2014 NFL Draft – Tight End or Wide Receiver?

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The New York Jets will be selecting 18th overall in May’s NFL Draft. While many are questioning if the team should make a play for one of the top tier quarterbacks, I will not touch on that approach here. Geno Smith has a long way to go, but no matter who is under center, the offense needs to upgrade the skill positions such as wide receiver and tight end. Let’s set up a scenario: The Jets hang tight with the 18th pick and are on the clock. Here are the details:

Before diving into the wide receiver versus tight end conversation, I’d like to lay down a few thoughts. It is early in NFL Draft season and for the fans just diving in, let me break down a few common details:

1) Sammy Watkins fans – do not hold your breath

Watkins is a fabulous college player and possibly an even better prospect. While he does not have the monstrous frame such as Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, he is a complete wide receiver. Barring an unseen disaster, he is a top fifteen pick (most likely top 10) and will not be available when the Jets are on the clock.

2) Know the number: Five

That is the amount of quarterbacks I expect off the board before the Jets pick at 18. Those five guys at the moment are Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr, and Brett Hundley in no particular order. I came up with that number assuming the Texans, Jaguars, Raiders, Browns and Vikings will all use their first round picks on a quarterback.

3) The Obvious “non quarterbacks”

Jadeveon Clowney could leave people in awe that he was not the first overall pick in this draft a few years from now. Fellow outside linebacker prospects Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack are also worthy of top 15 selections at the moment. Outside of them, there could be a run on offensive tackles for teams in the top fifteen such as the Falcons, Giants, and Rams (pick #13, not #2). Another position highly sought after early is corner back and this class is loaded with talent. Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard is as impressive as they come and it would not shock me if another corner is taken shortly after him.

4) Wrapping it up

With those assumptions (some bold), I have five quarterbacks, three outside linebackers, two corners, three offensive linemen and one wide receiver off the board before the Jets selection. That is only fourteen players and nothing is guaranteed in the NFL draft, but let’s just assume no other wide receiver or tight end has come off the board as the Jets come on the clock (although it would be quite surprising if Baltimore does not add some form of a playmaker for Joe Flacco).

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 05 North Carolina at Virginia Tech

On to the great debate: Do the Jets select a tight end or a wide receiver, with Watkins already off the board? Obviously they can do what they usually do and select a defensive player, but that is not the point of this debate. An important note here is that I am ranking the prospects in this article based on their fit with the Jets. How they might rank up or fit with another team is an entirely different story. Here are my top three tight ends:

1) Eric Ebron, UNC:

Ebron stands at 6 feet, four inches and a muscular 250 pound frame. He runs like a wide receiver and lines up all over the field. While his pass blocking is a work in progress, Ebron has the frame and top flight athleticism to become a complete tight end. He is excellent at extending his arms and catches the ball with his hands, rather than sticking it to his body. Most importantly, he has a knack for coming back to the quarterback as a security blanket when the play breaks down.

2) Jace Amaro, Texas Tech:

Amaro does a lot of his work from the slot in Texas Tech’s offense and was extremely productive this year as a Junior at Texas Tech. He’s slightly bigger than Ebron, standing at 6’5 and weighing 260 pounds. His blocking is inconsistent at times and he has also struggled to hold on to the football when running after the catch. Although his blocking needs consistency, he is so much larger than defensive backs that he often makes a block just by being in the way. The bottom line is that he is a game changing aerial threat. He has great hands and the speed to take the top off a defense to pair with his size.

3) Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington

The John Mackey Award winner is third on my list, but could very well be the first tight end to come off the board in May. He is the biggest player out of the group standing 6’6 and weighing 260 pounds, but is also an explosive athlete for his size. Seferian-Jenkins is an average blocker but with his frame, much like Ebron, he can mold into a complete tight end in the NFL. He seems to do his best work in the red zone.

