New York Jets Draft Pick Analysis: Wide Receiver Jordan White

Chris Gross breaks down New York Jets 7th round pick, wide receiver Jordan White.

Chris Gross will be in the film room for Turn On The Jets breaking down all eight of the New York Jets draft selections. Today we look at 7th round pick, wide receiver Jordan White. (At the bottom of the article, I offer a brief commentary on White from the film I have watched). – JC

With the 244th overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, the New York Jets selected Wide Receiver Jordan White out of Western Michigan. In a move that first seemed to be New York looking to add some wide receiver depth to increase the competition heading into camp, this selection has the potential to be much more significant to the Jets. When putting in the game film of Western Michigan from last season, there are several things about Jordan White that jump off the screen right away. He is very confident, extremely tough, and runs some of the best routes you will see from any wide receiver in the draft this year.

Before becoming the Jets’ version of Mr. Irrelevant, White was posting Biletnikoff worthy numbers at Western Michigan. Last season, he caught an astonishing 140 balls for 1,911 yards and 17 touchdowns. Remember, Biletnikoff Trophy winner Justin Blackmon had 121 receptions for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns. Not to compare the two, but White’s production as a Bronco should certainly be noted. In 2011, White also had 8 games with over 10 receptions, including a season high 16 against Toledo, a game in which he racked up 238 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had 7 multi touchdown games last year, and had at least one catch of 20 yards or more in every contest, including his season long 61 yarder against Ball State.

Prior to 2011, White also had 94 receptions for 1,378 yards and 10 touchdowns as a Junior. At Western Michigan, he was undoubtedly the workhorse of an offense that averaged over 35 points per game in 2011, while establishing himself as Quarterback Alex Carder’s unquestioned favorite target.

White’s immense production at Western Michigan can be linked to countless aspects of his game. His ability to find holes in coverages and create separation for himself is equivalent to, if not better than, some polished NFL veterans. He has excellent awareness, strong hands, and his route running has the capability of translating to the NFL immediately. He uses double moves effectively, and is very intelligent, constantly knowing when to cut routes short, or extend them.

One of the most important factors that hurt White’s draft stock was his limited sample of play against elite competition. Having played in the MAC West, White was hampered by the notion that he was excelling at a lower level, and could not have that same type of success in the NFL. However, in White’s small amount of play against more respected football programs, he rose to the calling in a big way. In 2011, three of his most productive games came against Big Ten opponents. In the season opener against Michigan, White had 12 catches for 119 yards. Against Illinois, who was ranked in the AP top 25 at the time, he tallied 14 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown. And in White’s last game as a Bronco, the 2011 Little Caesars Bowl against Purdue, he reeled in 13 balls for 265 yards and 1 touchdown. Although the experience may not be great, he has certainly shown that he can succeed against higher-level defenses when asked to.

Along with the notion of not having faced enough elite competition, White’s physical traits were most likely the reasons for his draft slide. He does not possess the elite size, standing just under 6’0” 208 lbs, nor does he have the speed (4.69 40) to make him a number one receiver in the NFL. Many times in the draft, production like White’s takes a backseat to potential, especially in the later rounds.

Although White does have several positive aspects to his game, there are certainly some holes as well. He does not have great elusiveness, but makes up for it with his willingness to fight for extra yards. He is not going to make many people miss after the catch, but he will plug straight ahead and use his drive and strength to get the most out of every play. White also has much better speed coming out of his breaks than his 40 time would suggest, however it is unclear on how much that will assist his game at the next level.

While White does have good hands, and will make some spectacular catches at times, his range is very limited by his size and speed. Often times on deep routes, if the ball was slightly out of his reach, White would have difficulty transitioning to make the play. However, it is highly unlikely that he will be asked to run deep routes in the NFL, so this should not affect his play too significantly. He also needs to work on selling his routes on run plays to the opposite side of the field.

So how can White fit with the Jets? Of the games I watched on him last year, I could not help but compare his play to that of Jerricho Cotchery’s. White will never be a true number one receiver in this league, but has the potential to be a vital piece of any passing game. He was most productive last season between the 20’s, with 116 of his 140 catches coming in that area. This could make him a very valuable weapon to keep the chains moving throughout drives. Although most of his catches in 2011 came on first down with 63, he was also very effective on third downs, averaging 12.6 YPC. He could develop into a very nice third down safety net for Mark Sanchez. He is strong, smart, and most importantly, consistent. Sanchez would love to have someone he can consistently rely on, other than Dustin Keller.

For White, his place with the Jets will ultimately come down to a few key things: how well he picks up the offense, how he takes advantage of what limited reps he will get in practice, and the type of relationship he develops with Sanchez. While I do not think that any of these things will be a problem for White, especially with how reliable he became to Carder at Western Michigan, coupled with his displayed intelligence and high work ethic, he is going to have to prove why he was so productive in college, and may only have a small window of opportunity to do so. White can also show his worth by contributing on Special Teams, something that I would fully expect him to be able to do.

