In continuation with our positional breakdowns of potential NFL Draft prospects for the New York Jets, we turn our attention to a position in dire need of a substantial upgrade. Today, our draft team provides a breakdown of the top five potential 3-4 defensive end/outside linebackers that could be selected by the Jets in April’s draft. These initial rankings are certainly subject to change as we progress through the entire pre-draft process, but as it stands now, these players are who we feel would be the best options for New York’s defensive edge and pass rush. Be sure to give our draft team a follow on Twitter, and to check out our previous breakdowns of potential quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, offensive linemen, and defensive tackles.
Frank Giasone discusses the double standard of the attitude towards PEDs in football compared to baseball
I’ll admit, when the Sports Illustrated report regarding Ray Lewis’ alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs surfaced, my curiosity was instantly piqued. I wasn’t especially curious if the iconic middle linebacker actually used the illegal drugs in question. And I wasn’t even all that concerned with his comments following the allegations. What I really wanted to know was, what kind of outcry would this report instigate throughout sports world?
As it turned out (and as I suspected), it was no more than a blip for Lewis and the NFL, as Major League Baseball–once again–was thrust into the forefront of the PED scandal. Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun headed a list of players reportedly linked to HGH use and the story immediately took flight, offering the NFL another chance to sneak by virtually unscathed.
The TOJ Draft staff looks at what interior defensive lineman the New York Jets should consider in the upcoming NFL Draft
In continuation with our positional breakdowns of potential NFL Draft prospects for the New York Jets, we turn our attention to a position that, although very promising, will almost surely need some added depth this offseason. Today, our draft team provides a breakdown of the top five potential interior defensive linemen that could be selected by the Jets in April’s draft. These initial rankings are certainly subject to change as we progress through the entire pre-draft process, but as it stands now, these players are who we feel would be the best options for New York’s defense to add up front. Be sure to give our draft team a follow on Twitter, and to check out our previous breakdowns of potential quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and offensive linemen.
The interior defensive line situation for the Jets is quite interesting heading into the offseason. New York surely has young staples up front in Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples, as well as Kenrick Ellis, who flashed brilliance at times last season but struggled to stay healthy. Conversely, the Jets face questions regarding key players on the defensive front. Mike DeVito is an impending unrestricted free agent, and his price tag could end up driving him out of New York. While he is certainly not as flashy as the defensive ends aforementioned, DeVito is the blue collared, lunch pale type player that is a necessity to any defensive line. While it will be difficult to replace a player like DeVito, there are certainly a good amount of players of his mold at defensive tackle in this year’s draft class.
On a similar note, the Jets have uncertainty with nose tackle Sione Po’uha. Po’uha had arguably his least productive season as a Jet last year, largely due to a lingering back issue that hampered his ability to get off the ball and maintain leverage throughout the season. A release of Po’uha is seemingly imminent as it would clear some much needed cap space for Gang Green, while paving the way for Ellis to take over as the full time starter.
The situations of DeVito and Po’uha leave the Jets with some subtle needs along the defensive line. While it would be ill advised for New York to select a defensive tackle in the first round, considering the immense amount of need throughout the entire roster, do not be surprised to see one or two picks used on a defensive lineman this year, depending on how free agency plays out. With that being said, let’s take a look at who could be on the Jets radar come April. Continue reading “New York Jets Potential Draft Targets: Defensive Tackle”
The TOJ Draft Staff looks at what offensive lineman the New York Jets can target in the NFL Draft
In continuation with our positional breakdowns of potential NFL Draft prospects for the New York Jets, we turn our attention to a position that will certainly be needed to added to via the draft. Today, our draft team provides a breakdown of the top five potential offensive linemen that could be selected by the Jets in April’s draft. These initial rankings are certainly subject to change as we progress through the entire pre-draft process, but as it stands now, these players are who we feel would be the best options for New York to add up front. Be sure to give our draft team a follow on Twitter, and to check out our previous breakdowns of potential quarterback targets and potential running back targets, for the Jets.
Chance Warmack, Guard, Alabama – 6’2″ 325 lbs – Warmack is arguably the best player at his position in the entire draft class. With New York likely losing at least one of last year’s starting guards to free agency, this position is among their greatest needs. Warmack would be an incredibly safe pick at 9th overall, but could possibly be attained if the Jets decide to trade down a few spots, considering the guard position isn’t normally valued as a top 10 pick. However, Warmack could be an exception to that notion considering his immense strength, footwork, hand placement, and ability to both drive defenders off of the ball and get to linebackers at the second level. Warmack is the total package. He is big, strong, quick, and incredibly tenacious. Selecting him in the first round would give New York stability at guard for the next decade.
Jonathan Cooper, Guard, North Carolina – 6’3″ 320 lbs – Cooper, although not quite the player Warmack is just yet, is undoubtedly the second best guard in the draft this year. Although Cooper does not possess the overall strength that Warmack does, he is incredibly quick for the position, slides his feet very well in pass protection, and uses his hands like a polished NFL veteran. Cooper will likely be a late 1st, early 2nd round pick, and if the Jets decide to pass on Warmack in the 1st, look for Cooper to be the guy with the 39th overall selection. His agility and strength in zone blocking will make him an ideal fit in Marty Mornhinweg’s system.
Barrett Jones, Guard/Tackle/Center, Alabama – 6’5″ 302 lbs – Jones is the only player in the history of the NCAA to win a National Championship while starting at each position on the offensive line. His versatility up front is unparalleled, which would give a team like the Jets some much needed flexibility in terms of depth on the offensive line. He is extremely intelligent, but has all the physical tools, as well with great strength, leverage, footwork, and overall quickness. His leadership is above and beyond any other lineman in the draft, and his toughness is unheard of, as was displayed by his admission to having played in the National Championship game while suffering from a Lisfranc injury. Jones could end up being a 3rd-4th rounder, with a chance of going in the late second. If the Jets decide to focus on positions outside of the offensive line with their first two picks, Jones is a player that must be on the radar in round 3.
Brian Schwenke, Guard/Center, California – 6’3″ 311 lbs – Although not quite as versatile as Jones, Schwenke proved to be effective at both guard and center last week at the Senior Bowl. His quickness is among the best at the position this year, and although he isn’t necessarily the most physically strong player, he makes up for it with his excellent technique and tremendous use of leverage. He shows very good feet in pass protection, and a very good ability to chip off of double teams onto linebackers at the second level. Like Jones, his versatility will be a plus moving forward. Schwenke is likely more of a 4-6 round player.
Larry Warford, Guard, Kentucky – 6’3″ 325 lbs – One of the heavier guards of the class, Warford certainly is not the typical immobile big man. As put on display in the Senior Bowl, Warford is deceptively quick, with a much better ability to get to the second level than the eye would tell upon initial impression. He has shown to be effective as a puller, as well, as he has an uncanny ability to maintain his feet and balance when blocking defenders in space. The combine will be big for Warford in terms of where he ends up being selected, but as of now he would hold solid value in rounds 3-4.
The Jets have an issue on the interior of their Offensive Line. No starting caliber Guards are on the roster. Slauson and Moore and Unrestricted Free Agents, and Vlad Ducasse isn’t starting caliber. Austin Howard was better than some people thought. His run blocking is really good. His pass protection is about average and there is room for improvement. Another thing is that he became a victim of Mark Sanchez holding onto the ball too long. With the switch to the West Coast offense, it should simplify things for Sanchez, thus making the O-Line not have to block for a full 8 seconds. You can’t expect linemen to block for that long without holding or giving up a sack. Just like you can’t expect much from a CB when plays break down and the WR improvises to meet the QB.
Based on need, the Jets need to leave this draft with 2 Guards, a Tackle and a Center for depth. Let’s look at the top 5 Offensive linemen the Jets should look at and where they should draft them:
Chance Warmack- Guard- Alabama- 6’3” 320 lbs- Quite simply, Warmack is the best. He is the best Guard in the draft and the Jets would be wise to use the 9th overall pick on him. Putting him between Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson would be incredible. The left side of the offensive line would be excellent and the running backs would have absolutely gaping holes to run through. Warmack will be a Pro Bowler sooner rather than later in his career. Not to mention, having a really, really good Offensive Line is at the foundation of every team that is a contender. 1st round. 9th pick.
Johnathan Cooper- Guard/Center- University of North Carolina- 6’3” 310 lbs- Cooper is the second best guard in the draft. He gets set quickly, has active feet and great hands. He is a really good run blocker and an even better pass blocker. He will be a starter in the league next year barring anything unforeseen. Since he is the second best guard in the draft, he will be taken in the 1st round, it is just a matter of when. If the Jets manage to trade down or get another 1st round pick, they can take Cooper in the middle to end of the 1st round and that would be a good get. You can still smack him between Feguson and Mangold and have an incredibly dominant left side. The drop off between Cooper and Warmack isn’t big enough where getting Cooper is “settling.”
Larry Warford- Kentucky- Guard- 6’3” 336- Warford was really good the whole week of the Senior Bowl and in the game itself. He was moving linemen all over the field, showing glimpses of Brandon Moore in his prime. Above average at run and pass protection and best suited as a Right Guard. He has a good lower body to drive defenders off the ball and can get out quickly when pulling. For his size, he has good straight-line speed, as well. Some cons are that he falls off blocks because of lunging occasionally, but that is a tendency that can be broken. He also dips his head in open space at times. He has a lot of experience with 25 starts and 35 appearances. After the Senior Bowl, his stock shot up a bit. He can likely be had in the late 1st round to the middle of the 2nd round. Once again, taking him with the Jets current 2nd round pick would only happen if they addressed a different need in the 1st round.
