1. Let’s start here – Darrelle Revis is an unique talent. He is the best cornerback in football when healthy by a wide margin. He is on pace to be a Hall of Fame player and his 2009 was the best individual season any New York Jet has ever put together. Revis has represented the team well off the field and is a homegrown best player on the roster. There is nothing easy about a decision to trade him and there is a credible argument for keeping him, regardless of the financial constraints.
2. However, the prospect of giving him a 15-16 million per year contract heading into this season has potentially dangerous long term ramifications for a needed rebuilding process. It is an exorbitant amount of money to sink into a position that isn’t quarterback, particularly when you have so many other holes in your current roster.
3. Do not kid yourself into thinking the New York Jets are not full of holes and do not need a complete roster makeover. This cannot be stressed enough. This team needs a starting quarterback. The top running back under contract is Bilal Powell. The top tight end under contract is Jeff Cumberland. The only guard under contract is Vladimir Ducasse. The only linebacker returning with starting experience is David Harris. The only two safeties under contract are Antonio Allen and Josh Bush. This is a team that currently has a CFL caliber roster. Do you want Revis at 16 million per year or four capable starters at 4 million per year, so you can field an offense that can score more than 6 points per game?
4. Revis is also coming off ACL surgery. Yes, with modern medicine that is not as daunting as it once was. Look at Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles. However, there is always an enormous risk in sinking that much money into a player coming off that type of injury.
5. If you don’t trade Revis now and he comes back healthy with a strong year in 2013, what if he walks away in free agency before the 2014 season? The Jets have a poor relationship with his agents (as evidenced by his previous two holdouts) and even with Mike Tannenbaum gone, they could still be difficult to deal with and bitter Revis wasn’t take care of before his walk year. It would be a crippling blow to lose a player of Revis’ caliber with zero compensation.
6. Cornerbacks are not that valuable. The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens do not have an All-Pro corner between them. The Ravens lost their top corner, Lardarius Webb, back in week 6 and have been fine. The Chicago Bears had two All-Pro corners, Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, and didn’t make the playoffs this year. The Jets finished second in the NFL this past season in passing yards allowed per game and Darrelle Revis played in 7 quarters.
7. Potential Trade Partner #1 – The Denver Broncos – They have done business with the Jets recently. They have a small window to win a championship with Peyton Manning. Their secondary was torched by the Baltimore Ravens in their divisional round loss. They have a low first round pick they wouldn’t be hesitant to part with and extra mid-round picks to spare. They also have a competent cornerback to spare (Chris Harris) and a running back who’d be a nice fit in the West Coast Offense (Ronnie Hillman). How about Revis for a 2013 first rounder, 2013 third rounder and Chris Harris? The Jets will have five picks in the first three rounds, which allows them to address their many needs and have flexibility if they want to move up for somebody.
8. Potential Trade Partner #2 – The Seattle Seahawks – (Pushed by our good friend Jeff Capellini) – They have a very good corner to offer back in Brandon Browner, along with a quarterback the Jets could have interest in with Matt Flynn. Seattle also had 10 draft picks this year and oh by the way…new GM John Idzik worked there last year.
9. Potential Trade Partner #3 – The Washington Redskins – Always willing to make a splash and badly need to improve their defense. They need a cornerback to deal with Dez Bryant, Victor Cruz and Chip Kelly’s new offense in Philadelphia. They have a few intriguing running backs on their roster in Evan Royster and Roy Helu that could be thrown in to sweeten a package of draft picks.
10. The difficulty of this situation comes from so much guaranteed money being locked up for Mark Sanchez, David Harris and Santonio Holmes which cripples the Jets flexibility and makes embracing a rebuild a necessary evil. Thanks Mike Tannenbaum!
11. A reminder of the point differential in all the Jets losses last year in case you think they are a player or two away from being a contender – 17, 34, 6, 3, 21, 21, 30, 4, 10, 19. That is an average margin of defeat of 16.5 points. They won 6 games, 4 against teams drafting in the top 12 this April and 1 against a team with a winning record.
12. Usually where there this is smoke, there is fire with these things…Jets fans should prepare for the reality of Revis being traded.
An inside look at Marty Mornhinweg’s offense and how the New York Jets personnel will translate to it
Turn On The Jets is happy to welcome guest contributor Michael Nolan for an inside look at Marty Mornhinweg’s offense. Nolan has spent time working at NFL Films, NBC Sports and coaching at the college level. He also happens to be a life long Philadelphia Eagles fan and thus somebody who has seen every game Morhinweg called for Philadelphia. Enjoy his in-depth look at the offense and how the Jets personnel will translate to it. Make sure to give him feedback and questions on Twitter, take it away Mike…
Let me start off by quickly saying that, as an Eagles fan, I completely understand what Jets fans are going through. There may not be two franchises in the NFL more similar than the Eagles and Jets. Both hate the Giants and Giants fans. Both have no idea who their QB will be in 2013. Both were victims of Spygate. Both have experienced brash and entertaining head coaches from the Ryan family. Both have had to suffer through Rich Kotite tenures that set our franchises back ten years. Both have extremely passionate, outspoken fan bases. Both have owners that seemingly don’t know anything about football (Yet have actually done a good job in hiring so far this offseason). Both have had combine monsters turn in to complete busts (Vernon Gholston = Mike Mamula). Both have had years of extreme lows and too many “almost” years. Wherever it has happened on their respective timelines there are quite a few parallels between the two franchises. The BIG difference is we haven’t won a Superbowl. So stop your whining.
Another thing that the Jets and Eagles share is the arrival of new offenses in 2013. The Jets recent hiring of former Eagles OC Marty Mornhinweg will certainly bring some much needed change. Mornhinweg is viewed as a West Coast Offense purist as he served as OC under both Steve Mariucci and Andy Reid. He even broke into the NFL with Holmgren’s Packers. If we were playing the NFL Coaching version of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” we could link him to Bill Walsh in only two degrees.
Perhaps he has gone under the radar, but when looking at the stats, Mornhinweg has been one of the best OC’s in the game over the past 15 years. His offenses ranked in the League’s top ten a whopping 8 times which is pretty good considering the terrible teams he had in Detroit. In San Francisco he made Terrell Owens and Jeff Garcia Pro Bowlers and saw Steve Young have some of his most productive years. In Philadelphia, Mornhinweg’s offenses were consistently at the top of the statistical heap with 5 different “franchise” quarterbacks.
While some form of the WCO is used in almost all offenses across the high school, college, and NFL ranks, to say a coach runs the West Coast Offense is to say that he has a certain philosophy on how to play offense. Mornhinweg’s offense at the core is your typical West Coach Offense. He wants to stretch the field horizontally instead of vertically to start. He wants to use three-step and five-step drops to time up with his slants, outs, ins, and crosses to hit receivers in stride and make the defense cover sideline to sideline. After he has established the short passing game and safeties start to jump certain routes, he wants to open it up with skinny posts and deep shots. If he is playing from behind they will still continue to air the ball out no matter how effective it has been. f he is up, get ready for a heavy dose of an athletic RB running Inside, Mid, and Outside Zone as well as your inside power game to take advantage of a tired defense.
While the basic philosophy rings true for Mornhinweg, he has shown the ability to break away from the more monotonous versions of the WCO. He was actually a nice break from Andy Reid’s often times frustrating dink and dunk aerial assault when he took over the Eagles play calling duties in 2006. Reid’s offenses almost always led the league in Pass to Run ratio, a stat that most Eagles fans weren’t proud of with a stud playmaker in the backfield. When this came to a boiling point with Eagles fans after a 45-21 thumping by the Colts in Week 12, Reid relinquished play calling duties to Mornhinweg. The result: Jeff Garcia was able to save the season at QB as he efficiently led an offense that was made for him and Brian Westbrook’s carries went from 14.6 per game to 19.5 per game and the Eagles rattled off 5 straight wins to surprisingly get into the playoffs.
