TOJ Mock Draft – Version 1.0

AJ takes his first crack at projecting the first round in the NFL Draft…

1. Carolina Panthers- Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

People with more inside information than me seem to think Carolina is leaning towards a QB and a “face of the franchise,” Cam Newton would be both

2. Denver Broncos- Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

Another rumor floating around is that John Elway would love to draft a QB at this spot, but I don’t see that happening if Newton is picked #1overall.  Dareus is a disruptive player that any team would love to have.

3. Buffalo Bills- Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

I don’t think I need to tell anyone how bad the Bills were against the run last year, they need an anchor for that new 3-4 they implemented, and Von Miller isn’t good enough against the run to warrant this pick.

4. Cincinnati Bengals- A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

If I am a Bengals fan, and thank god I’m not, I would be praying they take Green in this pick instead of Julio Jones.  Green a natural born route runner who could provide an immediate impact.  He also has the best first name in the draft.

5.  Arizona Cardinals- Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

Cardinals need to get their QB situation together; John Skelton might be a good story out of Fordham, but Larry Fitzgerald deserves better than him.

6. Cleveland Browns- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

Haden and Peterson at the corners? Scary.

7. San Francisco 49ers – Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M

If I’m Von Miller I am not happy about dropping this far but this would give the 49ers a very good and young linebacker core, which they could build off of.

8. Tennessee Titans – Robert Quinn, DL, North Carolina

The Titans would obviously love for one of the top two QB’s to drop to them, or maybe they think about trading up, but at this point, they should pick the best player available, which is exactly what Robert Quinn is

9. Dallas Cowboys- Mike Pouncey, OL, Florida

Pouncey Tweeted that he would be surprised if he weren’t a Cowboy next season after he visited with the team.  Hey, I’ll go to the Looney Bin with you bro.

10. Washington Redskins – Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

The Redskins have more holes than Augusta and should be happy to pick up a quality receiver here at #10.

11. Houston Texans – Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

Once considered a top 5 pick, Bowers’ draft stock has taken a hit because of questions about his knee coming off surgery.  But he’s got the talent, and a combination of Bowers and Williams would have Peyton Manning shaking in his boots.

12. Minnesota Vikings – Cameron Jordan, DE, California

Jordan has great ability and with the Vikings most likely set to lose DE Ray Edwards, they are going to need someone to fill his role immediately

13. Detroit Lions – Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

The Lions have been doing a funny thing lately, drafting quality players, they will continue the trend this year by drafting Amukamara who is flying under the radar a bit because of super-prospect Peterson.

14. St. Louis Rams – Corey Liuget, DL, Illinois

The Rams two biggest needs are probably WR and DL. They aren’t going to pick up Green or Jones, but should be very happy to pick up Illinois’ Corey Liuget who is good against both the run and pass

15. Miami Dolphins – Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

This has been a popular pick for sometime now, Ingram is the type of hard runner that Tony Soprano loves, but I mostly put Ingram here because I don’t want to think about him going to the other division rival with one of their two picks

16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri

Aldon Smith is the physical lineman Jack Del Rio is looking for to solidify his defensive front.  Smith could potentially transition to an outside linebacker, but the Jags would try to use his athleticism with his hand in the dirt.

17. New England Patriots – Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

Kerrigan is known around the league as a pretty safe pick.  While his ceiling is not as high as some of the other prospects at the DE position, he is a proven football player who is smart on the field and was productive throughout his collegiate career.

18. San Diego Chargers – J.J. Watt, DL, Wisconsin

J.J. is flexible enough as a defensive lineman to play the 3 and 5 technique.  A true Big Ten guy, Watt is a smart and high energy player who always seems to be around the ball.

19. New York Giants – Tyron Smith, OT, USC

The Giants get an absolute steal here with Tyron Smith, while they would love to get an interior linemen like Mike Pouncey, Smith is the best lineman available in the 2011 draft and at this point cannot drop any further, the Giants get a gem here and will find a place for him on the field.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Muhammed Wilkerson, DL, Temple

If you followed my Prospect Watch at all you know that I really like this guy and I think he should be at the top of the Jets wish list for this draft.  Unfortunately it probably won’t happen as his stock has been steadily increasing since the draft season began.

