New York Jets Post Draft Retrospective

A post NFL Draft retrospective on the status of the New York Jets

The dust has finally settled on the New York Jets draft weekend. Since Thursday night there have been eight additions to the team’s roster, including six draft picks. We will individually spend time in the film room to break down each draft selection in-depth (and Chris Ivory) in the coming weeks. However, let’s round everything up to cap off the weekend.

Cleaning Up Previous Draft Weekend Messes – This year’s selections were a hard slap in the face to Mike Tannenbaum’s 2009 and 2010 draft decisions. Consider the following when looking at the seven selections from those two years

Mark Sanchez – Idzik has already brought in David Garrard for veteran competition but the decision not to pass on Geno Smith with the 39th pick showed a clear lack of faith in Sanchez as the long term answer for this team at quarterback. Expect to see a similar situation to how the Seahawks handled Tavaris Jackson last season. Sanchez will likely stick around on the roster through the summer, be given a chance compete, along with be dangled on the trade market (likely without any suitors). The hope will be for Smith to seize the job with Garrard as fallback insurance. The sooner the organization can get rid of Sanchez and Tim Tebow, the happier they will be. Hopefully, Idzik’s regime will take a more sound approach to supporting their young quarterback than the previous regime did to supporting Sanchez. Yes, Sanchez has undeniable shortcomings and he ultimately takes the blame for his failures on the field but the supporting cast he was given the past two seasons was abysmal.

Shonn Greene – They already let him walk and finished the process of replacing him on Friday by trading for Chris Ivory and then giving him a comparable contract to what Greene got from Tennessee. Ivory will be a substantial upgrade from Greene if he can stay healthy and should form a nice 1-2 punch with Mike Goodson. The Ground and Pound may not be dead after all.

Matt Slauson – Another player allowed to walk in free agency. The Jets had already added Willie Colon but also locked up veteran Stephen Peterman over the weekend. Not content with a pair of veterans on one year deals, the Jets drafted Brian Winters in the third round. He provided excellent value at the spot he was drafted in and has the talent to immediately compete for a starting job. Fifth round pick Oday Aboushi projects to being a tackle but also could potentially see reps inside throughout training camp. Sixth round pick WIlliam Campbell played defensive tackle at Michigan but is being transitioned to Guard by the Jets.

Kyle Wilson – The Dee Milliner selection was the Jets taking the best player on their board but it was also a vote (smartly) of no confidence in Kyle Wilson as a starter. The 2010 first round pick has been a disappointment both in coverage and as a factor in the return game. Milliner’s selection  will bump Wilson into the nickel role and if Aaron Berry and Darrin Walls play well this summer, don’t be surprised to see Wilson shopped on the trade market to a cornerback needy team.

Vlad Ducasse – See everything I wrote above about Matt Slauson. The Jets likely don’t view Ducasse as a viable starting option or they wouldn’t have added two free agents and two draft picks at his position. It wouldn’t be shocking if he didn’t make the final 53 man roster.

Joe McKnight – The Goodson addition really put the writing on the wall for McKnight but the Ivory addition just puts him further down the depth chart. Maybe he sticks around as a returner but again he is another player who could be shopped this summer and may not make the final 53.

John Conner – Conner wasn’t competent enough to even make it through last season but the Jets added Tommy Bohanon in the seventh round, who is the type of fullback the Jets offense can actually get some practical use out of.

Value Over Need – The Jets didn’t target positions in this draft, instead focusing on sticking to their board and taking the best talent available. It is fair to argue they left with the Draft’s top cornerback, defensive tackle and quarterback. They found value on the offensive line in the later rounds yet didn’t address wide receiver, tight end or safety notably. Their current depth chart still lists Jeff Cumberland as the starting tight end, Josh Bush as a starting safety and is scarily thin at wide receiver if Santonio Holmes or Stephen Hill struggle to come back from their injury.

