This is the first Draft i followed more then just read articles online and the grades the Jets get awarded. I actually tried to stay awake at night (draft started after midnight in Europe) to see parts of it live, i skipped Day 3 and i don't feel like i missed something.
Speaking generally i have mixed feelings with many of the picks. While we hardly can argue with the value we got (except Day 3), there is some head scratching going on with many jets fans which still are trying to talk themselves into selections that went along.
Since i hardly follow the NCAA, i'm not able to really evaluate the players and am forced to rely on media coverage. But let me try to give my thoughts on this draft, that in my opinion can be graded in about two years down the road, standard since no one knows how the players will develop and adapt to NFL, but especially since the strategy on this draft might become clear only mid of next season.
Pick #9: Dee Milliner CB
Without doubt this great value for a player who was supposed to go top 5 and hardly in any mocks was falling to the Jets. His athleticism won't be any concern, maybe his medical history will (Jets say it's fine) or that Alabama corner don't adapt well in NFL (backpedaling?), while other will argue Saban asks CB to do more than in most other programs. Anyway Milliner is expected to have a respectable career in the NFL and brings a lot to table.
The move can be questioned based on strategy and the Team needs. While the Jets showed they're still a great Pass Defense even without Revis, there wasn't a pressing need to draft a corner, especially that early. Granted a lot of mocked players weren't on the board at this point (Jordan, Mingo, Austin, Ansah). The interpretation of this pick on one side is simple and on the other very vast. The simple approach is the Jets went BPA, and Milliner value sure was a big part of this selection, but i guess it's not all. It might tell as well, that first-rounder Kyle Wilson didn't pan out as expected and Rex Ryan needs his corners to provide a top Pass Defense. But why give in to Rex, when he might be gone soon and actually messed up with picking Wilson? Again, if you want to break down the team production into four categories (run defense, pass defense, run offense, pass offense) we used our best pick for the best part on the Jets football team. Some "experts" point out that Milliner could replace Cromartie at some point. If i get Cromartie contract right, he'll play last season 2014, after that he'll be 31. Unfortunately Cromartie generates a Cap hit of 15 Millions in 2014. It is possible that the Jets plan to get rid of him after this season. In that perspective, Milliner might be an appropriate selection.
The next issue is the media perception of trading Revis with Milliner (the third-rounder in 2014 is likely the value between #9 and #13) and benefiting from cap savings. This might not help the front-office going forward, but we couldn't care less, for sure it's not going to help Milliner either and that is just not what you want.
Overall pick grade: B+
There might have not been a better selection at this point. Some would mention Warmack, who was fine for the Titans to select him at #10.
Pick #13: Sheldon Richardson DT
To the wide public perception this pick was a bit of a surprise. No one expected to go defense twice in round 1 and even if so, defensive lineman wasn't what people would go for. Pass Rusher and maybe Safety might have come to mind when picking defense in the first round. After the second pick neither was addressed, not to mention the needs on the offensive side. On top of that, many mocks had Richardson ranking third DT behind Star Lotulelei (Carolina, #14) and Shariff Floyd (Minnesota, #23). Read how the Jets had been interested in Star Lotulelei by Scott Salmon and how that would've made sense.
But then how can i tell if any other DT would been better than Richardson? I have to rely on the professionals on the Jets front-office, that they knew what they're doing by selecting Richardson over Lotulelei. Many Experts and Fans are bit puzzled how that pick fits the Jets scheme wise. Sure the Jets lost DeVito and Pouha and needed some one to take over since Garay is not going to be a long term solution. But something doesn't add up. Either Ellis (#94, 2011) or even Coples (#16, 2012) is not what the jets expected when they were drafted. Time only will tell, whether the Scheme is morphing or the Jets lost some confidence in other players on the roster.
In any case, another athletic freak we drafted, with whom you can't argue. Richardson looks like a legit first round selection. I actually like how he handled the interview and what he said. But not all hopes the Jets put in athletic freaks they drafted in the past years developed. There's always some people who'll argue that Rex Ryan can develop defensive players and work them round, even when they come as squares. When you draft with 13th pick, just sometimes use the players right away with the strengths the player have, without projecting them on another position. Maybe the case i make is too simple, as i don't fully understand the requirements of defensive linemen at respective position. But then why are we relying on Rex developing players, when some didn't and worse when Rex's time could end next year?
Many fans we're hoping for a trade down. I would have liked this option as well, but when you want to trade down, someone has to trade up. Not sure if the situation was given. Dont know if someone would have liked Lotulelei, Floyd, Jones enough to trade up or even for Richardson itself. Maybe Minnesota could have been interested, they ended up having nice draft anyway (Floyd DT #23, Rhodes CB #25, Patterson WR #29), basically getting the third best player at each of the drafted position.
Overall pick grade: C
Might not be a reach and has good value, is a legit player at his position, which would give the Jets a B- at best, but since Richardson doesn't fit right away and the need is there but not a priority in my opinion, i can't give anything above C. As a player i like him.