Mornhinweg and the Run Game
Mornhinweg’s version of the West Coast Offense is a little bit different than that of his contemporaries. While at the core of his offense is the timing aspects of the horizontal passing game, he has been much more willing to involve the running game. In Mornhinweg’s offense, the RB is like a closer in baseball. It was common in Philly for Westbrook or McCoy to go in to halftime with a handful of carries and between 20-40 yards only to explode in the second half and ice the game.
Mornhinweg will utilize several different types of running schemes. His favorite is the zone scheme. In the zone scheme, the offensive line is ultimately responsible for their play side gap and utilizes combo blocks to get to the second level. On inside zone with the entire line stepping play side, linebackers often time over flow so an athletic back like LeSean McCoy can make one cut backside and gain big yardage. hey run it from under center and in the gun, with a lot more success coming from the gun for McCoy. Most of Brian Westbrook’s carries on inside zone came from under center, so he is flexible depending on personnel. They will also run a mid-zone or stretch play that has proven to be very successful for them. Here the line steps play side with the intention of creating even greater flow to the outside. The back can either take the outside if it is there or stretch the LOS horizontally and make a cut up field. To a lesser extent, they will utilize a gap running scheme. Here the play side linemen are responsible for whatever shows in their backside gap, while the backside guard pulls play side. The Eagles generally run their gap scheme out of a two back set. One of McCoy’s most successful running plays was the counter play. Mornhinweg does a nice job of setting up the counter play by hitting a defense with inside zone or mid-zone a few times.
He has also shown the ability to get creative in the run game, finding new ways to get his athletes in space. His favorite run play over the past few seasons was a sprint draw, especially with Michael Vick under center. After running sprint action a few times in the pass game, this play would have Vick sprint out to his left only to drop the ball into McCoy’s stomach. his was a big play for the Eagles especially with Jason Peters at tackle. Peters would invite the pass rushing end up field after the quarterback and then get down field and block the next player to show outside. He would essentially block two players as McCoy would sprint downfield, often times untouched for the first ten or fifteen yards. Mornhinweg loves misdirection run plays out of a split set including quick pitches and fake toss belly where the QB fakes toss to McCoy to hand the ball to another back up the middle.
There are a few negatives about Mornhinweg’s ground game however. Even though he runs the ball more than most WCO coordinators, he won’t run the ball nearly as much as Jets fans are used to. Might be a positive, but it could get frustrating if the run game is clicking. His goal line offense has also left a lot to be desired often times sticking to his more creative run plays instead of just plowing behind the big guys. These are some of the give and takes you get with a finesse running game.
This scheme can also help the Jets offensive line get back to where they were in 2009. The Jets have one of the more athletic offensive lines in the NFL. The inside three of Slauson-Mangold-Moore are somewhat undersized and developed their run blocking pedigree, not because they are big bruisers, but because they have good feet that allow them to gain leverage and finish blocks. If that inside three is kept intact, they could develop into one of the premier zone run lines in the league.
The only concerning thing in the zone scheme is the length of the starting OTs. Generally, your more successful zone lineman is a little shorter than the 6’6” – 6’7” range because of the leverage and quick feet you need to have to perform a combo block. Ferguson and Howard should be athletic enough to be successful in the scheme. Another thing you could see since they are athletic tackles is the appearance of the Sprint Draw. No matter the QB, I can guarantee a sprint/boot package will be developed for them. It has been a big part of the WCO in the past and the Sprint Draw is the perfect “keep the defense honest” play out of that package. Don’t forget that Howard actually played in this offense in 2010 with Philly.
Mornhinweg and the Pass Game
Before the Air Coryell and WCO offenses hit the NFL, teams would often times pass out of necessity as opposed to strategy. Teams who started running the WCO could substitute short pass plays for running plays on first down, thus creating a more unpredictable offense. Defenses could no longer stack the box on first down and offenses were able to find more creative ways to stay on schedule. While his offense has shown more of a running tendency than most WCOs, at the base of Mornhinweg’s offense is the quick timing short routes that can open up the entire playbook.
The Mornhinweg offense relies on high percentage throws and timing. His favorite types of pass plays can be put into two groups. The first is horizontal routes run by athletic receivers who can make a play after catching the ball in space. These routes are often open because of route combinations whether it is with high-low concepts that put linebackers in a bind in zone coverage or through clearing routes that can take a safety out of the equation. These are the type of routes receivers like Terrell Owens and DeSean Jackson made a living on in Mornhinweg’s offense. The second is pure timing routes that excel against man to man. Receivers are required to run perfectly timed slants, outs, and hitches. These are the routes that receivers like Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant have thrived at.
Once both of these types of routes have proven successful, it is time to take some shots. This is something Mornhinweg has proven to be very adept at in his Eagles tenure as he will usually take about 4 or 5 deep shots a game. Most times he sets up his deep shots. When both the horizontal routes and the timing routes start hitting, safeties start jumping underneath routes and corners start playing tighter on the outside. This is when Mornhinweg takes some chances. Other times, he just does it with no set up at all. Remember the first play on Monday Night Football where Vick hit DeSean Jackson on a deep post for 88 yards against current Jet LaRon Landry after Landry said he was going to put Jackson to sleep: One of the best “FU moments” in recent memory. An offensive coordinator who is willing to change up the game plan right before taking the field to go after a player who won’t stop chirping is right up Rex Ryan’s alley.
Another important part of Mornhinweg’s pass scheme is the option route. Most of his passing plays, especially on 1st and 3rd downs, will have option routes. This means that the receiver has to decide what route to run based on whether it is man or zone and based on where the defense’s leverage is in coverage. Receivers also need to be smart enough to recognize blitzes and make sight adjustments for the QB to throw “hot”. This is something the Eagles always struggled with in both the McNabb and Vick eras.
The other part of the pass game that is often overlooked is the screen game. Mornhinweg’s Eagles were perennially considered one of the best screen teams in the NFL. He has always used the screen as another way to keep the defense off balance and will literally run a screen on any down on any part of the field. I have seen him use screens both on the goal line and backed up into his own end zone.
What this means for the Jets
This all sounds well and good looking at his past teams, but Mornhinweg’s been most successful when he has had a veteran Quarterback who had run the WCO prior to playing for him (Favre as QB Coach, Young, McNabb, Garcia). His other successes were short lived: Vick for about a season and a half, Kevin Kolb for about 2 games and Nick Foles for a few games. With the exception of Vick’s best passing seasons in 2010 and 2011, Mornhinweg has never taken a non-WCO QB and developed them into an NFL success (See Charlie Batch and Joey Harrington).
The WCO requires a quarterback to have extremely good relationships with their WRs. WRs need to be getting out of their break as the QB is releasing the football. The QB has to have great feet and an ability to make a quick decision and get rid of the football. Two things Sanchez has struggled at recently. From watching an early morning episode of NFL Matchup you can see that Sanchez’s footwork and inability to read and react has been his downfall over the past year. Maybe Mornhinweg will be able to change this.
