I seem to have the reputation of a pessimist in the Twitter-community and such, and frankly, and can’t disagree with that assumption. I was thrown into the pit of Rex Ryan and Ed Reed’s labyrinth last year before I was ready to intake such ridiculousness. Yet here I sit today, as a sad and withering Jet fan, able to say that even I have a realistic dream mock draft that wold solve all of my problems.
I know, it’s crazy to think that there are actually some prospects who I really like. In this mock, I focused on maintaining a realistic approach and focusing on value. You won’t find a pick where the player will without a doubt be gone beforehand. I’ve assembled twelve picks that are incredibly realistic but still would make me bounce off the walls on Draft Day. In fact, I would say that at least three quarters of these prospects are ones that I would label as “My Guys,” which is a category some draftniks use to define players they latch onto because they believe in their value and ability to such an extent.
Round One, 18th Overall: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Amaro, like I’ve discussed before, is simply an ideal fit in Marty Mornhinweg’s offense and a more technical tight end than fellow standout Eric Ebron. He runs routes extremely precise and with explosiveness, and has more tricks in setting up defenders with faints than most receivers in this class. He’s just a special player who would do such wonders for this offense.
I prefer Amaro over other positions that I wouldn’t mind the Jets targeting like safety and wide receiver because of the value. Elsewhere, I love the corners high in this draft in Darqueze Dennard and Kyle Fuller, especially at 18, but then the tight end depth simply plummets. There really isn’t another tight end I even moderately like based on projection outside of the power two and Crockett Gillmore in the mid rounds. So, I don’t think the Jets should mind about possibly reaching a bit for a player who’s a really good fit at a position of dire need.
Round Two, 49th Overall: Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State
Brooks is not a flashy pick; he’s just another guy I love because of his wide skillset and the value he offers in the middle of the second round. Brooks provides a lot of raw talent and smarts to the safety position that the Jets just don’t have in their pool of unspectacular safety play. Of course I’m as big of an Antonio Allen fan as anybody, but the Jets could definitely upgrade over Dawan Landry and employ three safeties regularly anyway.
Brooks is a special athlete with breathtaking closing speed and a nose for the football. His ball skills aren’t incredibly consistent, but he flashes very nicely at times in that area and doesn’t have many noticeable weaknesses within his skillset. He also offers a whole lot of versatility. His skills don’t align him to just one specific type of coverage of defensive alignment; he can really play anywhere you’d like him to. After Haha Clinton Dix and Calvin Pryor, Brooks is far and away the next best safety, in my opinion. His size and build are really the only factors limiting his upside to a level that’s containable, though it’s still very high with his awareness and natural skills at the position.
Round Three, 80th Overall: Victor Hampton, CB, South Carolina
Things start to get a bit dicey here, but in a good way. Hampton’s projection seems to fall right around this area or even later, but he’s my favorite corner outside of the top tier five (Dennard, Fuller, Roby, Verrett, and Gilbert) and I would take him within the top of the second round. Thus, the Jets would be getting excellent value here at yet another position of need. Who ever said you couldn’t target needs while still technically picking one of the best players available? You never limit yourself to either of those when you can effectively intertwine both.
Anyway, Hampton is another one of “my guys.” He’s as gritty of a corner as I’ve seen in several years of scouting. He can press with tough initial jabs that redirect receivers, he can drop his hips fluidly in off-man coverage, and he can rely solely on his instincts enough to be effective in an underneath or intermediate zone. He’s an inconsistent but at times dominant tackler; it’s really about how much time he has to break down into tackling form. His ball skills have gone criminally underrated throughout the draft process, as well. You really just can’t disagree with this pick here based on how my mock has gone so far with Hampton having another favorably wide skillset and filling a need. Not to mention, Rex will absolutely love his game.