Barrett Jones- Alabama- Guard/Center/Tackle- 6’5” 311- Barrett Jones was probably the most experienced and versatile person on the best O-Line in the country at Alabama. I say more versatile because he has played at every spot on the line. On the three championship teams in ’09, ’11, ’12 he played Right Guard, Left Tackle, and Center, respectively. He is the ultimate depth-machine and would hold great value with the Jets. I saw a lot of grit and toughness from him while I watched him this last year. He played really well, and apparently, he was playing with a Lisfranc injury that he just recently got surgery on. Drafting Jones is a tough question to answer because we haven’t seen him since the Championship game because of his foot surgery. I think at latest he will get drafted by the second round.
Joe Madsen- West Virginia- Center- 6’4” 310 lbs- Throughout the week at the Senior Bowl, Madsen looked real good. He was moving D-Linemen all over the place and looked technically sound. For the Jets, he could be drafted to acquire depth. Madsen can sit behind one of the best Centers in the league and learn. Not only that, he can also learn other positions so he can be more helpful to the Jets as a team. I can see him getting drafted in the 4th or 5th round. He still has some work to do to be a starting caliber lineman in the NFL, but I can assure you he is already better than Vlad Ducasse.
Free agency is forcing the Jets to make a decision on the interior of the offensive line heading into the offseason. Brandon Moore isn’t getting any younger, and Matt Slauson was so bad in run blocking situations that Vlad Duccasse was actually seen as an improvement. With those questions looming, finding at least one guard in April’s NFL Draft has got to be a focus for the Jets.
While there’s the perceived notion that the Jets offensive line stinks, the truth is that it’s easily the most noticeable strength of a pathetic Jets offense. Austin Howard improved at right tackle throughout the season, and D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold both continued playing at a high level. The real issues on the line include a lack of depth, Slauson’s limitations as a blocker, and Moore’s age and contract concerns.
Personally, I can’t justify using the ninth overall pick on a guard—but anything goes on day two and beyond. Here’s a few offensive lineman that should be on the Jets radar moving forward:
Justin Pugh, Guard, Syracuse – 6’5″ 301 lbs: Pugh spent three years playing the left tackle position for Syracuse, but after a very impressive showing at guard during the Senior Bowl, he’s now ranked among the top interior lineman in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Coming into the Senior Bowl the biggest knocks on Pugh were tied to his physical drawbacks and his struggles protecting the edge against some of the more ferocious pass rushers. But with the move inside, those deficiencies become less significant, allowing his more impressive attributes to boost him up draft boards.
As a guard, Pugh’s speed and movement help him reach the second level in a hurry, and while he still needs to add some size and refine the use of his hands, he is certainly an intriguing option to replace Matt Slauson at left guard.
Barrett Jones, Guard, Alabama- 6’5″ 302 lbs: – As Jets fans have seen in recent years, when Nick Mangold goes down, things get ugly…and fast. Although Jones would be best suited as a guard in New York, his résumé at Alabama illustrates extreme versatility on the offensive line; including two years at guard, one year at tackle, and another at center.
Versatility like that is tough to ignore, and it would certainly be convenient to have a viable option to move around the offensive line if need be.
Brian Winters, Offensive Tackle, Kent St– 6’4″ 310 lbs: Winters is another college tackle that appears better suited to play guard at the next level, mostly due to his wide base and good body control.
Jonathan Cooper, Offensive Guard, North Carolina – 6’3″ 320 lbs: He’s the highest-rated lineman on my list, but in no way do I condone this selection with the ninth pick in the draft. Realistically, there’s no way Cooper falls into the second round, but he could be an option for the Jets if a “trade down scenario” plays out in April.
Cooper is so highly touted mostly due to his impressive speed, lateral movement, and footwork, along with his enormous frame. Cooper’s explosiveness and balance also are very apparent when watching tape, as he’s able to get to the second level with ease. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him climb into the top 20.
The TOJ Draft staff looks at what wide receivers the New York Jets could target in April’s draft
In continuation with our positional breakdowns of potential NFL Draft prospects for the New York Jets, we turn our attention to a position that, although is not a top need, wouldn’t hurt from the addition of a playmaker. Today, our draft team provides a breakdown of the top five potential wide receivers that could be selected by the Jets in April’s draft. These initial rankings are certainly subject to change as we progress through the entire pre-draft process, but as it stands now, these players are who we feel would be the best options for New York at wide receiver. Be sure to give our draft team a follow on Twitter, and to check out our previous breakdowns of potential quarterback targets and potential running back targets, for the Jets.
Keenan Allen, California, 6’3″ 206 lbs – While it is highly unlikely that Allen will fall to the Jets in the 2nd round, crazier things have happened on draft day. If Allen were to slip down to the 39th overall pick, it would be extremely difficult for New York to pass up on him, despite having taken a wide receiver in the 2nd round of last year’s draft. While Stephen Hill hasn’t even scratched the surface of his potential yet, the new front office in New York is in no way married to him as a piece of the puzzle moving forward. While there is no reason to give up hope on Hill yet, Allen is a tremendous talent that would hold excellent value as an early 2nd rounder.
Allen is a big body at 6’3″ and possesses above average top end speed, with very good ball skills and athletic ability. He has some of the strongest hands out of any player at his position in this year’s class and does a very good job of getting to the ball at its highest point.
Most importantly, however, is Allen’s character. He has been highly praised by coaches and teammates alike for his work ethic and overall coach-ability. He puts in an extensive amount of time studying film, as well as in the weight room. Everyone that has been close to him during his career at California seemingly cannot say enough about his drive and desire to better himself everyday. On an offense that is in dire need of attitude like Allen’s, combined with what can become elite playmaking ability, he would be an excellent selection at the 39th overall pick, despite the improbability that he falls that far. Still, a name to keep an eye on.
Robert Woods, USC, 6’1″ 190 lbs – Woods has flown a bit under the radar as of late, but his immense production as a Trojan should not be forgotten. Woods has adequate size, but the top end speed that can certainly stretch a defense and give his offense a real home run threat. Woods has sure hands and demonstrates a very quick initial burst off the line of scrimmage. He isn’t the most polished route runner, but he shows an ability to adjust his routes based on coverage and has knack for finding the holes in a zone, something that could allow him to thrive in an offense like Marty Mornhinweg’s. He is an extremely competitive player who will always fight for extra yards after the catch and, like Allen, puts in numerous hours in film study and in his physical training. Depending on how he performs at the combine, Woods could end up being a 2-3 round pick.
Tavon Austin, West Virginia, 5’8″ 173 lbs – While Austin certainly does not have the size of the previous two players, his speed and quickness are nearly unparalleled. He needs some fine tuning in his overall route running and ability to get off of press coverage, but Austin has the tools to be a weapon in a scheme like Mornhinweg’s. Picture him in a role similar to what DeSean Jackson had in Philadelphia under Mornhinweg, but a bit more versatile, as he has experience running the ball as well.
Markus Wheaton, Oregon State, 5’11” 182 lbs – Wheaton, like Austin, doesn’t have tremendous size, but is another receiver with big play ability. He does a good job of finding holes in zone coverage, and his excellent footwork and agility allow him to come in and out of his breaks with great fluidity, making curls, hitches, and comeback routes seemingly painless for him. Wheaton is also a very tough player, reportedly having played through some significant bumps and bruises at Oregon State. A fairly strong week of practice leading up to the Senior Bowl will likely help his stock.
Terrance Williams, Baylor, 6’2″ 201 lbs – The size and talent are certainly there for Williams, who can create excellent separation while maintaining an ability to properly adjust his routes when needed. The biggest question marks with Williams are his character. He has been cited for immaturity, and although has the ability to run good routes, can tend to get lazy at times. This will likely cause him to fall into the mid-late rounds, but if New York feels that his talent is good enough to take a chance on getting his mind and work ethic right, he could be worth a flyer in rounds 4-6.
The Jets can likely go into camp next year with a healthy and hopefully motivated Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Jeremy Kerley and have a group that can be sufficient, while continuing to develop 2012 2nd round pick Stephen Hill. Behind the receivers aforementioned, Hill can play without pressure to perform and get better naturally instead of being forced into a role beyond his capacity. Other than these 4 receivers, the Jets should build WR depth with 1 or 2 late picks in the draft.
|Name||School||Height||Weight||Projected 40||Projected rd.|
|DeAndre Hopkins||Clemson||6-1||200||4.40||Late 1st – Early 2nd|
|Kenny Stills||Oklahoma||6-1||189||4.53||4th – 5th|
|Quinton Patton||Louisiana Tech||6-2||195||4.58||4th – 5th|
|Tavarres King||Georgia||6-1||191||4.49||5th – 6th|
If DeAndre Hopkins (82 rec, 1405 yds, 18 TDs) is available in the 2nd round, the Jets should snag him and not look back. Hopkins and Sammy Watkins were supposed to lead Clemson’s receiving corps, but Hopkins ended up outshining Watkins for the majority of the season. As far as receiving goes, he runs great routes, has great hands, and is a burner. He has the ability to beat a defense with precise routes or the deep ball. With the Jets going to a West Coast offense, this will be slam dunk if they can snag him. Watching film on Hopkins, he flashes some talent that resembles that of Julio Jones. Watkins will be tough to get, but if he falls to the Jets, there is a good chance New York looks long and hard at him.