Don’t be surprised to see the Jets explore the trade and free agency market at all three positons. In particular keep an eye on Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek, after the Eagles selected Zach Ertz in the second round and already signed James Casey this off-season. It is very hard to picture a scenario where Cumberland is the opening day starter. At safety, the Jets might see how Josh Bush, Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett fare with an expanded role over the summer before making a move.

Tired Narratives – Along with the tireless event marketing for the NFL Draft that has swamped our television sets and websites, the “6 quarterbacks in a room” jokes are already old, New York media. Everybody knows Matt Simms and Greg McElroy aren’t real competitors for the starting job. It is fair to assume that within a month first team reps will be rotated between Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith and David Garrard while McElroy runs the practice squad.

Fans are also getting too wrapped up 3-4/4-3 concerns related to Sheldon Richardson. The Jets play a myriad of defensive fronts, including a 3-4, 4-3, 46, 5-2 and things that don’t even really have names. From the depth chart, it would seem the Jets will be using more alignments that are defensive lineman heavy over linebacker heavy. Rex Ryan is going to get his best players on the field and he will find a way to utilize Sheldon Richardson, alongside Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples. Don’t get wrapped up in locking people into hypothetical positions on a 3-4 depth chart. Antwan Barnes and Calvin Pace could be listed as starters at outside linebacker and then only play 40-50% of the snaps in a particular game.


Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • willie

    Totally agree about the cleaning up prior drafts perspective. Also think it was a getting back to basics draft. Our roster is so thin we needed to just draft good players (although the 6th round pick is baffling) and piece our roster back together.

    On the defense point I think that is spot on. Our best 5 players up front are coples, Wilkerson, Harris, Davis, and Richardson. The job of the defensive staff is to figure out how to utilize them best. Doesn’t matter what they call it.

  • KAsh

    I disagree with two aspects:

    First, what are the odds that an O-lineman was at the top of their board in three different rounds? Campbell even played at DT in college and the last time he has been on the other side of the ball was in high school. Moore was an undrafted free agent when he converted from DT to OG. I highly doubt that the valuations of everyone else was so low that the Jets front office decided a DT-to-OG convert was the best value in the sixth round.

    It is pretty obvious, at least to me, that the offensive line was targetted in the latter rounds. This draft has set the foundation for the offensive line for years to come. It focused on mining the value from perhaps the greatest, deepest strength of this draft.

    At the same time, we neglected all the offensive skill positions, the weak points of this draft. This is a good segway into my second point of contention:

    Starting Geno Smith would be a mistake. You yourself acknowledge that “hopefully, Idzik’s regime will take a more sound approach to supporting their young quarterback than the previous regime did to supporting Sanchez.” But, with the exception of the run game, which should be much improved, the supporting cast is all back.

    Yes, our QB will be able to hand the ball off and gain a chunk of territory, but this does not directly help his situation. He will still be throwing to Holmes, Hill, and Kerley. I do not even know who it will be if one of them gets injured. Cumberland is still the tight end. Let’s pray that Hayden Smith comes out.

    Smith is not Russell Wilson. The only real knock on Wilson was his height. There are serious questions about Smith’s game. He either threw 5+ TDs a game or 2 or less. He was quiet against teams that were not blessed with defensive talent.

    Doug Marrone’s Syracuse only had one defensive player drafted – fourth rounder Shamarko Thomas – but managed to hold WVU to 14 points. Against Doug Marrone’s college-level team, Smith started three games, threw 5 TDs and 4 INTs, and lost all three times. Marrone could have pressed for Smith as his QB, but must have thought of EJ Manuel as more likely to succeed. Now, Smith will have to play Marrone’s defenses twice a year.

    The best thing that can happen to Smith is for him to be buried by Sanchez and Garrard on the depth chart. Sanchez has the most rapport with these receivers – he played all of last year with them. Let him go down with the ship (or win and increase his trade value). Garrard would be the safety net in case Sanchez fails again. Smith gets coached by Lee and Marty for a year.

    The fans will ALL yell for him to start, but you plug that hole as much as possible.

