New York Jets – 2014 Rookie Projections

The Jets used all twelve of their draft selections this year, but most of these players will not be impactful starters from day one. What can we expect from the Jets 2014 rookie class? Well, let’s take a stab.

*Note: This is only for draft selections. Notable UDFA’s will have separate breakdowns over time.

1) Calvin Pryor:

The Jets first round selection will most likely be a day one starter. Safety was a need, but more importantly in demand was a playmaker for the defense.

The Jets defense in 2013 had 15 takeaways, which was ranked 31st and only better than the Houston Texans (the worst team in the entire league).

Enter Calvin Pryor, who had seven interceptions and nine forced fumbles in 38 games for Louisville (31 starts). Pryor lined up with the 1’s alongside safety Antonio Allen in OTA’s, both players are the projected starters.

Pryor should be given the ability to free roam in Rex Ryan’s defense, much like he did at Louisville. He has the ability to play in the box (11 tackles for a loss and two sacks in his college career), but offers playmaking ability for the deep balls that often beat the Jets secondary last season.

Projected Stats: 75 tackles, 3 TFL’s, 1 sack, 6 passes defended, 3 INT’s, 4 forced fumbles, 1 DEF TD.

2) Jace Amaro

Amaro falls into a situation where he will see the field from day one, much like Calvin Pryor. Jeff Cumberland will still have a big role as the team’s tight end, but Amaro can lineup just about anywhere.

In his final year of college ball, Amaro dominated while hauling in 106 catches for over 1,300 yards and seven touchdowns in ten starts.

Although these stats are incredible for one season, Amaro will go through an adjustment period. He lined up out wide on the majority of his snaps and will need to contribute as an in-line tight end at times.

His catching technique is also inconsistent but this is an extremely coachable flaw. Amaro will see the field early and often, whether he is ready or not. My gut feeling is that he will take a few weeks to get going, but will become an extremely reliable target for Geno Smith over time.

Projected Stats: 47 REC, 550 REC YDS, 5 TD’s.

3) Dexter McDougle:

When the Jets drafted McDougle, his health was a huge question mark. He suffered a season ending shoulder injury three games into his last season at Maryland after a fantastic start.

Reports out of mini camp were that McDougle is healthy and looks quite good for a rookie corner. He has a great nose for the ball and much like Pryor, often makes plays on the ball.

He struggles when planting and turning on deep routes, much like Dee Milliner struggled with as a rookie. With entrenched starter Dmitri Patterson only having played 15 games over the last 3 seasons due to injury, it would not surprise me if McDougle is asked to step in at some point.

Like most rookie corners, he will struggle (especially on the deep routes) at times. Overall, McDougle is still a feisty playmaker that may have a feast or famine type of rookie season.

Projected Stats: 4 starts, 12 tackles, 2 INT’s, 6 passes defended. (will struggle in isolated deep coverage but destined to flash high potential in Rex Ryan’s system)

4) Jalen Saunders

The 5’9, 160 pound Saunders was brought in to contribute in two specific area. The first is to solve the abysmal punt returning the Jets have recently had. The second is to provide insurance and a reliable back up to Jeremy Kerley.

Saunders has an excellent first cut on his returns that pairs perfectly with his full field vision. The Jets will also see if he can return kicks (he did not do this in college), which would most likely lead to Jacoby Ford’s roster spot being on the line.

Projected Stats: 1 PR TD, 25 REC, 175 REC YDS, 2 REC TD’s, 6 RUSH ATT, 25 RUSH YDS.

5) Shaq Evans

Evans is a big bodied receiver that needs to refine a few areas of his game to get on the field. To simplify it for Jets fans, he has a little Jerricho Cotchery in his game. When he learns to master the route tree and become a consistent catcher, he has the ceiling of a number two wide out.

I do expect Evans to make the 53 man roster but he will most likely be the 5th or 6th wide out on the depth chart, as his rookie year will be more of a watch and learn type of season.

Projected Stats: 12 REC, 95 REC YDS, 1 TD.

6) Dakota Dozier

Dozier is a former college left tackle who will most likely play guard in the NFL. He has great size standing at 6’4 and weighing 315 pounds, while also possessing NFL caliber strength.

Much like Brian Winters, Dozier will need time to transition to playing guard. Unlike Brian Winters, Dozier will be given this time to learn the position.

With Willie Colon, Brian Winters, and Oday Aboushi all ahead of Dozier on the guard depth chart, he will most likely not see the field this season in a starting role.

7) Jeremiah George

George is an undersized (5’11, 232 pounds) middle linebacker with good instincts and coverage ability. As a rookie he should find a place on special teams. His ceiling as a rookie is to work his way into a part time role as a nickel linebacker.

Projected Stats: 16 Tackles, 2 passes defended.

8) Brandon Dixon

The small school cornerback has excellent size (5’11, 203 pounds) and speed (4.41 forty yard dash was 5th best at the combine for CB’s).

He struggles with his technique in coverage, specifically his lateral movement and hip turning as receivers break into their routes. He is a project at corner but will compete to be a gunner on return coverage units due to his physical nature and straight line speed.

Projected Stats: 5 Tackles

9) Quincy Enunwa

The former Nebraska captain is a great red zone threat and a mean blocker. Unfortunately for Enunwa, his receiving game needs a lot of work.

He struggles to separate but uses his body well to shield defensive backs. As much as I love him as a project, I do not believe there is room for him on the Jets 53 man roster. They will attempt to sign him to the practice squad, but I would not be surprised if another team steals him.

10) IK Enemkpali

Enemkpali is the classic “get after the quarterback” late round pick. He is big and strong, but his pass rushing ability does not seem good enough at the moment to earn snaps.

He will most likely be another practice squad candidate unless he can find his way on special teams in training camp.

Projected Stats: 5 Tackles.

11) Tajh Boyd

Boyd has a lot of athletic ability and talent for an undersized quarterback. He does struggle reading coverages and is prone to making head scratching throws. My gut feeling is that the Jets take him on as their new project over Matt Simms, even though I am not sure if that is a good decision.

12) Trevor Reilly

I actually think Reilly will contribute more than any of the defensive day three picks. He was selected in the 7th round because he is 26 years old and underwhelming athletically.

Overall, Reilly is a high motor player that gets after the quarterback and makes tackles. As a reserve, he can play every single linebacker position and has a lot of experience versus tight ends. He should instantly find a special teams role with the Jets while fighting for Garrett McIntyre’s back up outside linebacker job.

Reilly may show more ability than McIntyre off the edge in limited snaps and seems like a classic Rex Ryan reserve player.

Projected Stats: 15 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 pass defended.