With just over two weeks until the 2013 NFL Draft, speculation is running more rampant than ever. Analysts, fans, NFL personnel, and everyone in between continue to project what they believe teams will do at certain positions in certain spots over the 3 day long event at the end of the month.
However, the only thing we can truly be sure of is the uncertainty of the draft. While it is entertaining to sketch mock drafts and project what positions and players teams will target, it is really difficult to get a true feel for what an organization is looking for in a prospect.
That being said, one can certainly take a look at a teams roster and, after studying their scheme in all three phases of the game, take a somewhat educated guess toward what positions and players a team may target in the draft. Today, we do just that with the New York Jets. Based on the current personnel on the roster, combined with our study of game film, we have compiled a complete seven round mock draft for the Jets using players who we feel will be of the best of help to the 2013 Jets, while pouring a solid foundation for the long term future of the organization.
To make it even more fun, we’ve also done our first wave of projected trades. The first comes in the fashion of a Darrelle Revis deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Reports yesterday predicted the two sides to be closer to a deal than they have ever been. For what it’s worth, I don’t believe anyone truly knows what the compensation will be in said trade, nor does anyone truly know how close the two sides actually are to a deal. That being said, let’s have some fun and make a deal of a 2013 1st, 3rd, and 6th rounder in exchange for the best defensive back in all of football.
So, the trade would look like this:
New York Jets receive: 2013 13th pick, 73rd pick, and 181st pick.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers receive: Darrelle Revis.
This trade, the conditions of which are purely hypothetical, would give the Jets two first rounders, back to back picks in the third round, and 5 picks in the top 75. For a team rebuilding and in need of picks, this would be a good start.
For the sake of this mock draft, let’s take a look at how the picks in front of the Jets in the first round could play out, and what the Jets could do on the clock with what is still available. Beyond round 1, we will simply look at what players could be selected by the Jets with their respective picks throughout the entire 7 rounds. Keep in mind, this is mostly for entertainment purposes as it is nearly impossible to predict factors such as draft day trades. But let’s have some fun.
1.) Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, Tackle, Texas A&M: Kansas City can still go a number of ways with this pick, but I feel they ultimately end up with the best tackle in the draft to anchor their offensive line for the next decade. Branden Albert has signed his franchise tender, but his long term future with the club is certainly unclear at this point. The Chiefs are in a tough situation because it is difficult to project what the best value for the top pick in this draft will be, but Joeckel is probably the safest way to go based on the current state of the club.
2.) Jacksonville Jaguars - Sharrif Floyd, Defensive Tackle, Florida: I’ve said before, I believe Floyd to be the best player in this draft, and the newly hired Gus Bradley may have the Jaguars front office sprinting toward the phone with this pick. Floyd has the type of versatility the creative Bradley loves in his front 7 personnel and would be an excellent piece for the Jaguars to begin their defensive rebuild as they implement Bradley’s scheme.
3.) Oakland Raiders - Star Lotulelei, Defensive Tackle, Utah: Ideally, Oakland would like to see Floyd reach them at this spot, but Lotulelei is surely no consolation prize. Once viewed as the best defensive prospect in this class, one could certainly still make the case that Lotulelei projects as the best NFL defensive lineman out of all of his counterparts. His brute strength and explosiveness will combine with his high character to help the massive overhaul occurring in Oakland. Lotulelei becomes the first piece to the overall new structure McKenzie wants to set in place with the Raiders.
4.) Philadelphia Eagles - Geno Smith, Quarterback, West Virginia: The Eagles, like so many other teams selecting early, can really go a number of ways here. Although they resigned Michael Vick on a one year deal, they need a long term signal caller as they begin the Chip Kelly era. Vick’s presence will give Smith some room to learn and grow early in his career, while the dual threat ability of Smith could make him an excellent fit for what Kelly is looking for out of his franchise quarterback, as he installs whichever system he decides to run in Philly.
5.) Detroit Lions - Dee Milliner, Cornerback, Alabama: While pass rusher may be a top need for the Lions, Detroit hasn’t had a very good player at the cornerback position for years. Selecting early in round two gives the Lions the ability to attain a quality defensive end, while snagging the class’s best cornerback with the fifth overall pick.
6.) Cleveland Browns - Dion Jordan, Outside Linebacker, Oregon: Yes, the Browns signed Paul Kruger in free agency, but Jordan gives them an entirely different, more dynamic player at the position. Still a bit raw, having stability at the position will allow Jordan to grow into his role, rather than being forced into playing more than he may be ready to early on. Cleveland defensive coordinator Ray Horton can get very creative with blitz packages and pressure schemes having Kruger and Jordan in his arsenal of weapons.