Perhaps Mornhinweg’s greatest accomplishment was turning Michael Vick from a career 53% passer in to a 61% passer with the Eagles. It will be interesting to see if Mornhinweg will be able to develop Sanchez or another QB from Free Agency in the same way. Where both Vick and Sanchez get into trouble is their propensity to turn the ball over. When Vick got stuck behind one of the worst offensive lines in football in 2012, he was either getting hurt or turning the ball over. Sanchez will be behind a much better OLine in New York. If he can limit turnovers and play smart by making quick reads and then hitting his check down he could develop into an efficient QB in this offense. Mornhinweg will need to dial it down for Sanchez just as he did with Vick in his first two years. Give Sanchez two reads and a check down. Don’t allow him to have the whole field to scan because that is when he hesitates. This is where he will also need to get Sanchez back into the Sprint or Rollout game. Cut the field in half for Sanchez and make his reads easier.
The Michael Vick Eagles had skilled players like Jackson, Maclin, Celek, and McCoy. Although I don’t think the Jets have this level of skill players right now, they might have the personnel on the edge to make this offense work if everyone is healthy. If Holmes can regain his focus, this can be the perfect offense for him at the flanker position. Mornhinweg will put him all over the field in the DeSean Jackson role where he can stretch the field both horizontally and vertically. I can see Kerley filling this role as well and playing an important role in 3 and 4 wide sets. Braylon Edwards has the experience to fit the role of the split end who is more of a possession receiver running the slants, outs, hitches and fitting into windows on third down a la Jason Avant. Stephen Hill could also fill this role, but needs to greatly develop his route running ability and getting off press coverage. If Dustin Keller is back, he can flourish in this offense because he is the exact same player as Brent Celek. (If a big goof like Chad Lewis can be a pro bowler in this offense, then Keller could have one of his best years.)
RBs will also play an important role in the pass game. What Mornhinweg will bring to the Jets that they have never had is a great screen game. The screen game will utilize an athletic offensive line and allow backs like Powell and McKnight to get into open space. They will also have to be check down backs. Mornhinweg’s backs have always been excellent chip blockers (especially Westbrook) before they get out into their check downs. Fullbacks also play a key role in the check down game and off play action. Corey Schlesinger was the Lions second leading receiver under Mornhinweg.
Warning: If things are clicking in the Mornhinweg offense, it can be one of the most explosive and exciting offenses in the NFL. If things are not clicking and everyone hasn’t bought in like the Eagles of 2012, it can be one of the more frustrating offenses to watch. I blame most of this on the offensive line being one of the NFL’s worst. (We drafted a 26 year old fireman from Canada who played football for a total of two years in the 1st round). I don’t think this will happen for the Jets because they have a solid line. In the past, his offense could get stagnant at times as he could break away from what made them successful. However, it was tough to tell whether it was Mornhinweg or Reid’s influence that led to this. In New York, we will find out because he will have full control of the offense.
There will definitely be some growing pains as Mornhinweg revamps the Jets’ offense. He will need to develop some of the younger receivers to fit his system of short precise route running with options routes and sight adjustments. He will need to get Holmes and Edwards to buy in. He will need to determine whether he can find his next breakout do-it-all Running Back on the current roster or through the draft or free agency. And he will have to develop Sanchez beyond the efficient QB he was in the beginning of his career or find someone in free agency to run the offense. It’s a tall order, but if Mornhinweg either develops Sanchez or is given a better situation at QB, this offense will be one that Jets fans will come to enjoy. It is a welcome change to the “three yards and a cloud of dust” offense that Sparano wanted to run, but it isn’t too drastic a change since Mornhinweg is one of the more run heavy WCOers. If the Jets can address the player personnel the same way they addressed their front office and coaching staff this offseason, they can develop into an explosive offense more like the 2010 Eagles. If Mornhinweg doesn’t get the things he needs then they could end up looking like the 2001 Detroit Lions.
SI’s Peter King reports today that the Jets asking price for Darrelle Revis will be a first round pick, but it’s not enough to warrant getting rid of the game’s best cover corner. As long as the Revis legal team can somehow avoid a third contractual confrontation with Woody Johnson, we see no reason why new GM John Idzik should send Revis packing for the potential of some unknown commodity. No matter how highly touted the pick is.
Revis makes top flight wideouts invisible. Antonio Cromartie, coming off of an outstanding year, is as good of a second tier top CB as one could ask for, but he’s no Revis. Together, the two form the best tandem in football at a time when quality passing teams have become harder to slow down. The Jets held together defensively without Revis, but it would be hard to argue that they won’t be a better secondary with him once again.
An expiring contract in 2013 and his recent ACL tear make the chances of obtaining a treasure chest full of players and picks in return for Revis lower than they would have been, had he finished 2012 healthy. If the rebuilding Jets are truly shopping Revis, then it’s time to ask for a king’s ransom regardless. Gang Green has to make others figure out a reworked long term deal for the rehabbing star before 2014 and risk doing so at a high cost, as opposed to watching Revis thrive elsewhere for less than top level compensation. In other words, keep him, or find a way to obtain enough talent for him, that the trade helps to rebuild the roster all by itself. One or the other.
Perhaps the unconfirmed reports that Woody and Co. are dangling Revis to prospective buyers isn’t quite true. That the chatter was instead a purposeful and indirect warning shot from the Johnson bunker. One whose intended message is meant for Revis implying that “there will be no contract drama this time around. Any extraneous noise will lead to a new address Darrelle, so forget playing hardball. Come ready to make a deal this time.”
If the reports are in fact true, then Idzik and the Jets can talk and listen when it comes to Revis all they want. As long as they set an asking price for Revis that resembles the level of Revis himself. One that goes way beyond one unproven first rounder in April. No matter how much immediate help the 6-10 club needs.
What do you think would be an appropriate return on a trade for Darrelle Revis? Let us know in the comment section or on Twitter…@TheJetReport or @TurnOnTheJets
1 – The Quarterback – The Jets aren’t accomplishing anything until the quarterback position stabilized. A decision has to be reached on Mark Sanchez. If he is going to be cut or traded, how do the Jets deal with the cap ramifications? If he is going to stay, who is going to be brought in to compete with him? The Jets need a veteran with starting experience and a mid-round pick in the mix next season regardless of what happens with Sanchez.
2 – Revis – We touched on this earlier today but are you signing him long term or are you trading him? You can’t let him play out his contract and then walk after this season. If you do trade, you must receive a substantial haul of draft picks. If you do sign him long term, you must get Antonio Cromartie on the trade block to get his 8 million off the books and get draft picks back for him.
3 – Current Free Agents – Shonn Greene is a goner. LaRon Landry likely is also. But what will Idzik do about starting tight end Dustin Keller, starting guards Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore, key defensive lineman Mike DeVito and starting safety Yeremiah Bell? You can’t keep everybody but how are going to replace the players who are leaving, particularly the two starting guards?
4 – Trade Bait – It won’t just be Revis and Cromartie on the trading block. The Jets will be making calls about Santonio Holmes, David Harris and maybe a few others. The more awful contracts they can get off the books, the better.
5 – Cut The Crap – Bart Scott. Calvin Pace. Jason Smith. Eric Smith. Good-Bye.
6 – Stockpile Draft Picks – The Jets currently have 7 picks. Hopefully, they end up with 10-12 picks. This team needs quantity and quality in April.
In case you forgot just how much work Idzik has ahead of him, here is a look at the Jets current depth chart of players under contract and factoring in players who will absolutely be cut for cap purposes (Pace, Scott etc)
A few comments on the rumors about the New York Jets trading Darrelle Revis
The Internet almost exploded last night from this report from Jason La Canfora, which in a nutshell said the New York Jets would consider trading Darrelle Revis this off-season out of a fear of being unable to sign him long term.
First off, the sourcing on this report likely comes from the recent GM interviews, considering candidate Ted Sundquist has leaked what Woody Johnson said about Tim Tebow and his relationship with Rex Ryan. It makes sense that when interviewing prospective candidates Woody Johnson would broach the subject of Revis and say something along the lines of “we need a solution to Revis considering he is going to be a free agent after next year, we can’t franchise him and he will likely be commanding to be the highest paid defensive player in the league…and he is coming off ACL surgery.” Of course this gets reported like the Jets have been calling every team in the league begging them to take Revis in a trade.
