NFL Draft – 1st Round Production In Middle Rounds?

Joe Malfa looks at what players selected after round one in the NFL Draft could have a round one impact…

The Jets need to find first round production beyond the first round in order to make this a swift, successful rebuild. The Seahawks were able to do this from 2010 to 2012 and won a Super Bowl. Joe Malfa takes a look at potential fits for the Jets in rounds two and three that may produce as first rounders.

2nd Round

EDGE Taco Charlton (Michigan)

Charlton came on strong in the latter half of the season and had a solid showing against Florida State in the Orange Bowl. He has violent hands at the point of attack, an ideal frame, and impressive quickness. He needs to polish his technique a bit and mix up his moves, but those things will come with reps and experience. Charlton had 9.5 sacks in 10 games in 2016, his only season as a starter. He has the ability to develop into a pass rusher that can record eight to 10 sacks per season.

FS Budda Baker (Washington)

Baker has flown a bit under the radar because of the safety talent at the top of the draft, but he is going to be a game-changing playmaker. He is very similar to Tyrann Mathieu in the way he is able to make plays in coverage, shoot through the line to stop the run, and force turnovers.

OLB T.J. Watt (Wisconsin)

Drafting Darron Lee was a good start for the Jets in terms of revamping the linebackiing corps, but there is still work to be done. Watt can play inside or outside, though he will likely play more outside in the NFL. He is quick to the ball and, like his brother, has a knack for getting after the quarterback. Watt had 63 totals tackles and 11.5 sacks in 2016, his only year as a full-time starter at Wisconsin.

3rd Round

FS Eddie Jackson (Alabama)

Jackson had a chance to be a late-first or early-second round draft pick before breaking his leg in mid-October. He has all the traits you look for in an NFL safety: strong tackler, quick to the ball, solid in coverage (used to be a corner), and he forces turnovers. Jackson has the potential to join Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Landon Collins as Alabama safeties making an impact in the NFL.

TE Jake Butt (Michigan)

Here is another first round talent that will likely drop to the third because of injury. Butt tore his left ACL in the Orange Bowl, but he may be back in time for training camp if this rehab goes like his last. He returned to the field in October after tearing his right ACL in February. Injuries are obviously a concern, but Butt has the physical tools teams are looking for. He is quick off the line and has good hands, but he can improve his quickness and route-running. His floor is that of a consistent, reliable target, which is better than anything the Jets have at the moment.

CB Jourdan Lewis (Michigan)

Lewis has the potential to develop into a Janoris Jenkins. He is undersized at 5-foot-10, 176-pounds, but his skill set makes up for what he lacks in size. He thrives in press coverage, but needs to limit his penalties. He has the quickness to stay with shifty receivers, the speed to stick with receivers deep down the field, and the ball skills to make big plays for the defense.

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