Although the front office controls a majority of the NFL Draft operations, head coach Rex Ryan still has a strong input on selections (see Milliner, Dee and Richardson, Sheldon). Who are a few players Rex has his eye on in this year’s draft? Let’s take a look:
1) Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Dennard has a solid build (5’11, 200 pounds) for a defensive back. He is extremely physical against both the run and pass. On tape it is quite clear he “grabs” his target too often down field, but this is a coachable flaw.
While many complain about his average speed, he forces his assignments to play at his level. He jams well at the line and possesses all of the traits Rex Ryan looks for in his man coverage corner backs. Dennard is visiting the Jets before the draft and is a serious possibility at 18 overall.
2) Deone Bucannon, SS, Washington State
The 6’1, 210 pound Bucannon is a classic Rex Ryan type safety. With very adequate speed (runs a 4.49 40 yard dash), Bucannon has decent range for a strong safety. Rex loves to trot out two strong safeties, making Bucannon a great pairing for Antonio Allen after Dawan Landry’s days as a Jet come to an end.
Bucannon is a vicious hitter that has a knack for knocking the football loose. Just like Dennard, he will be visiting the Jets before the draft. He will be in serious consideration on day two.
3) Trai Turner, OG, LSU
Turner is a force when run blocking. At times he drives defenders backwards and straight into the ground for a crushing pancake block. He still needs to be developed, especially with his footwork as a pass blocker.
The bottom line is that Turner is built to be a bruiser in a run heavy offense and could be a worthwhile investment for the Jets early in day three of the draft.
4) Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State
The former Spartan captain was a brilliant leader for the middle of their defense before being suspended from playing in the Rose Bowl. He was one of the strongest players at the combine, posting 30 reps on the bench press.
Bullough is built much like David Harris and plays the same style of football. Storing him on the depth chart and letting him learn the defense for a year or two could pay dividends. He is projected to go in the fifth round or later.
5) Trey Millard, FB, Oklahoma
Another former team captain, Millard is a jack of all trades fullback. He is a powerful and willing blocker, but also possesses the catch and run ability to thrive in Marty Mornhinweg’s west coast offense.
The former linebacker would also be able to contribute on both sides of the ball on special teams. While he continues to recover from a torn ACL from early in the 2013 season, Millard is a projected day three selection.