It is called doing your due diligence. Every option is on the table with every player on the Jets roster. It doesn’t mean that Revis will actually get traded, it just means it is an option that needs to be researched and explored.
Is there a strong argument to trading Revis? Yes. Are you going to pay him 16 million per year right now coming off ACL surgery, when you have no quarterback, running back, linebackers or guards? Are you going to let him play out this season and then watch him walk away in free agency for nothing? There is a short term cap hit in trading Revis but it would return value, likely in the form of draft picks and free up money long term.
Revis is a terrific player. The best cornerback in football and one of the best players in Jets history. There is nothing wrong with having a strong sentiment to keep him but if you do, Antonio Cromartie must be traded and LaRon Landry is walking in free agency (and this probably happening regardless of what happens with Revis).
Sooner or later, Jets fans need to accept the reality that you don’t build around two cornerbacks. The Jets roster is completely depleted on offense and at linebacker. It doesn’t matter how great your cornerback duo is if you can’t score points or rush the passer. Who are the 49ers corners? Who are the Ravens corners? What about the Patriots and Falcons? Teams don’t win paying 25 million dollars to two cornerbacks annually.
We have broached the subject of trading Revis here before. It is a reasonable option to explore. There is nothing wrong with doing the proper research. The Jets are rebuilding. The sonner people accept it, the better.
Chris Gross with his first mock draft of 2013, who will the Jets take at #9?
Welcome to our introductory NFL Mock Draft here at Turn On The Jets. As we move closer to April, we will periodically update this series based on a variety of factors including Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, and Pro Day/Individual Workout performances, as well as adjusting to any free agency signings and trades, once the new league year begins. For now, let’s take a look at how the first round could shake out based on where each prospect, and NFL team, currently stand. Be sure to check back tomorrow, as our draft team breaks down the top 5 Wide Receiver prospects in this year’s class from a New York Jets perspective.
Note: Picks 31 and 32 are subject to change based on Super Bowl Winner/Loser. For now, we will use each team’s overall regular season record to position their draft order. From this, San Francisco would get the 32nd pick, with Baltimore selecting before them at 31. This by no means indicates a Super Bowl prediction.
1.) Kansas City Chiefs –Luke Joeckel, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M: This is a very interesting spot for the Chiefs. Kansas City has a quality tackle in place in Branden Albert, but he is set to hit Free Agency this offseason. The Chiefs could opt to resign him, but letting him walk and selecting Joeckel, a player that can perform just as good, if not better than Albert next season, would make sense financially, and would give Kansas City a solid cornerstone to begin the Andy Reid era, as Joeckel is the cream of the crop in this year’s group of offensive tackles. Quarterback is certainly a need for Kansas City, but unfortunately for the Chiefs, there isn’t a player that has emerged as being worthy of the first overall selection just yet. Look for Reid to target a signal caller early in round 2.
2.) Jacksonville Jaguars –Damontre Moore, Defensive End, Texas A&M: Jacksonville, like Kansas City, has a great need at quarterback, as former 1st round selection Blaine Gabbert has performed rather miserably in his short NFL career. However, no quarterback has emerged as a safe pick here for the Jaguars. Conversely, newly hired Head Coach Gus Bradley comes from a defensive background, and surely understands the value of having top notch pass rushers to send after quarterbacks. Coming from the Seattle Seahawks, Bradley has seen first hand how important pass rushers are to the success of a defense, having utilized rookie Bruce Irvin and veteran Chris Clemons significantly last season. With Bradley likely sticking to a 4-3 defense in Jacksonville, Moore makes perfect sense. Justin Babin will likely be back with the Jaguars, but at 32 years old, Jacksonville needs to think long term at the position.
3.) Oakland Raiders –Star Lotulelei, Defensive Tackle, Utah: Lotulelei may very well be the best defensive player in this year’s draft. He is versatile enough to fit in any scheme, having the explosion and agility to be a playmaking 3 technique, while also possessing the size and strength to be a run stuffing 0/1 technique. Oakland is very thin in the defensive front seven, and defensive tackle Tommy Kelly could be a cap casualty, as he is slated to make $19.5 million over the next three seasons. Kelly has certainly underperformed his contract, and could be the first to go in the cleansing process that is likely to take place in Oakland. Lotulelei would provide an immediate upgrade from Kelly, at a much cheaper cost, while giving the Raiders defense a building block for the coming year.s
4.) Philadelphia Eagles –Bjoern Werner, Defensive End, Florida State: Many expect the newly hired Chip Kelly to choose an offensive player with this selection. While that is certainly a good possibility, there aren’t any offensive skill players worthy of this selection. A lot will depend on how Philadelphia approaches free agency, but they certainly cannot ignore how abysmal their pass rush was last season, finishing on par with the Jets for 25th in the league in sacks, recording just 30 over the entire season. Justin Babin was released late in the season as a casualty of such a fault, and Werner would provide a tremendous upgrade almost immediately. He is extremely tough, has a tremendous motor, and shows excellent awareness regardless of where he is lined up. Depending on how Philadelphia moves forward, from a defensive philosphical stand point, Werner could end up being a perfect fit. He transitioned from primarily a 6I technique (inside shoulder of the TE) during his junior season, to more of an edge rusher for his senior year. He would provide great versatility to Philadelphia’s pass rush moving forward.
5.) Detroit Lions –Dee Milliner, Cornerback, Alabama: While Detroit is another team in need of adding offensive playmakers outside of Calvin Johnson, the defensive secondary in the motor city can certainly be upgraded. While they did not rank horribly in passing yards surrendered per game last season, they had an abysmal 11 interceptions throughout the whole year. Detroit has lacked a true ball hawk defensive back for years. With the strength of their defense coming from the defensive line, they need to finally complement Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, and Cliff Avril with a CB who will strike fear into opposing quarterbacks. Milliner is by far the best of the bunch this year. At nearly 6’1″ 197lbs, he has the size to match up with any opposing wide receiver, and having come from a collegiate career coached by defensive backs guru Nick Saban, he will be NFL ready from day 1.
6.) Cleveland Browns –Barkevious Mingo, Defensive End, LSU: Cleveland, like so many other teams, have struggled to find a premier pass rusher in recent years. Newly appointed defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, will be installing a very aggressive defensive scheme, according to recent statements. This bodes well for a player like Mingo, a guy with a bit of boom or bust potential, but also with an extremely high ceiling. With Horton proclaiming he will not be married to any particular scheme on defense, he can look to Mingo’s versatility to provide him with a weapon in the front seven. Mingo is athletic enough to play as an outside linebacker in a 3-4, and has the frame to add some weight if asked to put his hand on the ground in a 4-3. Cleveland could also look to add a starter on the interior offensive line, such as Alabama’s Chance Warmack, pairing him with former teammate Trent Richardson.
7.) Arizona Cardinals –Eric Fisher, Offensive Tackle, Central Michigan: It is no secret that Arizona has struggled up front in recent years, particularly last season, having surrendered a league high 58 sacks. Is it a secret as to why Kevin Kolb has struggled to find success in the desert? Opinions on Kolb will vary, but few quarterbacks can have success when they are constantly under that amount of pressure. Enter Eric Fisher. Fisher is a prospect who is quickly rising up draft boards, having put together some very impressive practices for the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. While quarterback is still a need for Arizona, there is no reason to reach for someone with the 7th overall selection while there are still so many holes up front.
