Are we so sure that Rex Ryan is a lame duck coach who has no influence in Florham Park anymore? Tonight felt an awful lot like many previous drafts with Rex Ryan as the head coach, as the New York Jets selected a defensive lineman in the first round for the third straight year and added a cornerback in the first round for the second time in three years.
The results were surprising by anybody’s estimate, considering the Jets had a decent amount of talent at cornerback and defensive line entering into the night particularly in comparison to the rest of their roster. Dee Milliner and Sheldon Richardson are both very good prospects and were both taken in slots that were reasonable value for them. However, the Jets opted not to trade down in a deep draft in areas of need for them. They also passed on players like Chance Warmack at 9 and Kenny Vaccaro at 13, both of whom would have filled bigger needs than Milliner and Richardson and who would have been strong value at those respective spots.
After St. Louis traded into the 8th spot to take Tavon Austin, a highly likely target for the Jets at 9, the team likely reverted back to their board after not being able to find trade down partners. Milliner was considered by some to be the best defensive player in the Draft and will immediately step into the starting line-up over Kyle Wilson. Milliner will also deal with endless comparisons to Darrelle Revis, who was recently traded away to Tampa Bay.
We’ve seen Milliner linked to the Jets on more than one occasion and he was the less surprising of the two first round picks, Sheldon Richardson…the defensive tackle from Missouri was a head turner. Again, the Jets clearly stuck to their board and had Richardson ranked as the best player available to them at #13, surprisingly ahead of Star Lotulelei. This selection could indicate more 4-3 looks on the way and also a general lack of confidence in Kenrick Ellis. Richardson is more of a penetrator on the defensive line than a run stuffer. Richardson along with Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples could form an unbelievable trio upfront for years to come.
Again, both Milliner and Richardson are good prospects but doesn’t this team need to find a way score points? How many years in a row can they take a corner or defensive lineman in the first round? You can’t judge a draft after one round and there is still plenty of talent available for the Jets at 39, which we will get into more tomorrow along with a closer look at Milliner and Richardson.
How did everybody out there feel about the picks?
Finally, a shout out to everybody who attended the UStadium Draft Party tonight…it was great meeting everybody!