Less than two weeks before the NFL Draft, we asked a group of our favorite writers who cover the New York Jets to project the team’s pick in the first two rounds. We also asked if they thought John Idzik would potentially use a draft pick to swing a trade for a veteran, similar to the move he made for Chris Ivory last season. A big thanks to all our participants and make sure to give them a follow on Twitter. Our commentary on the questions is included at the bottom:
Round 1 - This comes down to trying to guess who will be the top rated player on the Jets board when it’s their turn to draft. I know everyone is stuck on the idea that the Jets have to go offense in round one, but John Idzik isn’t going to draft a receiver or tight end just because it’s a need. Idzik has been preaching his ‘Best Player Available’ mantra and I expect him to stick to it. This doesn’t rule out an offensive player with the first pick, but when I look at how the board is likely to fall it makes me think the Jets will take a cornerback with the 18th pick. If Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard is still available I’d guess he’d be the highest graded player on the Jets board and would be the 18th pick. His physical style of play as a tough press-corner makes him a perfect fit with Rex Ryan playing on the opposite side of Dee Milliner.
Round 2 - Still trying to guess who the top rated player on board will be here, but the good news for you pass hungry fans is there’s a good chance the top rated player will be a receiver or tight end. This is one of the deepest receiver classes ever and if the Jets pass on a receiver in round one I expect them to draft one in the second. Not because of need, but because the receivers will likely be at the top of their board. Who they draft will obviously depend on who is still available, but if they’re choosing from a group including Jordan Matthews, Davante Adams, Allen Robinson, Donte Mocrief, Bruce Ellington, Jared Abbrederis and a few others then I’d say the Jets draft Jordan Matthews or if Matthews is gone, Davante Adams.
Trade? - I won’t rule it out completely, but I’ll say no the Jets won’t make a draft day trade for a veteran. If they don’t end up drafting a receiver in the first three rounds I could see them trading for Raiders receiver Denarius Moore, but assuming they do draft a receiver early I don’t see them also trading for Moore. I could certainly see the Jets trying to package some of their 12 picks (I know compensatory picks can’t be traded, but they have eight non-compensatory picks to work with) to move up in the middle rounds if they identify someone they really don’t want to miss out on. Maybe they don’t feel confident tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz will make it to them in the third round so they package a few picks to move up and make sure they get him. Or maybe they even try to trade up early in the second to snag a receiver they like such as Marquise Lee, or to ensure they can select either Matthews or Adams.
Round 1 – Darqueze Dennard – With plenty of top talent at wide receiver in this draft, the Jets will go best available and that will be Dennard. He can play press coverage and has the length to do it.
Round 2 - Jordan Matthews – A good route runner and good hands, struggles with separation keep him from being a first round pick. Smart player with good size and rises to meet the ball well.
Trade? - I’m not sure at this point. Given the re-signing of players and the flurry of free agency activity, veteran talent is not necessarily needed. I could see the Jets, given the number of picks they have, trading up in the mid-round to get players they want. But bringing in a veteran? It’d have to be someone at a definite position of need.
Round 1 - Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU - I kept going back and forth between Beckham and Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, but I ended up going with Beckham for a few reasons: He can play inside and outside, is elusive with the ball in his hands, has very good hands and can serve as a kickoff/punt returner. And, new Jets special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey is familiar with his ability from their time together at LSU.
Round 2 - Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech - I’m taking a chance that Amaro slips past perhaps the Patriots in the first round and makes it into the second round, as many have him going. While Eric Ebron is the top prospect at the position, the Jets could get a guy who could provide some serious mismatches in the slot, where he lined up a lot in college, with his height (6-foot-5), solid hands and decent speed. Adding Amaro to a group that includes Jeff Cumberland and Zach Sudfeld suddenly makes the Jets’ tight ends a very solid all-around bunch.
Trade? – At the moment, I would say no on a trade for a veteran, unless the Jets think they could maybe shake a starting cornerback from a team that might be looking to shed a contract after the draft. With that said, I think Ras-I Dowling could be a real sleeper who’s already on the roster. He has lots of potential if he can stay healthy.