21. Kansas City Chiefs – Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

Another prospect out of Offensive Line U (BC) Castonzo is considered NFL ready.  The Chiefs had a surprise season last year and they will attempt to form a foundation for future consistent success, and there is no better way to do that than sure up your OL.

22. Indianapolis Colts – Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

Carimi and Castonzo could flip flop these picks but either way, the Colts are going to have to improve a line that has been in steady decline for the last couple of years.  The Colts will hope Carimi can improve a Colts run game that struggled all last year.

23. Philadelphia Eagles – Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

After a dormant first half of the draft OL lineman are coming off the board fast in the meat of the 1st round.  The Eagles will want to make sure they protect Mike Vick as much as they can or he will only be around for one or two more years.

24. New Orleans Saints – Adrian Clayborne, DE, Iowa

Like the Jets, the Saints ran into problems getting to the QB without blitzing last year.  Clayborne comes from a great program in Iowa and it shows in his discipline during the games and on the practice field.  He drops a little because of a medical condition restricting movement in his arm, but it didn’t seem to bother him too much in college and he should be prime for a productive pro career.

25. Seattle Seahawks- Jake Locker, QB, Washington

Locker has had to work his behind off after having a sub-par season at Washington.  The Seahawks’ QB problems are well documented, Hasselback belongs in a retirement home and the Whitehurst trade was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen.  A training camp competition between Locker and Whitehurst could be good for both players.

26. Baltimore Ravens- Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

Smith could be a great fit for Baltimore, he has great speed and a high ceiling, with some teaching from a veteran Ravens defense, he could really shine in years to come

27. Atlanta Falcons- Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

Ayers has dropped in this draft and it is very possible that if he slides this much a team could trade up and grab him.  Nevertheless, the Falcons are looking for a future replacement for John Abraham and someone who could take some reps from him immediately.

28. New England Patriots – Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona

The Patriots spend another pick to improve their defense and they pick up another quality player in Brooks Reed.  A pass rushing specialist with some serious size, Reed would fit perfectly in the Patriots defense.

29. Chicago Bears – Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor

The Bears pick up a player who has got to be high on the Jets board.  A prototypical NT, Taylor could potentially be a beast playing the 3 technique in the Bears 4-3 defense.  They do need a OL but any prospect might be a reach at this point so the rich get richer as the Chicago defense improves tremendously with this pick.

30. New York Jets – Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for.  Everyone knows that the Jets DL is in most need of an adrenaline shot, but Rex is creative and can get anyone to play hard for him.  I think they should wait until their 3rd round pick to start working on the DL.  This leaves us with pass rushing specialist Houston, who could excel in the role that Jason Taylor played last year until he is groomed enough to be a full time starter.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Brandon Harris, CB, Miami

Harris brings the speed and athleticism for a nickel/ dime package corner.  If he can figure out some character issues and get serious about playing the game he could be a very good NFL player.

32. Green Bay Packers- Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

Here we go, the defending champs, The Packers pick up the best player available here in Heyward who suffered a bit of a drop.

12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #11

As reliable as Chad Henne throwing an interception in a big game, the 12 pack is back with another edition. A friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter. For today’s 12 pack we are going to count down the 10 most important players to the Jets getting over the hump and making it to the Super Bowl in 2011, along posting some links and our usual weekend video clips —

Ten Most Important Jets In 2011 –

10. Santonio Holmes – Everything we have heard this off-season indicates that he will be back with the team and that he is now their top priority after taking care of David Harris. Holmes needs to be the number one receiver the Jets are going to sign him to be on a consistent basis.

9. Jim  Leonhard – The Jets defense needs a healthy Leonhard quarterbacking the secondary, especially with the spot opposite him a major question mark with Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, and James Ihedigbo all free agents.