Although there are certainly no guarantees in this league, especially for late round draft picks, I would not be surprised at all if White ended up beating out Patrick Turner, Scotty McKnight, Logan Payne, and Eron Riley for a roster spot. His production in college combined with his obvious work ethic shown on film actually makes it likely that White will end up having some type of role with the 2012 Jets. Although his impact this year may not be significant, Jordan White could develop into a very solid NFL player at some point down the road.

Editor’s Notes – I really like the comparison Chris made to Jerricho Cotchery because that is who I was consistently reminded of when watching film on White. It is impossible to ignore the astronomical numbers he put up, regardless of the level of competition. White has a natural ability to find the soft spot in a defense and has reliable hands, particularly in traffic. The main question for him is, can he consistently get separation from NFL caliber cornerbacks? The Jets could offset some of these issues by working White out of the slot, where I expect him to spend most of his time.

In the immediate future, White projects as a logical backup to Jeremy Kerley in the slot receiver role. He will need to beat Patrick Turner and Eron Riley for a roster spot this season and to do that he must make an impact on special teams.

New York Jets Need To Put Finishing Touches On Roster

The New York Jets should consider making the following moves to solidify their roster

After reviewing the New York Jets post-draft depth chart, it becomes clear the team should consider making moves to solidify their roster. Nothing major is coming at this point as the team is clearly banking on substantial improvement from within by making better use of their resources, most notably on offense with Tony Spranao taking over for Brian Schottenheimer. However, that doesn’t mean a few tweaks can’t go a long way to helping insure the Jets are competing for a playoff spot this season.

You can argue about right tackle until your lungs are sore. At the moment it appears the plan is for Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse to compete for the position. You can allow that to occur while still protecting yourself to some degree. Keep in mind the Jets let Robert Turner walk in free agency and have very questionable depth behind their starters. Mike Tannenbaum can praise Caleb Schlauderaff all he wants, he has still never played a meaningful NFL snap. Right now he and the loser of the right tackle battle project the team’s top two backups. There is no logical reason to not bring a low cost veteran for insurance purposes. Vernon Carey makes too much sense to ignore since he is experienced at tackle and guard and has played in Tony Spranao’s offense.

Why not get him in sooner rather than later? Why wait until the offensive line shows signs of struggling in the pre-season? If not Carey, at least get another veteran who has seen some type of NFL action on the roster. You are currently one injury away from starting both Wayne Hunter and Caleb Schlauderaff, did we learn nothing last year?

Beyond that on offense, the Jets would be wise to add a blocking tight end. Simply put they don’t have one on their roster. Billy Bajema, Justin Peelle, and Jeff Dugan are all examples of players the Jets could sign to the veteran’s minimum and would help on a run heavy offense.

I don’t see them adding to wide receiver or running back at this point. A player like Braylon Edwards would only slow down Stephen Hill’s development. You traded up to get him, so put him out there. If healthy, Chaz Schilens will provide adequate depth. Edwards is more likely to go somewhere that he has a clearer chance to start, maybe St. Louis with Brian Schottenheimer now running their offense. At running back, there aren’t many impact players left out there. I’d rather see the team give Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell and Terrance Ganaway a real chance to become impact players instead of putting another veteran in the mix.

On defense, the Jets would be wise to add Yeremiah Bell and Chris Johnson, both who visited with the team last week. Many fans get sentimental about bringing Jim Leonhard back and while we respect what Jim did for the Jets the past few years, let’s be realistic here. Bell is bigger, more athletic and more durable than Leonhard. At this point, Eric Smith knows Rex Ryan’s defense well enough to mentor the younger safeties and if you are looking for a leader in the secondary, Darrelle Revis better be able to fill that role by now.

Johnson is a more reliable 4th corner than Ellis Lankster or Isaiah Trufant would be and would be another low cost addition. He would also be a solid special teams contributor.

You can never underestimate the importance of depth on a NFL roster and the Jets could go a long way to solidifying theirs by making a few minor moves.

Looking At New York Jets Post-Draft Depth Chart

TOJ breaks down the New York Jets post-draft depth chart and looks what other transactions could be on the horizon

At this point of the off-season, we are starting to get a good idea of what the New York Jets 53 man roster will look like heading into the 2012 season. There will still be a handful of minor transactions, injuries and surprises that could shake a few things up but here is a general overview of what we know and what to potentially expect in the coming months –

Quarterback – Mark Sanchez is going to be the starter. Tim Tebow will be the backup/option running/occasional h-backing guy and Greg McElroy will be the 3rd quarterback. Unless there is some type injury, these three are locks.