8.) Buffalo Bills –Jarvis Jones, Outside Linebacker, Georgia: Jones is, to me, the premier linebacker in this year’s draft class. He is extremely aggressive, shows excellent bend and ability to turn the corner, while most importantly displaying a very high motor. This pick makes sense for a number of reasons. First, Buffalo needs a quality linebacker to put behind Mario Williams, who they paid a ridiculous amount of money to in free agency last year. Like the Jets, Williams was hampered by a lack of supporting cast, but still managed to accumulate 10.5 sacks on the year. Imagine what he could do if teams suddenly had to account for Jones’s ability to rush the passer as well? Secondly, look who selects directly behind the Bills. Do you think Buffalo wants to see New York select a player who could wreak havoc on whoever their quarterback may be in the coming years? Newly appointed Bills, and former Jets defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine knows a good deal about Rex Ryan and his desire to find his next Terrell Suggs. Combine that with his desire to attain versatile linebackers, and this pick becomes a no brainer for Buffalo.
9.) New York Jets –Chance Warmack, Guard, Alabama: This may not be a popular pick among some Jets faithful, but considering the board at this point, as well as the Jets poor play on the interior of the offensive line last year, the value for Warmack here is tremendous. There may not be a better player at their position in the country than Warmack, and with guards Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson set to hit free agency, the Jets will need to add at the position. Considering what will be available in the free agent market, Warmack is easily the best option for New York at the position. He will likely perform better than any free agent guard, while coming in on a low cost rookie contract. Place him on the line with Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Austin Howard, who has shown improvement with more playing time, and a guard to be named later, and all of a sudden the Jets have put together an offensive line that has the potential to rival what they had in 2009 and 2010.
10.) Tennessee Titans –Manti Te’o, Inside Linebacker, Notre Dame: By the time the draft comes around, all of the recent nonsense regarding Te’o will likely be overlooked by his strong career resume, and an expected strong combine performance. This is certainly a bit of a risk, considering the mental issues that need to be taken into account, but from what it seems, Te’o has a good team of advisors that will steer him in the right direction during the interview process. From Tennessee’s standpoint, the Titans need a player who can anchor their defense for years to come. They have promising pass rushers up front in Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley, but the defense has lacked a true force in the middle since losing Keith Bulluck a couple seasons ago. While Te’o may not possess the sideline to sideline ability of some of his counterparts, he is a natural downhill player with the a knack for finding the ball.
11.) San Diego Chargers –Lane Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma: San Diego, like many other teams drafting this early, have been poor on the offensive line over recent years. Phillip Rivers is still a very good quarterback, but one whose game desperately relies on protection. Johnson has put together a very good string of practices at the Senior Bowl this week, and is expected to run a sub 5.0 40 yard dash at the Combine. At 6’6″ and over 300lbs, numbers like that will cause his draft stock to soar. Considering Joeckel and Fisher are off the board at this point, Johnson becomes the best tackle available, and an immediate upgrade to a Chargers offense that will be looking to reclaim its old ways under new Head Coach Mike McCoy.
12.) Miami Dolphins –Kenny Vaccaro, Safety, Texas: Miami is a very intriguing team to watch this offseason. With around $40 million in available cap space along with 10 draft picks, including 5 in the first 100, expect the Dolphins to be very active when the new league year officially starts. That being said, this selection is extremely subject to change with their expected plethora of moves coming prior to the draft. Miami is in need of a big play wide receiver, but with so much available cap space, there is a high likelihood of them signing Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe, or Greg Jennings in free agency. That takes us to Miami’s defense. While this unit is surely nothing to laugh about, they have struggled at times to defend the pass. A cornerback would be ideal here, however with Milliner off the board, there is not much value in selecting a player like Johnthan Banks or another corner with the 12th overall selection. Vaccaro, on the other hand, is the top safety in this year’s class. He has great instinct, and has shown much better range than I had originally given him credit for in our initial big board. Depending on how he performs at the combine, Vaccaro could be very valuable in this spot. A pass rusher to place opposite Cameron Wake is another option for Miami.
13.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers –Dion Jordan, Defensive End, Oregon: Middle Linebacker is another position of need for Tampa Bay, but the Buccaneers are desperate for an explosive pass rusher to complement the emerging Gerald McCoy. Michael Bennett has been solid, but the other side of the defensive line remains an issue. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and Da’Quan Bowers combined for just 7 sacks last season, partially causing the Buccaneers to finish 29th in the league in sacks, with just 27 as a team. Jordan could provide immediate upgrade in this area, as he has tremendous athleticism and the long frame to be a very good 4-3 defensive end in this league. Tampa Bay can then look to add to their linebacking corps in the 2-3 rounds.
14.) Carolina Panthers –Cordarrelle Patterson, Wide Receiver, Tennessee: Outside of Steve Smith, the Panthers group of wide receivers is rather lackluster. While running back may be a need, particularly if the team decides to part ways with Deangelo Williams, Cam Newton needs a target other than the aging Smith. Patterson has great size at 6’3″ 205 lbs, and is expected to run somewhere in the 4.4 range at the combine. This could end up being a great weapon for Newton, who struggled mightily at times last season, and a solid combination in the coming years.
15.) New Orleans Saints –Sheldon Richardson, Defensive Tackle, Missouri: New Orleans had an extremely poor season from a defensive standpoint last year, particularly against the run, having surrendered a league high 147.6 YPG on the ground. While their secondary was also lackluster, there are few, if any, teams that can have defensive success while giving up so many yards on the ground. Richardson has the quickness and overall speed to be a very disruptive 3 technique in the Saints’ 4-3 scheme, while possessing enough power to be a pure run stuffer in the middle.
16.) St. Louis Rams –Giovani Bernard, Running Back, North Carolina: St. Louis has done a tremendous job of bolstering their defensive personnel over the past few drafts. Offensively, they have been able to put a decent cast of playmakers on the field, but many of their top performers are often hampered by injury. Steven Jackson is set to hit free agency this offseason, and his asking price could be out of the range of what St. Louis is willing to pay him. Bernard would provide an excellent, young replacement for Jackson. While he should not be expected to produce at a level that Jackson might next season, he is extremely versatile, and has shown he can be an every down back. This would be a very nice transition for the Rams at the running back position, and they could address their other needs, namely Tight End, later on.
17.) Pittsburgh Steelers –Ed Lacy, Running Back, Alabama: Like St. Louis, Pittsburgh will have RB Rashard Mendenhall hitting free agency this offseason, who is very unlikely to return after a 2012 season that was hampered by lingering injuries and sudden character issues. Jonathan Dwyer and Issac Redman were solid last year, but neither have truly been tested as an every down back, and both will be restricted free agents. Conversely, the Steelers parted ways with Chris Rainey earlier this month following a domestic battery charge. One way or another, the Steelers’ backfield is poised for an overhaul, and Lacy is just the type of hard-nosed, downhill runner that Pittsburgh has valued as a vital piece of their offense over the years.
18.) Dallas Cowboys –Sharrif Floyd, Defensive Tackle, Florida: Dallas has players all over the roster, but have not been able to put anything together over the past few seasons for a variety of reasons. While there are still issues on the offensive line, the Cowboys have had recent off the field issues with their interior defensive lineman. The team could very well end up parting ways with Jay Ratliff, who was recently arrested for a DWI following a very poor 2012 campaigned highlighted by a reported argument with Owner/GM Jerry Jones in the locker room following a December 2nd win over the Eagles. If the Cowboys do, in fact, part ways with Ratliff, Floyd could provide an immediate replacement at defensive tackle. Floyd is an ideal fit as a 3 technique in Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2 scheme, and has taken tremendous strides to repair his public image since facing NCAA violations early in his career at Florida.
