New York Jets Draft Scenarios: What Are The Best Options?

Chris reviews the New York Jets options at number 16 in the first round of the draft

Check out Turn On The Jets most recent mock draft projection for the New York Jets by myself and then where Chris Gross argues about my undervaluing of Courtney Upshaw. Today Chris reviews the Jets primary options with the 16th overall pick. I will be publishing my updated mock draft this Friday and then a full first round mock draft next Wednesday.

Take it away Chris… – JC

When it comes to the New York Jets,  there is a number of ways they could go with their first selection. So who will it be? Here are the options the Jets might consider, ranking from top to bottom in terms of what I think they should do.

1A – Stay put at 16 and Draft Courtney Upshaw – I’ve said this before in a previous article, I think Upshaw is unfairly falling down draft boards. He has everything the Jets need as an outside linebacker: pass rush ability, every down capability, high motor, and plays his best football in big games.

1B – Trade Up for Melvin Ingram – In my defense of Upshaw, I made note that I do not think the Jets would be making a bad move in trading up for Ingram. However, these two players are similar enough for the Jets to not sacrifice the picks and stay put at 16. However, if Mike T and Rex love Ingram enough, I am on board for the move and would not hate to see them grab the South Carolina product.

2 – Jump Ahead of Dallas and Grab Mark Barron – It is no secret the Jets need help at the Safety position. Even with the signing of LaRon Landry, Barron is a high quality young prospect who could be a top tier Safety in this league for years to come. In a division where you play Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez twice a year, safety is one position you can never have enough depth at.

3 – Do Whatever it Takes to Get a Right Tackle – Whether this means trading into the top 10 and drafting Iowa’s Riley Reiff or trading down for someone like Cordy Glenn from Georgia or Jonathan Martin of Stanford, the Jets would not be killing themselves in selecting an Offensive Tackle. We all know how poor the play at Right Tackle was last season, which in my opinion was the biggest factor in Sanchez struggling at times. However, I still firmly believe that Gang Green has full intentions of entering training camp with Ducasse and Hunter battling it out, so I wouldn’t put a lot of faith into a move like this. Still, it cannot be ruled completely out.

4 – Move up into the top 10 and draft Michael Floyd – I am completely against this move, only because I think the Jets have too many needs to take a wide receiver that I am not completely sold on. In an offense that lacks a WR who has the ability to stretch the field, Floyd had only one catch over 35 yards last season, and has had some off the field issues. I am not saying that he will not be a good pro, but for what New York needs, I think this would be far too great a risk. However, with only Chaz Schilens and Jeremy Kerley opposite Santonio Holmes, this is not completely out of the question.

5 – Sell the farm and trade up for Trent Richardson – I know, on the surface this seems crazy. But if the Jets are truly committed to returning to ground and pound, what better way to do that then to pair this year’s top running back prospect with Shonn Greene and Tim Tebow, who is expected to see a lot of time at H-Back, for the toughest, most lethal backfield in the draft. Clearly, the Jets have too many other needs to make a move like this, but with Mike Tannenbaum, we can never say never. Ideally, the Jets make one of the other 5 moves, and address running back in the later rounds, possibly with Miami’s Lamar Miller or LaMichael James out of Oregon, but would anyone truly hate seeing Richardson in Green and White next year?

If I could have it my way, I’d have New York stay put at 16 and take Upshaw, while either trading back into the first round for S Harrison Smith, or waiting to grab Lamar Miller in the second, if available. Miller has the home run speed the Jets lacked on offense last year (4.38 40), which would be fantastic paired with Greene and Tebow grinding out the tough yards.

Analysis Of New York Jets 2012 Schedule

An analysis of the New York Jets 2012 schedule

Full New York Jets 2012 Schedule

When it comes to analyzing the NFL schedule, it is crucial to keep in mind how much things will change from now until these games are actually played. If you follow the league, you understand the turnover from year to year and even from week to week. That being said, who doesn’t want to pick through this right now? Let’s take a closer look –

Bills Mafia – The New York Jets open and close the season with the Buffalo Bills…or Fredo of the AFC East as I like to call them. You can be sure that everybody will be picking the Bills to eclipse the Jets in the AFC East as the main competitor to the New England Patriots. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets were underdogs despite being at home week 1. They have a great opportunity to knock the air out of the Bills hype balloon right out of the gate.

Rough Start – The Jets play three playoff teams from 2011, outside of the New England Patriots and all three of them come before week 6. In week 2 they are at Pittsburgh, in week 4 they are home against San Francisco and then in week 5 they will be at home on Monday Night against Houston. Plenty of people will be picking a 49ers/Texans Super Bowl…the Jets get them back to back in their building.

