2017 NFL Draft – Poor Man’s Versions of Top Prospects

Ryan Marcone on mid round targets for the New York Jets who have skill sets that approximate prospects commonly linked to the team in the first round…

Every year, in every draft there are a handful of blue chip prospects projected to be top picks that teams and fans view as almost “can’t miss”. The only problem is even when you have a high pick in the draft, you more than likely only have one of them and so a decision must be made. You have to choose just one of those top players.

But good front offices with savvy scouting departments know that while you find your stars in the first two rounds, you build your team in the latter five. The best teams turn second and third day selections into Pro Bowl caliber players because they were able to identify traits that made those prospects valuable NFL players. So while the Jets will get to pick one top prospect with their 6th overall pick, here are some players who should be available in the middle-to-late rounds that exemplify similar skills to some of these top players. This is not to say that they are as good as the top prospects, but they show similar talents that could make them diamonds in the rough for the green and white. Continue reading “2017 NFL Draft – Poor Man’s Versions of Top Prospects”

TOJ Top Five: Mark Sanchez Performances

Today’s edition of the TOJ Top Five looks at the top five performances of Mark Sanchez’s career —

Previous Editions of the Top Five

5. January 9th 2010 at Cincinnati – 12/15, 182 yards, 1 TD – I know the stats don’t jump off the page in this game but keep in mind that he was a rookie on the road in his first ever playoff game. This efficient performance led the Jets to a victory and remember that Braylon Edwards dropped a perfectly thrown 50 yard potential touchdown, so Sanchez’s stats should have been even better.

4. November 21st 2010 vs. Houston – 22/38, 315 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT – The second highest yardage total of Sanchez’s career but this game was more impressive because of how he directed the Jets on their last second drive to win the game. He dropped in two perfectly thrown balls, one to Braylon Edwards and one to Santonio Holmes, to lead the Jets to an improbable win.

3. September 19th 2010 vs. New England – 21/30, 220 yards, 3 TDs – After an ugly week one where people were openly questioning whether he was good enough to lead the Jets to their lofty expectations, Sanchez responded by shredding a Bill Belichick defense en route to a 28-14 Jets win.

2. January 24th 2010 at Indianapolis – 17/30, 257 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT – On the road in the AFC Championship Game as a rookie, Sanchez was poised and consistent after an erratic game in the Divisional Round the previous week. His highlights in this game included taking a blitz to the face while still delivering a touchdown pass to Dustin Keller on a third down and hitting Braylon Edwards for a 80 yard touchdown in stride.

1. January 16th 2011 at New England – 16/25, 194 yards, 3 TDs – With the Jets as heavy underdogs, Sanchez again lit up a Belichick defense with 3 touchdown passes as the they ended New England’s season with a 28-21 victory. The NFL Network just named Tom Brady the best player in the league in their top 100 player countdown and Sanchez completely outplayed him in this game, in his own building.

TOJ Top Five: Meaningless Lockout Stories

Today’s edition of the TOJ Top Five, will look at the five dumbest New York Jets stories that became a bigger deal than they should have because of the lockout…

5. Schotty’s ExcusesWe aren’t interested in your side of the story, just find a way to get the ball into the end-zone on four tries from the 2 yard line…yes, I am still bitter about this. How about four straight handoffs to Shonn Greene who was a bowling ball in this game?

4. The Receiver Procession Line – I am all for free agency speculation and I gladly took part in it, but the considering it was pushed back three months (and counting) the amount of names linked to the Jets at wide receiver and the amount of coverage they received was a bit much. Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, Steve Smith…I’d think we’d all sign up for just having Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards back, let’s hope Mike Tannenbaum can work magic.

3. Scotty McKnight’s High School Essay – When the back cover of the New York Post is about a rookie 7th round pick writing an inappropriate essay as a high school student, you know it is a slow day in the sports world.

2. Rex’s Guarantees – If you haven’t noticed by now, Rex Ryan thinks the Jets are going to win the Super Bowl every single year. It isn’t a story anymore when he is interviewed and he comments that he thinks his team is going to win it all. I am pretty sure he has made the exact same comment in every interview he took this off-season.

1. Sanchez vs. McKnight vs. Klitschko – There were rumors floating around all off-season that Mark Sanchez was dating Vladimir Klitschko’s girlfriend, Hayden Panetierre…yet in the end, it turned out that it was Scotty McKnight who was dating her. First off, for a rookie 7th round pick…that is pretty good work. Second, if Klitschko is coming after anybody, I’d rather it be McKnight than Sanchez…sorry, Scotty.

TOJ Top Five: New York Jets Free Agency Decisions

Since free agency could be here sooner rather than later, let’s use today’s TOJ Top Five to look at the decisions the Jets will have to make in the coming month or two.

5. Offensive Line

The team released right tackle Damien Woody earlier in the year but may still bring him back since second year lineman Vladimir Ducasse didn’t have a formal off-season to work with the coaches. Wayne Hunter is a free agent and could be signed as a cheaper option to compete with Ducasse if the Jets decide not to bring Woody back. Versatile backup Robert Turner is also a free agent.

4. The Pass Rush

The Jets didn’t add an outside linebacker in the NFL Draft and remain thin overall at the linebacker position. A few people have speculated they could pursue Matt Roth, who spent last season in Cleveland. They could also decide to bring Jason Taylor back, although that seems like a long shot. On the defensive line, a decision has to be made on Shaun Ellis, who is the longest tenured member of the team and could provide an excellent mentor to rookie Muhammad Wilkerson for a year or two. Veteran Trevor Pryce could also be brought back to help take some of the burden off Wilkerson in his rookie year, if the Jets decide to let Ellis walk.

