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.