Turn On The Jets 12 Pack: Final Thoughts On The NFL Draft

TOJ with 12 final thoughts on the New York Jets heading into the NFL Draft

One last rant on the NFL Draft and a special 12 pack for you to enjoy as you saddle up for a great night of sports. Stay with us throughout the night, as I will be live blogging throughout the entire first round and updating the post after each pick. After the Jets make their selection, myself and Chris Gross will provide instant analysis. Tomorrow we will provide further analysis, along with breaking down the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Finally, the NBA playoffs do tip off on Saturday so look for a first round and Knicks preview at some point tomorrow.

1. No Trade, No Trent – It is being reported today that there is a “0.0” percent chance the New York Jets will trade up for running back Trent Richardson unless he begins to fall or they receive a “sweetheart deal.” Nothing is a 0.0 percent possibility with this team but unless Richardson unexpectedly escapes the top 5, it doesn’t sound like he will end up on the Jets.

2. He Is A Guard – There is also chatter picking up about Stanford Guard David DeCastro being a possibility for the Jets at #16. The problem is that they reportedly plan to move him to right tackle if they select him. I don’t like moving a guy out of his natural position to fit a need on your team. Don’t put a square peg in a round hole. If you want to address tackle in round one, go up and get Matt Kalil who could slide into the 7-10 range or stay put and take Riley Reiff.

3. Fighting Irish – If Michael Floyd is on the board at #16…the Jets are going to strongly consider him. If they pick him over Melvin Ingram, this website will riot in protest. I dislike taking a receiver in the first round as a “Ground and Pound” team, particularly when you badly need somebody who can get after the quarterback. Floyd over Courtney Upshaw would be slightly easier to stomach but I still would disagree with the move.

4. Trade Back – If the Jets miss out on Melvin Ingram, Mark Barron and Michael Floyd, and they feel they could still get Courtney Upshaw or Chandler Jones by trading back a few spots, I have no problem with that move. Unfortunately, that is likely a risky route because it sounds like Jones will be a top 15 pick anyway and the Bengals are reportedly high on Upshaw at #17.

5. Mid-Round Safety – Unless the Jets are going to trade into the top ten, they aren’t getting Mark Barron. Look for them to target LSU safety Brandon Taylor in the 2nd or 3rd round, unless Trumaine Johnson is available at 47…who I can’t see the Jets passing on there.

6. Lucky Break – It is starting to sound like there is a very good chance Melvin Ingram will slide all the way to #16. Keep an eye on Seattle at #12 but if he gets by them, the Jets should be in good shape. I’d be shocked if they passed on him at #16, if he was still available…shocked.

7. Day Two and Day Three – I don’t want to get too much into day two and three prospects for the Jets until I see how they handle their first pick but keep an eye on running back Robert Turbin and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

8. The Other Outside Linebackers – If the Jets don’t end up with an outside linebacker today, look for them to make a strong push for Vinny Curry or Andre Branch tomorrow.

9. Veteran Trades – I am sure the Jets will float out a few veterans in trade offers but I don’t expect anything to happen, mainly because nobody wants Bart Scott, Calvin Pace (at his money), Wayne Hunter, or Eric Smith. The sleeper is moving Dustin Keller but that still remains a long shot.

10. Disaster Picks – Dontari Poe or Quinton Coples have bust written all over them.

11. Keep An Eye On – Buffalo trading up for Matt Kalil. San Diego trading up for Mark Barron. Tampa Bay trading up for Trent Richardson.

12. 7 Paths For the Jets…

  • Take Melvin Ingram at 16
  • Take Michael Floyd at 16
  • Take Chandler Jones at 16
  • Take David DeCastro at 16
  • Trade Up For Mark Barron
  • Trade Way Up For Trent Richardson
  • Trade Back For Courtney Upshaw

NFL Draft: Melvin Ingram vs. Courtney Upshaw

We debate the value of Courtney Upshaw verus Melvin Ingram

Despite my belief and desire for the New York Jets to take Melvin Ingram in the first round, staff writer Chris Gross has remained adamant on his preference of Courtney Upshaw. Considering that he played defensive end and linebacker in college, I set Chris loose on the game film to make his argument. Here is what he came up with, followed by my rebuttal – JC

From the surface, both players are similar. Both stand around 6’2 and weigh around 270 pounds. Their statistics are close, Ingram with a couple more sacks, Upshaw with more tackles. Yet after breaking down full game footage, I came up with the following conclusion – Courtney Upshaw is head and shoulders above Melvin Ingram as a football player.