3. Safety Choices…

Brodney Pool and Eric Smith are both free agents, and the Jets will likely have to pick one to bring back as the starter opposite Jim Leonhard. Pool has more potential but could cost more money, Smith struggles in coverage but is a heady player who is good in run support. Backup safety and special teams ace James Ihedigbo is also a free agent.

2. Who to put opposite of The Island?

The Jets need to decide whether or not they are going to bring Antonio Cromartie back to play corner opposite of Darrelle Revis. If Cromartie does walk, the Jets are going to need to find another veteran to compete with Kyle Wilson and provide better depth throughout the cornerback position. Jonathan Joseph, Richard Marshall, Carlos Rogers, Ike Taylor and Chris Carr are all on the market…and no I don’t think the Jets will even pursue Nnamdi Asomugha. Nickelback Drew Coleman is also a free agent and and coming off a career year in 2010.

1. Braylon or Santonio?

Which of the free agent receivers is going to get the long term deal? There is always the possibility that Mike Tannenbaum could put in an early bid for executive of the year by getting them both back but in all likelihood, one will be leaving town…probably Edwards. How it plays out with Edwards and Holmes will determine which (if any) free agent receivers the Jets will pursue in free agency or via trade, whether it is Plaxico Burress, Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco, Steve Smith, or any of the other names they have been associated with.

TOJ Top Five: Brad Smith Plays

Since New York Jets wide receiver, Brad Smith, has recently created a Twitter account (@ReadBradSmith) and unfortunately there is a good chance he won’t be back next year, let’s look at his top five plays as a Jet…

5. Fifth Gear

This past Thanksgiving, Brad Smith torched the Cincinnati Bengals for the second year in a row. His first touchdown came on a 53 yard reverse, which really demonstrated his downhill speed as he kicks it into fifth gear and is off to the races.

4. Wildcatting Into The Playoffs

With a wild-card spot on the line in the final week of the 2009 season, the Jets beat up on the Bengals led by Smith who got things going with a huge run out of the Wildcat and then later blew the game open with a touchdown run out of the same formation.

3. One Last Bengals Highlight

The shoeless kick return…one shoe and still the fastest guy on the field.

2. Start It Off

Heading into their December match-up against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Jets were riding an ugly two game losing streak and staring another later season meltdown in the face. Fortunately, Smith started off the game with a kick return for a touchdown which provided a much needed boost that would ultimately lead to a Jets victory.

1. Finally, A Pass

The one and only big pass Brad Smith ever completed for the New York Jets was against the Colts in the AFC Championship Game, when he surprised everybody in the stadium by rolling out and hitting Jerricho Cotchery on a bomb that would set up a big first half touchdown for the Jets.

TOJ Top Five: Rex Ryan Quotes

One of the byproducts of the NFL Lockout is endless amounts of countdown articles being written…positional power rankings, helmet power rankings (no joke), top 100 players in the league and on and on…TOJ isn’t shy about jumping on the bandwagon with a few top five articles to help us through a football-less June.

Let’s start with the top five Rex Ryan quotes…and no, a top five Eric Mangini quotes article won’t be coming shortly after…

5. It seems clear that right now we are the better team and we are going to remain the better team for the next 10 years. Whether you like it or not, those are the facts, and that’s what is going to happen…We are going to take over the town whether the Giants like it nor not, so those fans on the fence that like both teams are going to be Jets fans in the end. The truth is, if I am going to watch one game, I am going to see the Jets, without a doubt. We are better.”

Ryan hasn’t been shy about attacking the Giants in an effort to help the Jets shed their little brother image in the New York sports market. It is probably a fight he didn’t need to pick but it will sure make this December 24th’s match-up more fun.

4.  I don’t know when I’m going to beat him, but I want it to be Saturday night,”  “Is it personal? Yes, it’s personal. It’s personal against him (Peyton Manning), Reggie Wayne, all those guys, yeah. Freeney and Mathis and those other dudes? Absolutely.”

It has been an ongoing pattern for Rex Ryan to put the pressure on himself before certain Jets games, most notably when they play Indianapolis or New England. Ryan made this year’s wild-card game against the Colts a personal vendetta against Peyton Manning, and finally managed to come out on top.

3. “If you take a swipe at one of ours, we’ll take two swipes at one of yours. We’re going to turn the heat up, we’re going to let the fur fly, and let’s see what happens.”

Ryan’s declaration about what type of team the Jets were going to be with him as the head coach…He has provided this organization with a much needed identity, which they now have as a physical, brash, team led by their defense and running game

2. “As much as I respect and admire Bill Belichick, I came here to kick his ass and that’s the truth.”

Ryan is constantly discussing his respect for both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady but hasn’t been shy about escalating the rivalry between the Jets and the Patriots. The best part of Ryan’s tenure is that he has turned it into an actual rivalry by leading the Jets to a 3-2 overall record against the Patriots, and by knocking them out of the playoffs.

1. “First off, with all the cameras I was looking for our new President back there. I think we’ll get to meet him in the next couple of years anyway.”

The first of many…many Super Bowl guarantees by Ryan, who has been defined by his unwavering confidence in his team. Even though I think Obama will get reelected in 2012, it would be nice to see Ryan make good on this quote sooner rather than later, after coming so close in his first two years.

Obviously needed to include these clips as well…