Running Back – Shonn Greene will be back as the starter. Joe McKnight should start out as the primary third down back and will hopefully get more of a chance to play to his potential under Tony Sparano. John Conner is the only pure fullback on the roster. After that it gets interesting, sixth round pick Terrance Ganaway is a bruising back who fits as a natural backup to Shonn Greene and is experienced running the option which should get him a chance for playing time when Tebow is on the field. Where does that leave last year’s fourth round pick Bilal Powell? I am not sure if the Jets will carry five backs or if Powell is good enough to beat out McKnight or Ganaway for a spot.

Tight End – Dustin Keller survived a few trade rumors and will be back as one of the Jets top options in the passing game. Beyond him, the depth chart is very cloudy. The Jets still lack a pure blocking tight end. Jeff Cumberland is a taller, slower version of Keller who is coming off major surgery. Josh Baker is more of a H-Back. Hayden Smith has a tough transition to make from rugby to football. I would not be surprised if the team added a blocking tight end at some point. It is a complete crapshoot who the number two tight end will be at this point and if the team will carry two or three tight ends.

Wide Receiver – Santonio Holmes is the number one. Rookie Stephen Hill is going to be given every opportunity to be the number two. Jeremy Kerley fits well as the slot receiver and should be a high impact player on the offense. Patrick Turner is experienced, familiar with Sparano’s offense and can contribute on special teams so he has the inside track at the number four spot. Recently signed Chaz Schilens has big play potential and if he can stay healthy should stick on the roster. It will be an uphill battle for seventh round pick Jordan White and players like Logan Payne, Scotty McKnight and Eron Riley. A safe bet for now is that they will carry five receivers (Holmes, Hill, Kerley, Turner, Schilens).

Offensive Line – We know Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson will be back as starters. Despite the objections of most rational people in the free world, it appears the plan is to have Wayne Hunter, Vladimir Ducasse and Austin Howard compete for the starting right tackle spot. My guess is that the Jets will see how they look in training camp and if it appears to be a disaster, they could place a quick call over to veteran Vernon Carey who knows Tony Sparano’s offense to step in. Mike Tannenbaum’s favorite player Caleb Schlauderaff projects as the being the top interior backup and rookie Robert T. Griffin could have a decent chance to make the team, if he shows the versatility to play guard and tackle.

Defensive Line – Arguably the deepest position on the team. As of now the starters are Muhammad Wilkerson, Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito. However, do not be surprised if DeVito is cut or traded at some point before the season to pave the way for first round Quntion Coples to step into the starting line-up. It would save the team 3 million dollars and the Jets have capable backups in Marcus Dixon and Ropati Pitoitua. Kenrick Ellis should also see a little more time this year spelling Pouha in certain situations.

Linebackers – David Harris remains one of the best inside linebackers in football. Calvin Pace is a good outside linebacker who can set the edge to help stop the run but has lost explosiveness in getting after the passer. The Jets are risking the other two starting spots to Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas. Scott looked just about finished last year but is returning at a lighter weight and can hopefully be the solid two down linebacker he was in 2009 and 2010. Bryan Thomas is coming off major surgery but should open camp as starting outside backer opposite Pace.

The depth is intriguing, third round pick DeMario Davis has an exciting skill set and should be able to help on passing downs this year and be the long term replacement for Bart Scott. Aaron Maybin will be a year better in Rex Ryan’s system as a pass rushing specialist and hopefully the addition of Coples will lead to him seeing more one on ones in pass rushing situations. Garret McIntyre, Josh Magua got experience last year and should be able to grab roster spots.

Corner – Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson are one of the better trios in the league. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets added veteran Chris Johnson to be their 4th corner. If not Ellis Lankster and Isaiah Trufant will be the frontrunners to compete for the spot.

Safety – LaRon Landry and Eric Smith are the starters as of right now and arguably rookies Josh Bush and Antonio Allen project as the top backups. I would not be surprised if the Jets added another veteran to the mix, whether it is Yeremiah Bell or Jim Leonhard for insurance.

Special Teams – Nick Folk and TJ Conley remain the frontrunners to return as kicker and punter, respectively. Tanner Purdum will be the long snapper.

New York Jets Draft Fit Over “Need”

Chris Gross breaks down the New York Jets drafting strategy to select players who fit their offensive and defensive scheme in 2012

With the 2012 NFL Draft officially in the books, the common theme among draft analysts seems to be placing grades on how each team did based on the players selected, and at which point they were taken. However, it is unfair to grade each team or each pick this early. Other than the fact that some of these guys have most likely not even arrived at their team facilities yet, there never seems to be enough emphasis placed on the value they hold with the particular team they’ve been drafted by. Often times when teams complete their drafts they are analyzed by how well they filled their needs and whether or not they got good value at the point in which they took particular players. However, there are variables not accounted for in this practice.

The first is that a team may not necessarily view their biggest needs the same as the people analyzing their draft. The Jets, for example, opted to pass on selecting what seem to be their most pressing needs this year – a Right Tackle, and a pass rushing Outside Linebacker. However, New York may not have viewed these positions as their highest priorities heading into the draft. There are several reasons for this.