Austin-Seferian-Jenkins-washington-suspeded-indefinitely-2013-570x379

Other considerations:

The problem is after this group, there is a significant drop off in talent with the tight end class. Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz is a mauler as a blocker, but seemed very average in the receiving game. He could have been limited due to suspect quarterback play, but he does not have the athleticism that the players in this trio possess. Georgia’s Arthur Lynch has also been a nice target and respectable blocker, but his overall potential is very limited. I see both of these guys as TE2′s in the NFL, where Ebron, Amaro, and ASJ have game changing potential as TE1′s.

Let’s jump into my top five wide receivers, an extremely deep position group in this year’s draft class (assuming Sammy Watkins has come off the board):

1) Mike Evans, Texas A&M

I’m not as high on the polarizing 6’5 wide receiver as others are. While I do have him as the highest rated wide receiver after Watkins, he should come with a buyer beware label. Evans will have an adjustment period in the NFL, as he won’t physically abuse every corner he matches up against much like he did in college. Another tidbit with Evans is that he comes back to the ball really well when Johnny Manziel extends plays for an extraordinary amount of time. Not all quarterbacks possess that ability, especially in the NFL when facing high speed pass rushers.

Now on to the good aspects. As I previously mentioned, Evans is somewhat of a matchup nightmare. The kid will be twenty years old in training camp and stands at 6’5, with a 225 muscular frame. Not only does he possess such an impressive build, but he also uses it to his advantage. Evans attacks the ball in the air really well and dominates in the red zone, an area the Jets have been absolutely putrid in when attempting to throw the ball. He is clearly a nice fit and would certainly improve the Jets problems putting the ball in the end zone through the air.

2) Odell Beckham Jr., LSU

The Jets had very little explosiveness in both the receiving game and return game this season, both areas Beckham Jr. absolutely tore up at LSU. He is about 6 feet tall, possesses good hands, speed, and plus ability after the catch. The only gripe I have with Beckham is that the Jets need to add size to the wide receiver position, but his talent is undeniably impressive.

He would also add an element to the punt return game the Jets have not ever seen before. It was hard for me to have him ranked higher than USC’s Marqise Lee, but the tape does not lie: this kid is as explosive as they come.

3) Marqise Lee, USC

I really struggled ranking my two through five wide receivers on this list, as they are all very interchangeable. I recently dropped Lee from number two to three because of his durability and Beckham’s superb versatility. He’s had injury concerns and the Jets really can not afford to take a non-impact player with their first round pick.

On the bright side, Lee is as smooth as they come when on the field. He makes a killing on slant routes and is lethal after the catch. He runs in the 4.45 range but displays more elusiveness and quickness rather than speed. While his junior year was unimpressive statistically, he dominated as a sophomore when Matt Barkley was his quarterback. I also see him as an extremely good fit for a Marty Mornhinweg west coast offense.

4) Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

Matthews has received little hype and is the classic case of evaluators getting caught up with flashy plays. The 6’3 wideout has been the epitome of consistency for Vanderbilt. Fearless to go across the middle and sky high along the sideline for the big catch, Matthews has the make up of an excellent number two wide receiver in the NFL.

In his final two years at Vanderbilt, Matthews totaled over 2,600 receiving yards, 201 catches and 13 touchdowns. He also averaged over 12 yards per catch, a notable number as Geno Smith is a downfield thrower.

5) Brandin Cooks, Oregon State

BrandinCooks

The 2013 Biletnikoff award winner posted an incredible season with 128 catches, 1730 yards. The only reason I have Cooks ahead of Odell Beckham Jr. is due to his small frame. Much like Jeremy Kerley, Cooks plays bigger than his size. He adjusts to the ball on deep throws and can climb over defenders at times using pure athleticism.

Although the Jets are in dire need of a large red zone target, Cooks is too much of a game changer to pass up. He is just as versatile as any player in the draft and has home run hitting ability much like last year’s top playmaking prospect Tavon Austin. If the Jets can find a big target in free agency and use Kerley out wide on the opposite side, Cooks could make a killing from the slot. He would also be the starting return man from day one, where he was lethal throughout his college career.

