The New York Jets currently have the 9th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft. There is speculation swirling that they could also end up with the 13th pick via a trade of Darrelle Revis, yet for now let’s just focus on their definite, singular first round pick. Here are 9 names that make sense for the Jets either with their 9th pick or via a trade down with the 9th pick as the centerpiece.
Barkevious Mingo – DE/OLB – LSU - Arguably the pass rusher and outside linebacker who best matches up with the Jets need and their draft position. Mingo would provide good value at #9 and fill a glaring hole on the Jets defense. A closer look at Mingo’s tape shows his game is much more well-rounded than many initially assume. Despite a drop in sack production last year, he showed an ability to set the edge in the running game and be a key movable chess piece in the LSU defense. Mingo has a high ceiling and is the type of player who can develop into a needed game changer off the edge for the Jets defense.
Dion Jordan – DE/OLB – Oregon - Most assume Jordan will be gone by the Jets 9th pick but considering how wide open the first round is going to be, who knows who will actually slide down further than expected? Jordan is an unbelievable athlete and would provide a huge shot of speed off the edge to a Jets defense desperately in need of it. While his game needs some fine-tuning for a full time transition to NFL outside linebacker, he’d be excellent value for the Jets with the 9th pick and provide them with a freakish athlete at linebacker…something they have been lacking for years.
Ziggy Ansah – DE/OLB – BYU - An immensely athletic, versatile player who could be a factor for the Jets at both linebacker and defensive end. Ansah is a little raw and some would consider him a reach at #9 but considering how the board breaks in front of them, he could be a worthwhile risk. Ansah would likely be better suited to begin as a situational player on the Jets defense rather than a full-time starter.
Jarvis Jones – OLB – Georgia - There was some hesitation to put Jones on this list considering how he is sliding down most Draft Boards and his questionable fit in a 3-4 but considering his production in college and the potential for him to be targeted if the Jets trade down, he is included. Jones has questions about his health and could have a relatively low ceiling as a 3-4 OLB in the Jets scheme but also has a lower bust potential than the above prospects.
Chance Warmack – OG – Alabama - This wouldn’t be a sexy or popular pick but depending on how the board breaks, it could be the smartest one. Warmack is one of the safest picks in the upcoming Draft, could step in immediately as a starter at Guard, end any of notion of Vlad Ducasse starting games next year (AMEN) and help take some of the burden off Nick Mangold by putting a potentially elite player next to him in coming years. He is the complete package at OG and would be strong, safe value at #9.
Jonathan Cooper – OG – UNC - Everything said above about Warmack applies here except Cooper is a very small cut below him overall as a prospect. If Warmack goes in the top 8 and the Jets want to address their offensive line in the first round Cooper could be an option.
Tavon Austin – WR – West Virginia - There are few sure things in this year’s Draft, one of them is that Tavon Austin is going to be a playmaker at the next level. Despite concerns about his size, Austin has elite speed, quickness and big play ability. He is the type of player who can contribute in a number of ways on offense and special teams. It is doubtful the Jets would take him at #9 despite him being a top ten talent but if they do trade down into the mid-teens, he would be an absolute steal at that spot. The Jets need “wow” guys on offense and Austin has that potential.
Giovanni Bernard – RB – UNC - Bernard would be a target if the Jets trade down into the low 20s. The Jets desperately need an infusion of speed and playmaking on offense, Bernard could provide that at the running back position and potentially form a home run hitting duo with Mike Goodson. While the Goodson signing was nice, his injury history means the Jets would be foolish to expect 16 games out of him as a lead back. Bernard would be good value anywhere from 20-40 on Draft Day.
EJ Manuel/Geno Smith – QB – Florida State/West Virginia - The Jets would be foolish to even think about taking either of these guys (the top 2 QBs in this year’s class) at #9 but if they trade back, either would make much more sense in the bottom half of round one. Taking a QB in round one would be an easier risk to stomach this year if it is coupled with another first round pick or if the Jets acquire more picks by moving back from #9. Smith and Manuel are second round prospects who will be overdrafted because of a weak QB class, if the Jets can limit that overdrafting by moving back 12-16 spots in round one, it will be easier to justify.