8. Calvin Pace – Regardless of who the Jets draft this year, Pace will be their top pass rusher entering the season. The Jets need a full 16 game season out of him, where he finally reaches double digit in sacks, which he should be more than capable of in this system with his skill set.

7. Dustin Keller – Based on the assumption that Braylon Edwards won’t be back, Keller will need to take on a bigger role in the offense and become the team’s primary red-zone threat because of his size. Even if Edwards returns, Keller needs to keep growing and become a reliable outlet for Mark Sanchez.

6. Kyle Wilson – Based on the assumption that Antonio Cromartie won’t return despite TOJ writing 1200 articles this off-season begging for the Jets to re-sign him. Wilson needs to be able to handle the daunting task of being the corner opposite Revis Island, along with stepping up in the return game on both punts and kicks. Even if Cromartie returns, Wilson needs to improve as a nickel back and be better on returns.

5. Vladimir Ducasse/Wayne Hunter – One of the two of them needs to step into the right tackle spot to fill in for the recently released Damien Woody. The Jets offensive line has been a major strength the past few years and they can’t afford a major drop off because of one player being released. The coaching staff will obviously be pulling for Ducasse, last year’s second round pick, to seize the job. However, if he isn’t up to the task, Hunter must be more consistent than he was last season when he stepped in for an injured Woody.

4. Nick Mangold/D’Brickashaw Ferguson/Brandon Moore – Don’t ever forget how much of the Jets success the past couple of years is from having such a solid, consistent center, tackle, guard combination.

3. Shonn Greene – The Jets need a lead back who can carry the load on a weekly basis and this is Greene’s year to show he is that guy. 2010 was a disappointing season for the second year back, who got off to a slow start and never became the workhorse he showed he had the potential to be during the 2009 playoff run. Greene has the physical ability to be a 1200-1400 yard back, but can he stay healthy and consistent enough to achieve those numbers?

2. Darrelle Revis – The Jets aggressive defense is predicated on their corners being able to shut down receivers in single coverage. Darrelle Revis needs to stay healthy and play at the level he did in 2009 and the second half of 2010, especially with the uncertainty at the spot opposite him.

1. Mark Sanchez – Was there any question? It always starts and ends with the quarterback. Similar to how Sanchez took a step forward in 2010, the Jets need him to do the same thing this year. He will given more responsibility on offense and likely be asked to throw more than he has in previous years. Sanchez needs to get his completion percentage closer to 60 and should able to get near 4,000 yards passing next season, while keeping his interception total in the 10-13 range.

Weekend Links

– Keep up with your Gunaxin reading with a suggestion of things certain NFL players should be doing during the lockout and the John Madden Scale of Rating Women. 

– Good read on lockout frustration.

– Joe Namath coming to HBO.

Weekend Video Clips – Rex Sox are 0-6, so laugh at Boston edition

TOJ Question – Who Will Jets Take With 30th Pick?

http://newyork.sbnation.com/2011/4/7/2096941/new-york-jets-draft-needs-defensive-line-outside-linebacker-top-the

TOJ at SB Nation NY begins his position by position preview of the NFL Draft for the New York Jets, starting with summarizing their top needs.

I also took a little informal Twitter poll of who a few other fellow Jets writers/bloggers have the team taking with the 30th overall pick, with the first round only three weeks away —

Manish Mehta (@TheJetsStream) “I think they trade up for OLB…. I’m going with [Akeem] Ayers.”

Brian Bassett (@Brian_Bassett) “I’ll go Baylor NT Phil Taylor.”

Deb B (@LilMissNYJet) – “Pending Taylor off the boards by #30…….I’m picking Brooks Reed. I want him over Akeem Ayers for OLB need.”

Jeff Capellini (@GreenLanternJet) “I still think Phil Taylor should be the pick if he’s available. If not, [Marvin] Austin or [Justin] Houston.”

Chris Celletti (@ChrisCelletti) “They have to go best DE available…likely Phil Taylor.”