First, with a new offensive coaching staff in place, and an offensive coordinator whose main area of expertise is with the offensive line, the team may feel that the players currently on the roster may be their best options at Right Tackle. Previously, at Turn On The Jets, we reviewed the idea that Mike Tannenbaum may still have faith in Vladimir Ducasse, a notion that seems to be getting stronger as each day passes without any activity at the position. It seems as though the Jets are confident that Tony Sparano will be able to get the most out of some combination of Ducasse, Wayne Hunter, and Austin Howard opposite D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Therefore, the Right Tackles available at certain points throughout the draft may not have held the same value to the organization as they would have with other teams.

Second, schematics of a team are often times omitted in draft evaluations. When Sparano arrived in New York this offseason, he made two things that he intended to do with the Jets’ offense very clear. He wants to be a run first team, and he wants to be able to stretch the field with big plays. Based on this, the Jets did very well in this year’s draft. Although the question marks with the team’s approach at Right Tackle will certainly be questioned into the season, and rightfully so, New York’s first three offensive selections all hold the potential to be excellent fits in Sparano’s system.

Terrance Ganaway is a very big, physical back, who will form a hard-nosed trio of runners with Shonn Greene and Tim Tebow. Robert T. Griffin should, at the least, provide some added depth to the interior of the offensive line this year, which has proved to be very crucial to this team, as displayed through the struggles it faced during Nick Mangold’s absence last season. Griffin has potential to develop and contribute nicely down the road.

Stephen Hill holds the greatest potential of all the offensive players selected by the Jets this year. Aside from the fact that his physical abilities give him one of the highest ceilings out of any player in his class, Hill seems to be perfect for the type of offense Sparano plans to implement. He has great size at nearly 6’5” and plays in the 215 lbs range with blazing speed (4.31 40). He comes from a run first offense at Georgia Tech, therefore he has a large amount of blocking experience, which will be critical to the Jets’ ground and pound approach. Most importantly, though, is his big play ability. The Jets were looking for a wide receiver to stretch the field and take the top off of opposing defense, and that is exactly what they got in Hill, who had nine catches of over 30 yards last season. He also has proved he can make people miss and create after the catch, so his big play ability is not just limited to the deep ball. To New York, Hill’s value was most likely higher than other receivers because of how well he fits with what they plan to do on offense.

Defensively, the Jets seem to have taken a similar approach. Although the verdict on selecting Quinton Coples over Melvin Ingram will be open for some time, New York most likely viewed Coples’ value as higher for what they plan to do schematically on defense. Rex Ryan seems to be focused on building this team’s pass rush from the interior before focusing on obtaining an edge rusher. Ryan has already declared that, although Coples has the athleticism to play OLB, he was brought to New York to put his hand in the dirt. Expect Ryan to run several different fronts defensively this year, as he could show more 4-3 looks than the Jets are used to. The Jets depth at defensive line is greater than it has ever been in the Ryan era, so it will be interesting to see how Rex uses that.

Among the other defensive players, DeMario Davis has the ability to be used all over the field. He will be more of a fit in the Jets’ scheme as a 3-4 ILB, but if Rex does choose to show more 4-3 looks this season, he has experience as an OLB there as well. Either way, his speed will likely make him a situational weapon for the Jets this year, as he will be able to provide help on passing downs in coverage and with blitzes from the interior.

Of the two safeties selected, Josh Bush has the potential to play right away because the Free Safety position is more open. Bush has deemed himself a safety with cornerback cover skills, so it will be interesting to see how the first team All-ACC product will do in the area the Jets struggled so badly last year. Antonio Allen will provide much needed depth at Strong Safety, while giving New York a bit of an insurance policy if LaRon Landry gets injured. Allen should contribute on special teams, and could be groomed behind the veteran leadership of Landry for the future.

It is difficult to judge how the Jets did in their draft this early. Many view them neglecting the most glaring needs on their team. While this may be the case, it is just hard to imagine an NFL team doing something like that without a plan. It is certainly fair to assume that the Jets did their homework on each player selected, and depending on what they intend to do in all three phases of the game this year, these guys were most likely viewed as the best fits for New York, which in turn made their value with the team higher than it may have been somewhere else. While the future of this team and these players is somewhat unclear at this point, the Jets, if anything, seem to have drafted for a particular type of identity, something that could finally provide some much needed stability in New York.

Initial Reaction – New York Jets 2012 Draft Class

Initial reaction to the New York Jets 2012 draft class. Boom or Bust.

