It's that time of year again, as we kick off our Scouting The Draft series with an all too early mock draft for 2014.
It's that time again, I believe this may be the 4th or 5th year in a row now, but we are going to dive head first into our scouting the draft series. Just in case this is your first year with GGN, basically we scout 20-40 players a season, write detailed reports on them and then ask the question "Should the Jets draft them?". We have agreements, disagreements, sometimes heated but in the end I think we all realise that drafting is not an exact science. Just like the 'experts', we get some spot on and we get some horribly wrong. In between all of this we will do numerous mock drafts. I'll bring in help from Deb (A.K.A LilMissNYJet) as we agree nearly 90% of the time on prospects.
So I thought what better way to get things kicked off, than with a very very early 2014 Mock Draft for the Jets. This is all initial thoughts and observations before going back to the tale of the tape, so I reserve the right to change my opinion almost instantly. I'm sure this will vary significantly from the final mock I'll put out in April, or maybe I'll surprise myself and stick with the original players.
I believe we have 8 guaranteed selections this year. All of our own selections and a 3rd rounder from Tampa Bay as part of the Revis deal, as long as he is on their roster three days into the new league season in March. They could cut and re-sign him to ensure they only give us a 4th round selection like the Saints did with Vilma, but right now I'm taking the 3rd. We could have as many as 4 compensatory picks in 2014, but these are not guaranteed right now, So I'm leaving them off.
Hopefully you enjoy the Mock draft and the possibilities that come with scouting for future talent, it's a lot easier to start this early when the team is quickly unravelling and will be off on their holidays in just a couple of weeks.
Round 1: Mike Evans, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M
2013 statistics: 65 receptions, 1322 yards, 12 touhdowns
I've been a Mike Evans convert since his 297 yard performance against Alabama earlier this year. He's also the prospect I've probably watched more than any other this year. He has everything you would want for a No1 receiver at the next level. He won't blow the tape up in Indy with his speed, but he has great build up speed, he also has that second level that allows him to get separation on corners. He is very fluid for such a big man and does has deceptive speed. He has excellent hand-eye coordinator, and excellent ability to adapt to balls when they are in the air. He is tough and physical and will happily go up and snag the ball or come across the middle and take a hit. So he has enough speed, he has the toughness and physicality, he has the hands and determination and he's coming off a great season where he absolutely tore Alabama to pieces. I take him in the first round and keep on running. He'll be an elite receiver at the next level.
Round 2: Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver, Penn State
2013 statistics: 97 receptions, 1432 yards, 6 touchdowns
Let me just state that I think there is a very good chance that Robinson gets taken in the first round of the draft if he decides to enter in April. However right now most have him in the second, and I'll take that. He is an exceptional receiver, he has been one of the best receivers in the nation over the past two years. Like Evans he won't astound you with his straight line speed, but it's his ability to get in and out of his breaks smootly that impress me. He has excellent hands (although the drop against Michigan was a killer) and his body control is fantastic. He's just a reliable target who can make people miss in the open field. He always finds seperation and even when he is covered, he finds a way to bring the ball down. As you can see from his 97 receptions this year and 77 receptions last year. A great 1-2 punch to start the draft for the Jets, and would give Geno the weapons that he needs.
Round 3: Jimmie Ward, Safety, Northern Illinois
2013 statistics: 89 tackles, 1 sack, 6 interceptions, 8 passes defended
He will continue to rise throughout the whole draft process, just wait and see. I've seen people saying he will go in the 6th, and to them I say not a chance. If you haven't seen Jimmie play yet, go away and watch some tape immedaitely. He has everything you want in a safety, he takes good angles to the ball, he delivers big hits at big moments, but wraps up when he needs to. He is very realiable as a last line of defense and he comes up and plays the run well. However he also plays that center field role well and he is simply a play-maker. One of the big criticisms I have with Rex Ryan's patchwork safety group over the last few years, there have been no play-makers, you need players who can swing the momentum and his 6 interceptions this year, show Jimmie is capable of doing it. You know a mock draft wouldn't be a mock draft this early, if we didn't have our favourites. Jimmie Ward is my favourite prospect in this draft, and I fully expect someone to get a steal this year.