Kenny Stills (82 rec, 959 yds, 11 TDs) was always a very consistent receiver for Oklahoma and quarterback Landry Jones. He is a decent blocker and needs to work on attacking the ball in mid air. Stills has great hands and can develop into a good NFL receiver. He can get separation from defenders and has deceptive speed. He had a small issue with a DUI but it was an isolated incident so I don’t believe it should be considered a major issue. He has average size but can make a play after the catch and is superbly athletic and flexible, which is important for WRs.
Quinton Patton (104 rec, 1392 yds, 13 TDs) was electric in his senior year at Louisiana Tech. He went against Mississippi State corner Johnthan Banks (possible 1st round pick) and after the game; Banks said he was the best WR he played against. Against Texas A&M, a team out of the SEC, he had 21 catches for 233 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is a strong receiver who can get separation and is also good enough attacking coverage to separate and create with the ball in his hands. He is very good at tracking the ball in the air, has quick feet and good coordination. He won’t test extremely well at the combine and coming from a smaller school may hurt his stock, but he can take the next step and play at an NFL level. There is a chance he is taken within the first 4 rounds, but if he slips, he could hold great value in rounds 5-7.
Tavarres King (42 rec, 950 yds, 8 TDs) has consistently jumped off of his college film at Georgia. While his stats aren’t over the top, he has the skill set to be an NFL caliber receiver. From going up to pluck the ball out of the air to getting separation, he can seemingly do it all, he just needs to be more consistent. This would be a developmental pick, but would give the Jets decent depth at the position in 2013. He can beat defenders over the top with straight-line speed and shows good stop, start, go type elusiveness to make defenders miss. He is above average at getting off press coverage, which makes sense because he played in the physical SEC. He would be a good get in the 5th or 6th round to help out the current Jets receiving corp.
The Jets wide receiver group has a number of questions that need to be answered as they prepare for the 2013 season, highlighted by a new-look offense and the continued absence of a legitimate No. 1 receiver.
The biggest challenge the group of wide receivers face coming into the season will be transitioning into Marty Mornhigweg’s “West Coast Offense”, which hinges on precise route running, sure handedness, and the ability to gain yards after the catch. Santonio Holmes, who essentially assumed No. 1 receiver duties by default, should thrive in the system—assuming he’s able to return fully from Lisfranc surgery, and stay motivated. The Jets will likely need to make it work with Holmes considering questions surrounding his rehab and his bloated salary will certainly limit trade options.
With Holmes injured, Jeremy Kerley emerged at the position to lead the Jets with 56 receptions and 827 yards in 2012. Kerley will likely continue building on his success in the pass-happy WCO, able to line up both at the flanker and slot position. But fans will have to wait to see what recently hired GM John Idzik decides to do regarding Braylon Edwards, although it makes sense to bring him back on a one-year deal, especially considering Stephen Hill’s infinite number of issues as a rookie.
With little wiggle room in the salary cap, the most likely scenario for the Jets is to select a receiver in April.
Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech, 6’0”, 202 lbs: Currently slotted to go somewhere in rounds two or three, Patton could find his way into the Draft’s top 40 picks by the time April comes around—especially considering the attention that he’s garnered during the first few days of Senior Bowl practice.
While he may lack the ideal strength and top end speed of an elite NFL receiver, the Louisiana Tech senior is still quick off the line of scrimmage, a very good route runner, and has the ability to consistently gain separation from defenders with his shiftiness and head fakes.
Patton will likely need to add strength in the coming months, as he has shown a tendency to have the ball stripped out of his hands before he can secure the catch.
Conner Vernon, Duke, 6’1”, 200 lbs: Vernon is a very interesting Day 2 option that displays reliable hands, crisp route running, and the versatility to play multiple receiver positions in the NFL.
The ACC’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards lacks ideal speed to thrive consistently on the outside in the NFL, but makes up for it with his precise route running and shiftiness in traffic, as well as his ability to find space in the defense.
Markus Wheaton, Oregon State, 6’1”, 183 lbs: Wheaton is another receiver likely to go early in Day 2. The Oregon State all-time leader in receptions boasts tremendous speed and solid route running, but his overall strength and the reliability of his hands are concerns.
Wheaton’s speed is clearly his biggest selling point and will certainly help him gain attention from NFL teams looking to stretch the field. But it’s his route running and ability to break tackles that help him turn short passes into long gains, making him a very interesting option for a team running a WCO.
Chris Harper, Kansas State, 6’1”, 228 lbs: Harper is a big-bodied receiver who possesses deceptive speed and is sure to get comparisons to Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin (6’1”, 220lbs) as April approaches.
While he lacks some quickness at the line of scrimmage, as well as the quick twitch some like to see in the NFL, it’s his deceptive buildup speed that allows him sneak behind defensive backs downfield.
Never afraid to go up and fight for the ball, the former Oregon quarterback also uses his size as an advantage, regularly punishing tacklers.
Brandon Kaufman, Eastern Washington, 6’4”, 214 lbs: Projected as a Day 3 selection, Kaufman boasts consistent and precise route running as well as reliable hands. While he lacks elite speed, he is deceptively fast considering his build, and has no problems lowering his shoulder into an oncoming defender.
His consistency on the field is what has most scouts impressed, despite playing against a lower level of competition at Eastern Washington. If still on the board in Round 6, he’s certainly an interesting option.
Turn On The Jets NFL Draft writer Frank Giasone with his first mock draft for 2013
1.) Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M: While it’s already nearly impossible to predict the No.1 overall selection this early in the draft process, a new regime in KC only complicates the forecast further. Although the Chiefs used back-to-back picks on the offensive line (second and third round) in the 2012 NFL Draft—and signed right tackle Eric Winston to a four-year, $22M contract last offseason— the Kansas City decision makers will find it hard to pass up a talent like Joeckel on draft day. We all know Andy Reid loves his quarterbacks, but I think the most likely scenarios include Reid finding one through a trade or sometime on the second day of the draft—as he did with both Kevin Kolb and Nick Foles.
2.) Jacksonville Jaguars- Bjoern Werner, Defensive End, Florida State: Another tough selection to gauge this early in the process, especially considering the juxtaposition of recently hired head coach Gus Bradley’s defensive background and general manager Dave Caldwell, who comes from the offensive-minded Atlanta Falcons organization. There’s a good chance the Jags stick with Chad Henne at quarterback this season—and assuming the current crop of QBs doesn’t improve drastically by April, I don’t see Jacksonville selecting one to groom for the future in this spot. Werner is arguably the most gifted defensive player in this draft, with tons of upside considering he only started playing the game at 15. He’ll have an immediate impact on the Jaguars defensive line.
3.) Oakland Raiders- Star Lotuleli, Defensive Tackle, Utah: Oakland has issues all over the place, and while Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher is certainly an option here (even with promising LT Jared Veldheer already on the roster), Lotuleli is just too good for Dennis Allen to pass up. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly hasn’t performed well, and both Richard Seymour and Desmond Bryant are unrestricted free agents. Lotuleli is the best player left on the board at No. 3 and fills a huge need for Oakland.
4.) Philadelphia Eagles- Eric Fisher, Offensive Tackle, Central Michigan: While Luke Joeckel is the trendy name for top tackle in the draft, it’s Fisher –whose stock will continue to soar as April approaches- that may end up being the best of the bunch. The Eagles are in a great shape to improve an offensive line that has completely fallen apart the past two seasons with Fisher, who would immediately start at left tackle for Chip Kelly & Co.
5.) Detroit Lions- Damontre Moore, Defensive End, Texas A&M: With Cliff Avril likely testing free agency, and Kyle Vanden Bosch no guarantee to return to the Motor City in 2013, Moore looks like the most logical pick for a Lions defense that finished last season tied for 20th in sacks. The decisionmakers in Detroit have to figure out a way to maximize Ndamukong Suh’s presence up front and adding a threat like Moore to the line is as good a way as any.
6.) Cleveland Browns- Jarvis Jones, Outside Linebacker, Georgia: Jones is the likely option for Cleveland at No. 6 following defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s confirmation that the Browns will switch to an “attack-minded 3-4 scheme” next season. Considered the best 3-4 OLB in the draft by some, Jones will give a boost to a defense already equipped with middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, cornerback Joe Haden and defensive tackle Phil Taylor. It’s too early to know if Jones’ injury concerns are severe enough knock him out of the top 10, but for now he’s the perfect selection for the Browns at No. 6.
7.) Arizona Cardinals- Chance Warmack, Guard, Alabama: The Cardinals have issues-on-top-of-issues when it comes to the offensive line. With the two top-rated offensive tackles off the board, it’s Warmack –not Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson—who jumpstarts the Arizona rebuild. The seventh spot may be considered too high to select a guard, but Warmack is a special talent worth reaching for.
8.) Buffalo Bills- Barkevious Mingo, Defensive End, LSU: This selection could likely turn into a quarterback on draft day, depending on head coach Doug Marrone’s stance on Ryan Fitzpatrick. But in this, my 1.0 mock draft, the selection goes the way of the defense. While Mingo has, in my opinion, the highest bust potential of any OLB in the draft, it’s his versatility and intangibles that will likely get him drafted early on Day 1.
9.) New York Jets- Dion Jordan, Defensive End, Oregon: The moment you’ve all been waiting for: Dion Jordan is the first pick of the John Idzik regime in New York. Versatile enough to play standing up in 3-4 front or at defensive end in 4-3 schemes, Jordan is the multitalented defender of Rex Ryan’s dreams. While he has a lot of developing yet to do—and is currently dealing with an injury that could certainly alter this selection in the coming months—the addition of a young, athletic outside linebacker like Jordan is something the Jets have been trying to accomplish for years. Combine the pick with the possible addition of OLB’s Conner Barwin or Paul Kruger via free agency, and the Jets once weak LB corps instantly morphs into a strength.