Courtney Upshaw – I’ve previously discussed all of Upshaw’s statistics, measurables, and testing numbers, all of which may not be mind blowing, but are impressive. Some of the biggest knocks on Upshaw, and why he seems to be falling down draft boards, are that he did not test well in position drills at his pro day and that he does not possess the arm length that you look for in an elite pass rusher. On film, Upshaw shows tremendous explosion of the ball, some of the best I’ve seen out of any prospect this year. Although the assertion that he does not have elite reach is correct, he uses his hands extremely well and undoubtedly plays with the best leverage I’ve seen out of any defensive player in this year’s class. He is not hampered by his lack of reach because he makes up for it with elite technique.

Another knock that I have heard on Upshaw is that he has reached his potential, and does not have a high ceiling. This is another assertion that his game film proved false. As much as I love Upshaw’s game, there are several areas where he needs improvement, which can certainly be done under a coach like Rex Ryan. At times last season, Upshaw tended to drop his head causing him to miss tackles and lose outside contain when lined up at defensive end. There were also times when he shot too far up field on his pass rush, and ran completely by the quarterback. On three step drops, Upshaw needs to react quicker by either getting his hands up or executing a faster pass rush move. If he can improve this at the next level, he will register even more sacks and will establish himself as a premier pass rusher, as well as a fantastic all around player.

Upshaw also proved to be very physical, and most importantly, plays with an extremely high motor. This is an asset that cannot be measured, especially at the position he will be asked to play if he is drafted to the Jets. This past season against Florida, he repeatedly ran down players on pass plays at the second level after rushing the quarterback. In that same game, he also showed fantastic awareness. On one particular play that stands out, he realized he was beat off the ball, and instead of tussling with the tackle, he immediately located the quarterback, tracked where he was going with the ball, and made an interception at the line of scrimmage, proving to be a very intelligent player.

The main things about Courtney Upshaw that stand out on his game film are his physical play, his high motor, his violent hands, and his power at the point of attack. When you watch this kid on film you can just feel his confidence on the field. He knows what he is doing in every situation, and his ability to react and redirect are on another level. Upshaw is going to be an elite player in the NFL, regardless of which team he ends up on.

Melvin Ingram – Ingram’s athleticism on film is obvious. When he plays to his potential, he is fast, explosive, and strong. However, in all of the film that I watched on him, he rarely lived up to that potential. Ingram has several flaws in his game, which he was able to mask with his athleticism in college, but will not be able to do so in the NFL. Some of these flaws are very fixable by good coaching. He tends to turn his back to the sidelines at times, giving up the edge, and he does not show a wide arsenal of pass rush moves, instead relying solely on speed and strength to get to the quarterback. He also has a habit of getting lost in the shuffle, seemingly focused on making plays rather than executing his assignment. Again, these are fixes that can be made by good coaching, and if there is one defensive coach in the league that I would trust to do so, it is Rex Ryan.

However, there are some things about Ingram that even the greatest coaches may not be able to fix. He does not display a very high motor at all. At times, he tends to look lazy and disinterested. He gets pushed around on drive and down blocks way more than a person with his strength should, which tells me he does not play with good leverage, and does not come off the ball with enough authority. Ingram is also the furthest thing from a sure tackler and has trouble staying on his feet in stretches.

I tried to look for any possible reason as to what was causing these flaws that I saw, and I actually came up with a good rationale. The defense that Ingram played in at South Carolina last year seemed to ask him to do too much. Many times he seemed to be worrying about numerous jobs, which could be a result of the team giving him too many responsibilities. Perhaps this is because he was one of the only players on the defense they felt they could trust with certain tasks. However, if that is the case, it hurt his play tremendously.

