Prospect Watch: Rahim Moore

You may have heard the word, “value” mentioned on ESPN once or twice; it becomes a buzz word for draft enthusiasts like ourselves come spring time, however value is nothing to scoff at, getting the right value with your picks will make or break your team’s draft.  In the past, my method for picking prospects has been pretty straight forward, the Jets need interior lineman, and a pass rusher; so, we’ve looked at a couple of dudes who love to eat, and Akeem Ayers.  Today, we are going to take a look at Rahim Moore, a player who would bring great value at the 30th pick, and a player that I feel the Jets might take, the more and more I think about it.

Rex has made two things pretty clear in his short tenure as the Head of PR head coach of the Jets; one, he does not value 3-4 ends very much, and two, he loves feet his secondary, and wants to build his defense from the back up.  He showed this by drafting Kyle Wilson with the 29th pick last year, and do not be surprised if he “surprises” us again with another pick for the secondary.  If this is going to happen, the pick will be Rahim Moore; Moore played at UCLA for three years starting every game at safety before deciding to skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

As of now, the Jets are trying to squeeze three strong safety’s into free safety and strong safety roles; they need a ball hawking free safety and Moore could be that guy.  He likes sitting back and playing “center-field,” and even models his game after Ed Reed.  Moore has great coverage skills and flies to the ball once its in the air, at first glance, his career numbers blow you away (180 tackles 14 interceptions) but a closer look reveals a unbelievable sophomore year and then average junior year.

After receiving All Pac-Ten Honorable Mention recognition his freshman year, Moore tore up opposing offenses with 10 interceptions and 45 tackles during his sophomore campaign, good for most in the country that year.  However, without the help of future NFL players Brian Price and Alterraun Verner, Moore’s production dipped and while he racked up 22 more tackles his junior year, he didn’t show the ball hawking capabilities that had scouts drooling over him his sophomore year, intercepting only one ball all year.

Moore is pretty good against the run when considering his size, he isn’t afraid to stick his nose in the play and will come up to make tackles.  Still, his size is a detriment to his run stopping ability and his coverage is far and away his greatest contribution on the football field.  Still his aggressive nature helps him in all aspects of his game, and most definitely contributed to him being named UCLA team captain his junior year.  Fortunately, he tends to keep his aggressive nature on the field, while off the field he is known as a good student without any team or legal violations.

Value is exactly what the Jets would be getting if they picked Rahim Moore with the 30th pick.  He is the number one rated safety on basically everyone’s board, and while this is a weak safety class, it might be wise to pick up Moore and worry about a linemen in the 3rd round, as the DL class is the deepest of this draft.

Turn On The Jets 2010/2011 Report Cards – Darrelle Revis

Today we continue our series of evaluating how each player on the Jets performed this past season, along with looking forward to what their role on the team will be next year…up today, cornerback Darrelle Revis

Stat Line – 32 tackles, 10 passes defensed, 1 prolonged holdout

Playoff Stat Line – 15 tackles, 2 passes defensed

Best Moment – Does a single play jump out in your memory from Darrelle Revis’ 2010 season? It doesn’t in my mind. Honestly, I think we have to go with this…

Best Game – You can go with holding Andre Johnson to four receptions for 32 yards when the Jets played the Texans, holding Calvin Johnson to one reception for 13 yards against Detroit, or his performance against New England in the divisional round when he was all over the field, helping limit the Patriots much hyped passing attack.

Overall Evaluation – The holdout certainly didn’t help things for Revis early in the season, as in the Jets first six games, he missed two and a half and was ineffective in two. Revis was basically back to his 2009 form from that point on, despite not making the amount of big plays he did the previous season. Teams did a better job of avoiding throwing at him down the stretch, which obviously contributed to his zero interception total. I can’t give him higher than a B because of the time missed early in the year and the lack of big plays. He set the bar ridiculously high in 2009. (B)

Future – I think we all remember him negotiating a new contract over the summer, right? Even though he hinted a holdout at a future date wasn’t impossible, I would bank on Revis spending most of the next decade in Green and White.

