The New York Jets haven’t picked in the top six in quite some time, building a lot of tension and excitement around the 2015 NFL Draft (which is less than 3 weeks away). What should they do come the three day span beginning April 30th? Bleacher Report’s Connor Rogers breaks it all down below…
Round 1, 6th overall: Dante Fowler Jr., EDGE, Florida
If Fowler is on the board when the Jets pick sixth overall, the choice becomes an easy one. He is a top five player in this draft, a relatively ‘safe’ prospect, and a three down defender on the edge – a huge area of need for the Jets.
Fowler is raw as a pass rusher but plays with a violent demeanor and has an athletic build to work with (6’3, 261lbs, 33 3/4 arms).
At the minimum the Jets would be getting an edge sealer that can stop the run, blitz from various alignments (perfect for Todd Bowles’ blitz-heavy scheme), and bring an attitude to a front that is already loaded with talent on the interior.
Alternate choice: Bud Dupree, edge, Kentucky
Round 2, 37th overall: Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State
The Jets have quickly revamped their aerial attack over the last two offseasons, starting with the signing of Eric Decker in 2014 and trading for Brandon Marshall in 2015. Recently extended Jeremy Kerley and 2014 second round draft pick Jace Amaro will see plenty of snaps in Chan Gailey’s spread offense in 2015 as well.
The one problem? The Jets lack a burner in their passing game. A player that can truly take the top off of a defense, command the attention of a safety, open up things underneath for other players and most importantly haul in the long ball.
Prospect Devin Smith out of Ohio State is the perfect fit in the second round to fill that void. He can fly (in pads, not just in work outs), track the ball extremely well, and projects to be a better pro with elevated quarterback play.
Round 3, 70th overall: David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa
The Jets currently do not have a running back set to be on the roster after the 2015 season. Drafting the 6’1, 225 pound Johnson adds a powerful pass catcher that could eventually develop into a three down running back.
The Jets are in a fortunate position having Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, and Stevan Ridley all on the roster where Johnson would not be forced on the field as a rookie.
Johnson could sit and learn the pass protection and overall concepts of the Jets’ offense, while truly showcasing his talent in 2016 with a chance to start.
Round 4, 104th overall: Kwon Alexander, OLB, LSU
Todd Bowles loads the box with quick, agile hybrid defenders. Alexander is a tweener at linebacker weighing only 227 pounds, but he would have plenty of room to work with playing in the Jets’ front seven.
The trio of Demario Davis, David Harris, and Calvin Pace have been a serviceable unit but the lack of speed has hurt the Jets on multiple occasions. Alexander could become a poor man’s Daryl Washington, eliminating the flats and playing sideline to sideline up front.
Round 7, 224th overall: Zack Wagenmann, EDGE, Montana
Wagenmann is a wide nine edge rusher that wins with speed and overall athleticism to get to the passer. In the seventh round he is the perfect flyer to take on a player that could become a situational pass rusher and most likely excel in various blitz packages.
He won’t likely see the field on first or second downs in the NFL as he could become washed out of run plays, but you rarely find a complete player in the final round. The Jets front will stop the run, but it is time to load up on guys that can get to the quarterback.
Round 7, 225th overall: Gerald Christian, TE, Louisville
Christian has been severely undervalued in the pre-draft process in a very underwhelming tight end class. While he isn’t the most physically imposing tight end prospect (6’3, 244) he plays much bigger.
Finding players that can work in space underneath will be key for what Chan Gailey wants to do with his passing attack. Fortunately for the Jets, they have those players penciled in at the top of their depth chart. Christian would serve as very capable depth behind Jace Amaro – a move tight end that can block down field.
Follow Connor Rogers: @CRogers_NFL