Cole Patterson with a compilation of notes and rumors we have heard trickling through league circles…And what would a draft season recap be without a last ditch mock draft!
1. Sorry Jet fans, but Marcus Mariota will not be wearing green and white. Most in the know are all but certain that Marcus Mariota will be picked second overall, whether by the Titans or some team that blows them out of the water with an offer. Mariota slipping to where the Jets pick at 6 would not be the craziest thing to happen in an NFL Draft. However, as Rich Cimini reported last night on ESPN NY Tonight, even if Mariota fell to 6 the Jets likely would not select him. This would also presumably eliminate all those fever dream, trade up scenarios.
2. Speaking of draft day trades, everyone has heard by now that Maccagnan would prefer to stockpile draft picks in a trade down scenario. However, trading down is easier said than done. Finding a trade partner willing to part with the necessary compensation will be difficult. Expect the Jets to try their damnedest but to remain at 6. That being said, a trade down in rounds 2 and 3 are more likely because the value of the compensation diminishes greatly after pick 32.
3. The Jets have been projected to pursue one of the top pass rushers available since this draft process began. However, it is becoming more certain that Dante Fowler Jr will be gone long before the Jets pick and Vic Beasley to the Redskins is gaining momentum. With the two clear front runners off the board, the Jets are left with a conundrum. Do you reach for a player like Bud Dupree? Take a chance on the red flagged Randy Gregory? Perhaps they look to the other side of the ball and select one of the wide receivers or OL prospects.
4. Only a week ago, it was reported that the Jets interest in Bud Dupree was very real. Those same reports cited Todd Bowles’ connection to Bill Parcells and the Tuna’s preference for bigger linebackers. However, without having seen Bowles input on personnel matters, that characterization is unfair. A few days ago, Manish Mehta reported that the Jets would look to select Andrus Peat at 6 to hold the fort at right tackle and eventually take the baton from D’Brickshaw Ferguson. And only yesterday, Woody Johnson may have let the Jets plan slip by admitting they will add a weapon for Geno Smith in this draft. Amari Cooper anyone? Remember folks, this is silly season and misdirection abounds.
5. Trying to dissect these rumors is a Sisyphean task, particularly with a rookie GM. Yet, here goes nothing. We know Mike Maccagnan has done everything in his power to add depth to the roster and patch holes. The purpose of this strategy was three fold: provide insurance for inevitable injury, foster competition, and allow the Jets to pick BPA and stay true to their big board. Again, Maccagnan is a first time GM and we cannot know his tendencies. He held an influential position with the Texans but did not make the final call. Our best bet is to utilize media scout’s big boards. With that in mind, Amari Cooper is the likeliest pick with Winston, Mariota, Fowler, and Williams off the board.
6. If Beasley is still there and he and Cooper are graded closely, the Jets will select the Clemson pass rusher. A team should never make a pick based on need, but as Maccagnan stated earlier in the process, need is the tie breaker.
7. The Jets should still be able to get a potential starter out of the early second round. The best value there will likely be o-line. It was reported Wednesday morning that unless La’El Collins’ recent legal developments clear up by Thursday morning, he could slide into the second round. If the Jets feel confident he is innocent (this being his only red flag), Collins could be a steal at number 37. Other names to keep an eye on are offensive linemen Laken Tomlinson, AJ Cann, TJ Lemmings, and pass rushers Nate Orchard and Eli Harold.
8. Expect the Jets to select a skill position player early in the draft. Round 3 holds the best value for running backs and wide receivers. If the team addresses WR in the first round, a running back like Duke Johnson or Ameer Abdullah could be in the cards.
9. NOW, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, a 7 round mock draft! The Jets will trade down at one point but I have not projected that here.
6. Amari Cooper – WR – Alabama
Like many of my colleagues, I think wide receiver is a luxury position (especially early in the draft). However, if we are to believe Maccagnan and I am to stick to my preference of BPA, Amari Cooper will be the Jets man. Picking Cooper would still fill a need with Brandon Marshall in the twilight of his career and no real depth beyond he, Decker, and Kerley.
37. Nate Orchard – EDGE – Utah
After deciding not to reach for a pass rusher in the first round the Jets find excellent value early in the second with Nate Orchard. Orchard has a non-stop motor and an array of developed pass rush moves. He will fill a major need and help take the Jets defense to the next level. That being said, he will struggle early versus the run.
70. Duke Johnson – RB – Miami
The Jets solidified their running back group this off season with the signing of Stevan Ridley and the return of Bilal Powell. However, along with Chris Ivory, the Jets still lack a game changer out of the back field. Johnson is as dynamic a runner as this draft can provide and will make a solid outlet for whoever is under center.
101. Rob Haverstein – OG – Wisconsin
Wisconsin offensive linemen are often highly touted, however, Haverstein has flown under the radar. He is a mammoth of a man with the attitude and power of a mauler. He has average athleticism, however, which will limit him to the interior.
198. Junior Sylvestre – EDGE – Toledo
Sylvestre would be good value in the seventh. He is a well rounded edge rusher with decent athleticism. Think of him as the Bilal Powell of line backers; jack of all, master of none.
199. Dezmin Lewis – WR – Arkansas State
Lewis reminds me a lot of David Nelson. Rare size and speed but lacking in quickness and fails to consistently utilize size advantage. He is a well developed route runner however and could be an asset in the red zone.