Other considerations:

LSU’s other wideout Jarvis Landry had an excellent season and was tough to leave out of the top five. His style of play is very comparable to Jerricho Cotchery’s as he is fearless across the middle to make the tough catch. Penn State’s Allen Robinson was arguably the most consistent wide receiver in the country and could sneak into the first round. I think both of these players are destined for solid NFL careers but the Jets need to find a home run hitter in this draft.

Penn State  Navy

One name many fans are intrigued with is FSU’s Kelvin Benjamin. His 6’5 frame is impressive but he has serious work ethic concerns. He is drawing a lot of comparison’s to Chicago’s Alshon Jeffery (bold claim) with his long wingspan enabling him to make the tough catch. Unless Benjamin impresses throughout interviews and the combine, I’m hoping the Jets go elsewhere for wide receiver (preferably one of the seven names I mentioned above).

The Debate:

The NFL Draft is a numbers game and there is no comparison between the tight end and wide receiver group in the 2014 class. After those top three tight ends come off the board (most likely in the first round) there will be slim pickings in terms of finding a guy with well rounded potential. Jeff Cumberland has been decent in the aerial game but is one of the worst blocking tight ends in all of football. Zach Sudfeld is a project and Kellen Winslow had an impressive return but always carries health concerns.

The Jets need to solve their gaping hole at the TE1 spot and should address it with the 18th overall pick. It would be an absolute stunner if all of the seven wide receivers I mentioned were not on the board when the Jets pick in the second round. If Tampa Bay does not release Darrelle Revis, the Jets will also have an extra third rounder (a very early one, too).

With a fair amount of cap space to work with, John Idzik will also look to add playmakers through free agency well before the draft. Lets take a look at the top ten wide receivers and top ten tight ends available in the upcoming free agency period:

Golden-Tate

Wide Receivers (in no particular order):

1) Golden Tate

2) Jeremy Maclin

3) Eric Decker

4) Emmanuel Sanders

5) Anquan Boldin

6) Hakeem Nicks

7)  James Jones

8) Riley Cooper

9) Julian Edelman

10) Kenny Britt

Overview:

I would be shocked if any of these players receive the franchise tag. My gut feeling is Eric Decker is a lock to return because of Peyton Manning. If Percy Harvin has a big postseason, Seattle might feel comfortable letting Golden Tate walk. Kenny Britt and Hakeem Nicks will most likely move on due to torn relationships with their respective franchises. The rest of this cast will at least test free agency and see what offers come there way. Either way you look at it, this is a pretty solid group for teams looking to improve their aerial attack.

otkwiml156

Tight Ends (in no particular order):

1) Jimmy Graham

2) Dennis Pitta

3) Jeff Cumberland

4) Brandon Pettigrew

5) Fred Davis

6) Garrett Graham

7) Dustin Keller

8) Scott Chandler

9) Andrew Quarless

10) Jermichael Finley

Overview:

Lets start with Jermichael Finley and Dustin Keller. Both suffered serious injuries this season and may never return back to form. Quarless (Green Bay) and Garrett Graham (Houston) have filled in nicely thanks to injuries to Finley and Texan’s tight end Owen Daniels. Jimmy Graham is the superstar of this group and isn’t leaving New Orleans, he will be franchise tagged if both sides can not reach an agreement. The rest of this group may test free agency but are a relatively unimpressive cast. Remember, the Jets need a TE1, not a TE2.

Final Take:

The Jets are clearly in dire need of playmakers on offense and are loaded with draft picks to solve this need. While they can’t really make the “wrong” decision when picking between a tight end or a wide receiver, the wide receiver class is much more deeper. Pair that with the respectable free agency class of wide outs and the Jets have multiple ways to add two or three wideouts this offseason.

As for tight end, the draft seems to be the beginning and end in terms of finding a tight end one. The available tight ends in free agency are not tight end one candidates (assuming Jimmy Graham is franchise tagged). The draft has talent, but it seems to be a short list. Players always surprise in the combine, but the Jets need a complete game changer at the position and should be in a nice spot to add one.