7.) Arizona Cardinals - Eric Fisher, Tackle, Central Michigan: The Cardinals got their quarterback by trading for Carson Palmer, now they acquire his protection for the next few seasons, while nabbing their franchise left tackle. Fisher will be a stalwart for years to come, and give the Cardinals one less thing to worry about, offensively, as they begin the Bruce Arians era.
8.) Buffalo Bills - Chance Warmack, Guard, Alabama: Buffalo has many needs, quarterback being one of them, but there is no real value at the position with this pick. Linebacker is another need, and the Bills could certainly go the route of someone like LSU’s Barkevious Mingo here, but I think the Bills would be wise to solidify their offensive line with the best interior player in the class, particularly after losing Andy Levitre in free agency. Warmack provides protection for the newly acquired Kevin Kolb, while giving them the flexibility to target other areas of need in round two – perhaps in the form of Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib, or UConn OLB Sio Moore, two players new head coach Doug Marrone is certainly familiar with.
The Jets are on the clock with the 9th overall pick, when the phone rings. On the line is the Cincinnati Bengals who are interested in jumping ahead of the Titans, Chargers, and Dolphins to select offensive tackle Lane Johnson of Oklahoma, with Andre Smith’s future with the club looking bleak at this moment. The Bengals, who have two picks in the second round, offer the later of the two picks to swap first rounders with the Jets and acquire Johnson. Jets GM John Idzik gladly accepts the offer, giving himself 11 total picks in this draft, including what would now be 6 in the first 75, and 7 in the first 106.
Jets receive: 2013 21st and 53rd overall picks.
Bengals receive: 2013 9th overall pick.
9.) Cincinnati Bengals (via NYJ) - Lane Johnson, Tackle, Oklahoma: As mentioned above, Bengals Free Agent Tackle Andre Smith’s future with the club is certainly up in the air at this point. The tackle has been somewhat of a headache since being drafted by Cincinnati with the 6th overall pick in 2009, first having staged a lengthy rookie hold out, followed by some early injuries which were seemingly a result of a lack of physical preparation. Smith’s recent decision to play hardball with the club leaves the Bengals taking the Carson Palmer approach by moving on with a younger, potentially better player, who now gives them long term stability and excitement at left tackle, quarterback, and wide receiver.
10.) Tennessee Titans - Jonathan Cooper, Guard, North Carolina: Tennessee needs stability on the interior of the offensive line as they look to improve what was a disappointing ground attack in 2012, while providing more protection for quarterback Jake Locker. Head Coach Mike Munchak, a former offensive guard, will likely be licking his chops as he envisions his ground attack of Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene running behind an offensive line greatly improved by the addition of one of the top players at the position this year.
11.) San Diego Chargers - DJ Fluker, Tackle, Alabama: It is no secret that the Chargers have had serious offensive line woes over the past few seasons. While Fluker is not at the level of the top 3 offensive tackles, and some would consider him a reach here, he comes from the best offensive line in college football and has room to grow. The Chargers, on the other hand, are desperate to provide Phillip Rivers with protection as they aim to get their offensive back to the level of production it was achieving only a couple seasons ago.
12.) Miami Dolphins - Ezekiel Ansah, Defensive End, BYU: A bit of a surprise that Ansah has fallen this far, the Dolphins are ecstatic to provide an explosive pass rusher to line up opposite Cameron Wake. While tackle and cornerback may be a more pressing need for the Dolphins, there isn’t a player at either of those positions that would hold the value of Ansah at this spot.
13.) New York Jets (via Tampa Bay) - Barkevious Mingo, Outside Linebacker, LSU: It is no secret that the Jets are desperate for an edge rusher, a position the team has been void of talent at since the arrival of Rex Ryan. Mingo has the talent to be selected in the top 10, so getting him at 13 provides excellent value for New York, who could suddenly have a pass rush capable of keeping offensive line coaches awake at night by pairing Mingo with Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, and the newly acquired Antwan Barnes.
14.) Carolina Panters - Sheldon Richardson, Defensive Tackle, Missouri: The Panthers have some needs across the roster, with the interior of the defensive line topping the list. Richardson is a dynamic 3 technique who can provide Carolina with a penetrating presence up front, with the versatility to be used in a myriad of ways under Ron Rivera. Placing a player like Richardson in front of Jon Beason and Luke Kuechly gives the Panthers an intimidating interior in the defensive front seven.
