I had a lot of worries going into the draft. I had a lot of worries coming out of the draft. I still have some worries about Free Agency, but hey, that's just what I do. However, I am feeling much better about this draft with some time to consider its implications. This draft is really about the team in 2012.
More ramblings after the jump.
First, I have to remind myself that Rex does not appear to like starting or even playing rookies. Sure, Sanchez is a notable exception. Kyle Wilson was kind of forced to start as Revis was injured. But Wilson was quickly put on the bench soon after Revis returned. Rex seems to prefer, well, old veterans, such as LDT, Jason Taylor, Trevor Pryce, T-Rich, Etc. So these draft picks are really for 2012. Perhaps Wilkerson and Ellis join a line rotation. Perhaps Kerley returns some kicks or punts. Perhaps S McKnight catches a few passes in 4 WR spreads. Powell may get some mop up runs. McEloy was drafted just to be a project. But all in all, I don't think they really are for this year.
While I was a little surprised that the Jets didn't pick up any O Line help in this draft, I think that speaks to Ducasse starting at RT this year. Two years ago, Slauson was a nobody 6th round pick. With one year as the understudy, he became a starter, and a pretty good one at that, last year. I expect the same from Ducasse this year. Some may point to Ducasse not starting in the playoffs as a sign that Ducasse had failed, but that very well could be a case of protecting a rookie's confidence. Remember also that Slauson had some miscues in his first starts, but they were not nearly as noticeable as if they would have occurred in a playoff game.
Similarly, I would not be surprised if Kyle Wilson starts this year. He struggled as any rookie might last year. It was highlighted of course by getting picked on in the same backfield as Revis and Cromartie. But with a year under his belt, and some playoff experience, I would not be surprised to see him enter the starting line up and give a decent year. This defense was fine with Lito Sheppard, so I don't think Wilson would become any huge problem.
I also expect that T-Rich will not be back and John Connor will be named the starter. The FB position is not a position of great importance on most teams. Its a little more important for the Jets, but still, the FB is only going to play on less than half of the offensive plays. Connor was in the mix in a number of games last year and I think will be ready to go this year.
Joe McKnight was of course put under tremendous scrutiny during HardKnocks. But he consitently got better and earned praise on a number of occasions for his work on the practice squad, apparently even playing CB in practice. Rex has said that McKnight will see more time this year. For a fourth round pick, if that means kick returns and some situational running or passes from the backfield, that would be a fine value.
So with this current draft class, if we were to see both Wilkerson and K Ellis starting in 2012, if McElroy is the 3rd QB this year and 2nd in 2012, if Powell as a fourth round pick this year, becomes Greene's change of pace back in 2012 and if Kerley or McKnight make the slot in 2012... then this was a good draft.
As far as OLB and FS, I as well as many others was surprised that none were drafted. Does this mean Tanny and Rex were all along happy with what they had? Well, this group was good enough for the 3rd ranked defense last year. But I think they would have liked to address the area. It just means that no impact players were available at the time the Jets picked. Look for these positions as well as other potential positions to be addressed during free agency. Remember also, that the list of Free Agents will increase as teams make their camp cuts so some interesting players may just fall in our lap.
That is all. /rant