As much as people speculated and made assumptions about John Idzik's philosophies, we didn't really know much about the general manager's view of the NFL world before the Draft. Frankly, we still don't, but we do know a bit more. Let's take a look at what we learned about how Idzik handled some of the age old Draft questions.
Need vs. Best Player Available
When you are on the clock, the best case scenario is for the best player available to be a perfect fit for your system and play a position where you need help. It usually doesn't work out that way. You usually need to find some combination of the two, and you typically lean more one way than the other.
In 2013, Idzik seemed to show he is more a best player available guy. The most obvious example is the pick of Sheldon Richardson. Richardson plays the one position where the Jets have premium young talent. They had glaring holes up and down the roster elsewhere at the 13th pick. They seemed to think Richardson was the best player.
To a lesser extent, this is true of Dee Milliner. Cornerback wasn't a huge need. Although the number two ranking against the pass was something of a mirage aided by teams not playing from behind against the Jets, a spotty run defense, and a string of lousy quarterback opponents, coverage was near the bottom of the list of the issues on this team. The Jets seemed to love Milliner, though.
The sixth round provides yet another example. I don't want to go overboard putting too much stock in sixth round talent, but there are a number of positions where the Jets are so thin that a sixth round pick would have had a good chance to make the roster and contribute. The Jets instead opted for William Campbell, a defensive linemen they want to convert to the offensive line who has little chance of being anywhere but the practice squad in 2013 barring something unforeseen.
Through one Draft at least, it seems like Idzik is a BPA guy.
Quantity vs. Quality
Some teams like to trade down and stockpile as many picks as they can, thinking the more picks they have, the more chances they have to hit on one. Other teams like to trade up and target specific players, thinking there is only so much top end talent available that they have to try and pick it up.
2013 doesn't provide a ton of information in this area since the Jets neither traded up nor down in the Draft. I would tend to lean to quality because Idzik did say he had some chances to move down in the first round and stayed put to take what he claims were two of the top four players on the Jets' board.
Safe vs. Upside
Some teams like to take players who might not have the highest ceiling but whose games are more refined, giving them less of a chance to bust. Other teams have no problems taking risk on athletic freaks whose games may not be refined. The theory goes that you can teach technique, but you cannot teach elite athleticism.
Sheldon Richardson again may provide the best case study we can get in 2013. Richardson moves extraordinarily well for a man of his size, but his technique, pad level in particular, leaves much to be desired. He is a project, but one that could dominate in a year or two if he figures things out. This was a big upside pick for the Jets at 13.
It's too early to definitively put these labels on Idzik. Mike Tannenbaum actually traded down in his first Draft as general manager. The sample size is just too small. We now simply have a little bit more of a window into his mind.
The best player available-quality-upside trio is a familiar formula to the Jets. Mike Tannenbaum had those three also. Although some might say the problem was with his philosophy, I disagree. The philosophy helped build the Jets into an NFL power during his tenure. The problem was his evaluations started getting bad around 2008. Here's hoping Idzik has better luck in that area.