 

The New York Jets left the 2012 NFL Draft with eight selected players. Many of the team’s decisions were somewhat surprising and fairly questionable. However, they did get good value in a few situations. Throughout the week we will be breaking down each player in-depth, looking at where they could fit in 2012 and beyond, along with plenty more. For now here are a few initial thoughts. The eight selections were as follows –

  • Quinton Coples – Defensive End – North Carolina – 1st round
  • Stephen Hill – Wide Receiver – Georgia Tech – 2nd round
  • DeMario Davis – Inside Linebacker – Arkansas State – 3rd round
  • Josh Bush – Free Safety – Wake Forest – 6th round
  • Terrance Ganaway – Running Back – Baylor – 6th round
  • Robert T. Griffin – Guard – Baylor – 6th round
  • Antonio Allen – Strong Safety – South Carolina – 7th round
  • Jordan White – Wide Receiver – Western Michigan – 7th round

Boom or Bust – The Jets rolled the dice with this draft class, many times choosing potential over production. The first three picks in particular have immensely high ceilings because of their athletic ability but viable questions about their transition to the NFL. At least with Hill and Davis, their motor/passion for the game is not in question. Coples is the player who needs to prove more than anybody that last year was a fluke situation and he can bring it 100 percent on every play.

In the late rounds, Bush was an off the radar prospect who apparently has the smarts to compensate for a lack of athleticism. Doesn’t that sound like Eric Smith? Ganaway had one big year and was aided by having RGIII at quarterback. However, he will now have the benefit of working with Tim Tebow in an option package.

Speed Kills – Without the question, the Jets got substantially faster and more athletic in this draft. Hill is a physical freak who has the ability to blow the top off of defenses in a way a Jets receiver hasn’t since the 1980s. Davis runs a sub 4.5 forty as an inside linebacker and should have a good chance to contribute immediately on passing downs.

How Is That Possible – The Jets didn’t select a right tackle or outside linebacker. We will get into this more throughout the week but this a borderline mind boggling decision. For now, it looks like they are ready to roll with Wayne Hunter, Bryan Thomas and Vladimir Ducasse all potentially playing big roles on the 2012 team.

Value Picks – Two stand out in particular to me, Antonio Allen in the 7th round and Terrance Ganaway in the 6th round. Allen was projected by many as a 3rd to 5th round pick but slipped because of how much time he spent in the box while at South Carolina. Allen projects as a traditional strong safety and provides needed depth behind LaRon Landry this year and could become the long term starter at the position. Ganaway is experienced with the option and could be an immediately productive player in the Jets Tebow package of plays. Bilal Powell should be on notice for a roster spot.

The Home Run – Even more so than Coples, I think Hill has the most potential to become the star of this draft class. He will start from day one and provide a much needed deep threat opposite Santonio Holmes. 6’5, 206 pounds, 4.31 forty is scary. Beyond that, Hill routinely produced monster plays down the field in college, is a willing and strong blocker on the second level and has a terrific attitude by all accounts. He could be a special player from the first second he steps on the field in this offense.

Question Coples – I have offered some harsh criticism for the Coples pick. I hate to hear motor/effort/attitude questions on a player. I also liked the Jets depth at defensive end and I’m not crazy about Mike DeVito potentially being moved to clear more reps for him. However, physically Coples has the ability to not just be a 10-12 sack guy but a 14-16 sack guy. Can Rex get it out of him?

New York Jets Draft: Thoughts On Hill And Davis

Thoughts on the Jets selection of Stephen Hill and DeMario Davis

A few quick thoughts on the New York Jets decision to trade up for wide receiver Stephen Hill and draft linebacker DeMario Davis

1. It appears the New York Jets are taking the best player available instead of looking to fill needs. They have ignored right tackle, outside linebacker, and safety despite major holes in their depth chart. With no picks in the 4th or 5th round, look for them to sign Yeremiah Bell, Chris Johnson, and maybe Vernon Carey down the road when they come to the realization that Wayne Hunter, Vlad Ducasse or Austin Howard isn’t the answer at right tackle.

2. I love the Stephen Hill selection, he is a physical freak who has the right attitude to take advantage of his natural abilities to become a big time player in the NFL. It is fair to question the value of spending a 2nd round pick on a receiver in a Ground and Pound offense but if Hill becomes the needed big play threat opposite Santonio Holmes and makes Sanchez that much better it will be worth it.

3. Davis is a great athlete with a high motor who will hopefully be starting next to David Harris at inside linebacker by next year. The Jets have put together the pieces to play a much larger share of snaps in the 4-3 instead of a 3-4. How about this for a 3rd down line up? Coples and Maybin at end. Wilkerson and Pouha at defensive tackle. Harris and Davis at linebacker. Revis, Cromartie, Wilson, Landry and a free safety in the secondary. That should be a line up that gets after the quarterback.

NFL Draft: New York Jets Day Two Preview

The TOJ staff breaks down what to look for from the New York Jets in day two of the NFL Draft

The New York Jets have the 47th (2nd round) and 77th (3rd round) pick in tonight’s draft. Myself and staff writer Chris Gross tell you what to look for. Stay tuned throughout the night as we will be updating after each selection –

The best news coming out of last night is how much talent remains on the draft board, particularly in areas of need for the New York Jets. I am going to run down a few positions and who they could target –

Running Back – I don’t anticipate them taking a running back in round two. Maybe they would consider Lamar Miller or LaMichael James if they slipped near them in round three. However, I think it is more likely they will consider Robert Turbin with one of their late round picks.

