2014 NFL Draft: New York Jets Underrated Needs

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The Jets will be selecting 18th overall in May’s NFL Draft and the debate rages on in regards to how they should use the pick. While the majority of the fan base and draft analysts are clamoring for a top tight end or wide receiver, there are other needs the front office must address. Let’s take a look at the not-so-obvious:

Outside Linebacker

This is the game changer for the Jets defense. While Quinton Coples future seems extremely promising, the other side is a huge question mark at the moment.

Calvin Pace had a career year with 10 sacks in his eleventh NFL season. He was often given one on one match ups on the edge, even against tight ends at times. The Jets front seven was extremely overpowering and commanded many double teams, leaving Pace as the forgotten man.

Envision a young, fast, edge rusher in Pace’s role. Antwan Barnes (in limited snaps) flashed in this spot before his season ending knee injury. Although Barnes should be fully recovered by the time training camp begins, he has never been an every down outside linebacker.

While I’m not expecting an elite talent such as Buffalo’s Khalil Mack to fall to the 18th pick, there will be some nice options available on day two and day three to address this need.

Potential Selections: Jeremiah Attaochu, Kyle Van Noy, Adrian Hubbard, Morgan Breslin

3rd Down Running Back

Losing Mike Goodson was devastating for the Jets last year. Coming off a four game suspension, Goodson looked extremely explosive, a dynamic the Jets offense has lacked for the past decade (after the Joe McKnight pick did not work out).

While Goodson, much like Barnes, is returning from a season ending knee injury, he is no sure thing. Will he instantly be as explosive? Will his legal matters be solved? Question marks can lead to black holes and the Jets need a second option.

Acquiring Tampa Bay’s third round pick in the Darrelle Revis trade was a dynamite throw in last year by John Idzik. The 2014 NFL Draft will be loaded with talent left on the board on day two. Using one of the third rounders on a speedster may pay dividends.

Potential Selections: Dri Archer, De’Anthony Thomas, James White

Quarterback

Let me make something clear: I’m a big Geno Smith fan. I liked him a lot before the 2013 NFL Draft and was ecstatic when the Jets landed him in the second round last year.

With that being said, adding a mid round quarterback may be an intelligent idea this year for a multitude of reasons.

Reason number one: Do the Jets even have a capable back up quarterback? I never jumped on the Matt Simms bandwagon. He could not even keep his starting job in college at Tennessee. He has a big arm, but that does not make him a back up NFL quarterback by any means (a pretty significant job).

Reason number two:  Geno Smith was inconsistent throughout his rookie season. He was impressive at times and horrendous at others. He’ll need to show progress in year two to show the front office he is the guy. If he is not the guy, adding another guy to develop will be key. The list of quarterbacks in this draft class is pretty extensive.

Potential Selections: Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger, Brett Smith, David Fales

  • David

    How about cornerback to that list? Let’s say Cromartie gets released and someone decides to “overpay” and he leaves the Jets. You then have Milliner and Kyle Wilson. Plus, aren’t Walls, Lankster, and a few others FA’s?

  • David

    With my last comment said, if the Jets don’t go offense in round 1, I can see a chorus of boos at the NFL Draft this year. It is just been defense, defense, defense for too long. Now is the time to start helping the offense.

  • John X

    David,

    He said “not so obvious”. With Cro, who admitted he should be cut, this is about as obvious as they come.

  • John X

    At least the writers here are consistent – they all want another rookie QB to add to this team thereby providing distraction for Geno and his development, chanting from the crowd to put in the backup when/if he struggles.

    I would hope Idzik is smart enough not to undermine his franchise pick in such a fashion. I disagree most sharply with every writer here on this idea.
    And I don’t believe this has ever happened – at least not that I recall…where a team drafted a QB the year after their franchise QB was selected. I don’t think CAR counts with Clausen – no one proclaimed his being the savior (franchise) for that team.
    Just the worst kind of idea on many levels.

  • Lidman

    “Losing Mike Goodson was devastating for the Jets last year”.

    What? Losing the 3rd down back? I know he was supposed to bring an element of speed to the NYJ, but easy on the adjectives. He played 9 snaps, and was brought in here on potential. It’s not like they lost Barry Sanders. Powell proved to be, at worst, average. He had 36 receptions and ran well.
    I have no way of knowing what Goodson would or wouldn’t have been. I just think ‘devastating’ is a term used when you lose and All-Pro, or your starting QB.

    Losing Julio Jones was ‘devastating’ to Atlanta. Losing David Wilson was a blow to the NYG-he was penciled in as their #1 back. Losing Goodson isn’t in either class, IMO.

  • Joe Caporoso

    John X,

    It doesn’t matter if the Jets do or do not add another rookie, there will ALWAYS be calls for the backup QB. Don’t you remember the #StartSimms insanity of last year? Or fans giving him a savior standing ovation before the 2nd half against Miami? Same thing happened with McElroy. Clemens. Bollinger. And on and on…

    I am a huge Geno fan and even I wouldn’t say he is definitely our “franchise” QB yet and certainly wouldn’t call him a “savior” – it is very common for teams to add a QB frequently in mid or late rounds of the Draft to develop into backups, potential starters down the road and trade assets.

  • KAsh

    I was expecting a discussion of options available with the 18th pick, but all of these guys should be considered in the second-round at best. Why not discuss offensive tackles? We may not resign Howard and Ferguson is aging. Why not cornerback? We need a long-term solution for Cromartie. Why not guard or safety, two of the biggest holes last year that are secondary needs in nature? You can find good value for all of these positions with the 18th pick.

