Morning Cup of Coffee: A Welcome to Draft Season

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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.

Surprise Cuts

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.

  • Harold

    I would look at a third day pick at Qb not before. Dont see that being a wise use of the team’s resources.

  • KAsh

    All I needed to know was that you led with a photo of Fales.

  • Sean F

    Overrated draft class to me. If my team had a Top 5 pick, I would want a “sure thing”, which I don’t see in this draft. Manziel is the only QB to me worth the gamble. Houston should trade down!!! Taking Bridgewater with the 1st pick is like SF taking Alex Smith years back.

  • David

    Would anyone rather have the draft first, then Free Agency?

  • Lidman

    If Nicks gets cut, he might not be a fit for NYJ: http://goo.gl/Nvuood

    On top of that, if he gets cut and has his once promising and profitable career derailed because of a an unsanitary work environment, he’s going to make a nice chunk of change.

  • John X

    Wouldn’t it be an admission of failure by Idzik for selecting Geno last year if they drafted another QB? What kind of message to Geno would it be even if it were a lower round pick? This is just NOT happening. And how would a lower round QB somehow be an upgrade over Simms? I don’t see the reasoning behind such a move.

  • Psi

    Saw Fales play and he looked as good Derek Carr also against inferior competition. Then again Kaperneick played against a similar level in college. Bottom line, take a chance on of these guys after Round 1. Not an indictment of Geno…just good due diligence.

  • Frank Antonelli

    Just like drafting a goalie late in the NHL. Never a bad idea since great goalies are mid to late round selections. Remember the Rangers’ 7th round choice (205th overall) in the 2000 Entry Draft was Henrik Lundqvist.
    The same applies to football, you never know when you’ll get lucky and draft the next Tom Brady. Remember we selected Chad in the first round when the Patsies and Belacheat got very lucky and got Tom in the sixth round. Without that piece of good fortune Belacheat would have been fired and would have ended up as a defensive coordinator for the rest of his career.

  • KAsh

    Name one other QB in the past twenty years that was a late-round pick and made something of himself. Brady was an oversight by the entire league. After Brady, the most successful guys on that list are Matt Cassel and Kyle Orton.

    Also, every QB that got drafted late and had an ounce of success in the league all sat on the bench behind legitimate veteran starters. We do not have one. To enlarge John X’s point, all you are doing is undermining Geno’s confidence (because he now has a younger replacement glaring daggers into his back) while not having anyone that can come in and relief hit for when Geno does falter. The worst of both worlds.

  • http://at&t bob

    test

  • Frank Antonelli

    @kash. As normal I would expect nothing less from you. You are so clueless it’s funny. How about this list clown:

    (1) Kurt Warner (undrafted!)
    (2) Johnny Unitas
    (3) Sonny Jurgenson
    (4) George Blanda
    (5) Joe Theismann
    (6) Matt Hasselback
    (7) Tony Romo
    (8) Mark Brunell
    (9) Jeff Garcia

    There are many move. Try doing some research before you open your ignorant mouth again!

  • KAsh

    @Frank

    I’m putting the nail in this coffin.

    As always, you neither read nor think. “Last twenty years” was not an arbitrary number but an estimate as to when the internet evolved enough for a cutting-edge front office to be able to get access to film of every game for every player without having scouts trailing teams, taping all their games. From around the time of 1994, it became possible to analyze all or most college QBs without having a scout assigned to each of them. Yet you bring up Unitas, Jurgensen, and company, some of them predating the expression “get tape on a player.” Of course, there were several QBs in the 50s taken in the late-rounds that became great: people drafted off hearsay and nothing but personal interviews back then.

    The only four names that I need to account for are Warner, Hasselbeck, Brunell, and Garcia. Romo was not drafted, which is very different from being a late-round pick. Talent-wise, the two groups are similar and, more importantly, they have similar questionables, but the late-round picks are the ones teams want exclusivity with. What kind of QB falls to the fifth round and further that teams think other teams want? Such guys are often picked by the fourth round, after which the number of QBs picked usually drops off. A QB that is available at the top of the fifth can probably still be picked up as an UDFA.

    Back to the four. Or the three, as Warner was also undrafted, like Romo. I included him because he has a similar story to Garcia: both joined the league after college, but immediately fell out of it, and spent at least four years in minor leagues (Garcia in the CFL, Warner in the Arena league and Europe) before returning to the NFL both to a new team, with which they became famous. So, two examples of how late-round QBs benefit other teams.

    Then, we have Brunell and Hasselbeck, two backups to an established great that got their team some draft picks several years down the road. Even if we could sit someone for three years behind Geno, we already have Simms there, so is it the best use of our limited draft picks to find out just who is the king of the NY Jets’s trash heap?

    To reiterate, a late-round QB is a waste of a draft pick. Such guys, at best, need years to develop. They need entrenched starters in front of them to keep them off the field. And the most they usually accomplish is getmore draft picks for the team in a trade. All it would do is sap Geno’s confidence without providing the team with a viable backup. Just what the team needs to reclaim the clown tent.