Wide Receiver – I have a tough time seeing the Jets passing on Stephen Hill or Alshon Jeffery if they are at available at 47. The team is high on both players and both have the ability to be day one starters opposite Santonio Holmes.

Outside Linebacker – Apparently the Jets are not high enough on Courtney Upshaw to make any move to trade up for him. However, would they pass on him at 47? Upshaw, Vinny Curry, and Andre Branch could all be in play at 47 as the Jets look to continue building their front seven.

Safety – It would be frustrating to see the Jets pass on Trumaine Johnson is he somehow falls to 47 but apparently they love LSU’s Brandon Taylor who they could get after the 47th pick. The Jets are leaving this draft with a safety and I think it ends up being Taylor or George Iloka.

Offensive Tackle – Jonathan Martin, Cordy Glenn, and Bobbie Massie are all players talented enough to step in at right tackle to start day one. Isn’t that hard to ignore with New England adding Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower last night?

My prediction? They end up with Alshon Jeffery or Brandon Taylor…if they are feeling frisky, maybe both. Then again, who the hell would have thought they were taking Quinton Coples last night?

Here are five routes Chris could see the Jets taking –

1 – Trade up into the first five picks of round two and select Courtney Upshaw – Upshaw has slid into the second round, something that seemed impossible a few months ago. However, with a great need at OLB, the Jets could save face with the Coples pick by moving up and selecting the Alabama product. Having fallen this far already, Upshaw is going to be an absolute steal in this draft, and it is no secret as to how I think he could help the Jets.

2 – Get an OLB other than Courtney Upshaw – If the Jets opt to not select Upshaw again, there are two names that would also fill the void at OLB. Vinny Curry out of Marshall and Andre Branch out of Clemson are both still on the board. Although they are not quite as good as Upshaw, both of these players would still provide significant improvement on the edge for the Jets. Jonathon Massaquoi is another DE/OLB hybrid to keep an eye out for in round three.

3 – Select an explosive offensive player – Whether it is one of the remaining talented Running Backs in Lamar Miller or LaMichael James, or one of the Wide Receivers that can be used to stretch the field opposite Santonio Holmes in Alshon Jeffery or Rueben Randle out of LSU. Anyone of these players would add a very good dynamic to the Jets offense, while also giving them the home run threat they so desperately need.

4 – Select a Safety – Out of the remaining defensive backs, there are three appealing names that would improve the Jets depth at safety: Trumaine Johnson, Antonio Allen, and Brandon Taylor. All bring something a little different to the table, but would provide instant upgrade to the depth at the safety position. Of the three, Taylor may be the best, while Johnson may be the most intriguing due to his physical intangibles and versatility.

5 -Select a Right Tackle – There is still plenty of talent on the board here as well. Cordy Glenn, Jonathan Martin, Bobby Massie, and Mike Adams are all have first round talent, and with a need at RT, one of them must be considered if available at pick 47.

Noticeably, the top two ranked moves on this list are to select a pass rusher. Although the Jets selected Coples, he will play a 5-technique Defensive End in the Jets scheme, so they still need to get themselves someone to apply pressure off the edge. There is plenty of talent left at this position, and New York needs to do whatever it can to get their hands on one of these players. Here are some notable non-first round picks that have made a name for themselves getting after the quarterback throughout their careers: Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Jared Allen, Elvis Dumervil, Mike Vrabel, Joey Porter, and Adalius Thomas, just to name a few.

The Problem With Drafting Quinton Coples

TOJ looks at the problem with taking Quinton Coples in the first round of the NFL Draft

If you couldn’t tell last night, I was not happy about the Quinton Coples selection. Staff writer Chris Gross has me feeling a little better about it this morning but I still have many reservations, so let me explain why.

I love Rex Ryan as head coach and I like Mike Tannenbaum as a General Manager. Both individuals have been successful more than they have not since becoming employed by the New York Jets. However, part of what makes them good at their jobs is also what leads them to making occasional poor personnel decisions. Lately, the poor personnel decisions have been outnumbering the smart ones.

They are both head strong, stubborn individuals which leads to overestimation of talent and belief in their ability to salvage any situation. We have seen Tannenbaum neglect the offensive line, believing they would be okay with Anthony Clement and Adrien Clarke starting in 2007 instead renegotiating with Pete Kendall and signing a right tackle. He repeated the mistake last year by letting Damien Woody walk, installing backup Wayne Hunter as a starter and then finding no depth behind his starting offensive line.

Since Rex has taken over, he espouses the belief that he can make any player or situation work in his locker room and we have seen Tannenbaum’s draft and free agency mistakes gradually increase. What I am talking about? Let’s review the past couple of years –

–  Taking Division I-AA lineman Vladimir Ducasse in the 2nd round, switching his position immediately and expecting him to start. Ducasse has given the team nothing through 2 years.