Prospect Watch: Akeem Ayers

The arrow has been pointing down on Akeem Ayers draft stock after his sub-par performance at the combine, however the Jets are probably still going to have to cross their fingers and toes for the 3-4 OLB to drop to the 30th pick.  Nevertheless let’s take a look at the SoCal native.

Ayers jumped on NFL scout’s radars with his exceptional sophomore campaign that saw him rack up 55 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 4 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and a partridge in a pear tree.  His numbers dipped a bit his Junior year but he recorded more tackles and still had 10 TFL, and 4 sacks.

Ayers is expected to translate fairly well into the NFL, however it is hard to find his true calling card once he reaches the next level.  He is a good pass rusher, good run stuffer, good in coverage, and has good versatility.  The “great” aspect of his game has yet to be conceptualized, but that does not mean the right NFL coaches won’t be able to get something special out of him.

Ayers had the athleticism and technique to play standing up and with his hand in the dirt while in college; he gets low and likes to dip and rip through the tackle on his way to the quarterback.  The best aspect of his pass rush is his initial jump off the ball, which allows him to get into the right position when trying to rush the QB.  Where Ayers gets in trouble is finding a counter move if he doesn’t get to the edge before the tackle does.  When dropping back in coverage, Ayers has definitely had some success in his college career, picking off six balls and returning two for touchdowns.

However, according to my research, scouts believe he relies on watching the QB’s eyes too much and that he can be fooled by play action.  The good news is if the Jets draft him, he will probably have at least a year to work on his pass coverage skills, and would primarily be used in pass rushing situations.  One of my favorite things about Akeem Ayers is even though he has the speed to get to the edge, on running situations he is not afraid to use his size, take on blockers, and play physical football; like a Jet. He also shows good pursuit to the ball from what I have seen, and doesn’t seem to take plays off.  As far as intangibles go, he has never had any off the field problems, and is a noted hard worker on the practice field and in the weight room.

Like I said, his combine numbers, hurt him last week, (4.8 40, 18 reps of 225, 31’” vertical jump) but it seems that would be a positive from the Jets point of view, as he will most likely fall a bit come draft day; will he fall all the way to number 30? Who knows, but Ayers is definitely someone to keep an eye out for, and will no doubt tempt gun slinging Mike Tannenbaum to trade up if Ayers starts to drop beyond pick 25.

Is Santonio Holmes A Top 10 Receiver In The NFL?

Recently over at ESPN, their panel of bloggers voted for who the top ten wide receivers were in the NFL. Here is what the list ended up looking like —

1. Andre Johnson
2. Larry Fitzgerald
3. Roddy White
4. Calvin Johnson
5. Reggie Wayne
6. Greg Jennings
7. Dwayne Bowe
8. DeSean Jackson
9. Brandon Lloyd
10. Brandon Marshall

Santonio Holmes ended up coming in at #13, also putting him behind Wes Welker and Mike Wallace. He received a 10th place vote from one blogger and a 9th place vote from another one.

Does Holmes deserve to be higher?

Personally, I think you can make a pretty convincing argument that he belongs somewhere in the number 8 to 10 range. Statistically, his numbers from 2010 won’t justify it but bear in mind he only played 12 regular season games and still racked up 52 receptions, 746 yards, and 6 touchdowns. More importantly, Holmes is arguably the most clutch receiver in the NFL. He had three game winning receptions this past season, never-mind his Super Bowl MVP performance that was capped off by catching the game winning touchdown a few years ago.

Brandon Lloyd had a terrific year in 2010 but what about the previous four seasons when he did absolutely nothing? Are we sure last year wasn’t an aberration of being the top target on an extremely pass happy team?

Brandon Marshall is physically more gifted than Holmes and has out produced him over his career, although he didn’t last year by only having 3 touchdowns and averaging a measly 11.8 yards per reception.

DeSean Jackson and Holmes have been very comparable over the past three years, except Jackson doesn’t have Holmes big game heroics.

Wes Welker out performed Holmes in the years prior to 2010 but I don’t know if he is at that level any more after his surgery, considering his fairly average (by his standards) 2010 season.

Mike Wallace certainly has the potential to be better than Holmes, but he has only been in the league for two years. Let’s see him produce on a more consistent basis first, especially in big games.

Where would you rank Holmes?

