Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine conceded the Jets were a “dinosaur” last year when it came to matching the increased speed of the league. It is encouraging to hear the coaching staff admitting a problem that was disturbing to watch last season.

To say the 2011 New York Jets were slow is an understatement. Plodding? Sluggish? Decrepit? These are the type of words that come to mind when I think of Plaxico Burress trying to get separation between the 20 yard lines, Shonn Greene racking up 2 yards a carry, and Calvin Pace and Bart Scott needing a sun dial to time their rush to the quarterback. The Jets couldn’t make a big play against a 9 man defense last year and had circles run around them by the faster offenses in the league.

How will this problem be remedied? Replacing Burress with rookie Stepehen Hill is a nice start. Hill runs a 4.3 forty while I think Burress might have run a 5.3 forty last season. Yes, Hill needs to refine his route running but at a minimum he has speed and size that a defense must respect and should open up things underneath for Dustin Keller and Santonio Holmes. Beyond that, Jeremy Kerley will have a more prominent role this season and provides very good quickness and speed from the slot position. Chaz Schilens will be reduced to a reserve role after the selection of Hill but still can be utilized in certain situations. If you go 4 wide with Holmes, Hill, Kerley, and Schilens there is some serious speed on outside and in the slot.

At running back, Greene is who he is and that is not a big play back. However, better usage of Joe McKnight will bring needed speed to the running back position. Hopefully Tony Sparano uses McKnight in some of the ways he used Reggie Bush last year and can get him out in space. Tim Tebow isn’t a burner but obviously brings a potential big play element running the football from the quarterback position in the Jets Wildcat.

On defense, draft picks Quinton Coples and DeMario Davis add immediate speed to the front seven, while the rest of the unit was asked to drop weight. Ideally, their additions to the line-up will help free up Aaron Maybin, the team’s top speed rusher and Muhammad Wilkerson, last year’s first round pick. Calvin Pace may actually even be able to crack 5 sacks this year.

In the back end, the Jets did add Josh Bush and Antonio Allen through the draft and signed LaRon Landry. None of these guys are true burners but they should be able to help in the coverage of tight ends. Allen and Landry have the skill set to be physical off the line with them and Bush is a natural free safety that can line up in the centerfield spot. It should also be noted that one of the reasons the Jets drafted the previous mentioned Davis at linebacker was because of his speed and ability to match up with tight ends.

Are the Jets going to be the greatest show on turf? No. But hopefully they can start making plays over 20 yards with some type of consistency and won’t be sluggish chasing after players like Darren McFadden, Rob Gronkowski, and Tim Tebow (well, we don’t have to worry about that anymore).

New York Jets Draft Pick Analysis: Wide Receiver Jordan White

Chris Gross breaks down New York Jets 7th round pick, wide receiver Jordan White.

Chris Gross will be in the film room for Turn On The Jets breaking down all eight of the New York Jets draft selections. Today we look at 7th round pick, wide receiver Jordan White. (At the bottom of the article, I offer a brief commentary on White from the film I have watched). – JC

With the 244th overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, the New York Jets selected Wide Receiver Jordan White out of Western Michigan. In a move that first seemed to be New York looking to add some wide receiver depth to increase the competition heading into camp, this selection has the potential to be much more significant to the Jets. When putting in the game film of Western Michigan from last season, there are several things about Jordan White that jump off the screen right away. He is very confident, extremely tough, and runs some of the best routes you will see from any wide receiver in the draft this year.

Before becoming the Jets’ version of Mr. Irrelevant, White was posting Biletnikoff worthy numbers at Western Michigan. Last season, he caught an astonishing 140 balls for 1,911 yards and 17 touchdowns. Remember, Biletnikoff Trophy winner Justin Blackmon had 121 receptions for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns. Not to compare the two, but White’s production as a Bronco should certainly be noted. In 2011, White also had 8 games with over 10 receptions, including a season high 16 against Toledo, a game in which he racked up 238 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had 7 multi touchdown games last year, and had at least one catch of 20 yards or more in every contest, including his season long 61 yarder against Ball State.

Prior to 2011, White also had 94 receptions for 1,378 yards and 10 touchdowns as a Junior. At Western Michigan, he was undoubtedly the workhorse of an offense that averaged over 35 points per game in 2011, while establishing himself as Quarterback Alex Carder’s unquestioned favorite target.

White’s immense production at Western Michigan can be linked to countless aspects of his game. His ability to find holes in coverages and create separation for himself is equivalent to, if not better than, some polished NFL veterans. He has excellent awareness, strong hands, and his route running has the capability of translating to the NFL immediately. He uses double moves effectively, and is very intelligent, constantly knowing when to cut routes short, or extend them.

One of the most important factors that hurt White’s draft stock was his limited sample of play against elite competition. Having played in the MAC West, White was hampered by the notion that he was excelling at a lower level, and could not have that same type of success in the NFL. However, in White’s small amount of play against more respected football programs, he rose to the calling in a big way. In 2011, three of his most productive games came against Big Ten opponents. In the season opener against Michigan, White had 12 catches for 119 yards. Against Illinois, who was ranked in the AP top 25 at the time, he tallied 14 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown. And in White’s last game as a Bronco, the 2011 Little Caesars Bowl against Purdue, he reeled in 13 balls for 265 yards and 1 touchdown. Although the experience may not be great, he has certainly shown that he can succeed against higher-level defenses when asked to.

Along with the notion of not having faced enough elite competition, White’s physical traits were most likely the reasons for his draft slide. He does not possess the elite size, standing just under 6’0” 208 lbs, nor does he have the speed (4.69 40) to make him a number one receiver in the NFL. Many times in the draft, production like White’s takes a backseat to potential, especially in the later rounds.