Kiera Massette (@KieraMassette) “…I really like the idea of Marvin Austin.”

For the record, TOJ is taking Phil Taylor as of right now.

I also asked Jason La Canfora of NFL.com about the chances of the Jets getting Temple DT/DE Muhammad Wilkerson and he respondedlooking doubtful. Things could change but low 20s could be lowest he falls.”

New York Jets: Change Of Philosophy On The Way?

Arguably the greatest thing Rex Ryan has brought to the Jets organization has been an identity. An identity built around being a physical team who is led by their aggressive defense and running game. This identity has brought confidence and a long missing swagger to an organization desperately in need of it.

The Jets were about as “Ground and Pound” as you could be during their 2009 run to the AFC Championship Game. The less Mark Sanchez was throwing, the better their chances were of winning. Their defense was consistently coming after the quarterback in all situations and in all match-ups.

The 2010 Jets team that made it back to the AFC Championship Game took a step away from the 2009 “Ground and Pound” identity. Sanchez threw 143 more passes in the regular season and the Jets had 73 less rushing attempts. Rex Ryan showed an ability to win big games without a defensive game-plan built around the blitz, most notably against the Colts and Patriots in the playoffs.

Their off-season moves prior to the 2010 season indicated this step could be coming. They traded for Santonio Holmes, despite recently trading for Braylon Edwards. LaDainian Tomlinson was signed, partially because of his ability to catch the ball out of backfield better than Thomas Jones and Joe McKnight was drafted, who had a reputation for being a very good receiving running back.

What will be interesting to see on both sides of the ball in 2011, is if the Jets continue to become more pass happy on offense and more willing to occasionally embrace (gasp) zone concepts and a less aggressive approach on defense.

An early indication of this could be the priority given to bringing back wide receivers Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards compared to cornerback Antonio Cromartie. If the Jets are going to bring back their top two wide receivers and say bye to one of the better man to man corners in the league, you would guess they plan on throwing it a little more in 2011 and laying off the bump and run on defense somewhat.

The real question on offense, will be if Mark Sanchez can handle a more pass-centric attack. Can he become a guy that gets up around 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns in a season, while limiting his turnovers?

It remains to be seen if the Jets truly have a number one back. Shonn Greene still has to prove he can carry the load, LaDainian Tomlinson is a year older and ready for a limited role, and Joe McKnight has accomplished nothing at the NFL level yet.

The last two years we watched Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers throw their teams to Super Bowl victories, will the Jets attempt another step closer to that approach or go back to their 2009 “Ground and Pound” ways?

Top Ten Head Coaches In NFL?

ESPN continued through their positional power rankings yesterday by ranking the top ten coaches in the NFL, here is what their list looked like:

  1. Bill Belichick
  2. Mike Tomlin
  3. Andy Reid
  4. Mike McCarthy
  5. Sean Payton
  6. Tom Coughlin
  7. Rex Ryan
  8. Love Smith
  9. Mike Smith
  10. Mike Shanahan/John Harbaugh

Personally, I think the panelists did a fairly good job. A key question when ranking head coaches is does winning a Super Bowl automatically place you above all your peers who have not. Clearly, the panelists didn’t feel that way by placing Andy Reid at number three and having Rex Ryan ahead of Mike Shanahan (even though it has been over a decade since he won his).

With a list like this, the question of who would you want coaching your team next year and moving forward needs to be factored in, not just who has the best lifetime resume. I would bump Sean Payton up to three on the  list, considering his Super Bowl victory and how the Saints, an organization that has traditionally struggled, have found consistent success under him. He is also one of the brightest offensive minds in the game, if not the brightest. I would put McCarthy ahead of Andy Reid as well, especially with his recent playoff victory over Reid’s team in mind and of course Green Bay’s Super Bowl victory last year.

You can see the ongoing debate between Tom Coughlin and Rex Ryan I am involved in but I think Reid belongs somewhere in the 5-7 range with both of them. I would also absolutely have John Harbaugh higher than Mike Smith. In the last three years, Harbaugh has won multiple playoff games and taken his team to the AFC Championship Game, Smith is yet to win a single playoff game despite being the home team twice.