– Bringing Derrick Mason into the locker room when he had a history of causing problems. Mason caused problems.

– Signing Plaxico Burress over brining Braylon Edwards back. Burress couldn’t get open in between the 20s and caused problems in the locker room.

– To a lesser extent, Rex pushing for another corner in round one back in 2010 when it wasn’t an area of need as the Jets took Kyle Wilson. Through two years, he has been average at best and made one impact play (an interception last year against San Dieg0). While it is too early to fully judge him, it is fair to be disappointed with his production thus far. Rex also went crazy for John Conner in the 5th round of the same draft and we have seen Conner be average at best last year when given a full time role (watch the tape).

– Last year the Jets took Kenrick Ellis in the third round. He basically redshirted his rookie year because he was nowhere near ready to play.

These recent choices factor in my judgement of the Coples selection. The Jets are coming off a poor off-season last year which led directly to a 8-8 record. They have many holes in a roster that currently resembles that of a 7-9 team, not a 10 or 11 win team ready to compete with New England. It was a smug decision to draft Coples. It was a decision that says, “we are a player or two away and we can risk it on a boom or bust prospect.”

What you need to remember is that Coples is a defensive end, not an outside linebacker. The team has already confirmed he will play with his hand in the dirt and compete with Mike DeVito for the starting end position. Instead of addressing a glaring area of need at outside linebacker, safety, right tackle, wide receiver or running back by drafting that spot or trading back to acquire picks to fill all those holes, the Jets drafted at a position where they had two capable starters (Wilkerson and DeVito and two capable backups (Dixon and Pitoitua). Beyond that, last year’s third round pick Kenrick Ellis was supposed to see reps at defensive end along with nose tackle, which he won’t have the chance to do as much anymore.

So what do you do now? Do you trade/cut Mike DeVito, start Coples and let your run defense suffer? Or do you have Coples be a rotational player on passing downs, where he would likely be most effective? Unfortunately, the Jets needed more than a rotational player in the first round, they needed a 3 down player.

The questions about Coples effort and motor are maddeningly frustrating to hear. However, if the proper veterans (Sione Pouha) stay on him and he is coached properly (pressure on Rex and DL coach Karl Dunbar), the talent Coples has is unquestionable. On physical attributes alone, he is the best pass rushing prospect in the draft. I do believe he has the skill set to be a double digit sack guy. I also believe he has the potential to be a complete non-factor this year.

The question is why do Rex and Tannenbaum need to keep rolling the dice? Why take the player with effort/attitude issues at a position where he could struggle to get reps on your roster when you could have taken a comparable player without the effort/attitude issues at a position of need? It is stubborn. It is headstrong. It is smug. It is Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum in a nutshell. The approach worked in 2009 and 2010 but came up empty last year. Let’s hope this spin of the roulette wheel ends up on the Jets number.

A Positive Analysis Of Quinton Coples

Chris Gross gives a positive analysis of New York Jets first round pick Quinton Coples

Our resident defensive lineman and staff writer Chris Gross breaks down Quinton Coples and comes out with a more positive feeling than I have about the pick – JC

With the 16th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the New York Jets shockingly passed on coveted prospect Melvin Ingram for Defensive End Quinton Coples out of North Carolina. As the pick was announced, analysts and fans frantically began to point out why this was a terrible decision by the Jets. How could New York be so lucky to have Ingram fall into their laps and then opt to pass on him? To make matters worse, the Jets selected a player who arguably had more question marks surrounding him than anyone else they had reportedly been interested in.

The common flaws linked to Coples are that he does not posses the high motor, killer instinct, and relentlessness needed to be a dominant defensive lineman in the NFL. As many of these contentions may be true, they also are a bit exaggerated. There are, in fact, times in games when Coples seems unmotivated and takes plays off, but these moments are not as plentiful as they are perceived to be.

Game evaluation of Coples reveals him to be many things as a player. He is extremely big (nearly 6’6” 284 lbs), and uses that size to his advantage. Coples utilizes his hands and length very well. His reach allows him to create the separation between offensive linemen necessary for him to take control and dictate what he is going to do. He has a fantastic burst off the ball, among the best at his position, and closes the gap just as fast as any defensive lineman in the draft this year. Coples is also phenomenal against the reach block, displaying excellent ability to get his head to the outside and force every play back in. Very rarely is he caught out of position, giving up the edge.

In terms of his pass rush, Coples has fantastic maneuverability. He shows great bend and ability to dip his shoulder on his rushes, causing serious problems for any guard or tackle trying to block him. He displays excellent strength and explosion, having repeatedly run through blockers at the point of attack last year in his pursuit of the quarterback, while also showing ability to execute a double move, if necessary. He can do it with speed, strength, and technique, an immeasurable combination in a defensive lineman. Along with that, Coples plays with a serious mean streak at times shown through his aggressive style of play.