Ingram also drew many more double teams than Upshaw did, primarily because he lined up inside more, and Upshaw had 3 other all Americans playing alongside him that teams needed to account for. That being said, I do not think Ingram was the best player on South Carolina’s front seven. True Freshman Jadeveon Clowney overshadowed him, and one would think that if anything, teams would be accounting for him rather than Ingram. Maybe it was the other way around, which was a cause for Clowney’s success.

My rebuttal –

I don’t dispute many aspects of your evaluation of both players. Yet, my film analysis hasn’t changed my perspective. Courtney Upshaw is going to be a good NFL player. I saw a guy in college surrounded by immense amounts of talent who produced at a high level but a player who is better suited to spend the bulk of his reps at defensive end, not outside linebacker. I have no doubt he would improve his craft under Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine’s coaching but at his ceiling, I see a very good starting outside linebacker. A player who would be an improved version of Calvin Pace, setting the edge for the run and bringing in 6-8 sacks per year. Upshaw isn’t going to be a bust and he can start immediately, both enticing aspects of him as a prospect.

You can view Upshaw playing for Alabama, the best team in college football as both a positive and a negative. In the positive, he performed well on the biggest stage possible at his level and played against elite competition. In the negative, he was supported by a stacked lineup, including fellow soon to be first round picks Dont’a Hightower, Dre Kirkpatrick and Mark Barron.

Mark Ingram didn’t have any other first round picks on his defense, despite the scary potential of freshman Jadeveon Clowney and still produced at a comparable, if not higher rate than Upshaw.

Is Ingram as consistent as Upshaw? Probably not. Yet, there are two things that jump off the page and put him ahead of him, big plays and versatility. Last season, Ingram had 10 sacks to go with 2 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries and 3 touchdowns. He has a nose for the football and an ability to make something happen with it when it gets into his hands.

Ingram is going to give the Jets more than an outside linebacker. He can line up at inside linebacker, defensive end, and even defensive tackle. His ability to move around the formation will allow the Jets to get the most out of his pass rushing skills and explosiveness. I disagree about his lack of motor with Chris but do agree he needs work on being a more consistent tackler against the run. The Jets will still have Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas to slow down the run and help groom Ingram, while he is moved all over the formation by Rex to get after the quarterback.

Rex Ryan is going to see a more athletic version of Adalius Thomas who can become the double digit sack artist his defense desperately needs. Beyond that, he is going to remember what Jason Pierre-Paul did for the Giants last year and the benefit of having a player who can line-up “outside either tackle, move to tackle on third down, and rush the passer standing up inside or off the edge.

The Jets have run stopping linebackers. When they need new ones, they will be easier to find in the draft or free agency than an elite pass rusher. Now is the time for the Jets to finally get a player who can get after the quarterback so they don’t have to overextend themselves with blitzing.

NFL Draft: How Will Risers And Fallers Impact New York Jets?

The rising and falling of certain draft prospects could alter the New York Jets draft plans

It is a familiar process to anybody who follows the NFL Draft. Players skyrocket up draft boards, while simultaneously players who were popular months ago begin to see their stock steadily decline. Look at the case of three pass rushers associated with the New York Jets. A few months ago, it appeared South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram would be well out of reach for them with the 16th pick. Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw was a popular pick for the Jets but some questioned whether they’d need to move up a few spots for him. Syracuse’s Chandler Jones was considered a second round prospect who the Jets could trade back to target if they focused on a different position in round one.

Take us to today, where there is talk of Courtney Upshaw falling out of the first round, Ingram being available for the Jets at 16 and Jones potentially being taken even before Ingram.

Jones is 6’5, 247 pounds and has the long arms teams desire in their pass rushers. Many teams, including the Jets if they take him, believe he could make the transition from being a college defensive end into being a 3-4 outside linebacker. He has more explosiveness off the ball than Courtney Upshaw and most believe he has a higher upside. I am not sure if he actually will end up leapfrogging Ingram on draft day but if the Jets miss out on Ingram, it would no longer be a surprise if they took Jones over Upshaw.

