A Turn On The Jets 12 Pack of early NFL draft thoughts…
1. One of the most popular names you will see associated with the New York Jets in mock drafts and hear fans clamoring for is wide receiver Amari Cooper from Alabama. Cooper was electric last season for the always highly visible Crimson Tide, who made it to the inaugural College Football Playoff. The Jets have perpetually needed points and playmakers for about a decade, if not longer so the linking makes sense to some degree.
However, the value of Cooper with the 6th overall pick for this roster remains very much in question. This isn’t a prospect at the level of Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans or Odell Beckham Jr. This isn’t Calvin Johnson or Julio Jones 2.0. Cooper is a very good prospect who has some concerning attributes, including his drop rate and how he fares on contested catches. The comparison in the linked article to Roddy White is reasonable. White is a very good NFL receiver, is getting a similar player to White good use of the 6th overall pick?
The drop off from Cooper to Kevin White, DeVante Parker and Dorial Green-Beckham isn’t as steep as many are making it out to be. If the Jets aren’t keen on taking Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston with the 6th overall and opt to trade down (if one remains available), a lower first round pick from Cleveland or Philadelphia could be used on another receiver target while acquiring more assets.
Beyond that, the Jets may be better served considering an offensive lineman or pass rusher with the 6th overall pick. It is fair to consider Dante Fowler, Randy Gregory, Brandon Scherff or La’el Collins equal or better prospects to Cooper at a larger position of need for the Jets, particularly if Percy Harvin is back in 2015.
Loading up at the wide receiver position or using first round picks at the position hasn’t been much of a formula for success lately in the NFL. None of the final four teams this year started a first round receiver. The lead receivers on both Super Bowl teams were undrafted free agents. None of the last six Super Bowl winners started a first round receiver, except for the New York Giants who started Hakeem Nicks.
You know who was loaded up at receiver last year? Washington. Atlanta. Tampa Bay. Miami. The Giants. San Diego. Chicago. New Orleans. San Francisco. You know who made the playoffs last year? None of them. There are obviously teams with quality receivers who have had success and have used first round picks at the position but overall it doesn’t seem to be trending as a sustainable way to build your team.
2. An even more popular pick for the Jets than Cooper in recent mock drafts is Marcus Mariota. It is pretty funny to see that considering the number of Jets fans who left comments saying the “team was set back a decade” by beating Tennessee in the “Mariota Bowl” and removing their chance of having the first overall pick. It will be interesting to see where Mariota ultimately lands or if somebody does actually push to trade up for him but him not going first overall is a very real possibility.
My initial thoughts on Mariota is that he could have a Teddy Bridgerwater type rookie season if he lands in the right situation and has the potential to develop into an above average starter long term. He is probably closer to an improved version of Alex Smith than any of the other comparisons being thrown out there. The Jets will have a hell of a decision to make if he is on the board at number six and somebody is offering a haul of draft picks to get him.
3. Personally, I think Jameis Winston is the best overall quarterback prospect. If he checks out with Jets new regime in interviews and they are confident they can maintain an infrastructure that will support his growth, he will be hard to ignore if available.
4. I’m not sold on the idea of using a mid-round pick on a running back. This is a deep group, where talent could be found in the late rounds or even in the UDFA class. The Jets can also find production on a low-cost, short term free agent contract. I’d rather see 2nd-5th round picks used on positions where it is harder to find production, particularly when the Jets already have a good amount of talent at running back.
5. Many people are advocating using a middle round pick on one of the second-tier quarterback prospects. This is a generally poor quarterback class which is likely going to lead to some reaches in the 2nd or 3rd round. The Jets should avoid this. Anybody they take besides Winston or Mariota is going to be less of an overall developmental prospect than Geno Smith and not be ready to contribute next season or even potentially the year after.
6. With only six picks, the Jets need to either acquire more picks or hope developmental players like Dexter McDougle, Dakota Dozier and Shaq Evans show something in their “rookie” year. I think McDougle has the highest ceiling of the three while Dozier has the highest floor. It isn’t crazy to think both end up with relatively prominent roles next year. Evans is more of a longshot/wild-card.
7. Unfortunately, this isn’t a deep class at the cornerback position which may force the Jets to be exceptionally active in free agency there. If Marcus Peters somehow fell into the second round, the Jets may have to ignore the character concerns or they could look at somebody like Quinten Rollins on day two.
8. When discussing prospects who have not commonly been linked to the Jets with the sixth overall pick who could make sense, our staff mentioned Shaq Thompson and Landon Collins. Thompson is a very intriguing fit for this defense, particularly if the team ends up trading back although some may feel he is worth it at #6. With Collins, it is all about if the Jets feel a duo of him and Calvin Pryor could work side by side.
10. Interesting prospect to pro comparisons. Khalil Mack would be nice at #6, no?
11. I do still find it a bit hard to believe Tennessee is content with Zach Mettenberger long term as the quarterback.
12. Recent New York Jets draft trends/tidbits
- They have used their last six first round picks on defensive players. All six have either been defensive lineman or secondary.
- Since taking D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft, the Jets have taken one offensive lineman before the 4th round: Vlad Ducasse in 2010.
- The Jets second round history since David Harris in 2007:
- 2008: No Pick
- 2009: No Pick
- 2010: Vlad Ducasse
- 2011: No Pick
- 2012: Stephen Hill
- 2013: Geno Smith
- 2014: Jace Amaro (CHANGE THE HISTORY, JACE!)
- After taking Santana Moss in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft. Here is the full list of offensive skill position players the Jets have taken before the 4th round: Chris Baker, BJ Askew, Kellen Clemens, Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Stephen Hill, Geno Smith, Jace Amaro.