19.) New York Giants –Ezekiel Ansah, Defensive End, BYU: Ansah is tremendously gifted athletically, but is probably the most raw prospect in the entire draft. Having just over a year of experience playing the sport, Ansah was able to produce at BYU because of his superior athletic ability. However, his technique is very poor, as shown by his struggles during this week’s practices at the Senior Bowl. While there is certainly some bust potential here, there aren’t many teams who can grow pass rushers quite like the Giants, making this an ideal fit. With Osi Umenyiora likely leaving this offseason, and Justin Tuck beginning to age, Ansah could serve as an understudy to Jason Pierre-Paul and Tuck, and could potentially develop into the next great Giants pass rusher in a few years.
20.) Chicago Bears –Alec Ogletree, Inside Linebacker, Georgia: It is no secret that Chicago has some serious issues on the offensive line. However, Brian Urlacher is aging rapidly, and is set to hit free agency this offseason. Whether or not the Bears opt to move on from the player who has been the foundation of the franchise for over a decade remains to be seen. Regardless, if Urlacher is retained by Chicago, odds are it will be on a short-term, low cost deal. That will pave the way for an incumbent, Ogletree, to be groomed underneath him and progressively take over as the full time starter. Ogletree, like Urlacher, is a converted safety, so there may not be a better player to learn the position from. Offensive line is certainly another option here, but with the depth of the class, the Bears can address that need in the following rounds.
21.) Cincinnati Bengals –Johnthan Banks, Cornerback, Mississippi State: Cincinnati has put together a tremendous defensive front seven over the past few years. The back end of the defense has been solid as well, but Adam Jones will turn 30 next season and is entering free agency on the gradual decline of his career. Cincinnati can opt to let him walk, while drafting the young and promising Banks from Mississippi State to place opposite Leon Hall. At 6’2″ Banks has excellent size, and is best in man coverage, something Head Coach Marvin Lewis could use as a weapon. Banks would give the Bengals one of the most well rounded, youngest defenses in all of football.
22.) St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) –Tyler Eifert, Tight End, Notre Dame: St. Louis certainly needs some offensive help to provide Sam Bradford with the best chance to succeed. Starting Matthew Mulligan at Tight End isn’t necessarily the best way to go about doing that. While Mulligan can be a decent backup TE, Bradford needs a reliable weapon in the passing game. Eifert is arguably the best in his class this year, with tremendous size and athletic ability. He has a knack for getting to the ball at its highest point, and has proved worthy as a blocker in the run game as well.
23.) Minnesota Vikings –Geno Smith, Quarterback, West Virginia: The first curveball of this draft. While the Vikings have some holes across the roster that need to be addressed, it is difficult to see them confidently believing that Christian Ponder can take them where they want to go. While Ponder is signed through the next 2 years, his rookie contract makes him expendable, giving Minnesota flexibility at the position. Smith would provide a very interesting dynamic to the Vikings’ offense. His accuracy and playmaking ability would give them an entirely new dimension to work with. It’s very difficult to not get excited about an offensive core of Smith, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, and Matt Kalil.
24.) Indianapolis Colts –D.J. Fluker, Offensive Tackle, Alabama: While the Colts offensive line wasn’t a complete disaster last year, it can certainly be upgraded. Andrew Luck was sacked 41 times last season, the 9th most out of any other starting quarterback. Luck is without question the key to success in Indianapolis, so the Colts would be wise to protect their investment by adding Fluker, who would likely start at either tackle spot right away.
25.) Seattle Seahawks –Zach Ertz, Tight End, Stanford: Seattle had a tremendous season, one that certainly exceeded most expectations. Russell Wilson was fantastic during his rookie campaign, and looks poised to be an excellent quarterback for years to come. One dynamic that was missing from Seattle’s offense, however, was quality play from the tight end in the passing game. The Seahawks added Zach Miller last offseason, but injuries limited him to just 38 receptions for 396 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Seahawks would be wise to add a playmaker at tight end, and Ertz would be just the guy. Rivaling Eifert for the top TE in the class, Ertz would see significant reps right away, while adding another dynamic to Seattle’s already dynamic offense.
26.) Green Bay Packers –Le’Veon Bell, Running Back, Michigan State: The Packers have lacked a quality running back for years and have been able to succeed solely on Aaron Rodgers and the passing game. It is about time for Green Bay to add their every down back, and establish a true running game, something that would give opposing defensive coordinators nightmares. While Bell certainly has his question marks, he is very underrated in terms of his elusiveness and agility. He is also the type of bigger back (6’2″ 240 lbs) who will provide a brutal downhill running style when it gets cold in the later months at Lambeau Field. Bell can also contribute as a receiver out of the backfield as well as a blocker in pass protection.
27.) Houston Texans –Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver, West Virginia: While solid offensively, Houston needs a dynamic playmaker on offense to pair with Arian Foster and Andre Johnson. The Texans’ receiving corps, beyond Johnson, is rather abysmal. Kevin Walter and Keshawn Martin aren’t terrible by any stretch of the word, but neither of them have the big play ability of Austin. Austin would bring an immense amount of versatility to an offense that is slowly becoming stale. His ability in the return game would also provide an added dimension to how the Texans could use him.
28.) Denver Broncos –Desmond Trufant, Cornerback, Washington: After seeing Torrey Smith roast Champ Bailey numerous times in Denver’s divisional round loss to Baltimore, it is no secret that the Broncos desperately need help in the secondary. Trufant, brother of Jets defensive back Isaiah and Seattle’s Marcus, could contribute immediately, either as an understudy to Bailey on the outside, or as the nickel corner. Beyond that, Trufant has the athleticism and fluidity in his hips that can allow him to become a starting perimeter defender in this league. As he has shown this week at Senior Bowl practice, he is certainly not afraid to be physical when asked to be.
29.) New England Patriots –Keenan Allen, Wide Receiver, California: While it is hard to proclaim that the Patriots need any help offensively, there are certainly some issues within the receiving corps that need to be addressed. Wes Welker is still a very dynamic playmaker, but his future in New England is currently uncertain. Beyond Welker, Brandon Lloyd is entering the twilight of his career, and although New England has two excellent tight ends in Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, they need players who can take some pressure off of them. Hernandez was banged up for a bit of this past season, and Gronkowski has been used so heavily in each of the previous two years, that he has been injured during the post season. For New England to have success in the playoffs, they need a healthy Gronkowski, and that starts with providing him with a supporting cast in the passing game that will not subject him to so much wear and tear. Allen is a very intriguing prospect, having the size (6’3″) that Tom Brady really hasn’t had in a receiver since Randy Moss. Allen has above average separation ability, decent top end speed, and good ball skills, but his character is what will make him a great fit in New England. Coaches at Cal have praised Allen for his work ethic and competitive drive that keeps him humble and hungry. Seemingly a perfect fit for Bill Belichick’s club.
30.) Atlanta Falcons –Sam Montgomery, Defensive End, LSU: Atlanta certainly put together an impressive defensive campaign in 2012, finishing 9th in the league in overall defense, however they finished 28th in team sacks, with just 29 total. Defensive End John Abraham is coming off of another double digit sack season, but will be 35 on opening day next year. The Falcons need to begin to think about his long term replacement, and Montgomery could very well be that player. While he is not nearly as athletic as his LSU counterpart, Mingo, Montgomery shows flawless technique on tape, and is much more balanced as a player. He shows a good motor on film, but the primary concerns are his off the field work ethic. Still, at pick number 30, he holds good value.