Round Four, 104th Overall: Trai Turner, OG, LSU
(#56 in the GIF above)
I don’t pride myself in my scouting of offensive lineman and really don’t even do it anymore because I’m simply not that confident in my ability (leave that to Nolan). However, I still take brief looks and have a type of guard that applies to my liking, and that is a technical mauler. Brian Winters was this guy last year for me, but upon rewatching, he never really had enough refinement in footwork or timing to be an all around guard as soon as he made the jump to the big league. Turner, in my opinion, is much further along than Winters was. I also don’t think Willie Colon can last another year after 2014 as an average player, and we all have seen the early horrors of Winters’ development. Turner is another guy who fills a need and has great value here.
Round Four, 115 Overall: Josh Huff, WR, Oregon
Huff is simply a tremendous football player at what he does. He is an precise and friendly fit to a spread offense, and he offers dynamic hands and yards after catch ability as well. He’s tough and his game reveals that, considering his catching discipline is very refined. While I believe his game has a somewhat topped off ceiling because of his limited skillset in terms of what his route running will allow him to do, he’s the type of natural receiver who can step in and contribute more than expected on Day One. Besides, the thought that the Jets are already covered at slot receiver with Jeremy Kerley is short sighted. If you can grab two efficient players from the slot who aren’t completely restricted to routes from there only, it’s beyond worth it to learn how to effectively use both of them. his is excellent value, if I may add.
Round Four, 137th Overall: Shaquil Barrett, OLB, Colorado State
Talking about Barrett seems to be a lost cause if your one who likes him as a prospect. Not only did a large majority write him off completely because he got snubbed from the Combine, but there’s hardly a middle ground on him, it seems. From what I’ve experienced, his skills rub off as ones that can translate well in the NFL and thus, he’s considered as high as a second day player; or he’s written off as a late round player to possibly going undrafted.
I believe the disconnect with Barrett mostly stems from his success in college primarily coming against small schools, and also because his favorable traits are mostly good because of a high motor and work ethic. He’ll never pop off the tape with incredible anything, really (regarding traits as a pass rusher), but he’s solid in nearly every aspect and works hard to push his skills to higher levels by outworking his opponent. I’m not a fan of how reliant on it he is, but a guy has to deal with what he’s been given. His burst is a little bit better than average, he has keen awareness, and jumps gaps especially well. I think Barrett can be a quality depth player in the big leagues. Calvin Pace isn’t staying average forever, anyway.
Round Five, 154th Overall: Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU
You could make a very fair argument that Hoffman will be gone by this pick, but based on past trends in drafting receivers, I think he’ll waver around awhile. See, Hoffman just isn’t spectacular, and that’s a given. But when a big receiver lacks ideal speed AND doesn’t consistently impress with physicality at the catch point, a lot of scouts will flee.
I’ve been in Hoffman’s defense corner for quite some time now. It was completely predictable that his stock would rightfully slide from when it was highly touted when he considered declaring last year, and his tape in 2013 didn’t beat what he put on film in 2012. Still, I stand in support. I think Hoffman’s traits are seriously underrated because of his narrative as an average speed, bigger receiver. He won’t blow away corners with dynamic cuts in his routes or gears of speed, but he makes up for it with so much more. He is so crafty for a big receiver within his route tree, despite it not being very explosive. His foot speed is naturally quick and can be choppy when needed, and he oddly enough uses his physicality better within routes to faint defenders and thus creating separation than he does at the catch point. While this trait exposes his inconsistencies maintaining leverage at the catch, he flashes high and low in this aspect and I really like the basis of skill he already has to work with as a pass catcher. I think he’ll grow and respect his ceiling as a player much more than most do.
Hoffman gives the Jets a very intriguing fit as a prototype “Z” receiver out wide, with the lovable flexibility to slide into the slot or even in line to block. He also offers a lot more after the catch than people give him credit for, so he’s not just an ordinary possession receiver by any means. He’s definitely one of my favorite value prospects in the entire draft, and I’m so hopeful the Jets take him when he wrongly slides next month.