Note: Although some people see the Jets going offensive line here, we’ve seen time and time again the ability to secure a solid interior lineman late in the draft or through free agency. The Jets did it with Brandon Moore (who I believe will be back in ‘13) and they’ll have the opportunity to do it again this year.
10.) Tennessee Titans- Johnathon Hankins, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State: Hankins’ versatility makes him an intriguing option at No. 10 for Tennessee. Another team with lots of concerns, Tennessee could go in a number of different directions here. And while the tenth spot may be a little high for the Buckeye standout, it’s Hankins’ versatility, combined with the production from starting defensive ends Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley, that could make the Titans defensive line a real force moving forward.
11.) San Diego Chargers – Lane Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma: Another offensive lineman who will continue trending upward as April approaches, Johnson is one of the most versatile big men in this draft. While he’s settled in a No. 11 today, he very well could find himself a top 10 prospect in the coming months. A former quarterback and tight end, Johnson has shown the ability to play left and right tackle, despite still being a neophyte on the offensive line. His long arms and elite athleticism will certainly garner a warm welcome from quarterback Phillip Rivers, who appears to have developed some happy feet over the past two years.
12.) Miami Dolphins- Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver, Cal: They’re stocked with picks and cap space in 2013, and while a free agent wide receiver like Gregg Jennings remains a very likely option for Miami, selecting the highest rated receiver certainly won’t hurt the development of quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
13.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Dee Milliner, Cornerback, Alabama: You probably didn’t expect to see the highest rated cornerback fall this far (truthfully, neither did I), but you better believe the Bucs will be more than happy reap the benefits of Milliner at No. 13. The best all around cornerback in this draft, Milliner’s size and physicality will be a welcomed addition in Tampa as a replacement to Aqib Talib.
14.) Carolina Panthers- Sheldon Richardson, Defensive Tackle, Missouri: The Panthers have a bevy of athletic linebackers, but they lack a big body in the middle of the defensive line to help stop the run and eat up blocks. Richardson will help address those issues, and will also provide another pass rushing option up the middle.
15.) New Orleans Saints- Kenny Vaccaro, Safety, Texas: The Saints defense needs a lot of help, and while they could likely target a linebacker here, not know the scheme they intend to use next season makes Vaccaro the pick for now. Touted as the highest rated safety in the draft, Vaccaro is a rangy prospect with the body-type and athleticism to play both safety positions.
16.) St. Louis Rams- Cordarrelle Patterson, Wide Receiver, Tennessee: The Rams need to give Sam Bradford more offensive weapons in 2013. With Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson the top receivers in St. Louis, Patterson would provide offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer more flexibility in his offensive schemes. Patterson, who is one of the most complete receivers in the draft, could also have an impact on special teams.
17.) Pittsburgh Steelers- Johnathan Jenkins, Defensive Tackle, Georgia: The Steelers have gotten very old, very quickly on the defensive side of the ball, as its linebackers, defensive line and secondary have all seen better days. That means, with a rare top 20 pick, Pittsburgh is in good position to start retooling. Casey Hampton is older than dirt (sorry Casey), and Jenkins has an enormous frame capable of taking on multiple blockers. While he may lack versatility up front, his strength and frame make him a great fit for the Steelers 3-4 defense.
18.) Dallas Cowboys – Sharrif Floyd, Defensive Tackle, Florida: Jay Ratliff isn’t getting any younger, and after his most recent run-in with police (he got popped for DWI a few days back) a defensive tackle to Dallas at No. 18 is looking even more likely. Monte Kiffin is in as defensive coordinator in Dallas now, and Floyd fills a big need in his Tampa 2 scheme.
19.) New York Giants- Manti Te’o, Inside Linebacker, Notre Dame: His recent “issue” may steer the Giants away from making this selection, but the fact remains that Jerry Reece just can’t ignore his needy linebacker corps any longer. When Chase Blackburn is arguably your best ILB over the past two seasons…it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.
20.) Chicago Bears- Jonathan Cooper, Guard, North Carolina: You only needed to watch a few offensive series to recognize Chicago’s biggest need is on the offensive line. Cooper is my second-rated guard in the draft, and boasts impressive speed, lateral movement, and footwork. I’m sure Jay Cutler will be ecstatic with the addition fo Cooper to the Bears offense.
21.) Cincinnati Bengals –Eddie Lacy, Running Back, Alabama: The Bengals have a solid core and will eventually need to address some issues on defense (notably the overwhelming disappointment of Rey Maualuga at the MLB position). But as the cliché goes, “it’s an offensive league” and the Bengals can’t rely on BenJarvus Green-Ellis to carry the load in 2013. Lacy is a power back with some speed that would fit well with young up-and-coming offensive stars like Andy Dalton and A.J. Green.
22.) St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)- Giovani Bernard, Running Back, North Carolina: Confession time: It pains me to write this because of an obsession I’ve developed with Jets grabbing Bernard in the second round. But, with that dream quickly fading, I’ve conceded that the Rams will once again address the offensive side of the ball in an attempt to recreate the days of “The Greatest Show on Turf”. Goodbye, Giovani.
23.) Minnesota Vikings- Alec Ogletree, Inside Linebacker, Georgia: The Vikings need help at linebacker in a bad way, and Ogletree boasts the speed and athleticism to make plays all over the field. A converted safety, Ogletree will likely need to add size to his frame, and will certainly deal with questions regarding off the field issues during interviews. But for now, he’s a great pick for Minnesota at No. 23.
24.) Indianapolis Colts- D.J. Fluker, Offensive Tackle, Alabama: It’s pretty simple: Andrew Luck is your meal ticket; make sure you protect him accordingly. While Fluker isn’t as highly touted as some of the other offensive lineman in this draft (as part of one of the best OL units in college football last year Fluker was, at times, overlooked), he does possess the physical skills to play both tackle positions in the NFL. Of course defense is an option here, but lowering Luck’s sack number from 40 should take precedence.
25.) Seattle Seahawks- Larry Warford, Guard, Kentucky: Similar to the situation in Indy, the Seahawks need to protect their investment at quarterback. Warford turned some heads at the Senior Bowl and will likely continue to do so in the coming months. With defense a strength in Seattle, No. 25 is a great spot to lock up one of the top interior lineman in the draft.
26.) Green Bay Packers- Ezekiel Ansah, Defensive End, BYU: Ansah is an extremely raw prospect (after only one year starting at BYU) who has garnered obvious comparisons to the Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul due mostly to his untapped potential. The Packers’ defense is lacking and Ansah could provide Green Bay with another weapon alongside Clay Matthews.
27.) Houston Texans- DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, Clemson: Matt Schaub is Gary Kubiak’s guy at QB so the best chance for success in Houston is to improve the weapons around him. Kevin Walter isn’t a consistent enough weapon as a No. 2 receiver, and Hopkins possesses the skillset that could see him eventually develop into a replacement for Andre Johnson in a few years.
28.) Denver Broncos- Johnthan Banks, Cornerback, Mississippi State: The pick makes sense for a Denver team that really doesn’t lack much on either side of the ball. John Fox could go running back here, but the presence of Peyton Manning at QB automatically improves whatever ‘back the Broncos trot out on the field. With Champ Bailey showing his age in the playoffs this season, Banks fills a big need in for the Broncos.
29.) New England Patriots- Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver, West Virginia: With Julian Edleman likely gone, and Wes Welker possibly right behind him, the Patriots offense may need to be tweaked in the offseason. Austin looks to be a great fit for the Pats offensive scheme and should flourish with Tom Brady and Bill Bellichick.
30.) Atlanta Falcons- Tyler Eifert, Tight End, Notre Dame: Tony Gonzalez says he won’t be back—despite still being arguably the best receiving TE in the league—and Eifert is the ideal replacement. It won’t be easy to replace one of the best TE’s in NFL history, but Atlanta could certainly do much worse than the top-rated tight end in the draft.
31.) Baltimore Ravens- Kevin Minter, Inside Linebacker, LSU: Just like in Atlanta, Baltimore will have to deal with the absence of an icon in 2013. Ray Lewis is retiring and Ravens defense is getting older. Despite playing well late this season and during this postseason run, Baltimore has a lot of work to do this offesason. Minter is capable to step in as a starter and should provide Baltimore with more versatility in the middle of the field.
32.) San Francisco 49ers- Desmond Trufant, Cornerback, Washington: San Francisco boasts the most impressive roster in this league, but if there’s one issue with its defense it’s the absence of a true cover corner. So with pick No. 32 it’s a case of the rich getting richer, as arguably the best defense in football walks away with a big, physical corner who recently impressed during the Senior Bowl.
Turn On The Jets NFL Draft writer Frank Giasone with his first big board for the 2013 Draft
Draft writer Frank Giasone with his initial NFL Draft Big Board. Be sure to look for fellow draft writer, Zev Sibony‘s Big Board later today, while giving Lead NFL Draft Editor Chris Gross‘s Big Board from last week, and Mock Draft 1.0 from last night a read, as well. Let the debates begin!
1.) Chance Warmack, Guard, Alabama – 6″3″ 320 lbs: He’s the best guard in the draft, and some may argue that he’s the best offensive lineman in it as well. Warmack has the footwork, speed and lateral movement scouts want to see in an NFL guard, and will surely have success at the next level.
