NFL Draft – Inside the Green Room – Volume 3

Connor Rogers goes Inside the Green Room to cover the latest NFL Draft topics.

The New York Jets are currently sitting at 4th overall in the draft order with one game left in the 2014 season. With an abysmal 3-12 record, Rex Ryan and company will travel down to Miami for what is most likely his Jets finale.

A loss would assure the team drafts in the top 4, with the potential to even move up to the 3rd overall slot. Let’s run through the latest in the NFL Draft world and what is shaping up to be the Jets most crucial offseason in the past decade…

And with the 4th pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select…

Oh, if I had a dollar for every time I get asked this question. The truth is, this is an absolute crapshoot in December. It’s an absolute crapshoot the day before the draft.

Now what I can lay out are a few scenarios, with addressing offensive line being my first choice in volume 1. Put aside quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston for a moment. One player that is rarely mentioned as a Jets target is Washington outside linebacker Shaq Thompson.

Before the masses freak out reading this, there are multiple reasons Thompson warrants a top 10 selection. He is one of, if not the best, athletes in college football who has played both linebacker and running back this season for the Huskies.

At outside linebacker he has totaled 70 tackles, 9 for a loss, 3 fumble returns for a total of 184 yards (all three taken back for touchdowns), and an interception returned 36 yards for a touchdown. As talented as Sheldon Richardson and Mo Wilkerson are on the Jets defensive line, the team does not have one ‘playmaker’ on defense.

The NFL gets faster every year and the Jets continue to fall behind on this trend in their linebacker corps. Drafting Thompson would bring a versatile playmaker to a defense that desperately needs to swing the teams turnover differential (ranked 30th both in 2013 and 2014).

NFL Draft Mailbag:
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Cooper is the consensus top guy for many, but Hans asks a great question in regards to who are the other options? I’m a fan of Auburn’s Duke Williams, who displays a superb catch radius and works well in all areas of the field.

While Williams will most likely fall under the radar due to second tier talents such as West Virginia’s Kevin White, Louisville’s Devante Parker, and Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong, he has dominated in his first year in the SEC.

To put a familiar comparison to his game for Jets’ fans, he has a lot of Keyshawn Johnson with his possession ability. Keep an eye on Williams as he weighs his decision whether to enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

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I went into detail about Shaq Thompson above, but another excellent outside linebacker prospect would be UCLA’s Eric Kendricks. As I mentioned in volume 1 of this series, his ability in coverage and moving sideline to sideline translates extremely well at the pro level:

Hidden Gem of the Week: David Cobb, RB, Minnesota

I’ve had Minnesota’s senior workhorse running back on my radar for awhile and expected his name to get a lot more press as the season wore on. Unfortunately for Cobb, he continues to fly under the radar due to top prospects such as Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, Tevin Coleman, and Duke Johnson.

Cobb, standing at 5’11, 220 pounds, has eclipsed the 1,200 yard rushing mark as a Junior and Senior as a Golden Gopher. He is not a ‘flashy’ runner, but grinds out yards with patience and a sharp bursts through whatever lane is available.

He has an extremely powerful lower body and runs ‘skinny’ through the gaps, often striding right through attempted arm tackles.

As for a pro player comparison, he is the closest thing I’ve seen to ex-Jets’ workhorse Thomas Jones over the past few years. A reliable, powerful runner that wins with vision week in and week out. Come draft day I see Cobb as a 3rd round talent that could contribute in a committee as a rookie right away.

Follow Connor Rogers: @CRogers_NFL