Round 1 - Anthony Barr looks like a Jets defender through and through. He is a former running back, and that kind of explosiveness is exactly what the Jets have been lacking off the edge.
Round 2 - The Jets would be smart to wait on a wide receiver because there is plenty of depth at that position this year, and Davante Adams has all the tools to be another versatile X-Y type receiver in a similar mold to Eric Decker.
Round 3 - With 12 picks in the draft, the Jets would be wise to look into trading a pick or two to land an established, experienced veteran. That way, instead of grabbing 12 rookies, the Jets can “diversify their portfolio” so to speak. Who to target? Your guess is as good as mine. Trades tend to be very tough to predict this time of year. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a linebacker, either inside or outside.
Round 1 - I think the Jets take Kyle Fuller, CB, Va. Tech at 18 barring a trade up. He’s big enough (6-foot, 190 pounds) and quick enough (4.4 40 speed) to handle top wide receivers and is said to be more than enough against both the run and the pass. I’d be a little worried about his offseason sports hernia surgery, much like the case with Dee Milliner last year, but if he gets on the same page as the rest of the Jets corners quickly he can make an impact in year one and force Rex Ryan to transition quicker from injury prone Dimitri Patterson.
Round 2 - Barring the Jets moving back up into the first round, I think they’d be fine with Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State, or Jordan Matthews, WR, Vandy in the second round. Both have NFL prototypical size for WRs (6-3, 210-220 range). Robinson has deceptive speed, runs good routes and is excellent after the catch. Matthews lacks the breakaway speed of Robinson, but may be the better option against better DBs if the idea is to move the sticks.
Trade? - Jets need a tight end to couple with Jeff Cumberland and while I don’t know who they could target via trade the position needs to be addressed if the Jets do not select a Jace Amaro at any point in the first two rounds. At 6-5, 265, Amaro has the ability to be an immovable object in the short passing game and inside the red zone, and is certainly versatile enough to find the seems and do damage after the catch between the 20s.
Round 1 - Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State - The Jets obviously had major issues at this position — which they addressed to some degree with Eric Decker’s signing — but Cooks gives them (or has the chance to give them, at least) the speedy, downfield threat in an outside receiver that they so desperately need. Yes, Cooks is just 5-9, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds at the NFL Combine — the second-fastest time this year. Mike Evans won’t fall to the Jets at No. 18, and they could certainly go with LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. if he’s available. But Cooks’ speed will be hard for them to pass up.
Round 2 - Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington - This is presuming a cornerback projected to go late in the first round — like Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller or TCU’s Jason Verrett — isn’t available to the Jets with the 49th overall selection. If one of those guys is available, expect the Jets to make a cornerback pick in Round 2, if they haven’t already done so in Round 1. But presuming the top corners are already off the board at this point, Seferian-Jenkins gives the Jets the second tight end option, alongside Jeff Cumberland, that they need in Marty Mornhinweg’s offense. He is 6-6 and 262 pounds, and last season he saw eight of his 36 catches result in touchdowns. In 2012, seven of his 69 catches did.
Trade? - Jets general manager John Idzik likes to build through the draft — a philosophy that worked well for his previous employer, the Seahawks — so I don’t see the Jets trading for a veteran during draft weekend. The weekend should still be plenty productive for them, considering they have 12 picks, tied for the most in this draft.
Round 1 - Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech - I don’t know if the Jets take Amaro or trade down a handful of spots to grab him but ultimately I think he ends up in green and white. The hole at tight end is gaping and Amaro would be an immediate difference maker in the middle of the field for this offense. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets added a second, more blocking focused tight end later in the draft, like CJ Fiedorowicz.
Round 2 - Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State - Will Roby’s latest arrest plummet him down draft boards? If he is still available for the Jets in the second round, I have hard time seeing the Jets not pouncing on him. If not Roby or there is no other strong corner options available, maybe a wide receiver like Jordan Matthews or Davante Adams.
Trade? - I think the Jets are going to be active moving around draft weekend and don’t expect them to leave the weekend with 12 players. Some of their picks could be used to move up and grab a middle round prospect they covet or maybe to target a veteran at a position of need (Jonathan Joseph? Denarius Moore?).