2.) Bjoern Werner, Defensive End, Florida State – 6’4″ 255 lbs: Arguably the best DE in the draft, Werner still has tons of room for growth considering he only started playing football at age 15. His speed, strength and high motor will certainly translate as a 4-3 DE, but questions remain regarding his ability to fit as a 3-4 OLB.
3.) Luke Joeckel, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M – 6’6″ 310 lbs:It’s a deep crop of offensive lineman in the 2013 NFL Draft, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better offensive tackle than Joeckel. After starting all four years at left tackle for Texas A&M, Joeckel is as NFL-ready as any offensive lineman in the draft and should have no problems stepping in for whichever team selects him.
4.) Star Lotuleli, Defensive Tackle, Utah – 6’4″ 325 lbs: Lotuleli is a big, strong, NFL-ready defender that boasts surprising speed and explosiveness despite his massive physique. Asked to play both the 3-technique and as a nose tackle in 3-4 fronts at Utah, Lotulei showed impressive lateral movement as well as the ability to drive offensive lineman backward. Rarely blocked 1-on-1 at Utah, Lotuleli’s skill set looks like it will transition very well in the NFL.
5.) Jarvis Jones, Outside Linebacker, Georgia –6’3″ 241 lbs: This draft is loaded with OLB’s, and Jones is certainly one of the most desired of the group. The Georgia stud defender boasts good size, versatility and a relentless motor, and projects best as a 3-4 OLB. His versatile skill set should not only make him a terrific pass rusher, but also keep him on the field in all situations.
6.) Damontre Moore, Defensive End/OLB, Texas A&M – 6’4″ 248 lbs: Moore is one of the most talented defenders in this draft. With the ability to play standing up as a 3-4 OLB, or with his hand on the ground as a 4-3 DE, Moore shows the potential to wreak havoc in offensive backfields at the next level.
7.) Dee Milliner, Cornerback, Alabama –6’1″ 197 lbs: The best cornerback in the draft, Milliner leads a fairly weak CB crop in 2013. The Alabama junior has great size and instincts, and isn’t shy to impose his physicality. While he sometimes gets caught out of position, his overall awareness and playmaking ability make him a great prospect at cornerback.
8.) Eric Fisher, Offensive Tackle, Central Michigan- 6’7”, 305: Fisher has seen his stock rise recently with an impressive first few days at the Senior Bowl, most likely a result of a lack of talent faced in the regular season. Strong both as a run blocker and in pass protection, Fisher has impressive arm length and movement.
9.) Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver, Cal – 6’3″ 210 lbs: The highest rated wide receiver in the draft, Allen has good speed and big play ability, as well as precise route running and versatility which allows him to line up all over the field. He’s currently dealing with a knee injury, which may hurt his stock as we get closer to the draft.
10.) Jonathan Cooper, Offensive Guard, North Carolina – 6’3″ 320 lbs: Cooper is a very intriguing prospect at guard who boasts impressive speed, lateral movement, and footwork—all which are good traits for a pulling guard. Cooper’s size and strength are hard to ignore as well, making him another interesting offensive line prospect.
11.) Tyler Eifert, Tight End, Notre Dame – 6’6″ 250 lbs: Eifert boasts the natural ability and size that will translate immediately as an NFL tight end. He’s versatile enough to contribute both in the passing game and as a run blocker, but as a receiver Eifert really shines. He should be a highly sought after offensive weapon come April.
12.) Manti Te’o, Inside Linebacker, Notre Dame –6’1″ 248 lbs: He’s become a bit of a punch line lately, which certainly can’t help his stock. His performance in the BCS Title Game against Alabama won’t help much either. But he still possesses the most impressive skill set of any inside linebacker in the draft and will likely find himself as a Day 1 selection.
13.) Dion Jordan, Defensive End, Oregon – 6’7″ 243 lbs: Jordan possesses ideal speed, size and athleticism to succeed as a 3-4 OLB in the NFL. He’s a sure tackler and able to play in coverage, but he’s still raw and needs to develop his game. Injuries will also remain a concern in the coming months.
14.) Kenny Vaccaro, Safety, Texas –6’1″ 218 lbs: Vaccaro has the body-type and athleticism to succeed in the NFL at both FS and SS. Despite his limitations in coverage, Vaccaro’s consistency in the secondary and his impact on special teams make him one of the drafts most interesting defensive backs.
15.) Barkevious Mingo, Defensive End, LSU –6’5″ 240 lbs: It’s my opinion that Mingo has the biggest boom or bust potential at the position this year. He’s still very raw- he only started playing football as a junior in high school- and certainly lacks experience. But his frame, speed, and athleticism are so impressive that a team will likely take a chance and hope he develops.
16.) Cordarrelle Patterson, Wide Receiver, Tennessee –6’3″ 205 lbs: He’s advertised as the total package, able to excel as a receiver, kick returner and, at times, taking direct snaps. While he still needs to perfect his route running, it’s his natural size, strength and ability that make the Tennessee star receiver a highly touted prospect.
17.) Alec Ogletree, Inside Linebacker, Georgia – 6’3″ 237 lbs: Ogletree is a very fast and athletic linebacker, capable of making plays all over the field. A converted safety, the UGA ‘backer possesses a leaner than ideal frame and will need to improve his ability to shed blocks as well as becoming more consistent against the run. Ogletree had some issues off the field that could hurt his stock.
18.) Ezekial Ansah, Defensive End, BYU-6’5” 270 lbs: Ansah will likely garner comparisons to the Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul because of his freakish natural athletic ability and lack of experience. Still very raw, Ansah needs to work on technique to truly excel at the next level.
19.) Sheldon Richardson, Defensive Tackle, Missouri –6’4″ 295 lbs: While he doesn’t have a ton of experience (only 13 starts), Richardson made the most of his time on the field, putting together a very impressive junior season. Although he’s athletic enough to rush the passer and to chase down ball carriers from behind, Richardson has some off field issues could hurt his stock.
20.) Lane Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma – 6’6″ 302 lbs: A converted quarterback and tight end (seriously), Johnson only has two years of offensive line experience and is still very raw. His long arms and elite athleticism, as well as his ability to play both left and right tackle, make him an interesting prospect.
21.) Johnathan Jenkins, Defensive Tackle, Georgia –6’4″ 359 lbs: He’s built like a tank, and just as difficult to move. Jenkins has good lateral quickness, as well as the overall power to run over blockers. He is very strong and will likely continue seeing double teams at the next level. While he may lack some versatility inside, his enormous frame will certainly be a factor on the interior of the defensive line from Day 1.
22.) Giovani Bernard, Running Back, UNC– 5’10” 205 lbs: Bernard is a smaller RB with big play ability both as a runner and a receiver. He runs hard and falls forward when tackled, consistently gaining yards after first contact. The UNC ‘back also shows patience at the line of scrimmage, a quick burst through the hole, and devastating moves in open space.
23.) Alex Okafor, Defensive End, Texas – 6’5″ 261 lbs: Okafor is a highly athletic 4-3 defensive end with good size and strength. He uses his hands very well and excels at both setting the edge against the run, and chasing down the QB. His 4.5 sacks in Texas’ Bowl Game against Oregon State will likely peak the interest of those who haven’t been paying attention.
24.) Geno Smith, Quarterback, West Virginia – 6’3″ 208 lbs: He’s a highly athletic quarterback who has also had success standing in the pocket—which makes for the perfect fit in today’s NFL. But the truth is Smith was disappointing in 2012 and he followed that up by declining to go to the Senior Bowl – a confusing decision to say the least. But it’s a QB driven league and someone will surely take a chance on him in Round 1.
25.) Sam Montgomery, Defensive End, LSU –6’5″ 260 lbs: Montgomery boasts a long frame and has the potential to add even more size and muscle working with an NFL strength trainer. He shows some burst off the snap, but at times struggles to get off blocks to get to the ball carrier.
Frank Giasone looks at what the Jets should be looking for if they draft a quarterback this year
Searching for a franchise quarterback is one of the most difficult tasks in professional sports. With so many different identifiers going into finding someone capable of flourishing in one of the most criticized positions in pro sports, sometimes it’s the qualities you can’t find on tape or in workouts that end up being the most critical.
It’s a big decision that can have monumental consequences —something Jets fans know all too well after watching Mark Sanchez’s shaky demeanor lead to a regression in his third and fourth years in the NFL. The last thing any team wants is to invest four or more years in a quarterback, only to have to start over following Year 4.
But this isn’t the forum to get into a debate about why Sanchez has declined (honestly, I don’t have enough time, space or energy to get into that right now). This is the place to look at some of the best ways to identify a potential franchise quarterback, and how to avoid some of the pitfalls that teams run into during the evaluation process.
– Mental Toughness: This is a big one, especially for Jets fans—which is why I put it first on the list. It really doesn’t get any worse than seeing your starting quarterback hanging his head or standing with slouched shoulders after a string of bad plays. The quarterback position is unlike any other in sports and nothing can sink a team quicker than a quarterback who fails to remain composed through tough stretches.
It can be difficult to assess with prospects from big, successful schools, most likely due to a lack of adversity faced on the field up to that point in their career. It’s not easy to judge how a man will react when writers, fans and (in some cases) fellow teammates, criticize or turn on him during times of struggle.
– Pocket Presence: It’s pretty simple: Does the quarterback feel pressure when it’s there? How does he react?
As we witnessed from the brutal 11-sack game in Week 16 this season, Jets quarterback Greg McElroy struggled to both feel and react to pressure. While the offensive line and running backs each had wretched performances, McElroy certainly didn’t help matters as he consistently slid into pressure.