Follow Connor Rogers: @Real_CR3

  • Danish Jes

    Good article. I like the view on the deep WR class and the Jets need to go for a stud TE in the first round. I still hope that Watkins somehow messes up before the draft so the Jets can snatch him. I remember that Cordarelle Patterson was going to the Jets as no.9 in some mock drafts this time last year and he fell a whole lot, mainly because of everyone falling in love with Tavon Austin.

  • Chris j

    Great column… Amaro vs Ebron is a great debate, i think i lean towards Amaro a little but i haven’t delved deep into it yet

  • subzero2401

    Excellent, excellent article. We seem to be in agreement that the way things are shaping up, it makes sense to take a TE1 at #18 and take advantage of a deep WR class to land one in round 2. I only hope Idzik sees it the same way!

  • Connor Rogers

    Thanks everyone.

    Ebron vs. Amaro is definitely an interesting debate. It seems like Amaro is a slightly better receiver at the moment, but Ebron looks much more capable as a complete tight end.

    Geno Smith took a ton of pressure this year from terrible edge blocking from tight ends, which certainly needs to be addressed.

  • JerryB

    I think you have underestimated the FA TE class. I really like Pitta as a receiver and Pettigrew as an all around TE. He can block better than any TE on the Jets’ roster and is a more than adequate receiver..

  • Harold

    I agree with your list on a lot of levels. However with Amaro he only has two career fumbles. That is not a lot at all. Both this year none prior.

    I prefer Seferian Jenkins in Rd 2. I think he will fall to 2nd unless he tests really well.

    With our 1st rounder if Watkins falls to number 8 or lower I feel with approx 12 total picks we should trade up using our two third rounders (I would defer to the Jets staff if the grades they had did not differ much between the top prospects at WR to wait). But based on watching tape at least 5 games each on Watkins, Evans and Lee, their is certainly a difference between them.

    In FA I would look at Boldin or Macklin as my first choices in that neither would take a long term deal to sign.

  • KAsh

    It is silly to try to establish needs for teams this early in the offseason. Take quarterback. January 15 is the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft, and Brett Hundley and Blake Bortles, both redshirt sophmores, have yet to do so. Then, you have free agency. If Hundley and Bortles do not declare, several teams will opt for free agent QBs to make sure they come away with someone at the position. Finally, this is also a deep draft at quarterback, with some teams opting to wait to the later rounds for guys like Boyd, McCarron, Mettenberger, and Murray. A prime example is the Browns, that can choose to take talent with their top-5 pick and then go QB with the pick they get from the Colts.

    Also, someone might say that teams are more desparate for QBs since there were few in last year’s draft. But the same thing goes for wide receivers.

    As for the Jets, I think you go too overboard with TE1 and TE2 designations. If I understand your distinction correctly, none of the TEs in this draft are guaranteed to be stars in the NFL. It is more important to focus on what the Jets can and cannot do at the position. Winslow is always at risk to miss games, Sudfeld is developing, and Cumberland is inconsistent at best, especially as a blocker. I think, as JerryB said, you can go after someone like Pettigrew in free agency as an all-around TE and then Pitta as a consistent downfield threat, if you cannot get Pettigrew.

    If you cannot get either, then your top TE draft target needs to be Sefarian-Jenkins, as he is the most complete TE. He was a great receiver his first two years in college, with his blocking being the biggest knock against him. In his third year, the offense shifted to a running attack behind Bishop Sankey, and Sefarian-Jenkins improved greatly as a blocker. Out of the three, he has spent the most time working as a traditional in-line tight end.

    If you can get Pettigrew, then Ebron becomes your top TE draft target. He is the most athletic and probably also the fastest of the three. Also the most versatile, as he has lined up on the line, as an H-back in the backfield, and in the slot. He is aggresive and is an improving blocker, but it is not something he was asked to specialize in. He has a history of mental errors, as he sometimes whiffs on blocks and sometimes drops easy catches.