So, the obvious question is, why the harsh reaction to the pick? Although many of the negative assertions about Coples are exaggerated, they are not false. At times, Coples does take plays off and can appear lazy on the field. He tends to lose discipline, sometimes getting caught too far up field, allowing open running lanes on draws and screens underneath him. However, these flaws are nowhere near as frequent as assumed. These are aspects of his game, and character that do need to be worked on at the next level, but with an elite defensive coaching staff in New York, as well as quality veteran leadership in Sione Pouha on the defensive line, Coples can certainly eliminate them in his development.

During his senior year at UNC, Coples also suffered a drop in numbers from his junior season. In 2010, he compiled 10 sacks, while in 2011, that number fell to just 7.5. However, like any position in football, when a player has success, teams will notice that and begin to account for him. During his senior year, Coples drew the attention of every offense North Carolina faced, and for good reason. During the Miami game, in particular, the Hurricanes’ slid their pass protection to Coples nearly 100% of the time, while scheming double teams to account for him on run plays. This was very common among all of Coples’ opponents during his senior year, which was a great cause for his decreased statistics. Remember, a drop in numbers is not necessarily equivalent to a drop in production at any position along the defensive line. There are countless intangibles and contributions that do not show up in the stat line.

Along with the drop in his numbers, Coples has also somehow gotten the reputation of a selfish player. There have been several reports that he developed a “me first” attitude during his time at North Carolina. However, during his junior season, when multiple members of the Tar Heels’ defense were suspended for the year, Coples was asked to play more time at Defensive Tackle, rather than his natural Defensive End position, to account for the lack of depth. Coples did not complain, just simply went out, played, and tallied 10 total sacks that year. Prototypical “selfish” players usually don’t make such sacrifices and perform at a level like that.

The claim that Coples lacks effort, as I said, is exaggerated, yet realistic. In stretches, he has a habit of catching blockers, rather than attacking them off of the ball like he usually does. Although, these plays seem much more common late in games and at the end of long drives, which suggests that it may be more of a conditioning issue, rather than an attitude issue. This seems to make more sense, because the majority of the time, Coples does actually play with valiant effort and high motor. On one play in particular against North Carolina State in 2010, Coples chased down QB Russell Wilson on a 50 yard run, before he was forced out of bounds inside the 10. Normally, “lazy” players aren’t seen chasing anyone down from behind.

Other than his play, the largest factor that contributes to the idea that Coples was a bad pick for the Jets is that Melvin Ingram was still on the board. The common thought among Jets fans was that Ingram was the best option for New York in the first round, and to be able to stay at 16 and get him would be a huge victory. Passing on Ingram was most likely going to be an unpopular move by the Jets, so anyone else drafted in that spot was going face heavy scrutiny.

The bottom line on Coples is simple: He certainly has some question marks, but also has shown he can be a dominant football player, and his superior size and athleticism give him tremendous upside. Remember, this is the same player who drew comparisons to Julius Peppers following his junior season. If there is one coach capable of maximizing his talent and turning him into an asset in the NFL, it is Rex Ryan. Ryan, along with the veteran defensive leadership in Pouha, David Harris, and Darrelle Revis, could be just the supporting cast Coples needs to develop into a force in this league for years to come.

New York Jets Draft Quinton Coples

The New York Jets drafted UNC defensive end Quinton Coples in the first round of the NFL Draft

With Melvin Ingram, Chandler Jones, Courtney Upshaw and David DeCastro still on the board. The New York Jets continued their perplexing off-season by selecting North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples. Of all the pass rushers on the board, Coples had the most question marks about him and does not have the versatility to play major reps at outside linebacker. Both Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan confirmed Coples will play defensive end. He is a guy who displayed an unnerving lack of motor and passion for the game of football. Sound familiar?

Here are some excerpts of the draft reports on him leading up to draft day. Keep in mind, Coples play dropped off substantially from his senior year to his junior year. –

“Played not to get hurt. Not an elite pass rusher from the edge. Motor runs hot and cold”

“Has developed a me-first reputation”

“Marginal competitor. Does not apply himself. Lacks the heart, desire and glass eating makeup desired in the trenches and must ratchet up the intensity if he wants to play against the big boys in the pros”

Now there is a reason Coples was a first round prospect. He was a beast in his junior year (10 sacks) and had a monster senior week. He has strong explosiveness and has very good interior pass rushing moves. The reason the Jets are going to keep him on the defensive line primarily is because he will be more effective sliding between defensive end and defensive tackle on some passing downs.

What is frustrating is that Rex Ryan continually compared Coples to Shaun Ellis or Trevor Pryce, which is exactly what he did with Muhammad Wilkerson, last year’s first round pick. Coples is a defensive end and will hopefully be a good one but now that leaves the Jets will three defensive ends (look for Mike DeVito to be on the trade block), but still major questions at OLB, RT, FS, WR, and RB. Similar to free agency, the Jets have ignored their major holes and added to a position where they had capable starters.

More to come…