The New York Jets wrapped up their 2016 NFL Draft class with seven total selections and a host of UDFAs (which we will get to later in the week). Beyond their selected players, the Jets traded a 5th round pick for projected starting tackle Ryan Clady and a 6th round pick for 2015 quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. They also dealt a 2017 4th rounder as part of a trade up this year. For now, here is a look at their seven draft picks, where they fit, who they push and who they compare to in the NFL…
1st Round (20th Overall) – Linebacker, Darron Lee, Ohio State: The type of player who is essential in Todd Bowles’ defense (and really any NFL defense) in today’s NFL, a hybrid safety/linebacker who has the speed to stay on the field for all three downs. This was a logical match of both value and need, along with another step in rebuilding an aging and thin linebacker group. Lee will likely start as a 60-70% of the snaps type player, bouncing between inside linebacker, edge and strong safety before hopefully moving closer to 90-95% of the snaps.Who it pushes – Erin Henderson and to a lesser extent Rontez Miles (who could have been a placeholder in this role) and David Harris (who may see a few more snaps than usual off the field).
NFL Comparison – A healthy mix of Daryl Washington and Deone Bucannon
2nd Round (51st Overall) – Quarterback, Christian Hackenberg, Penn State: The most polarizing selection made over the weekend and one that will serve as a long term barometer of Mike Maccagnan’s ability to evaluate the quarterback position. Hackenberg has the physical tools to start in the NFL but has been a train wreck of inaccuracy and skittishness in the pocket the past two years. He isn’t ready to play in 2016 but could be on the field at some point depending on how the depth chart shakes out in front of him.Who it pushes – Bryce Petty, who had a short reign as the developmental quarterback of choice for this regime. Geno Smith, who will be cut if Ryan Fitzpatrick comes back. Ryan Fitzpatrick, who lost a little leverage by the Jets adding another arm to the quarterback room.
NFL Comparison – A ceiling of Jay Cutler-Lite with a floor of Rex Grossman-Lite…ultimately probably somewhere in the middle of those two.
3rd Round (83rd Overall) – Linebacker, Jordan Jenkins, Georgia: A strong value pick at a major position of need. Jenkins has a good chance to make an immediate impact and walk into starter reps in September for this defense. He isn’t a flashy or explosive but projects to being the workmanlike edge setter that is essential in Bowles’ defense. The presence of Jenkins will help last year’s third round pick and new running mate, Lorenzo Mauldin as well.Who it pushes – Mike Catapano, Deion Barnes and Freddie Bishop…yeah, the Jets were thin at edge.
NFL Comparison – A more athletic, in his prime Calvin Pace.
4th Round (118th Overall) – Cornerback, Juston Burris, NC State: The first corner selected by the Bowles/Maccagnan regime who fits the physical bill of what they are looking for outside at the position. Burris walks into a favorable situation, where he can learn from Darrelle Revis and Marcus Williams, contribute in certain defensive packages and special teams before eventually pushing for playing time. This is an under radar pick as a player who could very well be starting here in 2017 or 2018 at the latest.
Who it pushes – Dee Milliner, Dexter McDougle and Daryl Morris.
NFL Comparison – A mix of Davon House and Byron Maxwell.
5th Round (158th Overall) – Offensive Tackle, Brandon Shell, South Carolina: A pick that bothered a few because the Jets gave up a 2017 4th rounder to acquire him. Yet, the Jets are likely walking into more 2017 picks due to the compensatory process and a still lingering Mo Wilkerson trade. The Jets traded a unknown entity in 2017 for a 2016 draft pick they felt strongly about, at a position of desperate need. Shell has a skill set that fits the Jets offensive system, started a ton of games in college football’s best conference and very well may be the Jets top backup at tackle by the second week of camp. It isn’t out of the question he could push Breno Giacomin at some point this season.
Who it pushes – Brent Qvale, Ben Ijalana and to a lesser extent Giacomini.
NFL Comparison – A kinda poor man’s Joe Barksdale
7th Round (235th Overall) – Punter, Lachlan Edwards, Sam Houston State: The Quigley Era has ended. Punter has long been a sore spot for this team and now Edwards, along with UDFA Tom Hackett will compete to replace him. Edwards is a rugby style punter who was solid and consistent throughout his college career…there isn’t too much to add, because he is a punter.
Who it pushes – Nobody because the Jets had a gaping hole here.
NFL Comparison – Hopefully a much better Ben Graham.
7th Round (241st Overall) – Receiver, Charone Peake, Clemson: Sound the sleeper siren. Peake is a physical freak, who was a 3rd to 4th round value on many people’s big boards. He has struggled with injuries and consistency catching the football but he has prototypical size and speed to be a boundary receiver in the NFL. Peake has the physical skills to be an immediate special teams contributor and push for playing time while Devin Smith recovers from injury. (Also look at that block!)
Who it pushes – Kenbrell Thompkins and Devin Smith, a little bit.
NFL Comparison – Rod Streater with a higher ceiling.
Photo Credit: TodaysPigskin.com