Thursday, May 9, 2013

Grading the Draft: New York Jets

(Originally posted at

Smith_draftAfter months of speculation, the Jets finally unloaded star cornerback Darrelle Revis to Tampa Bay for two draft picks, a 2013 first-round pick (#13 overall) and a conditional 2014 fourth-round pick that becomes a third rounder if Revis is on Tampa Bay’s roster on the third day of the 2014 league year. Adding an extra first rounder this year gave the Jets some extra flexibility to plug some of their many roster holes, but the player they drafted with that pick was a surprise to many. Chris Tripodi grades the Jets’ haul from the 2013 draft.

Dee Milliner/CB/Alabama (Round 1/Pick #9): After trading Darrelle Revis just days before the draft the Jets were happy to draft the top cornerback on their board when he fell to them, despite rumors he could go in the top five. A very physical corner that likes to challenge opposing receivers, Milliner quieted pre-Combine questions about his speed with a blazing 4.37 40-yard dash to cement his top-10 draft status. While the Jets were likely hoping for Tavon Austin here to give their offense a much-needed playmaker, a potential Pro Bowler and immediate starter in the defensive backfield is a nice consolation prize, not to mention a good combination of value and need.

Sheldon Richardson/DT/Missouri (Round 1/Pick #13): The Jets took a lot of heat for this pick considering their need for a pass rusher and while I may be in the minority, I’m on board with Richardson. New York’s linebacker depth has been decimated in recent seasons and a position that was once considered a strength is now loaded with question marks. Richardson is an explosive athlete with the versatility to play as both a 3-technique tackle and a 5-technique end. His presence gives Rex Ryan plenty of flexibility up front with Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples also having the ability to play multiple spots along the line. The Jets will likely play more 4-man fronts in 2013 to mask their issues at linebacker and as teams like the Giants have shown, depth along the defensive line is an invaluable asset in today’s NFL.

Geno Smith/QB/West Virginia (Round 2/Pick #39): The pick of Geno Smith has been scrutinized heavily in the past week and a half and while it’s difficult to question the value of picking the draft’s top quarterback on Day 2, it’s easy to question the situation he’s been put in. The Jets are a dysfunctional mess and it starts at the quarterback position, where Mark Sanchez is a near-lock to be on the roster thanks to his exorbitant cap figure. Sitting and learning for at least half the season is probably the best route for Smith, especially with little talent at the skill positions, but more ineffective play from Sanchez may not allow that to happen. New York may also have a very high pick next year in what projects to be a strong quarterback class; this pick could block them from taking a player like Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater or force them to give up on Smith after just one season. This pick was good value and gives the Jets three players from the Draft Insider Top 25, but Smith could have landed in a far better situation for his own development.

Brian Winters/G/Kent State (Round 3/Pick #72): Winters is another example of value meeting need for the Jets, as he was expected to go right around this spot and should immediately step into the starting lineup. After playing both tackle positions with the Golden Flashes, Winters projects as a starting NFL guard with a nasty attitude, good vision and excellent field awareness. He gets good movement in the running game and understands blocking angles in pass protection, which should help limit the pressure up the middle that bothered Sanchez so much last season. It’s not a flashy pick for the Jets, but definitely a solid one.

Oday Aboushi/T/Virginia (Round 5/Pick #141): A left tackle with the Cavaliers, Aboushi will probably switch over to the right side to compete with Austin Howard as D’Brickashaw Ferguson is entrenched on the blind side. He also may move inside to guard but while Aboushi is a terrific pass blocker, he lacks the nastiness of Winters in the running game. Combined with average run-blocking strength, projecting Aboushi to the right side is a tough sell but we had him rated as a third-round prospect, meaning the Jets found value again along the offensive line. If he can improve in the running game, he has starting potential and ideally would settle in at left guard while Winters mans the right side of center Nick Mangold.

William Campbell/G/Michigan (Round 6/Pick #178): A defensive lineman at Michigan, the Jets plan to move Campbell to guard in using their third consecutive pick on an offensive lineman. Campbell was no more than a sixth-round prospect as a defensive tackle but his coaches at Michigan mentioned to Jets personnel that they feel he can be a good guard in the NFL. Campbell is a powerful bull rusher who used his size (6-5, 311) and explosiveness to hold his ground and collapse down the line on the defensive side of the football. If he can transfer those skills to his new offensive position, his combination of size and athleticism presents good upside in the 6th round and will at least provide the team with some depth along the line. The Jets likely aren’t expecting a contribution from Campbell until 2014 at the earliest.

Tommy Bohanon/FB/Wake Forest (Round 7/Pick #215): This pick seems like a great fit for the Jets, who struggled last season to open holes in the running game and were devoid of a safety valve out of the backfield on passing plays. Bohanon has great blocking vision and strength along with the toughness teams look for in their lead-blocking fullback. Bohanon is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield and shows good footwork in pass protection, giving the Jets a solid third-down option in two-back sets. His lack of speed and experience running the football are knocks on his game but with a deep stable of running backs the Jets won’t need him to do much other than block and catch, which happen to be Bohanon’s strengths.

Grade: B-. The Jets went into the 2013 draft with tons of holes to fill and while they picked up an extra first-round draft pick by trading Darrelle Revis, they also traded away their fourth-round pick for the Saints’ Chris Ivory. Picking up Ivory was good value as he seems likely to be the team’s starting running back, although a back like Johnathan Franklin would have also been a nice fit for Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast offense. They drafted to solidify the interior of their offensive line which was a disaster last season outside of Nick Mangold, hoping to protect Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith up the middle and open up holes for Ivory, Mike Goodson and Bilal Powell to run through. The Jets do still have a need at safety and didn’t pick up an offensive playmaker or bolster their pass rush, however, which were three of their biggest needs. Unfortunately the Jets just didn’t have enough picks to fill all of those needs, but the ones they made came with good value. New York picked up three immediate starters and possibly four pending a quarterback competition. It’s hard to be too disappointed with their draft considering the possibility that they addressed up to six starting positions for 2014, which is when the team should realistically be looking to compete again.

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