31.) Baltimore Ravens –Kevin Minter, Inside Linebacker, LSU: Baltimore will be saying goodbye to the face of their franchise for its entire history after the Super Bowl, and will need to find a replacement for the soon to be retired Ray Lewis. Minter is the prototypical 3-4 Inside Linebacker at 6’2″ 242 lbs and is a tackling machine, posting double digit tackles in 5 contests this year, including an astounding 20 in an October loss at Florida. Minter has the range, tenacity, and instinct to start for Baltimore right away next season.
32.) San Francisco 49ers –Sylvester Williams, Defensive Tackle, North Carolina: It’s difficult to find needs on a team that has played as well as San Francisco over the past couple of years. That being said, the interior defensive line of the 49ers is beginning to get a little long in the face. Williams would be of great value at this point in the first round. He has an insatiable motor, tremendous hand work in his pass rush, excellent lateral speed and agility, and the strength to be a force against the run. With Justin Smith getting older, Williams would be a great selection that would allow the 49ers to make the transition from Smith, when the time is right, rather seamless.
The TOJ staff discusses how the New York Jets should handle wide receiver this off-season
Welcome to our off-season review of the New York Jets roster at Turn On The Jets. Each week we are going to attack a different position. We will have a roundtable discussion on it, Steve Bateman will submit a film breakdown examining it and our draft staff will look at potential prospects the Jets could add. So far we have covered quarterback and running back, this week we move to wide receiver –
How should the New York Jets handle wide receiver this off-season?
Joe Caporoso – The situation for the New York Jets at wide receiver isn’t quite the mess that many of their other offensive positions currently are but plenty of questions marks still exist. Jeremy Kerley had a terrific season and was the team’s most consistent player on offense in 2012, racking up 56 receptions and 827 yards which are monster numbers considering the team’s passing game last year. We know he will be back and be a critical part of the offense, likely working primarily from the slot.
Outside of Kerley, the question marks begin. 2012 second round pick Stephen Hill will be back after an inconsistent and generally disappointing rookie campaign. He must improve his route-running and ability to catch the ball in traffic if he wants to play major reps next season at split end. The team would be wise to bring back Braylon Edwards on a veteran’s minimum deal as insurance. Edwards ran strong routes in his three games with the team last year and looked like he still had plenty to give. If Hill’s development isn’t coming along well enough, Edwards can handle major reps on the outside and excel in the three-step game, particularly on slants and in-cuts.
Santonio Holmes is coming off major foot surgery and the team’s owes him a significant amount of guaranteed money. It is not out of realm of possibility that they will cut bait or look for a trade partner. Holmes has the skill set to be productive in Mornhigweg’s scheme, if he is the focused player he was during the 2010 season. However, the Jets cannot afford the same type of lazy route running and lack of communication with the quarterback they saw from him at times in 2011 and 2012. His fate remains up in the air but if Holmes is back in 2010 form, along with Edwards returning on a cheap deal, the Jets have the potential to have a deep, talented group of receivers. A four-wide featuring Holmes, Edwards, Kerley and Hill would be difficult for any defense to deal with.
At the bottom of the depth chart, don’t look for Clyde Gates or Chaz Schilens to return. In theory, Jordan White should have a skill set that is a perfect fit for the Jets new offense so maybe he will make some noise in training camp. Don’t look for the Jets to be too active in the free agency or trade market at receiver, with other positions taking priority this off-season. If they could stockpile draft picks, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Jets add a mid-round or late-round prospect to develop down the road but it would be shocking to see them select a receiver before round four.
Chris Gross – While the New York Jets have an abundance of offensive personnel issues to address this offseason, one position that may not necessarily need a total overhaul is wide receiver. The most important issue for the Jets receiving corps is health. It is imperative that Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill return at full strength from each of their respective injuries. Holmes was lost for the season with a Lisfranc injury in week 4, while Hill suffered a less severe leg injury later in the season.
It will be interesting to see what new General Manager John Idzik decides to do at the position, considering the newly hired Marty Mornhinweg will be implementing a West Coast Offense. Holmes and the emerging Jeremy Kerley seem to fit the bill in terms of wide receivers meant for this offense, but neither are viewed as the type to stretch the field for big gains. Each of them are stronger in the short passing game, while making runs after the catch. Hill would presumably be the player relied upon as the deep threat, with his tremendous speed and size, but he certainly still has a lot of growing to do.
Braylon Edwards is another interesting case. Edwards was brought in late last season as a move of desperation for an offense that was down to starting Clyde Gates and Mardy Gilyard opposite Kerley. Idzik was part of the front office in Seattle that released Edwards last season, just prior to the Jets claiming him off of waivers. If I had to guess, I’d say Idzik does not opt to bring Edwards back. He has been part of a group that has recently parted ways with him, and Edwards does not necessarily fit the bill of an effective WR in the West Coast Offense. Edwards is more of a possession receiver, with a small amount of ability after the catch at this point in his career. If he is brought back, it will likely be on a one year, incentive based deal.
So outside of Holmes, Kerley, and Hill, who will be playing wide receiver for the Jets next season? With the current state of the salary cap, the Jets will need to have a very good draft, as well as landing a budget free agent, who they can get the most bang for their buck out of. That immediately rules out all of the big name players that will be hitting the market this offseason. Dwayne Bowe, Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings, Victor Cruz, and Wes Welker can all almost certainly be disregarded, barring any type of major trade that frees up cap space for New York. More realistic options in the free agent market would include players like Louis Murphy, Josh Cribbs, Kevin Ogletree, or Jerome Simpson. None of these players will be nearly as effective as the prior, but they would come at a much cheaper rate, and each of them have the ability to provide production beyond their pay grade, if utilized properly.
The trade market is quite possibly the most interesting aspect of the Jets offseason to monitor. We have previously explored the idea of moving CB Antonio Cromartie in an effort to maximize his trade value and relieve some much needed cap space. One possibility that Idzik could explore for Cromartie, is moving him to the Minnesota Vikings for Percy Harvin. Minnesota could certainly use help in the secondary having surrendered the 9th most passing YPG last season, with 244.2, and also generating the 4th least number of interceptions, with just 10. A player like Cromartie would greatly bolster the production level of this struggling secondary, while providing a nice veteran presence for young players like Harrison Smith to lean on.
Conversely, Minnesota and Harvin have publicly been at odds over Harvin’s contract situation since the conclusion of the 2011 season. Rumors have been floated for about a year about Harvin being moved, but Minnesota has been reluctant to do so thus far. Perhaps a package including Cromartie could finally entice the Vikings to rid themselves of Harvin and any lingering contract disputes.
For New York, Harvin would come in and likely become the primary receiving option right away. His skill set would fit nicely with what the Jets are moving toward on offense, having a a slightly more physical, larger style of play than Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson. Attaining a player like Harvin would then allow the Jets to explore the option of trading players like Santonio Holmes. Whether or not they would be able to find a partner for such a deal remains to be seen, but it would certainly be something that would be looked at in the hypothetical scenario of Harvin, or a player of that mold, being acquired.
Realistically, the Jets are likely to sign a low cost free agent, while taking a chance at a later round receiver in this year’s draft. For who those players could potentially be, be sure to check back Thursday, as our draft team breaks down the best wide receiving options for the Jets in the 2013 draft.
Mike Donnelly – The Jets wide receiver position was an absolute wasteland last year, littered with players like Jason Hill, Mardy Gilyard, Clyde Gates, and Chaz Schilens. The unit’s best player, Santonio Holmes, was injured early in the season and was placed on IR. The 2nd round draft choice, Stephen Hill, was banged up numerous times throughout the year and when he did take the field, he showed an impressive ability to drop passes. Oh wait, that wasn’t a good thing at all, nevermind.