To even have Rex in the discussion for being a top 5-7 coach in the league after only two years on the job is encouraging and has to make you excited about his potential in the coming years. However, it will ultimately take a Super Bowl title for Rex to become one of the league’s elite coaches.

I Dreamed A Dream – The 2011 Draft and How To Survive The Doldrums

After checking about 4,200 mock drafts, ranging from the cracked out enthusiasm of the schizophrenic Mel Kiper, the “fatdudewithablog.com” mock draft, and even the lowly ESPN stat boy who has created entire formulas of efficiency regarding the maximum upside of every draft pick. I have learned absolutely nothing about potential draft choices. Actually less than nothing, I believe this is what I am trying to illustrate:

Nothing  >  What I learned

Who would have thought that all our collective energy could go to something so utterly useless? I hereby declare silence unto the stat dorks, the combine creeps and the game tape goons, all you proclaim is dressed up fantasy, and my logic will no doubt be forced to lead us through these murky waters.

OK, the Jets draft at 30, which means that if any of those teams before them decide to trade picks up or down, the entire draft becomes, in scientific terms, an exponential clusterf*ck. Let me just ask now, who predicted the Leon Washington trade and grabbing McKnight in the 4th round my dear soothsayers?

Let us imagine the doomsday scenarios, those are more exciting anyway. What if Belichick went completely insane and traded his two second round picks for a 1st and 3rd, which would leave them with “potentially” (I do not know the exact point formulas) three 1st round picks. Do you think THAT would affect how the Jets draft?

What if the grand face of slate nabbed both Julio Jones and Mark Ingram? Tannenbaum would undoubtedly be forced to recognize the unholy alliance of size, speed, and brains that would make quick work of 90% of the NFL. Unless the Jets somehow managed to get  my “dream defense”, which would require the intervention of various holy men and deals so underhanded they scoop mud, it would nearly be impossible to compete.

Let’s think about this for a second. Does anyone honestly think that Mark Ingram wouldn’t be the best Patriots running back in the last 10 years? Or that Julio Jones isn’t the receiver Tom Brady dreams of when he lays his head upon the soft linens? Its awful to think of. Which is why we need my dream defense. Debate it as you will.

THE DREAM DEFENSE – TO BE IMPLEMENTED AT START OF 2011 SEASON……IF THERE IS ONE

Defensive End – I’m gonna go out on a limb and think that Rex would like to keep Trevor Pryce for one more year, just as a sort of mentor and rotation player. 6’5 290lbs doesn’t lie. He may be old, but you know he would lift up a train if Rex Ryan asked him nicely. I think Mike Devito would be a great second rotation player. To be specific I like Pryce at Left End. I think there are few things are essential as Shaun Ellis on this team, because as we know Rex, we know he loves the big men. Also, who doesn’t love that Wikipedia picture of him? Priceless. So Ellis at Right End.

Defensive Tackle – Here is where we crank the “FREAK O METER” up to 11. Ok, so you think, old man and old man at Defensive End. Big shit. Ok, how about this. A HEALTHY Kris Jenkins at Nose Tackle. Yes, you have all seen him make those bear swipes on centers and guards, you have seen the Sport Science episode, it’s completely terrifying. Kris Jenkins wants to hurt your quarterback, like they say….”he makes noises”. Oh, and because I love Nose Tackles…..how about we put my favorite Nose Tackle in the 2011 draft Marcell Dareus next to him. So we have a polar bear and a lion. Kris Jenkins lands on you. Marcell Dareus hits you. They both have claws, and they would undoubtedly have contests to see who could inflict more damage. And to top it all off we got Sione Pouha rotating in when the opposing team is down to their 4th quarterback.