    As for receivers, they will be around in rounds two and three. Robinson should be rated higher (above Matthews and Cooks) as he is fast, agile, smooth, and intelligent. Not only is he one of the most consistent receivers, but he also knows how to separate, make people miss, find holes in zone coverage, and also always works back to the quarterback. I agree with you about Kelvin Benjamin. But if you are rating these guys based on fit with the Jets, how can Marqise Lee be third, as you yourself say he is a perfect fit for Marty’s WCO?

  • Anthony

    Drafting for need is dumb. I hope the jets take the best player available. As far as addressing those need positions, I think the listed FAs can fill those areas.

    What would be wrong with signing several WRs and a TE like pettigrew, keeping Cumby, and surpplimenting that through the bulk of mid round draft picks (2 in the 3rd and 2 in the 4th 1 in the 5th).

  • Mark Phelan

    Anthony – what if the ‘best athlete available’ plays NT?

  • KAsh

    @Mark

    Nose tackle? That’s perfect! Trade Ellis and get someone even better to develop.

  • KAsh

    @Mark

    In fact, if Louis Nix III is still on the board, he might be a steal. Over the last two years, where we have had great DT classes both years, I think only Star Lotulelei has played starter’s minutes in his rookie year and even he has mostly come off the bench. A nose tackle would basically be a backup for the year as he acclimates to the NFL, and then next year, there is a significant chance that we lose both Harrison and Ellis in free agency. At that point, having a first-round nose tackle waiting in the wings would be a smart move.

  • Anthony

    @Mark

    I hope the best player available is a defensive player to be honest. Is a DT ideal? No. Do I think that Rex can get the asolute most out of ANY defensive player in the world? Yes!

  • Will

    Hoping a jets don’t hit the panic button. I agree, the WR class seems deep. Ebron may be the best option with pick one. Doubt one of the big 3 TE’s will be there in round two.

    Question, do the a Jets rotate in round two with other teams with same record? Meaning, do they pick ahead of Pitts, Dallas and Ravens since they picked ahead in 1st Round.

  • Connor Rogers

    @KAsh

    If Idzik lets both Damon Harrison and Kenrick Ellis walk in free agency next year, he has not done his job. You draft (Ellis) and develop (Harrison, former UDFA) talent and hope to retain it. While I agree you must often take the BPA, you do not just keep drafting the same position group in the first round year after year, that will leave you heavy in one area (defensive line) and anemic in another (offense).

    I watch a ton of Notre Dame, I love Nix, but he is the last guy we should be looking at with our 18th overall selection this season, or any nose tackle for that matter in round 1.

    @Will

    We pick 17th overall in the 2nd round and 16th overall in the 3rd as far as I know.

  • KAsh

    @Connor

    I made a mistake in trying to overstate my point. Harrison should be a RFA next year, so you can put a first-round tender on him, keep him at $2.879 million for the year or even use the leverage to negotiate a long-term contract. Ellis is unrestricted, so he is still gone unless you pay him starter money.

    But what I really wanted to say was that it is not that absurd to consider other possibilities.

    First, after the three tight ends, many have Fiedorowicz rated as #4, and I think that he is too slow-footed to be an effective receiving threat. But I was watching some tape last night on Arthur Lynch from Georgia and he might be a good pickup in the middle rounds: decent receiver stuck in a system that likes to run the ball, but can hold his own as a blocker even against d-linemen. Some of these tight ends might have been overlooked with the hype for (and the gaudy statistics put up by) the first three TEs. Ebron’s and Amaro’s are basically used as wide receivers, so their numbers look closer to those of wide receivers. Other TEs are used in more traditional ways and do not have the accolades given to ASJ from last year, so they coast under the radar.

    Further, there are great pure linebackers (and defensive ends that have played linebacker) in this draft. And a position with an even bigger dropoff than tight ends is free safety. If someone like Khalil Mack or Anthony Barr falls to the 18th pick or if Clinton-Dix is still on the board, why get tied up with only choosing offensive players?