Due to his versatility, Ingram has to be the top pass rusher on the Jets draft board. While many teams wouldn’t be happy with Ingram’s lack of a clear cut position, Rex Ryan loves it and would relish the chance to turn him into an improved version of Adalius Thomas during his Baltimore years. Ingram would likely see time at four different spots in the Jets defensive scheme and give them much needed explosiveness in their front seven.

The question for the Jets now becomes, can they risk waiting until #16 for Ingram? Most people seem to agree that Ingram is going to fall out of the top ten but there is increased chatter that Seattle could target him with the 12th pick. A move from #16 to #11 should’t be cost prohibitive for the Jets as they may be able to hang on to their 2nd round pick this year in the process.

Ultimately, it will come down to how badly the Jets want Ingram in comparison to other pass rushers in the first round. I think his versatility sets him apart enough that they will do what it takes to get him, even if it requires moving up a handful of spots. Jones is a tempting fallback but I still think he is valued too high at number 16. The Jets will hope Mark Barron is available if they miss out on Ingram but if he isn’t, it could come down to staying put and taking Jones or Upshaw.

TOJ New York Jets Mock Draft 3.0

TOJ rounds up all the recent mock drafts and gives his prediction for what the Jets will do in the NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is now only 6 days away. Here is an updated look at what multiple mock drafts have the New York Jets doing with the number 16 pick in the first round, along with our current prediction. Here at TOJ, we are looking to make it three years in a row of predicting the Jets first selection correctly, previously calling it right on Kyle Wilson and Muhammad Wilkerson.

Before we get into our third mock draft. Check out our previous draft coverage, led by myself and staff writer Chris Gross

To the mock drafts…

Don Banks, Sports Illustrated – Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama

Peter King, Sports Illustrated – Dontari Poe, Defensive Tackle, Memphis

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports – Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama

Evan Silva, Rotoworld –  Melvin Ingram, Outside Linebacker, South Carolina

Walter Football – Chandler Jones, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Syracuse

ESPN NFL Blog Network – Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame

Charley Casserly, NFL.com – Nick Perry, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, USC

TOJ – Melvin Ingram, Outside Linebacker, South Carolina

Analysis – The picks for the Jets are starting to move all over the place. A few weeks ago the consensus seemed to be Courtney Upshaw or Mark Barron but with Barron’s climb up most draft boards and Upshaw’s decline, it would be far from a surprise if the Jets ended up with neither. There is now talk that Upshaw could slide all the way out of the first round while Barron has stabilized himself as a top 15 pick that the Jets would be lucky to see available at #16.

More rumors have been linking the Jets to Melvin Ingram, who seems to be the most logical fit on the Jets roster. Many coaches could be scared away by Ingram not being a perfect fit in any one position, while Rex Ryan would embrace that versatility to line him up at outside linebacker, inside linebacker, defensive end and even defensive tackle. Considering Jacksonville’s apparent lack of interest in Ingram, there is starting to be some talk that he could slide to #16 which would be the best case scenario for the Jets, allowing them to get the player they really want without having to sacrifice any picks.

If the Jets were to trade up, Carolina is the most logical trade partner at #9. Mike Tannenbaum and Panthers GM Martin Hurney have worked together on draft day before when the Jets moved up to get Darrelle Revis. They also worked together on the Kris Jenkins trade. Unfortunately such a move would likely cost the Jets their second round pick this year.

One other option that is a little far fetched, if Trent Richardson somehow slips out of the top six. I would not be stunned if the Jets traded up to 7 to grab him. He is good enough and fits well enough with their identity that it would be worth it.

At the moment, here are my projections for the Jets first round pick in descending order of likelihood:

5. Trade Up For Trent Richardson – Crazier things have happened on draft days. If somehow he slips past #6, the Jets could look to trade with Jacksonville and take the draft’s unquestioned top back.

4. Stay Put And Take Michael Floyd – I don’t think the Jets would trade up for Floyd but if he falls to 16, depending on who else is available they would strongly consider him.

