A week ago I began to rank the Jets 2014 draft picks based on potential, need, and value. After going over the top six, it is time to wrap the series up and take a look at the bottom six. Let’s dig in.
7) Brandon Dixon – 5’11, 205 lbs. CB
The Jets landed Dixon in the 6th round with the 195th overall pick. He was a Division II First-team All-American at cornerback for Northwest Missouri State.
Coming out of Northwest Missouri State, the knock’s on Dixon were never in regards to raw talent. He had division one talent but poor grades forced him to attend Joliet Junior College, eventually leading to his transfer to Northwest Missouri State.
Dixon received an invitation to the NFL Combine and thrived. Scouts had concerns about his speed and whether he can handle the next level of competition. He ran a 4.41 forty yard dash, which was the fifth best out of all the cornerbacks who ran.
Although he is inconsistent in coverage, he is a heart and soul player who has experience on special teams. He is also very adept against the run and press coverage. If he can make the team as a gunner on kick offs, he will have plenty of time to sit and learn the cornerback position due to his raw ability, size and speed.
8) Shaq Evans – 6’1, 213 lbs. WR
Eighth might seem a little low for a pick many people were thrilled with, but I am not fully confident in Evans yet. I feel he has the potential to be a very capable number two wideout in the NFL, but potential has been a key word tied to him throughout his career.
The Jets landed him in the fourth round which is right where I had him pegged in terms of grading. He struggles catching the “easy” pass at times and also offers very little as a blocker. He did not produce much after the catch either.
Besides those flaws, Evans is a piece that makes sense for the Jets. His game has a lot of Jerricho Cotchery to it. He is not explosive and does not “wow” you in any area, but he knows how to catch the ball underneath and fight for a contested pass.
If he can fix his concentration issues and become an adequate blocker, he might see significant snaps for the Jets this year. The only issue I have with that is all of his production at UCLA (he transferred from Notre Dame after an uninspiring freshman season) came from the “Z” position, where Eric Decker will most likely play.
If he can adjust to playing from the “X” area, Evans will see the field as a rookie in the starting offense. Mind you, these are very big “ifs” and I hope he is not forced into a role that he is not ready for.
9) Trevor Reilly – 6’5, 245 lbs. OLB
Reilly is already 26 years old due to serving a two-year Latter-day Saints mission in Sweden before joining Utah in 2009. He was a team captain and a versatile player, often lining up as an edge rusher in a 3-4 front.
Reilly will not bring much to the table as a coverage linebacker, but he sheds blocks well and is consistent against the run. He was highly productive at Utah, especially his senior season where he notched 100 tackles, 16 TFL’s, and 8.5 sacks.
Although he was a seventh round pick, there was plenty of chatter that Reilly could go between rounds four and five before the draft. He is great depth as he can help on special teams right away while competing as a depth outside linebacker against Garrett McIntyre.
10) Tajh Boyd – 6’1, 222 lbs. QB
I am a fan of the “take a quarterback every year” theory. The Jets had twelve picks and used them all, so why not try for a diamond in the rough?
With that being said, Boyd’s skill set does not really translate well to the NFL. He tends to struggle reading safeties in deep coverage, leading to easy interceptions. His stats are also extremely inflated due to home run hitting screen passes to college superstar Sammy Watkins.
As for the good, Boyd was a terrific leader at Clemson as their team captain. His mobility reminds me of Mark Sanchez’s (relax Jets fans, I mean it in a good way), as he finds tons of success off of the rollout and play action.
Although he is “short” for the quarterback position, he has a solid build and can take a hit. Boyd will compete against Matt Simms for the third string quarterback position, which I expect him to win.
11) Jeremiah George – 5’11, 235 lbs. ILB
I actually like George, but did not understand taking him in the fifth round. His skill set screams career special teamer, although he can be a very good one.
He is built like a boulder and extremely powerful (28 reps on the bench at the combine). He possesses a few similarities of current Jets inside linebacker David Harris. At Iowa State he was a tackling machine but needs to show he can run through blocks in the NFL, not around them.
As I previously mentioned, it’s not George that I dislike. The problem is taking him in the fifth round where there was talent on the board that has a higher ceiling than “career special teamer.”
12) IK Enemkpali – 6’1, 260 lbs. DE/OLB
The one pick from this draft that did not make much sense to me. Enemkpali is a tad stiff as an edge rusher and has a limited set of moves to beat blockers.
One high point is that he did give former second round pick Luke Joeckel problems when facing Texas A&M in 2012. He was also one of two defensive linemen in the country to have two interceptions this past season.
Enemkpali needs a lot of work and I am not quite sure he can contribute on special teams. That will most likely dictate if he makes the team, which is highly questionable right now.