15.) New Orleans Saints - Desmond Trufant, Cornerback, Washington: With the recent addition of Victor Butler, New Orleans is not forced to take a pass rushing outside linebacker with this pick, albeit a possibility, and can instead focus on improving their secondary with a top corner in this class. After missing out on Nnamdi Asomugha, the Saints nab a young player who can thrive under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
16.) St. Louis Rams - Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver, West Virginia: The Rams have quietly had an excellent offseason that was overshadowed by what division counterparts San Francisco and Seattle have done. However, the Rams went out and bought the best available protection plan for quarterback Sam Bradford in the form of free agent tackle Jake Long, and can now focus on their most pressing need of dynamic offensive playmaker. Austin provides St. Louis a tremendously explosive offensive weapon, fills the void left at slot WR by Danny Amendola, and helps in the running, and return games.
17.) Pittsburgh Steelers - Jarvis Jones, Outside Linebacker, Georgia: Pittsburgh has a void at OLB left by the departure of James Harrison, and are likely more than pleased to see Jones, once viewed as a top 5 talent, fall to them at 17th overall. While Jones may be best fit for a 4-3 defense, Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will surely get the most out of the former Georgia stud who was immensly productive in college.
18.) Dallas Cowboys - Sylvester Williams, Defensive Tackle, North Carolina: Dallas is always a candidate to trade up, but having been mostly observers in free agency this offseason, due to salary cap constraints, Jerry Jones finally decides to sit tight and use all of his picks to fill out the roster. The Cowboys will be making a switch from a 3-4 defense to Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2 scheme, and have a need for a playmaking 3 technique at defensive tackle. Some rank Williams higher than Sheldon Richardson, so the ability to attain him here provides what should end up being excellent value for Big D.
19.) New York Giants - Alec Ogeltree, Inside Linebacker, Georgia: Although Ogeltree has had some off the field issues, everything I have heard indicates that teams feel he has learned from these mistakes and is ready to move on from them. Whether or not that ends up being the case, the Giants have a great need at linebacker, and have lacked a true stud in the middle since the departure of Antonio Pierce. A Tom Coughlin structure could be exactly what Ogeltree needs to stay focused and get the most out of his talents and tremendous upside at the next level.
20.) Chicago Bears - Manti Te’o, Inside Linebacker, Notre Dame: Chicago lost the face of their franchise in Brian Urlacher this offseason, and although they signed DJ Williams, they need a long term replacement in the middle. Te’o may not have the physical abilities of Urlacher, and I wouldn’t expect him to replace him as the face of the franchise, but he is an excellent player who has arguably the best instincts at the position in this year’s class. He will hit some obstacles as he transitions into an NFL locker room and faces the Chicago media, but the Bears have some excellent veterans in the defensive locker room in the form of Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers, and Williams who can help mentor Te’o and assist his growth as an NFL player.
21.) New York Jets (via Cincinnati) - Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver, California: The Jets can go a number of ways with this hypothetical selection, and although wide receiver may not be as great of a need as running back, tight end, or safety, Allen provides excellent value for a team void of offensive playmakers. While Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson may have more upside, Allen is much more polished in route running, reading coverages, and overall catching ability. He is intelligent for his position, has very strong hands, and plays with the type of physicality that the Jets lack in their receiving corps. Some have compared him to Anquan Boldin, and pairing him with a healthy Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, and Stephen Hill – in a more limited role than 2012 – would give whoever is taking snaps for the Jets a group of receivers he can certainly not complain about.
On to the remainder of the Jets selections:
39.) Zach Ertz, Tight End, Stanford: The Jets have a massive hole at the tight end position, with Jeff Cumberland currently projected to be the 2013 starter and only Konrad Reuland and Hayden Smith to spell him. Having passed on Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert in favor of Allen in round one, New York ends up with the draft’s next best tight end at the top of the second. Ertz is big, strong, and fast with strong hands and a good ability to go up and catch the ball. Beyond that, he has the intelligence to provide a heady security blanket for the Jets quarterback in 2013 and the future. GM John Idzik is reportedly very high on Ertz, but the validity of such reports are questionable due to how stealthy he has operated thus far.