  • Anthony

    Does anyone else realize that the draft is 5 months away, Free Agency is only 3 months away, and draft strategy will be severely impacted by the FA’s we sign.

    Speaking of FA’s we still have a ton of dudes league-wide that will be cut, so we can’t even begin to plan on that.

    Even after the FA period we will have the combine, which always turns guys into 1st rounders, or sends other guys packing. Lane Johnson was like a 3-5th rounder until he ran a sub 5.00 40 time.

  • John X

    Anthony is the lone voice of reason here and what the hell is talk of NT’s hijacking the story? Ridiculous.
    Obviously, who the Jets keep on the roster and pursue in FA regarding TE’s will dictate that first pick. And the person who claimed that TE’s a plentiful in this FA might want to produce that big list (that doesn’t exist), TE FA is weak and shallow. Pettigrew hasn’t accomplished much in his career and Pitta may not return to form following his hip surgery. Beyond those two non sure-fire prospects are some even more mediocre prospects – Quarless, Dickson and Graham.
    This is all pointing towards the top pick being a TE especially when considering there are only 3 good TE’s in the draft.

  • Lidman

    Fully agree that it’s hard to assess what the NYJ needs will be until after the Superbowl when teams adjust their rosters to get ready for next year. That said, I hate the idea of picking a TE, that early. The reason: name the last #1 pick, at TE, to really be an impact player? It’s an obscure position. The highly publicized TEs are generally of the ‘flex’ variety, meaning they are more receivers who lack blocking skills: Fleener, Ertz, Escobar, Eifert and Gresham come to mind as recent early picks. I’m not saying these guys aren’t good players, but they certainly have yet to prove they are game changers (some are rookies). But even the Jermichael Finleys, Martellus Bennetts, Fred Davis’ and Jared Cooks of the world-high picks who’ve really not been consistent-have underwhelmed. Meanwhile, you have J Thomas and J Cameron who have been developed and weren’t high picks. In the past 10 years, only Gates, Graham and Gronk have been truly impact players, who opposing defenses have had to game plan for, and both Graham and Gates are WR, who are just listed as TEs. Which brings me to my point.

    In college these guys weren’t good enough to beat WR, so they moved to TE and took advantage of college LB and S. Well, they move to the NFL and and most find they can’t consistently beat those guys. If you want to draft Ebron because you think he’ll be a good receiver, than pick a WR who is beating college CBs, that’s just my own observation and opinion.

    What makes Gronk so special is he plays 90+% of the snaps (that is when he plays) because he’s a great ‘in line’ blocker, so when he’s on the field, you don’t know if it’s a run or pass. Find the next Dwayne Allen, or bring in a Pettigrew, so you get a multi faceted guy who can help in a number of ways. If you want a receiving threat, draft a RECEIVER.

  • Drew

    Lidman, that is a very good point on TEs, but I honestly feel this year is different. If Amaro was listed at WR I still believe he would be a 1st round pick because he does create a significant mismatch at 260 pounds.

    ASJ can also be put in the category of players who are too talented to pass up on regardless of position. I know this article listed him at 260, but from what I have read he is more around 280 (with speed).

    I would still prefer a WR in the first. Right now I like Jordan Mathews (after Watkins) but you can make an argument any of them. Big board:

    1) Watkins
    2) Mathews
    3) ASJ
    4) Amaro
    5-10) Lee, Evans, Robinson, Benjamin, Cooks

    Obviously this is subject to a lot of change between now and May, but I am hoping we can land two of the guys I have listed above.

  • Balanje

    Just throwing this out there… Do you still think NO will franchise Jimmy Graham if it is at WR tender? I can’t imagine NFLPA allowing him to be franchised at TE money. If is garners WR tag that may prevent them from using it and open him up to FA (not to mention souring the relationship with a legal battle).

    Holding out some hope.

