The NFL Draft is less than two weeks away, which means the time for SUPER BOILING HOT DRAFT TAKES is coming to an end and we could see actual players selected (hooray!) Here are 12 quick Sunday thoughts on the New York Jets, the NFL Draft and a few other miscellaneous things. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
1. Cornerback seems to be the most popular position pick of choice for the Jets right now. Without doubt, it is a position of need. Outside of tight end, it is probably the greatest position of need, depending on how you feel about the team’s safeties and linebackers. However, I’m not sold the position is currently the unmitigated disaster that some make it out to be. Let’s be clear, the Jets were putrid at corner last season. Antontio Cromartie was arguably the worst starter in the NFL last year and Dee Milliner’s growing pains were…painful.
Milliner is more likely to resemble the player he was in December last year, than the player he was in November. A full offseason and the experience gained down the stretch in 2013 should do wonders for him. We’ve been big Darrin Walls fans here since last offseason and the simple reality is he can’t be worse than Cromartie last season. Dimitri Patterson has health concerns but is a competent player when healthy. Even with no additions, the Jets are going to be better than they were at corner last season and if a few things break their way (Milliner progressing the way he should, Walls playing to his potential and Patterson staying healthy), they could be much better than many expect. Now, to be fair you are counting on a handful of “ifs” there and depth is always critical. If you get a crack at Dennard in round one, you pull the trigger because he is the top corner in the draft and is great value at 18. If you get a crack at Roby in round two because he slides, you pull the trigger because you are getting first round value in the second round.
Yet, the Jets don’t need to reach with one of their early picks or go for broke to land a corner. If the board breaks against landing one on Thursday or Friday, it will not be the end of the world that some make it out to be. A trade for a veteran is also not off the table, either during draft weekend or as training camp gets closer.
2. Our friend Evan Silva has suggested the Jets should avoid adding a receiver like Odell Beckham Jr, Brandin Cooks or Marqise Lee with the 18th overall pick. His reasoning is that the Jets are building to be a ground and pound team and it is wasteful to add a receiver who won’t be utilized heavily in 2014. We are fans of Silva but disagree on this thought process. If a player like Beckham Jr is the right value pick at 18, the Jets shouldn’t hesitate to draft him at all. You aren’t just drafting for the 2014 roster with your 18th pick. The Jets need a Z receiver to round out their position group and to get the most out of Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley. Geno Smith thrived when he had three competent receivers on the field last season and a Beckham Jr type gives the Jets the opportunity to have a very strong top three. Beyond that Beckham Jr adds to the return game as well and the overall playmaking of the offense, which is needed.
I’m not sold the Jets are going to be a 15-20 pass attempt team every single week. They are going to be gameplan specific and have weeks when they throw 30-40 times. Marty Mornhinweg frequently has three receivers on the field. Wide receiver should remain seriously in the discussion for the 18th pick.
3. The Jets have wasted an inordinate amount of draft picks on fullbacks in recent years. Yet, they could use an upgrade to Tommy Bohanon and I could see them take a late round player at the position. It also remains to be seen how big of a role a traditional fullback plays in the offense in 2014. Could we see an influx of two halfback sets thanks to the Jets strong depth at the position?
4. Interesting tweet from our offensive line guru, Mike Nolan.
From what I’ve seen so far, Brian Winters may have been top guard in this draft if he came a year later
— Mike Nolan (@CoachNolan64) April 25, 2014
5. I don’t buy the Jets having any serious interest in Kelvin Benjamin, particularly in the first round. The lesson has to have been learned on project receivers, nevermind that Benjamin is already 23 years old…stay away. Similar to other misguided “interest” reports earlier in the offseason, these are likely being funneled by Benjamin’s agent.
6. I will release my only mock next week but as of today I’d still feel safest projecting Jadeveon Clowney as the top pick to the Houston Texans. I’m also not sure Teddy Bridgerwater and Johnny Manziel are going to have quite the steep fall that many are projecting.
7. I’d like to see another inside linebacker added at some point during the draft. It is becoming a somewhat devalued position but the Jets need to think long term as David Harris’ career starts winding down. Demario Davis is an intriguing but flawed player, particularly in pass coverage. Hopefully he takes strides this season but his ceiling may be as an average/competent starter.
8. Quinton Coples is the biggest x-factor/swing player on the Jets defense heading into 2014. Is he going to take the leap, reach his potential, become a double digit sack guy and get his play on the Wilkerson/Richardson/Harrison level or remain a player who only shows flashes? The Jets defense goes up a notch if he becomes the edge player they need him to be. Antonio Allen, Walls, and Davis are also critical swing players. If Allen is playing the proper amount of reps and builds on last season, he could be the difference maker the Jets have missed at safety…for seemingly forever.
9. Very curious to see how Oday Aboushi, Ben Ijalana and Will Campbell look in training camp and the pre-season. We didn’t see anything last year to lead us to believe that any could turn into a competent starter down the road but hopefully with another offseason, at least one of them can be a guy that ascends to a starting role in 2015.
10. The Jets still need a blocking tight end. Considering how they have approached the position in recent years, it may be naive to think the Jets would take two tight ends in the draft, one who is primarily a receiver and one who is primarily a blocker but nothing on their depth chart currently should suggest avoiding that course of action.
11. We’ve been all over the map with our draft night plans but hope to have something concrete in the next 24-48 hours. Whatever it will be, it will be in NYC, be casual, free and involve a live podcast…that’s all we got so far. Our blogging is currently better than our event planning.
12. Good read from Connor Rogers over at BDTP on Sammy Wakins.