  • JerryB

    I’ve got to believe that the Jets think Hayden Smith will take a big step forward this year. He is the most physically gifted TE on the roster. Due to the lockout he missed the off-season OTA’s that he needed more than any other player on the team. I don’t think Idzik is counting on picking up a starting TE post-draft and starting the season with Cumberland as the #1 TE is setting up any QB for failure.

  • Dave

    I don’t know how much it’s worth but Idzik and the crew did alright at addressing needs with the UDFA they picked up. That’s why all the references to compition.

  • Mark Phelan

    It will be interesting to see if Shonn Greene adds a few more yards-per-carry running for a less predictable offense.

  • Dan in RI

    I agree with just about everything you said. I hope you are right about Celek–that would be a major upgrade at TE. Idzik is proving to be the exact opposite of Tannenbaum, and I think he gives us a good chance to develop real depth & quality. He couldn’t fix every hole left by Tannenbaum over one weekend, but he certainly made a heckuva lot of progress, especially on the OL.

  • Lidman

    Ok…I’m hopeful Idzik turns out to be a good choice, but again, let’s please at least wait a year. Pre-draft, nothing he’s done has been a surprise. You could argue, Smith would have last until round 3, so they may have taken him too early.

    How does Slauson get listed under the ‘Cleaning Up Previous Draft Weekend Messes’? He was a 6th round pick, who was a capable starter. He played nearly the entire 2011 season with a shoulder that need reconstruction. I’m not suggesting he was John Hannah, or Alan Faneca, but if Ducasse is a ‘bust’, then you have to consider Slauson a ‘find’.

    Let’s just hope the Jets don’t throw Geno to the wolves. I hope they keep Sanchez. If they don’t, and Garrard starts, all that tells you is they are simply ‘biding time’ until Geno is ready. To me, that doesn’t sound like ‘competition’. If Sanchez can earn the starting position and take to MM’s offense, the Jets will now have something (whether is Sanchez or Smith)other teams might be willing to pay for. Look, if the Summer comes and the coaches determine he simply ‘can’t play’, I have no issue with cutting him. But, cutting him to avoid ‘media pressure’ doesn’t seem all that different from how Tanny/Rex worked. If you’re a Jet fan, you WANT Sanchez to be their starter.

  • Richard

    If you are looking at the jets roster now compared to last year. It is without question more talented this year. Go position by position.

    I would say the only position that is a downgrade is safety.
    Literally every other position is either substantially better or a minor upgrade.

  • mike

    geno smith would not have fallen to round 3 dude.

  • joeydefiant

    There are plenty of good TEs still available in free agency. Kevin Boss, Randy McMichael(who i would love to see the jets sign as a veteran stop gap move), Dante Rosario, David Thomas(who did good catching passes when jimmy graham was injured), and Dallas Clark of course. Josh Baker is still unsigned anyone know if the jets plan on bringing him to training camp? He looked OK until sanchez set him up with that throw that killed him.

  • joeydefiant

    The guys the jets picked up after the draft like Zach Rogers, Chris Pantale, Rontez Miles look like they can all compete for a spot as well at WR, TE, and S. I especially like Zach Rogers if he didnt have two studs on the same team Justin Hunter and Cordarelle Patterson he would have had much better stats. Ryan Spadola might end up being a keeper too as well as Antavious Wilson from Marshall.

  • Larry

    When will you start blaming Bradway for the horrible drafts the Jets have had since he has been here since 2001. Has not drafted a decent RB since he has been here, there have not been any draft picks after the 4th round that were any good or even serviceable(if you say Slauson that was a calahan pick), and the 5th to 7th round is considered the rounds where the scouts make the picks.

    Look for yourselves

  • Sean Flattery

    To respond to Kash..The Syracuse/WV game was played in a blizzard at Yankee Stadium. Throw that game out the window if you’re gonna scout talent..Just sayin

  • KAsh

    Smith played Doug Marrone’s defense three times. He lost all three. Statistically, his last game against Syracuse in that blizzard was actually his best one. Without it, he has thrown 3 TDs to 4 INTs against Doug Marrone’s defenses.