Perfect Split – Week 9 is the bye week for the Jets, which splits the season perfectly in half. In the first half, they have 5 home games and 3 road games. In the second half, they have 5 road games and 3 home games. Yet, they don’t play a single team who made the playoffs last year outside of New England.

Primetime – 4 of them for the Jets, including the headliner home Thanksgiving game against New England. It is hard to find another game to be more excited about. Start telling your family now you’ll be busy for the holiday…

Divisional Breakdown – The Jets have Buffalo in week 1 and week 17, New England in week 7 and week 12 and Miami in week 3 and week 8.

Friendly Break – The bye week is directly before the Jets cross country trip to play in Seattle.

Rough Break – After Seattle, the Jets play in St. Louis and then have 4 days to get ready for New England on Thanksgiving at home.

No predictions yet…we will have enough of those on the draft in the next week

New York Jets 2012 Schedule

The New York Jets 2012 schedule

Here is the New York Jets 2012 Schedule

Week 1: Vs. Buffalo, 1 PM

Week 2: At Pittsburgh, 4:15 PM

Week 3: At Miami, 1 PM

Week 4: Vs San Francisco, 1 PM

Week 5: Vs Houston, 8:30 PM (Monday Night)

Week 6: Vs Colts, 1 PM

Week 7: At Pats, 4:15 PM

Week 8: Vs Miami, 1 PM

Week 9: Bye

Week 10: At Seattle, 4:05 PM

Week 11: At St. Louis, 1 PM

Week 12: Vs. New England, 8:20 PM (Thanksgiving Night)

Week 13: Vs. Arizona, 1 PM

Week 14: At Jacksonville, 1 PM

Week 15: At Tennessee, 8:30 PM (Monday Night)

Week 16: Vs San Diego, 8:20 PM (Sunday Night * Could Be Flexed)

Week 17: At Buffalo, 1 PM

Bring on the Bills

Analysis coming shortly…

New York Jets: Expanding Tebow Past Quarterback Is Smart Move

The New York Jets plan to use Tim Tebow as more than a quarterback is a wise decision

The early talk out of the New York Jets first voluntary workouts yesterday is that Tim Tebow will not just be used as a backup quarterback but will also line up at H-Back, fullback, running back and the personal protector on the punt team. This is a smart decision that will allow the Jets to both maximize Tebow’s skill set and add another dimension to their offense and special teams.

If Tebow is going to be on the field 20-25 snaps a game as Rex Ryan indicated. You don’t want him throwing the football on anywhere a high percentage of them. You also want him disrupting Mark Sanchez’s rhythm as little as possible. Tebow lined up as H-Back or running back provides the threat of a trick play or given his size and running skill set, the opportunity to simply hand the football off or throw a screen pass to a strong runner.

You are maximizing your investment on Tebow if he is your number two quarterback, Wildcat quarterback, number three running back and backup H-Back, along with him contributing on special teams.

The potential for Tebow on Mike Westhoff’s punt and kick units is exciting. When lined up as a personal protector, there is a constant threat for a fake. If he is the team’s holder, the same threat is there. If you line up to punt on 4th and 3 from the 50 yard line, you can have Tebow take a shotgun snap and hopefully barrel through a lane for the first down or pull up and deliver a short pass to one of the ends.

Ideally, Tebow’s presence will push Sanchez to performing more consistently and the Jets will use Tebow in enough ways to fill up the stat sheet. How about 20 snaps that have Tebow finishing with 5 carries for 25 yards, with 3 of those carries converting first downs, 2/2 passing for 15 yards, 1 reception for 10 yards, and a special teams tackle along with serving as a valuable decoy on the rest of plays?

It could happen if the Jets are smart about his usage.

New York Jets: Safety Needs Multiple Player Solution

The New York Jets current depth chart at safety needs more than one player added to it

The New York Jets current depth chart at safety is almost as scary as their depth chart at right tackle. Right now their starters would be LaRon Landry who hasn’t played a full 16 games since 2008 and Eric Smith, who in comparison to Landry would be relied upon to be the primary coverage safety. The top two backups? Tracy Wilson who has never played a snap in the NFL and the recently signed DeAngelo Smith who didn’t play in the NFL last season.

The problems with this depth chart can’t be solved with one draft pick, especially if that pick comes in the second or third round. Unless the Jets draft Mark Barron in the first round, you can’t bank on your draft pick to walk in, immediately take over the starting role and keep it for the entire 16 games.

In a perfect world, Landry will play the full season at strong safety, your draft pick will learn the defense quickly and be a capable starter at free safety as a rookie and Eric Smith will provide the needed depth at both spots, performing in the situational role he has always thrived in. Yet, this isn’t a perfect world which is why the Jets are paying Landry on a week to week basis and went hard after Reggie Nelson to pair with him but unfortunately came up short.