Round Six, 195th Overall: Avery Williamson, ILB, Kentucky
Williamson is a grinder who you want playing for a Rex Ryan defense. He led Kentucky’s defense in tackles by a longshot and sniffs out the ballcarrier even better than his speed should allow him to. His instincts, gap and spacial awareness, and fluidity in coverage are all pluses that you have to consider when looking at the late round inside linebacker crop. He isn’t special in any category, really, but is scrappy and smart enough to piece the puzzle together. The jump he will or will not make at the next level will obviously be crucial, but he’s working tagging on to as a special teamer until the question is answered in due time. The Jets need depth at every position within the linebacker group, and Williamson gives them some late here.
Round Six, 209th Overall: Jalen Saunders, WR/RS, Oklahoma
I’ve said this before on Twitter, but I’ll say it again: I really don’t understand the whole infatuation with the literal “offensive weapon” position, or “OW.” It hasn’t worked out in the past, and these types of players are quite blatantly overdrafted every year. In fact, Tavon Austin and Denard Robinson are two examples right off the bat form last year’s draft. You just can’t invest that highly in simple playmaking ability that has no consistent use or an ideal fit in an offense.
That’s where Saunders makes all the difference, and this late in the draft, too. He’s a gamer who is unbelievably dangerous with the ball in his hands, but he’s not tied down to that kind of handicap like most of these other “weapons” are finding out the hard way themselves. Saunders is a very capable receiver for a guy who only weighs a tad about 160 lbs with a frail frame. He’s efficient at the catch when his size doesn’t diminish his chances up front, and he is tricky to keep tabs on when he’s running deeper or intermediate routes. The Jets would have another gadget to work with if they take a chance on raw ability, but they’re not going to have a situation where they won’t know how to incorporate him. He’s a receiver first, with outrageous moves with the ball in his hands second. He’s a very slippery return man, too, as you could have guessed. When you get by the ball security issues of his and his size, you have a very interesting case of upside to tool with.
Round Six, 210th Overall: Trey Millard, FB, Oklahoma
As much as some Jet fans might want the team to draft a legit fullback after watching Tommy Bohanon crumble all year in pass protection, it just isn’t going to happen based on the offense they’re going to keep running. Another versatile H-back type of fullback will likely be the one in the works. Millard is that guy, and better than Bohanon, too. He is a fluid pass catcher who can take carries in short yardage, and his blocking is very clean. He isn’t a mauler in running lanes, but he has enough functional strength to work with combined with nice awareness to seal lanes on the edge and take on block at the second level. Millard would probably unseat Bohanon as the starter, which would be ideal.
Round Six, 213th Overall: Cornelius Lucas, OT, Kansas State
This man is quite literally a monster. At 6’9, 325 lbs, Lucas was a guy that scouts have been peeking on since the beginning of the 2013 college football season. He didn’t impress like some thought he would in his development, but he was still highly touted enough based on chances of development until he suffered a stress fracture in his foot in mid-February, meaning he couldn’t work out for scouts. Thus, Lucas will find himself as a highly regarded late round option for a team who needs depth along their offensive line and is willing to take a chance on a guy who might not develop from his current state at all. Well, that is precisely what position the Jets will be in.
Round Seven, 233rd Overall: Avery Patterson, S, Oregon
Patterson has been Draft-Twitter’s baby for a long time now, and I’m hoping the Jets will be as willing as I am to adopt him. Patterson wasn’t invited to the Combine, which is hard to believe considering how tough it is to overlook a player on one of the nation’s best teams. Yet, Patterson was treated exactly so. He brings excellent range to the secondary and can be a primary Cover One safety. He’s also versatile enough to hop in the slot and cover slot receivers underneath because of his hip fluidity. I’d honestly take Patterson as high as the third or fourth round if it was evident that he wouldn’t slide as far as he will. The Jets need a strictly centerfield-based safety, and Patterson can be exactly that and offer a ton more.