53.) (via Cincinnati) Eric Reid, Safety, LSU: Outside of a pass rushing outside linebacker, safety is easily the biggest need on the Jets defense. Ryan’s scheme thrives with playmakers at the safety position, and while Reid shouldn’t be expected to come in and become Ed Reed, he can provide a very nice upgrade to what the roster currently holds, as well as a long term answer at free safety, something New York desperately needs considering the tight ends in the AFC East.
72.) Johnathan Franklin, Running Back, UCLA: New York signed free agent running back Mike Goodson to a low cost, three year deal this offseason, but there are certainly some question marks on his overall durability and ability to be a lead back. While Goodson can still provide quality production for the Jets over the next couple years, Franklin gives them an excellent 1-2 punch of two athletic backs with big play ability and excellent skills in the passing game, whether it be as a route runner or blocker. Franklin could be a good 3rd down back early on, while growing into a greater role.
73.) (via Tampa Bay) Barrett Jones, Guard/Center, Alabama: Jones was a captain of the National Champion Crimson Tide, and the General of the best offensive line in the nation last year. A lisfranc injury suffered late last season probably cause him to fall into the third, where the Jets would love to have him to fill the void at offensive guard left by the departure of Matt Slauson, and likely eventual departure of Brandon Moore. Jones, if healthy, could play right away between Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, giving the Jets an excellent left side on the offensive front. His versatility (Jones won National Championships as a starter at Tackle, Guard, and Center) is a nice perk for the Jets, as he could give them some great flexibility with their offensive line depth.
106.) Zac Dysert, Quarterback, Miami (Ohio): While it is still unclear where the quarterbacks will go this year, considering the lack of elite talent at the position, if Dysert lasts until round four, the Jets could pull the trigger on the rising prospect. While he is a developmental pick, fourth round value will allow Dysert to sit for a couple of years while learning the game and growing in practice. Viewed by many to have some of the best upside in this class, Dysert could potentially grow into a quality signal caller for gang green down the road.
141.) Brandon McGee, Cornerback, Miami: With the hypothetical trade of Darrelle Revis in this mock draft, the Jets will need to add a cornerback at some point. While it would be foolish to use an early pick on a player who would probably be limited in his role, and less effective early on than Kyle Wilson would be, McGee in round five would give the Jets a player who can slowly grow into a role as the 3rd or 4th cornerback, while potentially becoming a starter after a few years of experience.
178.) Robert Lester, Safety, Alabama: As aforementioned, safety is a huge need for this team, and it is in no way unrealistic for them to add two of them in this draft. While Lester has some holes in his game, he was a productive three year starter under the best defensive backs coach in the nation in Nick Saban during his career at Alabama. While his range isn’t fantastic, Lester has the size and durability to be an in-the-box type safety and could make a nice tandem with 2nd round selection, Eric Reid, for the future. Although he is a bit inconsistent in his tackling and overall physicality, entering the tutelage of Rex Ryan gives him a good chance of improving in this area.
181.) (via Tampa Bay) Brandon Jenkins, Outside Linebacker, Florida State: Although the Jets selected an OLB in round one, it should not prohibit them from taking another in the form of Jenkins this late. Like Safety, it is certainly not out of the question to leave this draft with two new players at the position. Jenkins played primarily defensive end at Florida State, and is a bit of a mystery in terms of where he will be selected due to a season ending foot injury last year, but his upside as a pass rusher is fantastic and certainly worthy of a sixth round pick. When healthy at FSU, Jenkins showed an excellent first step, explosion, and closing speed lined up alongside Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner. He is a bit raw in terms of his overall pass rushing technique, but as a sixth rounder, he will not be forced into a role too great early on, as he works to become more well rounded and complete as a player. Jenkins has the physical abilities to be an absolute steal in this draft after a couple years of NFL coaching and fine tuning his fundamentals.
215.) Joseph Vellano, Defensive Tackle, Maryland: While the Jets defensive line is probably the most talented unit on this team (assuming Darrelle Revis is traded), there are some depth concerns after the departure of Mike DeVito. While Antonio Garay should help in this area, he is on a one year deal and has some question marks about his durability. Vellano may not be the most physically gifted player in terms of height, weight, and top end speed, but he has one of the best motors in this entire class, and what he lacks in size and strength, he makes up for with incredibly quick hands and feet, as well as relentless pursuit. Vellano is a very high character player who will bring a blue collared, working mentality into the back end of the defensive line rotation, while possessing the capability to play as a 1, 3, or 5 technique. Seemingly a perfect DeVito replacement – can you ever have enough high motor, hard working, Italian defensive lineman on your depth chart?