As it stands now and on the assumption the Jets add a draft pick at safety, it is more than likely Landry will miss a few games leading to Smith being overextended as a starter again and a rookie, especially if it is a 2nd or 3rd rounder, being overextended as well.

The Jets are going to need more than one addition at the safety position. Jim Leonhard is a logical addition if his rehab continues to go well. If Barron is taken in the first round, he is starting from day one and Leonhard is a clear cut backup which is where he should start the season off. If the Jets end up with somebody like Harrison Smith, George Iloka, or Markelle Martin. They may need to add a better option than Leonhard, whether that is Yeremiah Bell or a player acquired via trade.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets looked to boost their depth by spending one of their 6th or 7th round picks on a safety. They are thin enough right now where you can justify taking two safeties in one draft.

Check out TOJ’s selection for the Jets in the Zone Blitz Mock Draft

New York Jets: Day One Of New Offense

The New York Jets process of learning Tony Sparano’s new offense officially started today

The headlines surrounding the New York Jets first day of voluntary workouts centered on Santonio Holmes tone with reporters and his entertaining decision to Tweet a picture of himself wearing a shirt that said “captain.” Personally, I couldn’t give a damn if Holmes gave an attitude to reporters and how could you not crack a smile at that picture?

Let’s talk about more important things. In case you haven’t noticed, the Jets roster isn’t going to look much different from last season. They are relying on improvement to come from within and from a new offensive system led by Tony Sparano.

Not only does Sparano have to teach starting quarterback Mark Sanchez a new offense, different from the only one he has ever learned in the NFL, he needs to figure out how to best incorporate Tim Tebow’s Wildcat/Option package. He also needs to help the Jets rediscover their elite power running game, which was absent last year and find a way to hit big plays down the field in the passing game. Should be a busy man, no?

At a minimum, Tebow’s arrival should make the running game more dangerous and dynamic. If designed properly there will be more lanes for Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight from Tebow’s presence under center. Yet, the Jets will need Tebow to not just be their backup quarterback but be a primary ball carrying option. Greene hasn’t proven to be the “bell cow” the team thought he could be and McKnight, despite showing potential, hasn’t shown he is capable of being a 1B option full time.

Basically you are hoping Greene can be a 1A when he has produced like a 1B and that McKnight can be a 1B when he has produced like a backup. If they can both improve and Tebow gives them 5-10 strong carries a game, the Jets have the makings a capable three headed monster running the football. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they spent a late round pick on a running back to compete with Bilal Powell for a roster spot.

In the passing game, Sparano must find a way to compensate for Wayne Hunter or Vladimir Ducasse’s shortcomings at right tackle in pass protection. If the Jets can protect Sanchez, he has the ability to connect on passes down the field and outside of the hashes, areas he rarely had the opportunity to throw to in Brian Schottenheimer’s scheme.

Who will stretch the field? Santonio Holmes isn’t a true vertical receiver. He works better in the intermediate passing game and then making people miss after the catch. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t shake a defender with a double move every now and then, as he did in the Washington game last season on his game winning catch. Chaz Schilens has the top end speed and the size to be a good candidate to run go routes down the sideline, but can he stay healthy and can he produce consistently? Perhaps at a minimum he can give the Jets a Dedric Ward type threat. In 1998, Ward caught only 25 passes but averaged 19.8 yards per catch and hauled in 4 long touchdowns.

Dustin Keller and Jeremy Kerley both have the ability to get down the seam. Yet, with Kerley I would expect him to be used in a Davone Bess type role in Sparano’s offense, working in the slot and primarily in the short passing game. Bess averaged between 10 and 10.5 yards per catch the last four seasons under Sparano.

When it comes to Keller, interestingly enough Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano has averaged more yards per catch in three of the last four seasons. Most people have talked about Sparano using the tight end primarily as a blocker yet he has found ways to create a higher YPC for Fasano, despite him being much less than athletic and versatile than Keller. As we say every year, Keller has the skill set to consistently be a big play weapon. Can Sparano get the most out of him and have him picking up the big chunks of yardage this offense desperately needs?

Despite a lack of depth of receiver, running back, and right tackle, this offense still has talent. It is now up to Sparano to do what Brian Schottenheimer couldn’t, maximize that talent.

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.

When Quarterback Rankings Go Wrong: Jason Smith Of NFL.com

A recent ranking of NFL quarterbacks by Jason Smith of NFL.com has TOJ scratching his head

Jason Smith is a fantasy football writer for NFL.com. However, he recently ranked the top 32 quarterbacks in the league not based on their fantasy projections but just on where each quarterback in the NFL currently ranks heading into 2012 overall as a player. The list was a head scratcher to say the least, particularly with his classification of Mark Sanchez who continues to receive zero respect from any mainstream media analysts.

