After a long wait, the 2014 NFL Draft has finally come and gone. The Jets used all twelve of their selections and came away with an intriguing haul. I will not “grade” the draft, as none of these players have stepped on an NFL field yet.
What I will do is rank the picks based on my opinion of potential skill, value, and need. Lets take a look.
1) Jace Amaro – 6’5, 265 lbs. TE
I actually would have been happy to land Amaro at 18. Having him fall to the Jets second round pick was incredible value and covers all three aspects of my system I’m using in this arcticle.
1) He fits a primary need. The Jets needed a big, underneath target that a quarterback can rely on. His blocking ability is often overlooked as well. With some refinement on the LOS, he will be a serviceable in-line tight end while seeing much of his success split out wide.
2) I had Amaro as the second best tight end in this draft behind Eric Ebron. He was selected after Ebron and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who I did not have in my top five.
I was really surprised Amaro made it past New England in the first and that Tampa Bay opted to take ASJ in the second. Either way, he was one of the more talented “big” pass catchers in this draft.
The Jets struggled in the red zone and Amaro upgrades that aspect of the Jets offense from day one. He is also extremely effective on short-intermediate routes in between the 20’s.
Dustin Keller gave Mark Sanchez a much needed security blanket and I expect Amaro to have a similar but magnified impact on Geno Smith’s development in the same manner.
2) Dakota Dozier – 6’4, 313 lbs. OT/OG
Dozier played tackle at Furman but he will most likely convert to guard in the NFL due to his length. He was a fantastic value grab at the very end of the fourth round. He is extremely athletic for his size and displays impressive power as a run blocker.
If Dozier can sit behind Willie Colon for a year and refine his pass blocking, specifically his footwork, he can turn into a very solid starting guard in the NFL.
3) Calvin Pryor – 5’11, 207 lbs. FS
I thought Pryor was the best safety in this class, with Jimmie Ward and Deone Bucannon right behind him. He offers an intriguing skill set for the Jets as he is a turnover machine.
His game is very similar to former Jet LaRon Landry, but he displays much better free roaming range from sideline to sideline. He is a vicious hitter as well, often popping the ball out from unaware wide receivers and running backs.
The Jets were last in the league in turnover differential last season and needed to upgrade this aspect in the most desperate way. Calvin Pryor can step in and help from day one. Landing the best safety in the draft with the 18th pick is a big time score for the Jets if Pryor pans out like I expect him to.
4) Jalen Saunders – 5’9, 165 lbs. WR
Saunders was a fourth round talent (mostly due to size), but he plugs into a vital need for the Jets. They need a punt returner that makes plays and Saunders averaged 15.4 yards per return last year while bringing two to the house.
Besides being an explosive punt returner, Saunders is Jeremy Kerley’s back up from day one. Kerley missed four games last year and the Jets offense struggled immensely without him. Saunders is a smooth route runner with good hands that can also beat a defense over the top with his 4.4 speed.
Adding an explosive punt returner that can also contribute as a back up slot receiver was a great grab in round four.
5) Quincy Enunwa – 6’2, 225 lbs. WR
Many will probably be shocked at how high I have Enunwa on this list, but remember the key here is value and also need. The Jets had two glaring issues last year that needed to be assessed in this draft: turnover differential and red zone efficiency.
The Pryor pick aimed at solving the turnover differential problem. While many do not realize it, the Enunwa pick aims at aiding the red zone efficiency problem.
The Jets were 27th in the NFL in red zone touchdown conversions last season, with only a rate of 50%. Think about that, the Jets only scored a touchdown half the time they made it inside an opponent’s twenty yard line.
Now here is where Enunwa comes into play. In his career he converted 11 of 23 red zone targets into touchdowns, which is regarded as an elite rate according to Rotoviz.com. The Nebraska team captain had 12 touchdowns his senior season, setting a single season school record.
If Enunwa can find a way to make the 53 man roster, his red zone ability as both a pass catcher and powerful blocker may enable him to get on the field as a rookie. Excellent value pick for the Jets in the sixth round.
6) Dexter McDougle – 5’10, 196 lbs. CB
I have McDougle right in the middle of this list because he is the wild card of this draft. As our very own Mike O’Connor pointed out, he has displayed impressive ability in limited action.
The question is, when would have McDougle come off the board if the Jets did not take him in round three? To be quite honest, I hate when people say “he could have been taken in the fifth round or later.” How does anyone know that? Besides NFL franchise executives, no one has any idea what team’s big boards look like.
With that being said, I personally did not have a day two grade on McDougle. There are a few problems here. One, I only watched some of his tape because I knew he visited the Jets and the interest level was high. At the same time, I focused more on other CB’s who were higher rated and did not miss most of the 2013 seasons.
Going back and looking at McDougle again, the skill level is present. He has excellent anticipation skills and is electric with the ball in his hands. If he can stay healthy, the Jets might have gotten a steal in the 3rd. The problem is, he is the biggest mystery of this draft class at the moment.
Stay tuned for Ranking The Picks – Part Two
Follow Connor Rogers: @Real_CR3