NFL Draft: Impact Should Trump Need

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 20: Michael Floyd #3 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish loses his footing against the Army Black Knights at Yankee Stadium on November 20 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

"If we go O-line in the first I will throw a cinderblock through my TV."

One GGN member wrote that a year ago regarding the team's first round pick. I won't divulge the name, but this is a very intelligent and respected member of the community. It made sense on some levels at the time. Offensive line was not considered a big need. This was before a season of Wayne Hunter: Starting Right Tackle. A year ago at this time, the Jets had a reputation of having a great offensive line.

One year later, it is difficult to complain about what the Jets did in the first round. Muhammad Wilkerson appears on his way to being a great pick. There was no real value along the offensive line in the first round with Chicago taking Gabe Carimi right before the Jets picked. What if Carimi had fallen? Would a tackle have been a bad pick even though there was no obvious immediate need?

The Wayne Hunter Experience provides your answer. A better right tackle for the Jets in 2011 might have made a difference. You can't wait for something to become a glaring need to address it in the NFL.

I believe in drafting for impact. If you fill a hole, it might help you for a year. If you take an impact player, you can get premium production out of a position for a decade and prevent one spot from ever becoming a hole. Needs change quickly from year to year. Remember, just a year ago offensive line was a strength.

Five years ago, a team thought it was set at running back. It really needed a tackle so it took the tackle in the first round. That team was the Arizona Cardinals. The back they had was Edgerrin James. The tackle they took was Levi Brown. The back they passed on was Adrian Peterson. For a short time, it seemed they had covered a hole. Over the long run, Peterson would have provided more than James and Brown combined.

In that same Draft, the Jets were set at inside linebacker. They had a good pair in Eric Barton and Jonathan Vilma. They still traded up in the second round to grab David Harris. Vilma and Barton are long gone. Harris makes the position a huge strength for the Jets. He would never be in New York had the Jets drafted for need.

Wide receiver is obviously a need for the Jets. The switch to a running based offense might make that need less pronounced than at other spots on the roster. Systems change in the long term. Elite talent elminates needs. If Michael Floyd is there, the Jets should not hesistate to pull the trigger on the pick if they feel he is the best available player. You might feel safety is a bigger need since the Patriots have two dynamic tight ends, and Eric Smith is currently slotted as a starter. What if the team only believes Mark Barron will be an average safety? Odds are that if Barron turns out to be average, the Jets will be back at the Draft in a few years needing a safety and a wide receiver. If they love Floyd and take him, wide receiver will be set for a while.

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