Dustin Keller Needs To Take Next Step In 2011

One of the reasons there shouldn’t be much of a panic if Braylon Edwards leaves the New York Jets via free agency is because of tight end Dustin Keller. I am not one of the people who is optimistic about Edwards returning because every indication is that Santonio Holmes is a higher priority and I doubt the Jets will find a way to afford both this off-season.

Even though I agree with the decision to keep Holmes over Edwards, I am still aware of how productive Edwards was for the offense last season. Yet, Keller has the ability to compensate for his absence.

A common argument for keeping Edwards over Holmes is his size and ability to create match-up problems with smaller corners. Keller is athletic enough to flex out as a wide receiver and take advantage of those same corners, which we have seen over the past three seasons. He is 6 foot 2, 250 pounds and despite his improvements in blocking, still has the ability to be more of a wide receiver than a true tight end for this offense.

During Holmes suspension last year, when Keller was given a bigger role in the offense he responded with 19 receptions and five touchdowns in four games. Let’s see what he can if he spends a whole season as the Jets number two option in the passing game behind Holmes and as their primary target in the red-zone because of his size.

Keller is coming off his best career season, leading the team in receptions. There is no reason not to be confident that he will keep growing and developing with Mark Sanchez. The physical ability to be a Pro-Bowl tight end is there, now all he needs is the opportunities in the passing game.

Turn On The Jets 2010/2011 Report Cards – Santonio Holmes

Today we continue our series of evaluating how each player on the Jets performed this past season, along with looking forward to what their role on the team will be next year…up today, wide receiver Santonio Holmes

Stat Line – 52 receptions, 746 yards, 6 touchdowns

Playoff Stat Line – 9 receptions, 127 yards, 2 touchdowns

Best Moment – This isn’t an easy selection, considering Holmes had three game winning catches this season. However, I am going with his touchdown against New England in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Patriots had just cut the score to 14-11 and the Jets were facing a third and goal. If they had to settle for a field goal (also keep in mind Nick Folk had already missed a chip shot), who knows how that fourth quarter could have went? Fortunately, Holmes made an immensely difficult catch to extend the Jets lead to 21-11.

Best Game – Holmes put on a show against the Houston Texans in week 11, pulling in 7 receptions for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns, including the game winner.

Overall Evaluation – Holmes was the clutch playmaker the Jets traded for last off-season. He did have occasional drops and lost two fumbles, yet overall brought a big play dimension to an offense that has been lacking it for years. When the game was on the line this past season, Holmes consistently stepped up his game and provided some of the year’s most memorable moments. (A-)

Future – Holmes received a first and third round tender from the team last week. The team will now work on locking him down to a long term contract. The reports have been pretty consistent about Holmes being the Jets top free agent priority now that David Harris is franchised. I would anticipate seeing Holmes in Green and White for the foreseeable future.

12 Pack of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #6

Yes, back for more with edition #6…hopefully not our last pre-lockout edition but it likely will be…

1. Darrelle Revis has continued to push hard for the Jets to bring back Antonio Cromartie next year, not sounding too confident in Kyle Wilson in the process. Can you blame him? You can say what you want about Cromartie on or off the field, but the defense would be clearly taking a big risk by handing a starting job to Wilson next season. The guy was buried on the depth chart by the end of last year and hasn’t done anything yet to make us think he’d be ready to handle constantly being picked on as the corner opposite the best corner in the league.

2. No Bob Sanders and no OJ Atogwe for the Jets this off-season. It remains to be seen if the Jets will address safety in the draft or instead go with either Eric Smith or Brodney Pool next to Jim Leonhard again in 2011. Personally, if they don’t spend their first round pick on a safety, which I doubt they will, I would give Pool another shot at starter. He came on strong at the end of last season, fits better next to Leonhard, and has more upside.

3. While we are in the secondary, here is a push to find a way to bring James Ihedigbo back in 2011 who received a no compensation tender in the past week. ‘Digs is a valuable player on both special teams and in the Jets blitz packages. Beyond that, who doesn’t like his shovel celebration after he gets a big hit or sack?

4. Congratulations to Bart Scott for making his debut in the wrestling ring and for telling ESPN that he trademarked his “Can’t Wait” from his now famous post-game interview after the New England divisional round win, is that even possible?

