Over at SB Nation's Draft site, Mocking the Draft, writers from our network's NFL blogs are holding a mock. Recently the Jets came up at 30. My selection was Akeem Ayers, the outside linebacker from UCLA.
If you have been reading the site recently, you know this is not my favorite guy at 30. I felt, though, he was the best available option considering the way that Draft shook out. There was a run on defensive linemen with Phil Taylor, Muhammad Wilkerson, Cameron Heyward, and Stephen Paea all going off the board within the last ten selections. Had any of those guys been available, I probably would have gone in that direction.
I could have gone with Rahim Moore or Derek Sherrod, but I felt like Ayers was the best talent available along with filling the biggest need on the roster. He should immediately be an upgrade over Bryan Thomas. He is very instinctive and good in coverage. The Jets could use a cover linebacker. UCLA did not use him much to rush the quarterback, but he is big with a good initial burst and has flashed good closing speed. While he is a bit of a project, I am ok with taking a raw guy on defense because the coaching staff is good at teaching technique. With his athleticism, he could end up being a complete outside linebacker.
If you watch UCLA games with him, you will see a guy who understood his role within the defense and did not get too aggressive trying to make big plays because his role was to maintain his gaps. That is a good quality.
If the Draft actually plays out like this, the best move for the Jets would be to trade down. Everybody always says that. It is easier said than done. There are a lot of guys I would have taken over Ayers, but all of them went off the board. He would be acceptable to me under these circumstances.