The NFL Draft is still over two months away (sad face). However, that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to discuss it endlessly until then. In today’s roundtable, we are lucky enough to be joined by Scott Salmon of Gang Green Nation and Ryan Alfieri of The Bleacher Report to discuss the New York Jets and the NFL Draft. Enjoy and make sure to give them both a follow, if you haven’t already!
Most people are assuming the Jets will add a WR or TE with the 18th overall pick, do you think these positions are being too focused on and if so is there another position they could potentially get better value at #18?
Scott Salmon - When it comes to the New York Jets, you should expect the unexpected. The fact that everyone is so focused on wide receiver and tight end, as you suggested, tells me the team probably won’t go in that direction. I suspect there could be a few good defenders on the board, such as Kony Ealy, Anthony Barr, Dee Ford, C.J. Mosley, Calvin Pryor, etc. I’m not saying those specific players will certainly be available, but it’s possible and they might be better options, considering how deep the receiving class is in this draft.
Ryan Alfieri - It does make a ton of sense to go with a WR or TE in round 1 given the depth of those two positions near the top, but as Sheldon Richardson proved last year, taking the best player trumps positional need. If there is a better, say, CB or linebacker available, the Jets should not hesitate to take the better player.
I think WR and TE are by far the weakest units on the team, but given the status of Antonio Cromartie and age of Calvin Pace, taking a defensive back or linebacker is certainly in play.
Joe Caporoso - It feels like we have been waiting forever for the Jets to add a tight end or wide receiver with an early round draft pick (excuse me for blocking out the memory of Stephen Hill). Considering the talent available at wide receiver and tight end, it is fair to assume in early mock drafts that the Jets will target one of those positions. However, I do agree on sticking with the best player available. There is excellent depth in this year’s wide receiver class and some intriguing 2nd and 3rd prospects at tight end, so the Jets shouldn’t hesitate to grab a linebacker or safety if their evaluations show a superior prospect is available to the pass catchers on the board at #18.
The Jets have two third round picks and are likely to have multiple picks in the 4th or 5th round, if not both, thanks to compensatory selections. What positions have the best value in the middle rounds this year?
Scott Salmon - There are a lot of decent running backs this year that might interest the team after the first round, such as Lache Seastrunk, Charles Sims, Andre Williams, Terrance West, De’Anthony Thomas, Dri Archer, etc. The same is true of tight ends, such as Austin Seferian-Jenkins, C.J. Fiedorwicz, Marcel Jensen, Colt Lyerla, etc
Ryan Alfieri - I think this is a very deep draft overall, especially at the receiver and outside linebacker positions. There are a handful of middle-round safeties that could be good value as well, but there is a ton of speedy gadget players that would be a huge boost for the Jets.
Joe Caporoso - I love the depth at receiver, cornerback and safety. This is why I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets passed on a wide receiver with the 18th overall pick. They may be able to get a player who can be immediately productive (especially considering their current depth chart) in round 3 or 4.
In terms of a fit for this roster, what one player do you want to see selected the most?
Scott Salmon - I’m leaning towards RB Dri Archer. He’s a game breaking talent that will give Geno Smith a Tavon Austin-like presence on the roster. Archer can work from the backfield or split out wide, and is one of the best returners in the country. He is an electric player and on a team without any such playmakers, is a fantastic fit for the team.
Ryan Alfieri - I believe Marqise Lee would be a perfect replacement for Santonio Holmes. He’s a tremendous athlete who does something a lot of Jets receivers have had trouble with recently—getting seperation.
If his knee checks out, he could be great value in the first round. Remember, he was up there with Sammy Watkins as the best receiver in the country two years ago.
Joe Caporoso - I know I mentioned passing on a receiver at #18 in my previous two responses but wow would I love to see Mike Evans in this offense. The Jets have long needed a big, physical receiver who will fight for contested balls and help bail their quarterback out. His game still needs some fine tuning but he would an immediate threat in the redzone and always a viable option in single coverage against smaller defensive backs.