Sanchez is number 23 on this list. Behind Andrew Luck, Josh Freeman, Sam Bradford, Carson Palmer, Robert Griffin III, and Jake Locker. Let’s ignore the fact that Sanchez has more playoff wins (4) than all of these players combined (0) and then just compare stats.

In 2011, Sanchez threw for 3,747 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions with a 56.7 completion percentage. He also ran for 6 touchdowns, en route to leading his team to 8 wins. One other note, Sanchez has missed 1 start in 3 years of being a NFL starter.

Sam Bradford missed 6 starts last season. When he was on the field, he threw 6 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and had a 53.7 completion percentage. After a strong rookie year, he regressed. Sanchez has improved every single year since coming into the league.

Josh Freeman did have a higher completion percentage than Sanchez last year, at 62.8. He also threw for less yards at 3,592 and threw 22 interceptions to 16 touchdowns on a team that won 4 games. He regressed substantially in his third year, while Sanchez…at least statistically, did not.

Carson Palmer went 4-6 as a starter last year for Oakland, while throwing 13 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. He was also outplayed by Sanchez head to head in a playoff game in 2009, when the Jets beat Cincinnati in their building.

As a rookie, Jack Locker played meaningful snaps in three games. All three were losses. He threw a total of 66 passes last year. In Sanchez’s rookie year he won two road playoff games and started 15 regular season games.

Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck haven’t played a NFL snap yet. They could be Akili Smith and Ryan Leaf for all we know.

Other crazy parts of this list include Matt Ryan being listed ahead of Jay Cutler and Tony Romo. Ryan Fitzpatrick being ranked higher than Alex Smith and Tim Tebow not being included while Colt McCoy and Chad Henne are.

New York Jets: A New Rex Ryan On The Way?

What kind of changes will we see from Rex Ryan this year?

Last week New York Jets owner Woody Johnson made headlines by saying he would like to see his team on HBO’s Hard Knocks for a second time in three years. Today, head coach Rex Ryan made headlines by saying he doesn’t want his team featured on the show, apparently wanting to move away from the circus atmosphere surrounding the team last year that he helped perpetuate.

I am not sure how much of an impact Hard Knocks would have either way on the Jets season but this an admirable move by Ryan to stand up to ownership. Without question, Ryan’s pride took a major shot last year. A guy known as a players coach admittedly lost the pulse of his team, watched his locker room turn ugly and his team miss the playoffs for the first time of his career. The defense and running game he built his success on floundered last season.

Look for this to be the first of many moments this year where Rex pulls it back a little bit when it comes to the media. I am not saying he will change his personality entirely but look for a much more focused, slightly angrier approach from Ryan this season.

In the long run, last year could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to Ryan’s coaching career. He learned a valuable lesson about needing to be a true head coach not just a glorified defensive coordinator, along with how his comments could paint a target on his team’s back. Ryan should be more hands on when it comes all elements of the team this season and likely won’t be grabbing as many headlines with his press conference statements. I am not saying his attention grabbing statements will disappear entirely, and they shouldn’t, he just needs to pick his spots.

Rex Ryan has a very good defensive mind and had the right idea when he took over the Jets to build an identity around that defense and a power running game. His primary focus this season will be getting back to that.

Santonio Holmes Organizes Team Workouts In Florida

Santonio Holmes has organized workouts for his teammates and notes on the Jets in free agency

It was reported today by Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger that Santonio Holmes reached out to teammates about holding organized workouts in Florida. He has since been joined by quarterback Mark Sanchez, wide receiver Patrick Turner and tight end Dustin Keller with running back Joe McKnight also on the way.

The words coming from the workouts are encouraging, with Sanchez leading his teammates a few other players through offensive sessions, hopefully from incorporating what he learned about Tony Sparano’s offense from Chad Pennington.

Obviously this is what you want to hear after reported disagreements between Sanchez and Holmes last season. To most of the media, Holmes has bought himself the role of villan thanks to his actions in the regular season finale and from his inconsistencies, Sanchez has bought himself the role of hapless quarterback waiting to be benched for a guy who can’t complete an out route.

Yet, we know this: since the season ended Sanchez has tracked down Chad Pennington to take time to learn his new offense, has avoided the media spotlight and now is working out with his top two targets. Santonio Holmes has done charity work in Africa, worked out in Florida and now invited his teammates to join. Not bad for a pair of guys who are frequently discussed only in negative terms.

Other Notes

– Don’t expect the Jets to make any moves in free agency until the dust settles after the draft. They will then assess their depth chart and likely add a couple of low cost players to boost their depth on both sides of the ball.

Something to think about when wondering why the Jets are keeping cap space available.