  • Lidman

    Balanje..that will indeed be an intresting development, and certainly will have an impact because the difference is somewhere around $5.5mm(the new way they calculate that is some serious applied math, but I’m in the ballpark).

    Drew,

    You could certainly be right. I’m only playing the odds and no TE, in recent memory has been worth a first round pick, and a number of the good ones have been drafted after round 3. I don’t know anything about this year’s class, and I will only learn what I read from other’s opinions. However, I still believe if any of these guys were really special playmakers, they’d be playing WR. In many cases, I think they put on the extra weight because they’re moving to TE, for the instances they do block (at least they’ll have more girth).

    Watching SF yesterday, I wondered why GB was covering their TE, Vernon Davis, with LB or nickel DBs and putting one of their 2 top CBs on Boldin, the WR. They’re basically the same size, but Boldin runs TE routes and Davis runs WR routes.

  • Connor Rogers

    @Balanje

    Interesting point about how Graham’s franchise tender will work. Obviously nobody knows how that will play out at the moment, but I think the Saints will franchise him no matter what. Franchising him locks him up with them and they can work on a different contract in the meantime.

  • David

    People talk about Graham getting the franchise tag: Would you not give up 2 1st rounders for him, plus a contract? I know I would! Jimmy Graham is going to be much better than anything you can get at #18 and if the Jets have ANY kind of offense next season, that selection will be down in the 20′s.

  • David

    And the whole BPA vs need argument I have never understood for reasons discussed here. Grab a need!

  • Lidman

    David..I think in rounds 1 and 2, you grab the need, unless the BPA has unexpicably fell in your lap. I think where teams screw up is by ‘filling needs’ in round 3 and up. That’s where you find your gems, guys who, for whatever reason, have slipped. But, if I’m the NYJ and it gets to round 3, and there is a D Lineman with 1st/2nd round talent, I’m not taking that OL, S or WR/TE because those are needs. I take a guy who I believe can make a difference on my team. In this league, you’re always turnover your roster, especially if you’re good (because you can’t afford to keep all your good players). That’s why I think NYJ should do all they can to get a WR in round 1. If they think Watkins is ‘the guy’ get him. Then when you get to those later rounds, you take BPA. They got Antonio Allen in round 7. You know why? He was a college LB and they took him and turned him into a S. Campbell, the OL they took out of Michigan last year. He also played some DT, and with the way this coaching staff develops run stuffers, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him wind up on the DLine. You win with good football players, so draft the best football players even if you think you don’t need them.

  • Lidman

    Remember when this guy was a bust too: http://goo.gl/b3K6SJ

    Check out this guy’s first 3 full seasons and tell me you would like him on NYJ now: http://goo.gl/KNZuK8

    Before dumping S Hill, let’s let him have 2nd consecutive year with same QB and with OC who understands how the passing game works. Maybe he is a bust, but dumping him now likely doesn’t get you anything with upside…just an opinion.

  • IL DUCE

    I like Eric Ebron but I still don’t trust TEs in Round 1 although I won’t be terribly upset if we take him….I also an not a big fan of Marqise Lee or even Beckham and Cooks for that matter, we have a slot guy already, Kerley’s abilities are minimized on the outside…my ideal scenario is signing Jeremy Maclin or Emmanuel Sanders to a relatively cheap deal in free agency and drafting Mike Evans in Round 1 and Austin Seferian-Jenkins in Round 2…the past couple of years this has always happened where mocks and draft “experts” rank several tight ends as first rounders and then one or none go in the first (Eifert, Ertz and Escobar last year). I also like Kelvin Benjamin a lot (wouldn’t have a problem taking him at 18), and I would take Jordan Matthews, Jarvis Landry or Allen Robinson in the 2nd as well if we go TE at 18

  • IL DUCE

    And Lidman, Campbell had been playing DT for the past couple of years at Michigan and they drafted him planning to convert him to OG a la Brandon Moore so I doubt they would move him back to DL unless it was an emergency due to injury…and Antonio Allen was not a college LB, he was the strong safety in South Carolina defense known as the “Spur” position…draft evaluators just compared it to playing LB since he was close to the line and wasn’t used much in coverage, but he was still a safety

  • Lidman

    Il Duce..agreed on Campbell but he played both spots in college, and he was on the 53 all year. With guys who don’t play we don’t get a ton of info on what they are doing, but certainly see your point.