3. Stay Put Or Trade Back For Courtney Upshaw, Dont’a Hightower, Chandler Jones or Andre Branch – If the Jets miss out on Ingram, one of these players would be their next target at linebacker. Hightower is an inside linebacker but would provide the best value at 16. The Jets may now be able to trade back a few spots and still get Upshaw. If they want Branch or Jones, they should look at trading back into the mid 20s.

2. Stay Put Or Trade Up For Mark Barron – Unless Ingram is still on the board, there is nobody the Jets would be happier to see at #16 than Mark Barron. The Jets could also consider hopping over Dallas to try and snag him.

1. Stay Put Or Trade Up For Melvin Ingram – If Ingram falls to 16, the Jets are taking him. If they don’t think that is likely, they are going to make a strong push to move up to grab him.

TOJ New York Jets Mock Draft 2.0

TOJ rounds up all the recent mock drafts and gives his selection for who the New York Jets will be taking with the 16th pick in the draft

The NFL Draft is now 13 days away. Here is an updated look at what multiple mock drafts have the New York Jets doing with the number 16 pick in the first round, along with our current projection. Why look at the TOJ projection?…Because we were right the past two years –

Kyle Wilson

Muhammad Wilkerson (#2 in the 12 pack)

Don Banks, Sports Illustrated – Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama

Charles Davis, NFL.com – Dont’a Hightower, Inside Linebacker, Alabama

Albert Breer, NFL.com – Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Illinois

Todd McShay, ESPN – Chandler Jones, Outside Linebacker, Syracuse

Rob Rang, CBS – Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Illinois

DrafTek – Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama

TOJ – Melvin Ingram, Outside Linebacker, South Carolina

Analysis – A few general trends since the middle of last week – Courtney Upshaw appears to be falling to the point that he will definitely be available at number sixteen but there is a feeling the New York Jets could pass on him. We have written about our concerns on Upshaw here before. The Jets need an explosive pass rusher and while Upshaw should turn out to be a solid pro, he could be too much in the mold of Calvin Pace. He will stop the run, set the edge but never be a consistent double digit sack guy.

On the other hand, safety Mark Barron is climbing the boards and it is being speculated he won’t get past Dallas at #14. Personally, I’d prefer Barron to Upshaw at #16 if both remain available but that is seemingly less likely every day. Wide receiver Michael Floyd isn’t expected to get out of the top ten and it’d be a big surprise if the Jets had a shot at him if they stay put.

Personally, I am buying into the Jets professed love of Ingram. The reports from his Pro Day were that they were the most smitten with him and that Jacksonville isn’t interested in him at #7, where most people had him projected to go. Assuming Miami takes Ryan Tannehill at #8, it would seem the Jets could trade up to #9 to get their hands on him. According to the draft board, they’d have to give up their second round pick but would likely get a fourth rounder back.

I think Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets front office have had a quiet, somewhat confusing off-season. From his past history, Tannenbaum loves to trade up and make a splash to get players the team highly desires. He did it for Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, and Dustin Keller. Rex Ryan sees Ingram as Adalius Thomas 2.0. An explosive player who can line up at any spot in the front seven. This is a player that the Jets don’t just want, it is a player that they need. I say they swing the deal and then look to target safety Markelle Martin with their third round pick.

At the moment, here are my projections for the Jets first round pick in descending order of likelihood:

5. Stay Put and Take Michael Floyd – I highly, highly doubt he falls to #16 but if he does, the Jets will strongly consider him especially if they miss out on Ingram and Barron.

4. Trade Back For Andre Branch or Chandler Jones – If the Jets trade back into the mid to late 20s, they could target one of these pass rushers. Tannenbaum rarely trades back but if he can’t move up for Ingram and isn’t sold on Upshaw, this could make the most sense.

3. Stay Put and Take Courtney Upshaw – Seemingly less likely by the day, the Jets may actually even be able to trade back 4 or 5 spots and still take him.

2. Stay Put or Trade Up A Few Spots For Mark Barron – If Barron gets to 16, I think the Jets will take him. If they miss out on trading up for Ingram, they could look to leapfrog Dallas to take Barron.

1. Trade Up For Melvin Ingram – This will be a headline grabbing move that actually makes football sense.

New York Jets: Considering Trade Up For Melvin Ingram?

