The NFL Draft is less than two weeks away. While it is hard to speculate on what the New York Jets will do considering how buttoned-up John Idzik has kept everything and how their amount of picks could change, TOJ is going to give you 12 prospects to watch for that could end up in Green and White. On to the 12 Pack –
1. Zach Ertz – Tight End – Late First Round/Second Round – The Jets know they need another tight end. We have seen that from their expressed interest in Jermichael Finley and Fred Davis. Most of their pre-draft interest seems to be focused on Ertz, the versatile tight end from Stanford who step in and be an immediate day one starter for them. Ertz has great size (6’5, 250 lbs) and can line up all over the formation. His blocking still needs to improve but he would be a needed weapon for the middle of the field in the Jets offense. If he is on the board at #39, it is hard to see the Jets passing on him. If they end up trading down, he could be targeted somewhere in the 20s as there is speculation San Francisco could have interest with the 31st pick.
2. Christine Michael – Running Back – Third/Fourth Round – The Texas A&M back is considered a bit of a boom or bust prospect, with potential attitude and injury issues. Michael has the skill-set to be a strong, downhill one-cut runner. The Jets still need to add another piece to their backfield and it could be between him or Le’Veon Bell in round 3.3. Le’Veon Bell – Running Back – Third Round – Bell is starting to climb up Draft Boards and provides terrific size and strength with surprising speed and ability to catch the football out of the backfield. If he gets into the third round, it would be surprising to see the Jets pass on him particularly if they end up with two third round picks via the Darrelle Revis trade. Bell would be a nice fit in the Jets zone running scheme and could provide a thunder/lightning combination with Mike Goodson.
4. Sylvester Williams – Defensive Tackle – Second Round – Despite adding Antonio Garay for depth purposes, the Jets could use another piece for their defensive line rotation. If they pull the trigger on Williams, who’d be strong value with the 39th overall pick it would show a lack of faith in third year player Kenrick Ellis.
5. Matt Elam – Safety – Late First Round/Second Round – The Jets need another safety to pair with veteran Dawan Landry, Elam has been climbing up Draft boards and recently visited the Jets in Florham Park. He is the type of player who can start from day 1 and would provided a needed physical, athletic presence after LaRon Landry left in free agency. Elam might not last to #39 and could be another player the Jets target if they trade down in round 1.6. DJ Swearinger – Safety – Third Round – It’d be surprising if the Jets didn’t add a safety before the end of the third round. If they miss on Elam or focus on other positions early, Swearinger would be a nice value addition in the third round. He is a very physical player and notoriously hard hitter…another guy who would help Jets fans forget LaRon Landry. Swearinger also has some ability to play slot corner in nickel situations, an immensely important talent to have in today’s NFL.
7. Margus Hunt – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Second Round – Rex Ryan isn’t engaging you in one on one blocking drills if there isn’t some interest. Hunt is an intriguing prospect who could add athleticism and versatility to the Jets defensive line and pass rushing packages. He is a name to watch with the 39th overall pick.
9. Dee Milliner – Cornerback – First Round – If the Jets trade Darrelle Revis and Milliner falls to them at #9, it is hard to see them passing on such a talented cornerback who could immediately step into the starting line-up. The Jets will still have the 13th pick to address outside linebacker, guard or potentially wide receiver.
10. Barkevious Mingo – Outside Linebacker – First Round – The Jets need to add a pass rusher/outside linebacker early in this draft. Considering where their pick is located and his skill set, Mingo seems to make the most sense. The difference between him and Dion Jordan isn’t as much as people make it out to be.
11. Ziggy Ansah – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – First Round – Another pass rusher the Jets could target early in round one. Ansah has more upside than Mingo but could have a harder transition to the NFL and will likely be more effective at defensive end than outside linebacker at the next level.
12. EJ Manuel – Quarterback – Second Round – Manuel could tempt the Jets with the 39th overall pick, particularly if they trade Darrelle Revis and use two first round picks on other positions. Manuel has a terrific physical skill-set but could probably use a little more seasoning before becoming a starter at the next level.