A quarterback also needs to consistently keep his eyes focused downfield on his receivers, instead of the 330-pound defensive lineman barreling down on him. For McElroy, struggles in these areas led to rough afternoon…and a brief tenure as the starting quarterback in the NFL.
– Mobility: It’s new and it’s becoming trendy in the NFL. As long as NFL offenses continue having success running the read-option offense, you can bet other teams will hop on board and give it a shot as well. That means the allure of “athletic” quarterbacks (guys who can run with the football and make people miss) will continue to grow.
While mobility outside of the pocket is crucial when scouting guys like RG3, Colin Kaepernick and the like, it’s the ability to move well in the pocket that’s essential for all successful quarterbacks.
If you watch some of the great traditional quarterbacks in the NFL today (guys like Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees), the mobility in or around the pocket helps them extend plays and find open receivers. Sometimes they have to get creative when protection breaks down, either by rolling out and throwing on the run, or by tucking the ball and taking off.
– Intelligence: A quarterback can have all of the physical ability in the world but if he isn’t a cerebral player, chances are his success in the league will be limited. Complex language, bottomless playbooks and hours of tape study aside, the quarterback’s intelligence is never more tested than in the seconds before the snap. His ability to read and react to a defense quickly is normally the difference between success and failure. To put it bluntly, a dummy won’t likely flourish at the position.
– Arm Strength, Accuracy and Touch: Everyone wants a quarterback who can throw darts downfield into tight windows. And really, you can’t blame them. But scouting a quarterback’s arm strength isn’t limited to finding a guy that can throw the ball the hardest or farthest (despite what Brian Billick may think).
Scouts are interested in seeing a quarterback throw a ball with good velocity and spin. He wants to see the quarterback lead his receivers by delivering the ball in a spot that only they can get to it, and put his receiver in good position to gain yards after the catch.
– Work Ethic: Another attribute that’s hard for fans to judge is a players’ work ethic. It’s hard for someone outside of the team to know exactly what an athlete is doing before, during and after practice (unless, or course, something is leaked by the media, or a teammate). Evaluators need to quantify how dedicated and hardworking the prospect is. Will he be the type who’s just collecting a paycheck, or does his world revolve around developing into a better quarterback?
– Leadership Skills: When you have a team of 52 alpha males, it can sometimes be tough for a young player to step in and immediately assume a leadership role. As RG3 did in Washington and Andrew Luck appears to have done with the Colts, playing well is the best way to grab the reigns of your team.
– Size: The recent success of “short” quarterbacks like Brees (6’0”) and Russell Wilson (5’11”) has altered the perception of how tall an NFL quarterback should be. The recent success of shorter QBs has put more focus on throwing mechanics and the ability to throw outside the pocket and on the run, rather than a prospects height.
The Turn On The Jets draft staff looks at what running backs the New York Jets could target in the upcoming NFL Draft
In continuation with our positional breakdowns of potential NFL Draft prospects for the New York Jets, we turn our attention to a position of great need for a team that struggled mightily to generate any type of offensive excitement in 2012, running back. Today, our draft team provides a breakdown of the top five potential targets that could be selected by the Jets in April’s draft. These initial rankings are certainly subject to change as we progress through the entire pre-draft process, but as it stands now, these players are who we feel would be the best options for New York at running back. Be sure to give our draft team a follow on Twitter, and to check out our previous breakdown of potential quarterback targets for the Jets.
The running back position for the New York Jets in 2012 was, to put it nicely, abysmal. Shonn Greene flashed some quality against inferior defenses, but when put to the test of a contending defensive unit, he revealed himself as having nothing more than the ability of an average secondary option, capable of complementing a strong lead back. Greene will enter free agency when the new league year begins in March, and will likely be looking for a contract that exceeds his actual value to a team. Since the Jets are going to be operating on a relatively tight budget this season, it is more than likely that Greene will be allowed to walk to another team. While he is surely a capable 1B option, Bilal Powell remains under contract with the Jets at a much cheaper cost and is essentially just as effective, if not more so, than Greene in that role. Financially, depending on Powell to fill the 1B role, while letting another team pay Greene is the smartest, most realistic option for Gang Green this season.
So the question remains, where do the Jets turn to fill the void for that coveted 1A back? Earlier this week, we took a look at some potential scenarios that could play out as we move into the coming months. Looking ahead to the 2013 NFL Draft, the class of running backs may not posses a name that jumps off the sheet as the next Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Arian Foster, or any other premier NFL running back, but this group is deceptively deep, with a very good amount of talent throughout. Running backs in today’s NFL, with the exception of the players aforementioned and a few more, are generally viewed as one of the most disposable pieces of the roster.
However, as we saw this past season, a quality lead back can help an offense that struggles in a variety of places to overachieve. Minnesota had a very subpar passing game, but was able to earn a playoff bid on the back of Adrian Peterson. Marshawn Lynch aided the development of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson by giving the youngster a strong running game to lean on. Doug Martin, Alfred Morris, and a few others has similar effects on their respective offenses. An emergence of a strong running game in New England has made the Patriots offensive attack arguably the greatest we have seen in recent years, while the lack thereof in Green Bay handcuffed a team with an exceptional quarterback. While the league is certainly driven by quality signal callers, the running back position is still very much a vital piece to a successful offense.
That being said, the direction that the Jets decide to go in at the position, personnel wise, remains dependent on the hire at offensive coordinator, as does the majority of the offensive roster. However, there are certainly some names to keep an eye on as of right now that are sure to be appealing to any coordinator, regardless of scheme.
1.) Eddie Lacy, Alabama – 2012 stats: 204 attempts, 1322 yards, 6.5 YPC, 17 TD – Lacy has put together a very impressive career at Alabama, netting nearly 7.0 YPC over his three seasons as a member of the Crimson Tide. Having spent his first two seasons underneath Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram, and 2012 3rd overall pick Trent Richardson, respectively, Lacy emerged this season as a dominant force leading the Tide to a national championship. At 6’1 220 lbs, Lacy has the size of a prototypical power back, but possesses the top end speed and elusiveness of a dangerous speed back. In short, Lacy is arguably the most well rounded running back in his class. He maintains elite balance, while showing great vision and patience in waiting for his blocks to develop, giving him an excellent advantage. A very strong showcase in the National Championship game has boosted Lacy’s draft status over recent weeks, and an expected impressive showing at the scouting combine should propel him even higher. Depending on how the next few weeks play out, Lacy could be out of the Jets reach, unless, perhaps, New York trades down from the 9th overall selection to select him in the later half of round one, where he would currently hold more value.
2.) Giovani Bernard, North Carolina – 2012 stats: 184 attempts, 1228 yards, 6.7 YPC, 12 TD – Bernard has put together an impressive two seasons at UNC, having averaged over 5 YPC in each of them, including the astounding 6.7 this past year. Bernard is widely regarded as the top back in this class, and for good reason. Bernard has excellent speed and lateral quickness, coupled with fantastic vision and burst. Beyond that, he is a very capable pass blocker, while remaining a viable option as a passing target. He has the ability to take a check down pass for a larger chunk of yards than most backs would, and is certainly not afraid to stick his nose into pass pro. These aspects of his game cannot be valued. A back with the ability to be effective as both a blocker and receiving option in the pass game will keep defenses honest and unsure of any tendencies. Bernard certainly has the body of someone who will be a durable NFL back, displaying tremendous bulk, particularly in his legs. Bernard should perform very well in each of the pre-draft events, and is poised to be one of the first three backs taken this year. He would be a reach for the Jets at the 9th pick, but perhaps a trade down in the first, or a trade back into the bottom half of the first round would allow New York to get their hands on him.
3.) Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State – 2012 stats: 382 attempts, 1793 yards, 4.7 YPC, 12 TD – Bell is a player who may fly under the radar a bit, coming from a conference like the Big Ten, but make no mistake, Bell is a premier name in this year’s crop of running backs. His immense size (6’2″ 244 lbs) combine with fantastic strength, making him a nightmare to bring down in the open field. Conversely, he is deceptively elusive which gives him an edge that most backs at his stature do not posses. These tangibles give Bell a rare skill set, one that could translate tremendously to the NFL. He is one of the rare prospects, like Lacy, that has the ability to run through defenders, or make them miss with his surprising agility. The pre-draft events will be crucial for Bell. While his film shows a highly productive player with great potential, there are certainly questions on his top end speed, primarily concerning whether or not he will be able to break through the second level for a big gain in the NFL. If Bell, a known workhorse in his training regiments, can post a good 40 yard dash, while displaying the elusiveness and agility that his film shows in the combine drills, he may find himself as an early to mid second round pick, among the first few backs taken. He could very well be available when the Jets select in the 2nd round. His performance over the next few weeks will determine whether or not he will be worthy of that selection.
4.) Montee Ball, Wisconsin – 2012 stats: 356 attempts, 1830 yards, 5.1 YPC, 22 TD – Similar to Bell, Ball is a back who may get a bit overlooked due to the school he played his collegiate football for. However, Ball has been immensely productive throughout his career as a Badger, totaling an astounding 77 rushing touchdowns over his four seasons. At 5’11” 210 lbs, Ball certainly has the size of an NFL lead back, with elite speed and elusiveness separating him from the average player at his position. While Ball doesn’t have elite strength to carry defenders for extra yards, he does have great tenacity as he has shown he is not afraid to initiate contact with a defender, and will always fight for extra yards after contact. He is average at best in the passing game, but his intangibles will allow him to be coached up in the area at the next level. Ball should available anywhere between the 2nd and 3rd rounds, and depending on how the board plays out, could be a great selection for New York. He has the ability to step in as the opening day starter next season, with Powell or a free agent addition serving the role as the 1B back.