Outside Linebacker –  Calvin Pace is the worst pass rusher in football according to certain statistics, like when he had 3 sacks against the Raiders in 2009, which is why I am starting him as my first outside linebacker. He can stand up and spin in circles for all I care, just don’t let those halfback tosses get past ya friend. Yell things, knock tight ends off their routes….be that last note on a blitz chord….remember….”wont start no stuff wont be no stuff”. So that leaves my second draft pick, Sam Acho to creep around and pick up scattered body parts of fullbacks and skinny running backs with dreadlocks. Acho is a DE/OLB hybrid but I think Rex Ryan likes to….um….move people around. I’m still waiting for Kris Jenkins to play fullback…..just one play.

Inside Linebacker – The mouth and the motor. Bart Scott is now a certified flight attendant, and so he is going to use those wings to fly on towards a QB scrambling for his life. Imagine this if you will, Calvin Pace coming off the edge, Dareus and Jenkins right up the middle, and this screaming banshee coming from somewhere in the shuffle. Oh, dear me, I believe since we run a 3-4 half the time we get another linebacker. Meet David Harris. He is the bruiser of the gang. He once broke a truckers entire hand thumb wrestling. He is a fan of sacks, forced fumbles, and key interceptions in things like the playoffs.

Cornerback – There is no doubt in my mind that at some point in his life, Darrelle Revis had Kill Bill style Ninja training. Have you seen some of those interceptions? They will never be recreated, duplicated, or contested. Despite my tendency to get a little crazy, I think Cromartie will get better in terms of technique with another year under his belt. He is still relatively young, and learning the Jets defense takes at least a year, just look at how confused Kyle Wilson was when he wasn’t a nickel corner. I think Cromartie is great for deep threat receivers, but he still acts like a punter when it comes to contact, despite the fact that he can smash faces in via Twitter. Lets just say Coleman, Cole and Wilson will all compete for third and fourth string corner spots, but I think Wilson will take the top of the heap, come on Boise State!

Free Safety – I am not alone in thinking Dwight Lowery would end up better at free safety than cornerback. He thinks he would be better at safety too. He keeps his eye on the ball more than the man he is covering, and thus is better at assisting than having to guard in man to man coverage. I also think Brodney Pool would make a great rotation player, and seeing what he can do with a full year under the defensive coaches would make their free safety tandem quite good.

Strong Safety – Jim Leonhard is a little ball of defensive genius. Shame he didn’t have another 50 lbs and 6 inches to his height, because I could see him being a pro bowl caliber player at that size. Which is why I have added another little touch of beauty to our safety rotation. Quinton Carter. This guy is a freak. He scares receivers. The Jets need a bruiser to add to Jim Leonhard, so Quinton fills the relative lack of size. And you know you are going to love him because quarterbacks are going to be forced to chuck a few up there and say a prayer, which is where Carter lines up your receiver from 20 yards out and…

If we were to then translate this into a “46” defense, we would have our front line consisting of Ellis, Dareus, Jenkins and Pryce followed by Pace, Scott and Harris at linebacker, occasionally subbing any of those three out with Sam Acho. Quinton Carter creeping down at Strong Safety and Jim Leonhard over the top, and now that I think about it, I would probably want to rotate Lowery and Carter every few plays, or even have both of them  start up front and drop back to cover the middle. Last but not least, our two corners, Revis and Cromartie in man to man coverage, which could get dicey with guys like Tom Brady and Peon ytManning, but as Joe Theismann once said, “it is very hard to get to your receiver in man to man when you are laying on your back.”

To recap:

Draft Picks

1) Marcell Dareus, Alabama (2010 BCS Championship Defensive MVP)

2) Quinton Carter, Oklahoma (2010 All Big 12 Team)

3) Sam Acho, Texas (2010 Wuerffel Trophy & Campbell Trophy Winner)

To be clear, the Jets would have to make a few trades and give up their 5th, 6th & 7th round picks, maybe parting with Damien Woody, Eric and Brad Smith as well. Obviously I couldn’t legitimately work out the exact solutions but it’s more fun to make an insane defense than balance a team….that’s for the coaches.