    On Allen, if a guy is around the LOS 80% of the time, he’s a LB in my book. How he’s listed is semantics in my book. Put it this way, when he was draft eligible, there weren’t many reports suggesting he would have been as adept at covering Gronk and Graham the way he did. I think the coaching staff developed him into an NFL Safety, from a guy who played more like a LB in college.

    My point was merely when you get down in the draft, there has to be some out of the box thinking regarding the athletes available. If a team strictly drafts by position, I think they are missing the boat.

  • KAsh

    @Lidman

    The BPA always falls into your lap. That is what “Available” means. If you go for a perceived need on a roster that has holes at almost every position, you are setting yourself up for failure down the road. It is also the most surefire way of drafting a bust. Think of all the positions at which busts are most plentiful – quarterbacks, pass rushers, wide receivers, cornerbacks – all “impact” positions that are given prominence in the draft because they are the areas teams try to address first.

    Wide receiver is a big need, but a future HoF outside linebacker will serve the team better in the long run than a good wide receiver. Even for the coming year, most rookies have negligible contributions for their teams, so the difference between a rookie at one position or another is small. Do we need offensive playmakers? Yes. But a combination of free agency and BPA will serve the team better than trying to see a player for something he’s not.

  • Lidman

    Kash..problem is it’s a crap shoot. You’re right, if the NYJ chase Mike Evans and miss out on the next Ray Lewis, even if that’s not a big need, it will hurt you. The problem is the guess work that goes into the whole process.

    My point must have been unclear. What I mean is in a situation where there is a clear need, and your spot comes up and there is a highly rated player available, who is say 3rd vs your ratings, and 1 and 2 aren’t as crucial, I can see drafting for need. I think most teams would be more confident, of an early round pick, having success than they would a later round pick. Then, when you get into the 3rd round, and beyond, I think you always take BPA. He doesn’t necessarily ‘fall into your lap’ there, because you could have taken him in earlier rounds. My impression is many teams fill needs later in the draft, which to me is counter-intuitive. However, we see every year a number of UFA having success. This suggests to me teams pass on them, for needs, even though they may be better football players.

    I could be 100% wrong, it’s just a theory.

    So, for example, if the NYJ don’t trade up and somehow Tuitt or Jernigan are there but so is Evans or J Matthews, I think the NYJ are better served taking the WR because the success rate of 1st round picks is higher than it is in any other round, and even if Tuitt or Jernigan eventually become the next Bruce Smith or Reggie White, the NYJ need to improve on the offensive side of the ball more than they need to add another D Lineman.

  • KAsh

    First, Evans is probably better as a prospect than Tuitt and Jernigan. But here is a more realistic scenario: Clinton-Dix fell, Evans is still on the board, and Vic Beasley is still available. It is still a crapshoot, otherwise we’d have a league full of nothing but superstars. But what gives you better odds of winning the bet: picking your best option or your third best option?

  • Lidman

    Ok..if Clowney fell..I was just going on Scouts Inc top 30..I don’t think your last question can be answered. If it were that easy teams wouldn’t ever make 1st round mistakes. However, in the scenario, you provide, if I were running the NYJ draft and after all my info gathering, my board had Beasley just ahead of both Clinton-Dix (a need) and Evans (another need). I would be making my decision between the latter two. Now, if all my 1st round WR and S were gone, I wouldn’t draft need over a projected 1st round talent. So, sure, if the best player available, at 18, is a DLineman and there are comparable graded WR, LBs, DBs or OL..than yes, take the player who you think will produce the most, even though he doesn’t fit a need.