5. It will be interesting to see which team decides to give Vernon Gholston a shot. Yes, the pessimistic Jets fan that still exists inside of me can see New England signing him and Gholston ripping off four sacks in one game in the Meadowlands next year, destroying Mark Sanchez’s shoulder in the process.

6. I think we are all worried about Joe McKnight taking full advantage of the lockout and showing up with another vomit, fumble filled performance whenever the off-season begins. Let’s hope he learned from his rookie year and takes advantage of a chance to have a bigger role in the offense this year.

7. If you happen to be heading into Hoboken for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade tomorrow, keep an eye out for TOJ in his “Revis Island” shirt, make sure to wish him a happy birthday, buy him a drink, and tell everybody around him how much you love this website. Hey, you might even see some of your favorite characters from TOJ TV.

8. Even though it isn’t official yet, the writing is on the wall for Tony Richardson to retire after the team has declared their intentions to start John Conner at fullback next year. T-Rich was always a class act for the team and played at a very high level for the entire duration of his career, with no drop off when he joined the Jets.

9. Along those same lines, if Damien Woody and Kris Jenkins don’t end up returning (I think there is a good chance Jenkins will), TOJ would like to wish them both luck. Woody gave the team three solid years as a starter, took the time to do an interview with me for SB Nation, and his family even made an appearance on TOJ TV…at 3:50 in the video below.

10. Your lockout reading for the day…

11. Send any prospect watch requests for myself and AJ to…Is there anybody outside of the defensive front seven that you would like to see the Jets target in the first round? Check back a little later in the day for a round-up of who recent mock drafts have the Jets selecting.

12. Weekend Video Clips – You got enough clips throughout this article edition, enjoy your weekend and hope to see you out there in Hoboken tomorrow.

New York Jets Recent Cuts Open Up New Opportunities

There have been varying emotions on the New York Jets recent round of cuts. A mix of joy and disgust as the Vernon Gholston disaster finally came to an end, sadness at seeing respected veterans like Kris Jenkins and Damien Woody go, amusement at Jason Taylor now only wanting to continue his career with the Jets, a team he once despised as much as we despised him, and indifference over Ben Hartsock (sorry #84). Regardless, all of these moves are going to open up new opportunities for other players on the roster and will affect strategy in April’s draft.

Woody – The Jets are expected to have veteran Wayne Hunter and second year lineman Vladimir Ducasse battle for his old spot. For Ducasse, this a make or break battle. The Jets are going to have to admit they may have missed in last year’s second round if Ducasse begins his NFL career by losing consecutive battles to Matt Slauson and Hunter. Towards the end of last season, Hunter showed he could be adequate as a starter but  I am sure the coaching staff is hopeful Ducasse will seize the position and be the long term answer at right tackle.

Jenkins – There is still a good chance Jenkins will come back at a reduced price. Regardless, this just means embracing Sione Pouha as the quality starter he has shown himself to be. It also means the Jets will have to look defensive line early in the draft, as we expected them to anyway.

Gholston – He didn’t play enough to shake up anything on the roster. The coaching staff does seem high on Marcus Dixon at defensive end and Ropati Pitoitua is returning from injury. Expect both players to get a shot at becoming large parts of the defensive line rotation in 2011.

Taylor – He has expressed an interest in returning to the Jets at a reduced price. I have a hard time seeing that happening as the Jets will likely look to get younger at linebacker and defensive end (where Taylor frequently lined up) in the draft. Jamaal Westerman might be a guy who gets more of a shot now that Taylor is gone. Westerman showed some potential in 2009 but wasn’t given much of a chance last season…until he roughed the punter against Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game.

Hartsock – The Jets decided to keep Jeff Cumberland on the roster all of the last season, despite only making him active once in week 17. He showed potential as a pass catcher in the pre-season and clearly the Jets think he can become a bigger part of the offense, which he may need to if Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith don’t return. In terms of blocking, Matthew Mulligan should be able to step into that role as he received occasional reps in run heavy sets last season.

Check Out Hartsock’s Lone Touchdown as a New York Jet at 1:05…and his incredibly lame celebration