Are the New York Jets high enough on linebacker Melvin Ingram to trade up for him?

Throughout the previous few months we have heard the New York Jets were high on South Carolina outside linebacker Melvin Ingram. In recent days, talk of that interest has only intensified. Today, Evan Silva from Rotoworld and NBC Sports had this to say on the Jets and Ingram –

“Word at South Carolina Pro Day last month was Jaguars don’t want Melvin Ingram, just posturing. Jets though are smitten with Ingram. Might move up. Rex Ryan apparently sees Adalius Thomas like qualities in Ingram…versatile pass rusher who can drop and cover.”

It should come as no surprise that Ryan is in love with a player who could line up at outside linebacker, inside linebacker, defensive end and even defensive tacke. With the realization that Courtney Upshaw may not be the explosive pass rusher the team needs, the Jets should seriously consider making an aggressive move to get Ingram.

The Jets will need to move up into the top ten to take Ingram. If Jacksonville (with pick #7) truly isn’t interested, they could target swapping picks with Carolina who holds the number 9 spot. Miami won’t do business with them at #8 and they are likely taking quarterback Ryan Tannehill anyway. If the Jets want to play it very safe, they could look to swap with St. Louis at #6 who is reportedly looking to move back and acquire more picks.

What will it cost the Jets to move up? It is hard to say because the old draft value board isn’t as reliable anymore with the changes to the rookie wage scale. However, DraftTek has put together this value board for this year which shows to move from #16 to #9, the Jets would either have to trade their second round pick and get a fourth rounder back or trade a third rounder this year and next year, approximately.

Is the price worth it? If Ingram turns out to be a game changer who can play four different positions on Rex Ryan’s defense, I’d say so. Last season he racked up ten sacks, two interceptions, fifteen tackles for a loss and three touchdowns, including one on a 68 yard fake punt.

New York Jets Set For Big Draft

The New York Jets have ten picks in April’s draft and plenty of holes to fill

The New York Jets will head into April’s draft with 10 picks. They have a first round selection (16th overall), second round selection (47th overall), third round selection (77th overall) and then a fifth round selection, three six round selections and three seven round selections. It is worth noting that they cannot trade their compensatory picks, two of which are in the sixth round and two of which are in the seventh round.

So what can we expect from the Jets? Throughout Mike Tannenbaum’s history, he has aggressively pursued trades to acquire starting caliber players using the draft. Whether is was Thomas Jones, Kris Jenkins, Antonio Cromartie, or Santonio Holmes, he isn’t shy about parting with picks to fill needs with veteran players. Tannenbaum also has a history of trading up to acquire players the organization has targeted like Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Dustin Keller, Mark Sanchez, and Shonn Greene. Generally, it would be wise not to expect the Jets to stand pat with their ten selections.

The Jets still have holes on both sides of the football, most notably in three locations: right tackle, free safety, and outside linebacker. Outside of that, they could use help at wide receiver, running back and inside linebacker.

The early chatter about the draft has the Jets targeting a pass rusher with their first pick. Melvin Ingram and Quinton Coples will both likely be gone by number sixteen, so if the Jets want either badly they will need to trade up into the 7-10 range. Courtney Upshaw could fall to them and if he does, expect them to snap him up. I also wouldn’t be shocked if they moved up a few spots to grab him if he slides into the 12-14 range. Finally, they have taken time to individually work out Clemson’s Andre Branch. He is a player the Jets could trade back into the late 20s to grab and acquire another pick in the process.

Mark Barron, the top safety in the draft, is also likely to be picked somewhere in the 25-35 range and the Jets could consider coupling a trade back for Branch with a trade up from their second round pick to grab Barron. The team could also choose to stay put and target Notre Dame’s Harrison Smith, the second ranked safety in the draft on most boards, with their 44th pick.

Overall, with three picks in the top one hundred and ten picks overall, the Jets need to find 2-3 new starters, whether it is through the draft and, trading picks for veteran players, or going back over the free agent market. There are upgrades out there to Wayne Hunter, Jim Leonhard, Bryan Thomas, and Chaz Schilens, it is just a matter of Mike Tannenbaum pulling the trigger.