Round 3: Arthur Lynch, Tight End, Georgia
2013 statistics: 24 receptions, 390 yards, 5 touchdowns
It's all about improving this offense early in the draft, and Lynch in my opinion is a very valuable weapon to have as he is a duel-tight-end. In that he can go out and make a play but he can also block with the best of them. There are some other tight-ends in this draft that I like, such as Jace Amaro and Eric Ebron but both of those are first round talents and I wasn't ready to spend our first roun there this year. First his catching, he has very realible hands and decent enough speed. He uses his body well and is used a lot in the redzone due to his ability to get open in short yardage situations. However it's his in-line blocking that really impresses, he is quick off the snap and he is powerful. He's also excellent at recognizing where the blitz is coming from, leaving his first assignment to engage the linebacker or blitzhing safety. He is just an intelligent football player, a guy who can help keep Geno Smith clean but also give him a reliable red-zone target. For a third round selection, I'd take that.
Round 4: James White, RB, Wisconsin
2013 statistics: 209 attempts, 1337 yards, 13 TD's, 37 receptions, 292 yards, 2 touchdowns
One of the hardest things to do with mocks this early, is place certain players. I think White has the talent to go early 3rd, but I don't think it is impossible for him to go middle of the 4th either. Which is why I'm selecting him. I like Ivory and I do like Powell, but I think we need to just add a little something to it. Something that Goodson was supposed to provide. White is a little smaller than you would like, but he has a powerful lower body that allows him to break through arm tackles. He has decent hands receiving but he could work on this more and a nice cut/acceleration combo that will exploit any holes that open up. He needs to do a better job of avoiding tackles, but he is a sharp cutter and I like that, if he develops his hands more, he could be a real 'handful' in the NFL.
Round 5: Wesley Johnson, OT, Vanderbilt
One of the things I love in any offensive lineman is durability, and Johnson started his 50th straight game in the season finale for Vanderbilt, that's four years of starting. I also really like the football intelligence that Johnson shows, he is excellent at using angles and has superb lower body control. Is probably one of the most athletic tackles in college football and works to the next level consistently. Has a nice jab and engages defenders with good hand placement. So technically he is a very good prospect, so why is he not up among the talk of 1st and 2nd round selections? he's small for a tackle. He is 6'5 and 295lb's but that's a little light when it comes to protecting your QB in the NFL. His positioning may be second to none and his athletic ability may be superb, but a lot of teams will be scared off by his bulk. Personally I think he can still gain some weight on the frame and not lose that quickness and athletic ability, some of the things he does well take a long time to teach and some players just never end up getting it.
Round 6: Jordan Tripp, OLB, Montana
2013 statistics: 100 tackles, 3 interceptions,
I can't seem to find his complete statistics for 2013 however he has been invited to the east-west shrine game to be held in Florida. Now he doesn't play against the best opposition which is why he finds himself down here in the take a chance rounds. However I have seen him three times over the past couple of years and every single time he has impressed me with his size, speed, recognition, motor and very unique ability to almost see the play before it happens. You land in somewhere like Montana, you have an uphill struggle to make it to the NFL, and that is meant in no way to disrespect Montana. However Tripp will climb after the east-west shrine game simply because he has good measurables for the OLB position in the NFL and he is a guy who can come up and play at the line but is also already very comfortable dropping back into coverage. I like his potential and so I'm taking a shot on the man here in the 5th. Although I hope we address OLB with some of that cap space we'll have.
Round 7: Bennett Jackson, CB, Notre Dame
2013 statistics: 59 tackles, 1 sack, 2 interception
If Rex Ryan is still in charge, we know how much he loves cornerbacks, and I'm always a big fan of taking a least one each year. He has a really good blend of size and athleticism. He also has a lot of speed which is why he was used on kick returns. Converted from a WR to CB, he still has a lot to learn about the position. He is a lot better at playing the ball in front of him than playing with his back to goal.