The best and most effective player week in and week out was clearly Jeremy Kerley, who actually had a very solid season and proved that he can be a major contributor going forward. The only other reliable option was Braylon Edwards, who was brought in toward the end of the season after being cut by Seattle due to a knee injury. It’s not too often you see a team pick up a starting receiver during week 14 after he was just cut by another team, but that is just what Mike Tannenbaum was forced to do.
As we all know by now, the Jets hired Marty Mornhinweg as their new offensive coordinator and he will be bringing his west coast offense with him. So what does that mean for the receiver position going forward and what changes will be made? Surprisingly, I don’t think the position will look all that different in 2013. Santonio Holmes will almost certainly be back due to his contract. Holmes tends to get lazy in his route running, but he has explosive after-the-catch ability and he could return to his big playmaker days. Stephen Hill is going to be here as the new coaching staff tries to develop him, because while his hands are made of stone, you can’t teach a player be be 6’4” with blazing speed. Jeremy Kerley is going to be back as well and play a major role as the slot receiver, which is a huge position in Mornhinweg’s offense. Look for him to have a ton of catches next year.
The other player likely to be back in 2013 and play a role for us? Braylon Edwards. Braylon loves being a Jet, and he was productive down the stretch, even though our quarterback position was a catastrophe. I don’t think the Jets are going to use a high pick on a WR this year, and will choose to develop Hill and Kerley instead. Under that scenario, we need a solid veteran to rely on along with Holmes, and Edwards fits the bill. He provides a tall target that can get deep down the field, and most importantly, his price tag will not break the bank. With the Jets salary cap situation being what it is, that is unfortunately going to be a major factor when shaping the 2013 depth chart. The Jets have pressing needs all over, so I don’t expect the WR position to be addressed in a major fashion. What we see is what we’ll get, whether we like it or not.
TJ Rosenthal – Vision for how the Jets should revamp the WR position is blurred until a new system is in place with a QB who can deliver the ball accurately and on time in it. As for the current roster, if the Jets go to a West Coast style, we could envision Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley thriving. Stephen Hill? We are not sure that system highlights what his strengths are.
Chaz Schilens and Braylon Edwards are not exactly constant quick hit speed guys to us but size will be needed in the red zone and on short yardage slants. The one WR Jets fans might want to see more of in a short spread passing game could be a healthy Jordan White. I believe he led the nation in catches as a senior in college. Reception monsters thrive in west coast systems.
The Jets clearly need WRs via free agency and the draft. The aforementioned group even with an elite QB is not good enough. New GM John Idzik will work within budget constraints in the attempts to fix the issue. We can’t expect Idzik to fix the problem with any one or two particular WR’s until we see who will be throwing the ball. Footwork, throws on time, hitting tight windows. Making good decisions. Give us that QB before we start to fill in who fits best on the outside.
TJ Rosenthal goes No Huddle on the long off-season approaching the New York Jets
Pats Lose But Jets Are Still A Mess
Jets fans loved seeing the Ravens knock the Patriots out. After five straight years of Super Bowl pain that began when the David Tyree Giants shocked the world, through the Jets AFC title game years to now, the Har-Bowl will be much easier to stomach than a Pats or Big Blue appearance would have again.
Keep this in mind though. Today the offices in Foxboro will begin work on 2013. On being one, two games better. The Jets cleanup won’t be nearly as simple. What a job this will be for new GM John Idzik. Cleaning up the rubble of a bombed out city. Enjoy the Pats exit idiot bleed green and white, but keep in perspective.
One Thing Is Certain
Matt Flynn, Matt Moore, heck even call Vinny Testaverde if you have to. Mark Sanchez cannot be brought back with the hopes that new coaches and a new system will undoubtedly cure his brittle mindset. If Sanchez can’t be traded there has to be a veteran fighting for the same job right next to him this summer. Anything less would be considered negligence by the fans.
On Second Thought
We have raised the notion of a rebuilding process that could include trading Darrelle Revis in order to receive a handful of picks and players. After watching CBs suffer in this postseason, we are no longer in love with the idea. We hope that Idzik and Co. Would agree. The rules are too soft nowadays to lose a great corner. Sign Revis, for the long term. Once he shows that his knee is healthy again. In closing, we can emphasize enough how much we are looking forward to the coming weeks and months. A time when this roster will take shape and finally work towards becoming more viable offensively. It’s about time.
Stay with TOJ all week, as we will be continuing our roster breakdown, NFL Draft Preview and begin breaking down the West Coast Offense and how the Jets current personnel fits with it.
TJ Rosenthal explores if the Jets could have any interest in quarterback Matt Flynn this off-season
The Jets moved up in the 2009 draft in order to grab the exuberant USC Rose Bowl star Mark Sanchez. Since then the one-time emerging quarterback’s play has fallen rapidly. Sanchez has time to be rehabilitated emotionally, but new Jets GM John Idzik may already have another plan in mind. One that includes giving the starting job to Matt Flynn, a player that Idzik helped bring to Seattle in 2011.
Flynn signed with the Seahawks in March of 2012. After two monstrous late season games in 2010 as Packers starter (while Green Bay rested god-like starter Aaron Rdogers for the playoffs). When he excited many teams who were in need of a quarterback, by throwing for a combined nine TD passes in eight quarters of play. Results that led to a three year twenty five million dollar deal for himself, to become the future in Seattle. One of those places in need of a fresh start from behind center.
Then all of a sudden the future of the NFL became something called the “run option.” Used by teams this past year such as the Seahawks and Redskins, who featured young athletic signal callers capable of spearheading it. With Russell Wilson (who shocked many by winning the job from Flynn in training camp) now firmly entrenched behind center for Pete Carroll’s club, many Jets fans are already wondering if Idzik is interested once again in the also-pricey Flynn.
Flynn or no Flynn, Sanchez is now on thin ice as a Jet. The Daily News is already suggesting that the Jets will explore the notion of trading Sanchez, if there is a market for him. Releasing him would work heavily against the Jets cap, but it remains an option. Successful teams do at times take financial hits in order to turn emotional pages inside of their locker rooms.
Could a Sanchez for Flynn deal be in the works with Idzik now at the controls? The answer could lie in part within the vision of Marty Mornhinweg, who was named the Jets new offensive coordinator today. Mornhinweg has called the plays for the Eagles for the past six years. He has worked alongside a mobile quarterback in Donovan McNabb, a run-first QB in Michael Vick, and a pocket passer in Nick Foles. Having seen all three style first hand, the new Jets play caller may lend a valuable hand in leading Idzik towards a direction that will serve the Jets best going forward.
If both elusive speed and arm strength is what Idzik now covets after seeing Wilson succeed as a rookie, Flynn will not be the right fit. He is clearly not as mobile as players like Wilson, Robert Griffin III or Colin Kaeperick are at the position, and his arm strength will never be considered among the elite.
However Flynn’s efficiency in the west coast style, proven briefly in Mike McCarthy’s system, could potentially make him a vast upgrade over Sanchez. Whose QB rating was ranked 30th in 2011 and 31st in 2012. Justifying a move to a player Flynn who could provide stability in the short passing game as a short term transition makes sense on some level, even if it were not the long term solution for Idzik’s new organization at the position.
If a deal that involved Flynn meant moving Sanchez came to fruition, the result would sadden any diehards who still believe that Sanchez had the ability to become a franchise quarterback. Had he been surrounded by the right talent, and developed properly by many ex-coaches. Whose failure to do so played a part in their respective firings.
It won’t be long before the fate of Sanchez and the mystery of who will be the starter, is addressed. As the process of rebuilding the Jets flawed roster finally begins. Matt Flynn’s name will certainly surface regularly as part of that conversation. From now until a choice by Idzik and the Jets is made.