    He has had other questionable games last year. The best you can say about his performance in those is he must have thrown those games after his defense crumbled. What irritates me the most about the stats is that when the score was tied or his team was losing, he averaged less than five yards per attempt. Instead of taking it to the defense, he relied on shorter and shorter passes and on his receivers to break for YAC.

    He does not have the receiving corps to do that, not this year anyway.

  • joeydefiant

    Kash, you are criticizing Geno Smith because he was playing under a system that had the personnel to throw a lot of short/screen/dump passes and break them for long gains. The coach/OC tailored a system to fit the players they had and their strengths. Geno was also responsible for calling the play at the line which is a difficult job and takes a lot of football intelligence. I would assume defenses were taking away the medium/long pass game and daring West Virginia to run it or throw short in a lot of games. So Geno took advantage of what the defense was giving him. Would it have been more impressive if he continually threw deep into double coverage? He was also playing with the knowledge he most likely had to score at least 35 points to win almost every game. Can we all come to a consensus and say Geno Smith is an efficient QB regarding turnovers? When he develops and becomes the starter he will be playing on a team with a Rex Ryan coached defense and he will have the knowledge that 21 points will be enough to win a lot of games.
    As far as the pinstripe bowl and some of his bad games, I’d say they weren’t really that bad. One game in a blizzard with a lot of dropped passes, and a handful of under-average games. I can show you far more games where Geno is on the money throwing medium/long passes to second, third, and even fourth reads. So I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, here is a great analysis of Geno Smith making the case for him being selected first overall in the draft written a few months ago. Geno Smith hasn’t played a game since then so what has changed???

  • Lidman do you know Smith wouldn’t have lasted until Round 3? Did anyone see Manuel going in round 1? Did anyone see Glennon as the 3rd QB taken? Did anyone see Barkley/Nassib/Wilson and Jones lasting until Round 4?

    Before the NYJ picked him, Jax and Philly had already picked. Behind him, Buffalo had already picked Manuel. After the Jets, who would have taken him? None of those teams needed a QB, that’s why the other guys kept dropping. I mean look who picked the other QBs, realistically only Smith and Manuel have a chance to play. Teams just didn’t appear to need/want these QBs.

    I’m not saying I like, or dislike, this pick. I’m just saying, based on how the draft played out, the next QB taken was Glennon (73rd overall)and then the 4QBs in round 4. So, we can argue ‘would he, or wouldn’t he’, but you can’t tell me for sure he would have been taken.

  • joeydefiant

    This sounds like a guy who can succeed by using his intellect. Peyton Manning doesn’t have the strongest arm and is not the most physically gifted athlete around by far, it’s his intelligence and study habits that made him one of the best QB’s to ever play the game.

    “If you look at me,” he said, “I’m not one of those guys who strike you as an imposing player (West Virginia lists him at 6-foot-3, 214). I honestly don’t think I’m that great of a player. There’s pretty much a lot of guys out there more talented than I am. But I understand the game and I’m far ahead of my peers when it comes to that. I know defense like a defensive coordinator. I know offense like an offensive coordinator. It puts me levels ahead of those guys, and 90 percent of the game is mental, which allows me to … end up with these crazy numbers at the end of the game, because I’m always making the right decision.” –Geno Smith

  • KAsh

    I am criticizing him based on the mistakes I see in his game. Fumbles, inaccuracy when under pressure, inability to identify blitzes or coverage. Anyone can say good things with a microphone off the field, but only the actions on the field are what matter.

    WVU’s offense was designed to reduce pressure on the QB as much as possible and get the ball out of his hands as soon as possible. Smith has played almost exclusively out of the shotgun. His footwork when dropping back is not flawless. He panics when a blitz reaches him. He is emotional, and this translates to his game on the field. He plays much worse when losing and much better when winning. When the score is tied, he plays like he is losing, averaging under 5 yards per attempt.

    He has confidence in himself. That’s great. Now he needs coaching to iron out these kinks.