With Florida State winning the National Championship over Auburn in a thriller Monday evening, NFL draft season is officially upon us. While the NFL playoffs continue on, many New York Jet fans are looking towards the draft in May. Let’s give the NFL draft season a warm welcome.
The Quarterback Class
This crop is probably the deepest quarterback class we have seen in quite some time, along with the most mysterious. While there are plenty of impressive talents, Teddy Bridgewater seems like the only guy “pro ready.” Although Bridgewater seems to be the only guy ready to start from day one, the following guys may also go in the first round, just based on pure talent: Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, University of Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, and Fresno State’s Derek Carr.
Outside of the potential first round quarterback prospects that many football fans are aware of, the day two-three list gets even longer. LSU’s Zach Mettenberger has intriguing size (6’5, 235) and arm strength, but a late season injury currently has him rehabbing. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd seems to have all the talent in the world in terms of his arm and mobility, but is a poor decision maker.
Brett Smith from Wyoming and David Fales from San Jose State do not garner a lot of hype due to playing at smaller schools, but both can easily slide into second round picks after workouts. There arm strength will not blow anyone out of the water, but they each have a quick release and are intelligent, efficient players.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray fell off the map due to a torn ACL, but when healthy he was one of the better quarterbacks in college football. In four seasons at Georgia Murray threw for 121 touchdowns and 41 interceptions. He also eclipsed 3,000 yards passing in each of those four seasons while having a completion percentage average of over 60%.
Two huge question mark quarterbacks in the draft are Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas and Alabama’s A.J. McCarron. Thomas is one of the more physically gifted players in college football but that has not translated to his play on the field. McCarron was extremely efficient throughout his career at Alabama but may lack the skill set required to succeed in the NFL. Both could come off the board at any point between day two and three, two of the more unpredictable players in the draft in terms of draft stock.
Free Agency Shopping
Various analysts are compiling lists of NFL teams “needs” at the moment, but a lot can change after free agency. The new league year starts in the beginning of March and the NFL draft has officially been pushed to May. This will give teams more than two months to fill holes throughout free agency before the draft.
With a lot of cap space looming, John Idzik will be able to be extremely active in free agency, unlike last offseason. Woody Johnson has never been a “cheap” man throughout his tenure as the owner of the New York Jets.
While fans are clamoring to draft offensive playmakers in the draft, the team may look much better on offense by the time the draft comes around. Taking the best player off the board rather than filling a need has proven throughout the years as a much better draft approach anyway.
The free agency lists are rolling out left and right, but nobody is sure of who will be cut due to salary cap issues. Rumors are already swirling that Tampa Bay may cut top flight guard Carl Nicks, an area that has been a gaping hole for the Jets all season.
While Nicks is no sure cap casualty, this rumor is a good example of not knowing what is to come. It happens every season and can completely change the dynamic of free agency. Sit back and enjoy the ride, the 2014 offseason is one of the most vital the Jets will have in over the past decade.