5.) Kenjon Barner, Oregon – 2012 stats: 278 attempts, 1767 yards, 6.4 YPC, 21 TD – Barner faces question marks surrounding how he may translate to a pro-style offense, having come from Chip Kelly’s read option system at Oregon, but he very well may be the fastest of all of this year’s backs. Barner is a tremendous big play threat in both the running and passing games, as he has displayed countless times during his tenure at Oregon, where he posted a 6.0+ YPC average in each of his four seasons as a Duck. A dual-sport athlete in college, Barner also excelled on the track team, while maintaining a strong enough training regiment to prepare him for each year’s football season. Coaches and teammates rave about his work ethic on and off the field, and for a team in need of offensive leaders, Barner could fit the bill. While it is unlikely he will be able to be an every down back at his size, he would be an excellent complement to a bigger running back, perhaps a free agent addition (Chris Ivory, anyone?), while growing into a larger role down the road. As it stands now, Barner is likely grading out in the 2nd-4th round range, but his 40 time at the combine could blow scouts away and propel him toward the top of the 2nd round.
Wild Card – Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina – 2012 stats: 143 attempts, 662 yards, 4.6 YPC, 11 TD – Lattimore was widely regarded as the premier back in this year’s class, however a gruesome knee injury ended his 2012 campaign short. Despite potentially being a mid to late round pick, as a result of concerns over how well his knee may heal, Lattimore has decided to enter the 2013 NFL Draft. This is a very intriguing situation. When healthy, Lattimore is head and shoulders above any of his counterparts. He has the prototypical size needed for an elite every down back at the next level, with top end speed far above average. Lattimore is extremely tough, and has a tremendous amount of versatility. He is very elusive for a back with his size, and his vision and patience is second to none. He has the best natural running instincts out of anyone in this class, and has a combination of size, power, agility, and speed that can make him an elite back in the NFL. The knee concerns are very real, however. It is unclear how far along he is with his recovery at this point, but rest assured that NFL scouts will be paying close attention to his medical progress as April draws near. With his stock likely to fall due to concerns over his knee, Lattimore could potentially be the biggest steal of the draft if he gets back to full strength next season. If he is there in the middle rounds, the Jets would be wise to take a flier on him, if he shows promising recovery progress.
Rankings Based On Talent
|Eddie Lacy||6’0”||220||4.55||2nd round|
|Giovanni Bernard||5’10”||205||4.52||2nd round|
|Stepfan Taylor||5’11”||208||4.58||3rd round|
|Le’Veon Bell||6’2”||238||4.63||3rd or 4th round|
|Marcus Lattimore||6’0”||218||??||6th, 7th, FA|
Rankings Based On Value
1 – Stepfan Taylor has been a 3 year starter at Stanford while accumulating some impressive stats. As a true sophomore, he had 1,137 yards and 15 touchdowns. His Junior and Senior years he exploded with 1330 yards and 1530 yards, respectively. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry over his junior and senior years while marching in for 23 touchdowns. He shows some versatility out of the backfield while catching passes, along with a good mix of speed and strength, and is definitely capable of being a 3 down back. Taylor has the best chance of being a true workhorse for the Jets next year. Taylor is also good in pass protection, which is clearly a benefit. For value, I think the Running back from Stanford will provide the best results. He is somewhat of a sleeper and can be had in the 3rd, possibly 4th round
2 – If Eddie Lacy is available in the top of the 2nd round, the Jets should draft him.. Lacy is, in my opinion, the best running back available in the draft. He played in the hardest conference and rushed for 1,322 yards, averaged 6.4 a carry and had 17 touchdowns. That is impressive, but he was running behind one of the best, if not the best, offensive line in the country. (That is all well and good because hopefully we can draft Chance Warmack at #9 and find a solid right tackle to shore up the O-line for next year.) Lacy also caught 22 passes for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns this past year. He has good speed and even better strength. If he is available at #39 overall, yes please.
3 – Le’Veon Bell is the same guy in stature as Shonn Greene. But that is where the similarities end. Bell weighs about 10-15 pounds more than Shonn but is much quicker. Not only is he quicker, he is stronger and actually makes people miss. He is quite the anomaly. Another 3rd or 4th rounder that will provide great value.
4 – Giovani Bernard has carried the UNC Tar Heels the last two years. Both years he had at least 1.200 yards and 45 receptions out of the backfield. He averaged 5.24 and 6.7 yards per carry over the past two years, respectively, while having at least 14 total touchdowns each year. Not only being consistently good, he has the speed and ability to break off big runs and make people miss in open space. He can also return punts and did so with success this past year.
5 – Marcus Lattimore. While recovering from another gruesome knee injury, The Jets should consider taking a flier on Lattimore. When he is healthy, he has been one of the best, if not the best running back in the NCAA. He really has it all but just has to stay healthy.
With Shonn Greene and Gang Green likely parting ways this offseason, April’s NFL Draft is the perfect time for the Jets to find a versatile running back with big play speed. Bilal Powell should be back, and after a vastly improved 2012 season he’ll likely return with some anticipation. While he may or may not be feature back material, it’s fairly obvious to anyone watching that he can, at the very least, do what Greene has done in the No. 1 role. But Powell clearly won’t be able to do the job alone, and Joe McKnight hasn’t proved capable of an increased workload thus far, which means the Jets must address the running back situation either in free agency or the Draft.
1 – Giovani Bernard (UNC, 5’10”, 205 lbs): The sophomore RB might be off the board when the Jets get ready to pick in the second round, thanks in large part to his big play ability out of the backfield both as a runner and a receiver. Bernard is a hard runner who keeps his legs moving and consistently gains yards after first contact. The UNC ‘back shows patience at the line of scrimmage, a quick burst through the hole, and devastating moves in open space.
Despite some questions regarding the level of competition in the ACC, racking up over 1900 all-purpose yards (6.7 yards per carry, 10.4 yards per catch) and 19 touchdowns, is hard to ignore. Combine his abilities out of the backfield with great punt return skills and Bernard could be one of the most versatile Jets since Leon Washington.
He’s my No. 1 RB in the 2013 Draft, and it’s my guess that lots of scouts feel the same way. While he’s currently projected as a second round pick, a solid showing at the Combine or individual workouts could easily propel him up draft boards and into the first round.
2 – Eddie Lacy (Alabama, 6’1”, 22 lbs): After devastating the Notre Dame defense to the tune of 140 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the BCS Title Game, Lacy’s name has shot up Draft boards. One of the top running backs in the ’13 Draft, some experts are so enamored they have him projected to go in the first round.
A hard runner who keeps his feet moving and shows some quickness, Lacy is decisive when hitting the hole and flaunts an impressive jump cut and spin move. Not afraid to lower his shoulder into a defender, Lacy also shows promise as a receiver out of the backfield.
Lacy dominated the SEC racking up 1332 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns, along but some question the impact of rushing behind the best offensive line in the nation. Some other concerns include his top end speed and injury concerns.
3 – Andre Ellington (Clemson, 5’9”, 190 lbs): Smaller than some of the other top running backs in the ’13 Draft, Ellington’s most impressive traits are his tremendous balance and footwork, as seen in his ability to break tackles and pick up yards after contact.
While the Clemson senior faces the same ACC questions as Bernard, he also boasts similar versatility as a runner, receiver and kick returner. Ellington shows the acceleration and explosiveness to create big plays, as well as patience running behind blockers, good vision and the ability to make strong cuts.
At only 190 pounds Ellington struggles with blitz pickup, tending to dive at a defenders knees rather than fully committing himself to the block, and has some questions regarding his durability. He’ll likely have to put on size to survive in the NFL, but his natural ability and highlight reel moves certainly make him an attractive option for the Jets after Round 2.
4 – Kenjon Barner (Oregon, 5’11”, 192 lbs): Barner also lacks the ideal size for a running back in the NFL and can sometimes struggle hanging on to the ball, but boasts some of the best big play ability at the position.
While Chip Kelly’s scheme may have enhanced his numbers over the past two seasons, his quick, shifty moves are undeniable and will likely translate in the return game. Certainly a threat as a receiver out of the backfield, Barner is projected to go sometime in the Round 4 or later and should garner lots of interest.
5 – Johnathan Franklin (UCLA, 5’11”, 198 lbs): Franklin is another speedy prospect who capable of breaking a big gain at any time. Projected to go somewhere in the fourth round, the UCLA senior is similar to Barner in that they both share smaller builds, big play ability, and struggles with fumbles.
A patient runner with good vision, Franklin also struggles in pass protection (although showed progress in ’12) and lacks experience as a return man. Franklin emerged as a receiving threat in his senior year, finishing with 33 catches for 323 yards and two touchdowns (his previous season high was 10 catches in 2009).
The Turn On The Jets draft team looks at who the New York Jets could target at quarterback in April’s NFL Draft
In the coming weeks here at Turn On The Jets, we will be providing a position by position breakdown of prospects that could potentially be targeted by the New York Jets in this year’s NFL Draft. These prospects are not ranked based on where they may stand in the overall prospect pool. They are ranked based on the specific needs of the Jets, and the reality (or lack thereof), of New York targeting and potentially selecting them, taking into account not only on their ability and potential, but where they would be most valuable to the Jets based on the current state of the roster. Today, we begin with a look at potential quarterback prospects that New York could target. Be sure to give our draft team, Chris Gross, Frank Giasone and Zev Sibony a follow on Twitter, as they’ll be leading our NFL Draft coverage through April.