Although White does have several positive aspects to his game, there are certainly some holes as well. He does not have great elusiveness, but makes up for it with his willingness to fight for extra yards. He is not going to make many people miss after the catch, but he will plug straight ahead and use his drive and strength to get the most out of every play. White also has much better speed coming out of his breaks than his 40 time would suggest, however it is unclear on how much that will assist his game at the next level.

While White does have good hands, and will make some spectacular catches at times, his range is very limited by his size and speed. Often times on deep routes, if the ball was slightly out of his reach, White would have difficulty transitioning to make the play. However, it is highly unlikely that he will be asked to run deep routes in the NFL, so this should not affect his play too significantly. He also needs to work on selling his routes on run plays to the opposite side of the field.

So how can White fit with the Jets? Of the games I watched on him last year, I could not help but compare his play to that of Jerricho Cotchery’s. White will never be a true number one receiver in this league, but has the potential to be a vital piece of any passing game. He was most productive last season between the 20’s, with 116 of his 140 catches coming in that area. This could make him a very valuable weapon to keep the chains moving throughout drives. Although most of his catches in 2011 came on first down with 63, he was also very effective on third downs, averaging 12.6 YPC. He could develop into a very nice third down safety net for Mark Sanchez. He is strong, smart, and most importantly, consistent. Sanchez would love to have someone he can consistently rely on, other than Dustin Keller.

For White, his place with the Jets will ultimately come down to a few key things: how well he picks up the offense, how he takes advantage of what limited reps he will get in practice, and the type of relationship he develops with Sanchez. While I do not think that any of these things will be a problem for White, especially with how reliable he became to Carder at Western Michigan, coupled with his displayed intelligence and high work ethic, he is going to have to prove why he was so productive in college, and may only have a small window of opportunity to do so. White can also show his worth by contributing on Special Teams, something that I would fully expect him to be able to do.

Although there are certainly no guarantees in this league, especially for late round draft picks, I would not be surprised at all if White ended up beating out Patrick Turner, Scotty McKnight, Logan Payne, and Eron Riley for a roster spot. His production in college combined with his obvious work ethic shown on film actually makes it likely that White will end up having some type of role with the 2012 Jets. Although his impact this year may not be significant, Jordan White could develop into a very solid NFL player at some point down the road.

Editor’s Notes – I really like the comparison Chris made to Jerricho Cotchery because that is who I was consistently reminded of when watching film on White. It is impossible to ignore the astronomical numbers he put up, regardless of the level of competition. White has a natural ability to find the soft spot in a defense and has reliable hands, particularly in traffic. The main question for him is, can he consistently get separation from NFL caliber cornerbacks? The Jets could offset some of these issues by working White out of the slot, where I expect him to spend most of his time.

In the immediate future, White projects as a logical backup to Jeremy Kerley in the slot receiver role. He will need to beat Patrick Turner and Eron Riley for a roster spot this season and to do that he must make an impact on special teams.

New York Jets Need To Put Finishing Touches On Roster

The New York Jets should consider making the following moves to solidify their roster

After reviewing the New York Jets post-draft depth chart, it becomes clear the team should consider making moves to solidify their roster. Nothing major is coming at this point as the team is clearly banking on substantial improvement from within by making better use of their resources, most notably on offense with Tony Spranao taking over for Brian Schottenheimer. However, that doesn’t mean a few tweaks can’t go a long way to helping insure the Jets are competing for a playoff spot this season.

You can argue about right tackle until your lungs are sore. At the moment it appears the plan is for Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse to compete for the position. You can allow that to occur while still protecting yourself to some degree. Keep in mind the Jets let Robert Turner walk in free agency and have very questionable depth behind their starters. Mike Tannenbaum can praise Caleb Schlauderaff all he wants, he has still never played a meaningful NFL snap. Right now he and the loser of the right tackle battle project the team’s top two backups. There is no logical reason to not bring a low cost veteran for insurance purposes. Vernon Carey makes too much sense to ignore since he is experienced at tackle and guard and has played in Tony Spranao’s offense.

Why not get him in sooner rather than later? Why wait until the offensive line shows signs of struggling in the pre-season? If not Carey, at least get another veteran who has seen some type of NFL action on the roster. You are currently one injury away from starting both Wayne Hunter and Caleb Schlauderaff, did we learn nothing last year?

Beyond that on offense, the Jets would be wise to add a blocking tight end. Simply put they don’t have one on their roster. Billy Bajema, Justin Peelle, and Jeff Dugan are all examples of players the Jets could sign to the veteran’s minimum and would help on a run heavy offense.

I don’t see them adding to wide receiver or running back at this point. A player like Braylon Edwards would only slow down Stephen Hill’s development. You traded up to get him, so put him out there. If healthy, Chaz Schilens will provide adequate depth. Edwards is more likely to go somewhere that he has a clearer chance to start, maybe St. Louis with Brian Schottenheimer now running their offense. At running back, there aren’t many impact players left out there. I’d rather see the team give Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell and Terrance Ganaway a real chance to become impact players instead of putting another veteran in the mix.

On defense, the Jets would be wise to add Yeremiah Bell and Chris Johnson, both who visited with the team last week. Many fans get sentimental about bringing Jim Leonhard back and while we respect what Jim did for the Jets the past few years, let’s be realistic here. Bell is bigger, more athletic and more durable than Leonhard. At this point, Eric Smith knows Rex Ryan’s defense well enough to mentor the younger safeties and if you are looking for a leader in the secondary, Darrelle Revis better be able to fill that role by now.

Johnson is a more reliable 4th corner than Ellis Lankster or Isaiah Trufant would be and would be another low cost addition. He would also be a solid special teams contributor.

You can never underestimate the importance of depth on a NFL roster and the Jets could go a long way to solidifying theirs by making a few minor moves.