Next year's off-season is going to be a tricky time for Tanny and the Jets. We have 8 starters, and 2 rotational guys hitting the free agent market in 2013. As is the case every year, we can't bring everyone back. The big free agents for next year are Brandon Moore, Dustin Keller, Mike DeVito, Shonn Greene, Matt Slauson, Aaron Maybin, Laron Landry, Marcus Dixon, Bryan Thomas and Yeremiah Bell. All of these guys will be seeing a lot of playing time in 2012. I would also like to mention Revis' name also. He will need to be paid. There is no way he plays for a $3 M base salary.
It's safe to say that each of the positions represented above, can be looked at as potential needs next season. Of course when it comes to the draft, value is just as much a factor as need. I love to find players that meet both. When we make those picks we have found guys like Mangold, Revis, and Wilkerson. This past draft had a lot of value and need meeting each other in the first few rounds. This mock isn't about precision of the picks. It's all about getting an idea of who's out there, and where there stock is now, before the season starts. Enjoy!
Round 1: Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford: I am very excited to watch Chase Thomas play this year. Last year, Chase and his buddy Shane Skov were supposed to tear it up. Instead, the only thing that was torn, was Skov's knee. The momentum Chase had at the start of the season, was gone, but not for long. Once Thomas got used to all the double teams, he started to thrive. He was able to take on the responsibility of being the number 1 guy, and did it well. Chase ended the season with 52 tackles, 8.5 sacks, and 17.5 tackles for a loss. At 6'4" 240, Thomas can gain some weight, and not lose any of his dangerous speed. He has the frame to pack on the pounds and play a variety of positions for us. Chase's best position was as a 3-4 OLBer, but he can put his hand in the dirt, or play any LBing position. Even though there has been a lot of emphasis on the 4-3, this off-season, we will still run a lot of 3-4 sets. In those sets, we are still missing a 3 down backer. Thomas can fill that role perfectly, and is diverse enough to play on the line in 4-3 or nickel packages. Chase plays with the ferocity and passion that Rex and all of us love. I don't want to pass on another Brooks Reed.
Round 2: Robert Lester, S, Alabama: This draft is so deep at safety, that a great talent like Lester could end up falling if the demand isn't there. You might know Lester as "the other safety" that played next to Mark Barron. Most people forget 2010, where it was Lester who dominated the stats, ahead of Barron. In his 1st year of being a full starter, Robert pulled in 8 interceptions that year. Last year, Robert's stats took a dip, but was still very productive. I feel that Barron had it easy. Both of these guys had the benefit of playing for one of the most dominant defenses in college football. This year, a lot of that talent is in the NFL. Lester will be a leader amongst a younger, less experienced team. This will show us what Lester really has. If he can put together a solid year, even with the drop off in help around him, he should be a top pick. If he falters, than it is proof that it was the talent around him that has elevated his stock this high. I have a feeling Lester is going to be just fine this year. If you add in the fact that he is a 3 year starter in the SEC, you will have a hard time thinking of reasons not to draft him.
Round 3: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama: Here is another Bama boy to look for this season. Things are looking tricky at the guard position once this season ends. Both our starting guards will be free agents in 2013, unless they are signed prior to the off-season. Slauson is someone who should be the 1st person we resign from our current team. Moore on the other hand is one of the best, but also one of the oldest. He should be resigned also, but not for very long. Hope for a remedy already on the team, is faltering. A 3rd round pick for a future guard would be a smart move. Thankfully, Chance Warmack could be around to be our guy. Chance is a road-grader who knows how to move those big bodies away from the ball carrier. He did it quite a lot to open up holes for Trent Richardson. Warmack is also a decent pass blocker, which is never a bad thing. Chance would fit in perfectly to our rushing attack 2.0.
Round 4: Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State: Shonn Greene is another starter that will be hitting the free agent market. I believe the stage is set for Greene to have a great year, which in the end, might make it hard to resign him. If he doesn't return, a replacement will be needed. We seem to take a RB every year anyway, I don't see this trend ending now. One RB I will be keeping an eye on is Le'Veon Bell. Bell is a very tough runner, that is hard to bring down. He won't make many tacklers miss, but he will make their job very undesirable. He gives that extra effort to get the yards needed. Unlike Greene, Bell has very good hands. A tough runner that can also grab the dump-offs can be a great addition to our RB pool.
Round 5: Dexter McCoil, S, Tulsa: I don't think anyone looks at our safety corp, and sees any long term answers except for maybe Allen if he pans out. Double dipping at safety would be a really good idea. The safety class is so deep, that there should be starting talent going all the way to the 4th or 5th round. Dexter McCoil isn't one of the better known safety prospects, but he plays at a very high level. Once McCoil became a full time starter in 2010, he became very consistent. In 2010, Dexter ended the year with 6 INTs, and 3 passes broken up. Last year, Dexter ended the year with 6 INTs and 7 passes broken up. Another great year for McCoil should make sure everyone knows who he is. At that point, it would be shocking if he made it to the 5th round. Dexter has great size and instincts. At 6'4", Dexter is afraid of no one, and is very willing to take on TEs. His hands are also very good, which allows him to come down with the ball often. Having this large man roaming the deep half of the field is a vision I would love to see.
Round 6: Michael Williams, TE, Alabama: I miss Ben Hartsock. Who here is with me? We are in dire need of a blocking TE. Vlad is a mauler in the running game, but the less I see him lined up as a TE, the better. The team is going back to the roots of its success. With more running plays comes the need for a more run oriented TE. It also wouldn't hurt if said TE could also catch a few passes when called upon. Michael Williams is a tremendous blocking TE. He plowed the way for an offense that relied heavily on Trent Richardson. Williams wracked up 100 yards from 8 passes last year. These are not amazing numbers at all, but for a guy that is as big and athletic as Michael, the potential is there to being more of a receiver.
Round 7: Craig Roh, DE, Michigan: We could possibly be losing 2 beefy, reliable guys on our D-line next year. DeVito and Dixon might not be the hottest names on the free agent market, but they mean a lot to us. DeVito is one of, if not the best run defender we have. We need to do a better job than last year of run defending. If teams are able to run rampant on us, the effectiveness of Revis and our secondary becomes minimal. Craig Roth is a very physical D-linemen for Michigan. He is scheme diverse, which is something we value a lot. There are few stronger at the point of attack than him. He does need to work on his pass rushing ability, but we don't really ask DeVito to be a great pass rusher.