While the play at the quarterback position was nothing short of a blooper reel for the better part of the 2012 season for the Jets, there are a surplus of holes on the roster that need to be addressed before touching the personnel that may be lining up under center in 2013. While quarterback is certainly the most important position in today’s NFL, quantity does not equal quality. New York cannot afford to stockpile mediocre quarterbacks hoping that one of them catches on, while ignoring their glaring holes at outside linebacker, offensive line, running back, inside linebacker, safety, and tight end.
While a top tier quarterback prospect would certainly mask many of the flaws that plague New York’s current roster, there is not one player in the 2013 draft who fits that bill. It is because of this that the Jets are highly unlikely to address this need via the draft in any round earlier than the fourth, if at all. Here is a look at some potential prospects who could potentially be available late on day two or early on day three in April’s draft.
EJ Manuel, Florida State, 6’5″ 240 lbs – Manuel, to me, is one of the most intriguing prospects at the quarterback position this year. His size fits the bill of a prototypical NFL quarterback, but does his play? Manuel threw for an impressive 3,392 yards and 23 touchdowns at Florida State this past season, including a 68.0 completion percentage and a 156.0 passer rating. What’s encouraging about Manuel is that he has improved in each of his four seasons at FSU, in a career that allowed him to display his vast intangibles including 2010 Academic All-ACC recognition, receiving a community service award in 2011, and being named team captain for his junior and senior seasons.
The red flags on Manuel stem primarily from durability concerns and overall mechanics. His footwork and release need serious improvement for him to be effective at the next level, and he has sustained multiple injuries during his career as a Seminole. However, Manuel does a good job of making pre-snap reads and going through his progressions. He isn’t NFL ready by any means, but with a year or two of quality coaching and fine tuning his fundamentals, he can surely be a starting quarterback in this league. His draft stock will likely depend on how he performs in the upcoming pre-draft events (Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, Pro Day), but there is a chance he could be had in the late third, early fourth round this year.
Landry Jones, Oklahoma, 6’4″ 218 lbs – Jones was a highly touted prospect after a strong sophomore season at Oklahoma, but has tailed off recently. Still, he has been very productive during his tenure as a Sooner, having thrown for over 4,000 yards in each of his three seasons as a full time starter. Jones has the size and arm strength to be an effective NFL quarterback, but like Manuel, his mechanics are flawed at times. When Jones executes the proper footwork and release, his accuracy and zip are excellent. However, he has developed a tendency to extend his release longer than neccesary and, coupled with inconsistent footwork, his accuracy and arm strength have taken a hit.
What Jones needs to do is work on these fundamentals, while displaying a level of confidence in the interview process with NFL teams. There are some concerns about his mental makeup considering that his production has dipped in each of the past two seasons, following his strong sophomore campaign. Still, the potential is there for him to grow into a quality player in this league. Depending on how his pre-draft performances go, he could be in the same range as Manuel, availability wise.
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas, 6’3″ 220 lbs – Wilson is another viable late round option. While his production at Arkansas has not been off the charts, some feel as though he has been hampered by a poor supporting cast (sound familiar?). Wilson, like the previous two players, shows inconsistencies in his mechanics, but flashes brilliance when fundamentally sound. He has proved an ability to throw accurately on the run which, depending on who the Jets offensive coordinator is next season, could be an appealing quality.
As a leader, Wilson has been highly praised by his coaches at Arkansas for his work in both the weight and film rooms, as well as having fantastic poise in tough situations. He has the mental makeup of a quality quarterback which could make him the pick for New York, considering the hit that they have witnessed Mark Sanchez take in that area this past year. His flaws can certainly be worked on, but his abilities are unlikely to garner him a selection until late day two, at the earliest. Again, a lot will depend on how he is evaluated in the coming weeks.
The Hot Names – Every year following the conclusion of the collegiate football season, there are a few “hot names” at each position; players who were marginal during their seasons, but put together stronger performances to finish the year. This year, at quarterback, the two players being most commonly discussed are Mike Glennon of North Carolina State and Ryan Nassib of Syracuse. While each of these players have the tools to be good players at the next level, the way each of their stocks are rising, they are likely to be selected in one of the first two rounds. Last year, neither would likely have been considered until day 3, however with a depleted class at quarterback this season, each of them could find themselves rising up draft boards, particularly if they have strong Senior Bowl performances. While both of these players could help the Jets current quarterback situation, don’t expect New York to use an early pick at the position this year, primarily for the reasons mentioned above.
Trying to find an NFL ready quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft is about as easy as, well, finding an NFL ready quarterback on the New York Jets roster. With names like Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson and Mike Glennon the leading candidates as April approaches, one thing is clear. A few teams are going to reach for a QB…and it’s not going to end well.
Here are my top five QB prospects for the Jets heading into the Draft:
Brad Sorenson, Southern Utah, 6’5’’, 235 lbs– A BYU transfer, Sorenson is an intriguing small school “project” QB. His big build, strong arm and ability to fit passes into small windows are sure to the peak the interest of NFL scouts as Draft Day approaches. The senior also boasts surprising athleticism, accuracy throwing on the run, and does a good job of keeping his eyes downfield, even when pressured. Some concerns are his time spent in a shotgun-heavy offense, as well as the low level of competition in the Big Sky Conference, but his late round projections make him a great choice for the Jets.
Landry Jones, Oklahoma, 6’4”, 220 lbs– The decision to return for his senior season may end up hurting Jones, as some view him as a second or third round prospect in 2013. After being ranked as high as third in last years QB class, Jones now find himself lumped in with the likes of Mike Glennon, Tyler Wilson and Ryan Nassib. While his stock has fallen, Jones still possesses the arm strength, accuracy and intelligence that made him a top prospect last year, making him an interesting option if he slides.
Matt Scott, Arizona, 6’2”, 200 lbs– With mobile quarterbacks all the rage now in the NFL, Scott has a very good chance to climb up draft boards in the next few months. Extremely successful running Arizona’s spread-option offense, Scott is sure to draw comparisons to Colin Kaepernick as the ’13 Draft nears. For now he’s projected as a third or fourth round pick, but that could all change with an impressive showing at The Combine.
Mike Glennon, NC State, 6’5”, 232 lbs– Glennon has been a popular name in college football the past two seasons and with good reason, as his impressive arm strength and accuracy have some projecting him as a top 10 pick in this years Draft. While he’s still needs work on his footwork and fundamentals, his ability to stand tall in the pocket and move efficiently certainly helps conjure up images of a future franchise QB.
Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio), 6’3”, 228 lbs– Dysert also spent a lot of time in the shotgun formation at Miami University, but shows good accuracy on short and intermediate passes. Not asked to go downfield often, Dysert lacks the zip on his passes some look for from a QB. He does a good job of keeping his eyes downfield consistently and is also athletic enough to run with the football, but he may be the biggest project QB on this list.
The draft this year is not stacked at Quarterback like it was last year. None of the quarterbacks in this year’s class fit the mold of Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. There are no players that are going to wow you in the first round, and few, if any, “steals” like Russell Wilson. I do not believe Geno Smith will be good in the NFL, nor do I think Matt Barkley will be. The USC curse is real. After that, you have Quarterbacks like Tyler Wilson and Tyler Bray who are both questionable picks. Landry Jones is still there, but he has underwhelmed this past season and I’m also not sure he will translate well into the professional league. None of this really matters because with the amount of holes the Jets have to fix, they aren’t going to spend a pick on a Quarterback in the first 4 or 5 rounds.
The Jets should address their quarterback situation in free agency by bringing in a veteran who can be a game manager. That being said, if the Jets choose to select a quarterback, they should target one of the following. The players below are likely to go undrafted and it should stay that way. This is a mix of the Jets having greater needs, combined with an underwhelming talent pool at the quarterback position in this year’s draft.
Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech, 6’2” 205 lbs- 4147 yards, 68.8 completion percentage, 31 TDs, 5 INTs. Coming out of the WAC, one can’t really expect that much, which is why Colby will probably go undrafted. I have watched some film of him and I think if he had the proper quarterback coach, something may sprout from him. While he may not have the strongest arm, he shows great accuracy. He is strong in the pocket and has good touch on the long throws. Nothing to ogle about but things to consider.
David Fales, San Jose State University, 6’3” 220 lbs- 4193 yards, 72.5 completion percentage, 33 TDs, 9 INTs. He has the “prototypical” size of an NFL quarterback, but again, it is hard to go undrafted and become somebody in the NFL. Fales doesn’t throw the prettiest ball, but he makes the right reads. Then again, he is going against WAC competition so it is tough to get a great read on him.
Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State, 6’1″ 205 lbs- 3342 yards, 68.8 completion percentage, 24 TDs, 4 INTs. Aplin finished his season strong at Arkansas State with a bowl win over #25 ranked Kent State. He went 21/30, 213 yards and 1 TD. While not jumping off the page, Aplin seems to take care of the ball and make the right decisions. The quarterback also is a 4 year starter and got better each year he played. He likely wont be drafted but another QB that may surprise people if drafted by the right team with a good QB coach.
It is hard to be an undrafted free agent QB and succeed in the NFL. Typically there is a reason quarterbacks go undrafted. Tony Romo is a rare guy. Can Colby Cameron, Dave Fales or Ryan Aplin be the next Tony Romo? Unlikely. But it will be interesting to take a look at each of them as they go through the draft process.