  • Connor Rogers

    @Lidman

    Losing Mike Goodson eliminated the only home run hitter we had on offense this year from the depth chart. When you’re sending out Greg Salas and Zach Sudfeld in crunch time, there is a problem.

    @KAsh

    I think cornerback is one of the most obvious needs on the team, as John X pointed out. Same applies with the safety position. This article is discussing the not-so-obvious needs.

    Also, it’s pretty obvious I discussed mostly day two and day three options throughout this piece. If you want to hear about Jace Amaro or ODB going to the Jets at 18 overall, you can read that on any other Jets site every single week.

    Just trying to throw a different perspective out for the fans. Thanks for the read and discussion everyone.

  • Lidman

    Connor,

    I see what you’re saying. However, prior to coming here, MG had 42 career games, he’s had 2 runs over 40yds and 1 catch over 50yds, and he’s only had 4 TDs. Defining him as a ‘home run hitter’ seems aggressive to me. No doubt he brought some speed and shiftiness, but if Idzik was counting on him to be a consistent threat, as a 3rd down back, that’s a problem. I just think you overstated his value.

  • Connor Rogers

    I might have, I just think that shows how anemic the offense was. The scarcity of playmakers was alarming.

  • KAsh

    @Connor

    All I am saying is that you started the article with this:

    “The Jets will be selecting 18th overall in May’s NFL Draft and the debate rages on in regards to how they should use the pick. While the majority of the fan base and draft analysts are clamoring for a top tight end or wide receiver, there are other needs the front office must address. Let’s take a look at the not-so-obvious”

    You mention the 18th pick and that most of the talk has been about tight end and WR. Then you segway straight into a discussion of second-round LBs.

  • John X

    Joe,

    Nowhere do I state we don’t need a backup. You are placing words in my mouth. I am very simply stating that getting a rookie in back-to-back seasons is very suspect. Stay on track.

  • twoshady18

    @JohnX

    i disagree entirely. they put all their eggs in one basket with Sanchez and now 5 years later look where we’re at. I remember Westoff saying on Jets Nation something like: “I think you keep drafting a QB until you know you have your franchise”. I agree with that notion. Geno may or may not be the future but this club isn’t going to get better with question marks.

  • Joe Caporoso

    JX,

    Nothing suspect about drafting a QB in back to back years. Happens all the time. I’m always on track.

  • Drew

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned RG3 and Kirk Cousins were taken in the same draft- 3 rounds apart!

    I would only take a QB in the mid rounds if it was someone who we had extremely highly rated and had no business still being available. Similar to how the Giants grabbed Nassib last year. Also, a late round qb I would have no problem with.

    As for the notion that you keep drafting until you find your ‘franchise’ guy- most guys don’t become franchise players until they win the Superbowl. Eli and Flacco were never in the discussion until they got rings.

    Priority number 1 this offseason has to be offensive weapons.

  • Lidman

    My own opinion is taking a QB before round 4, doesn’t seem prudent (unless of course we find the next Russell Wilson). What I find interesting is when you look at guys like Tannehill, Manuel, Locker, Gabbert, and Ponder…all QBs taken in the rookie wage scale era and all having failed to ever make the playoffs it didn’t seem to raise the same questions. Is that simply because Geno was picked 25-30 picks later? I mean, in the grand scheme of things, that’s not much of a difference.

    I fully believe in the ‘competition and every position’ mantra, but I hope behind the scenes they are focusing on making this kid better with the hopes of him being their starting QB..again, when I look at his last 4 games, and I sprinkle in the Atlanta game and his solid efforts v NO and NE, I don’t see how we shouldn’t see him as having the ability to win games in this league.

    Maybe I’m just drinking the ‘Green Kool Aid’.

  • John X

    Is that true? Rookie QB’s drafted the year after a franchise QB is taken? I don’t recall that happening all the time.

  • John X

    …and you weren’t on track Joe by claiming I said something that I didn’t. But instead of an apology, you’d rather be a smart-ass. I see who you are.

  • Sean F

    I have no problem with using a 3rd round pick on a RB. Jets were fortunate that Ivory and Powell were durable, but injuries are always looming for running backs.

    Bishop Sankey in third would please this fan!! I like James White too, but not in the third

  • Joe Caporoso

    John – I have no idea why you keep calling Geno a “franchise” QB. He was a 2nd round pick. Very rarely are players considered franchise QBs after a single season, especially 2nd round picks who had statistics like Geno did last season.

    I also have no idea why you’d be seeking an apology. You are saying things that I don’t think make any sense so I am refuting them.

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  • Patrick Mathelier

    We can all speculate what the Jets might do but at the end of the day with upto 12 draft picks and having money to spend on free agency it’s hard for me not to think that all of this was planned. Remember 2013, from free agency to the draft, none of this, to me, was by chance.

  • Vin Diesel

    I am just going by this article with regard to “underrated” needs. How about special teams needs. Besides Nick Folk having a career year I think the Jets need help in addressing punting, and if Folk is not resigned kicking. How about they pluck a legit KR/PR in the later rounds, a speedster with sure hands that can be a specialist and eventually learn some offensive sets. How about a utility knife type player that is a project but can contribute right away like when we drafted Brad Smith. JMO.

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