Pick #39: Geno Smith QB
If the Jets really wanted Geno, they got him at the right point. I still hope that the rumors that they were trying to trade up for him are just that and it wasn't considered. That said i wasn't on board to draft a QB this year if not for a late round pick. Please consider when QB were drafted:
- E.J. Manuel R1 #16
- Geno Smith R2 #39
- Mike Glennon R3 #73
- Matt Barkley R4 #98
- Ryan Nassib R4 #110
- Tyler Wilson R4 #112
- Landry Jones R4 #115
- Dysert, Renfree, etc R7
- Bray, Scott, etc.. undrafted
I would rate the pick of Manuel as a reach. All the others QB apart Smith were drafted from 3th Round onward. If you wanted a project, you could've gotten one a lot cheaper. Therefore the Jets either went for the best franchise QB on the board and red the signs well or jumped at Smith valuating him as a steal. Now, you never going to know as the front-office will tell you, they made a great deal here and did everything right. But what does it really mean?
What about Geno Smith? The few things many people agree upon (apart Nolan Nawrocki) are following:
Generally very accurate, mainly on short-to-intermediate, good enough arm strength to put ball in tight windows over the middle, fast release. Very athletic, can escape pressure. Tape junkie, great work ethic, extremely competitive, passionate about the game. Fast eyes, can progress, pocket passer first, keeps his eyes down-field while moving, will deliver even when taking a hit.
There's a buzz about his accuracy and how that stats is blown up with the amount of short passes respectively passes behind the line of scrimmage or even "tap passes". Don't underestimate the number of TD's and Yards with the playmakers Austin and Bailey on the field. There's a lot of dink and dunk in his game, which for the jets won't be a bad thing considering.
When talking weaknesses this is what comes up:
Too many fumbles, sometimes inconsistent, gets rattled when things are not working out. Can lock into receiver, overconfident at times, forces balls, doesn't throw the ball away or holds on too long. Accuracy suffers in poor weather conditions, blitz awareness could be better. Looks bad against good pass defenses.
Please excuse the hater question: How is this a difference to Mark Sanchez?
Now factor in, that Geno Smith seems not to handle the media exceptional well, and has already made himself a name for someone who will eventually flare up and answer over twitter and come along with Rex-style comments by saying he will lead the Jets to the playoffs. I can see the beat writer leaning back and telling their wifes that this season will be a easy one mentally, but they will be short on time, as any minute a new headline is in the making.
Please excuse the hater question: How is this a difference to the Tebow/Rex circus?
You have to question this move, there's no way around that. Do the Jets think Geno is their next franchise QB, they did a good job getting him in the second. Any deviation from this, they made a mistake, and not a small one. Even after cutting Tebow today. You wanted competition, that's why you brought Garrard. Now with Geno things are getting ugly. Seems like the duel with three people in "The good, the bad and the ugly". Feel free to assign the QB's respectively.
For Geno's and the Jets sake, i hope this time the front-office will have a plan and handle all eventualities well. Else this will be a never ending story. And apart that, the offense still lacks of talent which is not going to help any QB on the roster.
Overall pick grade: C+ Although they invested "only" a second round pick and got nice value for it, the perception will be that Geno needs to start at some point this season. Imagine Sanchez starts and will show the same production like the past two years or start Garrard who will not light up the board too often, everyone will shout for Geno (which rhymes to Tebow). As mentioned the NY Media is going to have a nice year. As for Geno i hope he'll get a fair amount of time to develop without getting burned out too fast. I hardly can see any case, where the media or large part of the fanbase won't scream for a new QB on Draftday 2014.
Pick #72: Brian Winters OG
Finally a Pick which definitely was a need, and the Jets picked the 5th/6th best guard in the draft. The Jets missed on Larry Warford if they were interested, as he went seven picks earlier, the next Guard went in Round 4 (Barett Jones to the Saints).
Winters played right and left tackle, for one season he played as right guard. So his versatility might not be an issue, but he projects to the inside, since his athleticism is not his strong part. Could help out when asked for and therefore is already adding some depth at various positions. Aggressiveness and Physicality should be great, has a background as wrestler and therefore good hands, where he once got a shoulder injury from, which might be a problem going forward.
Players on the board at that time:
RB: G. Bernard, Lattimore, K. Davis, J. Franklin, Giilislee, ...
WR: K. Allen, Q. Patton, T. Williams, M. Wheaton, S. Bailey, G. Marquise, ...
TE: J. Reed, D. Simms, L. Toilolo
OT: T. Armstead, T. Dallas, B. Williams, D. Bakthiari
DE: A. Okafor, Damontre Moore, S. Montgomery, C. Lemonier
DT: Jesse Williams, Brandon Williams
OLB: K. Greene, G. Hodges, S. Porter, Z. Gooden, Jelani Jenkins,
S: Phillip Thomas, Shamarko Thomas, J.J. Wilcox, Duke Williams
Overall pick grade: B- Should be able to start right away, it's what this team needs. And that includes adding competition at some positions. Maybe Winters could have fallen some more, but not having a forth round pick, they picked him slightly ahead. Value is ok, need is covered.
Pick #149: Oday Aboushi OT
The Jets double-dipped here on offensive linemen. Oday Aboushi, originally from Brooklyn NY, is said to have hurt his stock by playing his 4th year while he was projected to be a second round pick last year. Like Winters his strength is not athleticism where he grades quite poorly, but very physical and an aggressive leader. Good football IQ and generally said to be smart, should master playbooks faster then others.
Aboushi's size and strength are his biggest assets (6-5, 308 lbs) but has short arms in comparison. That might indicate that he wouldn't greatly fit as a Tackle on the NFL, although he played mainly left tackle. He might still add depth immediately and could back up Austin Howard.
Overall pick grade: B-
Could start very soon and definitely fights for a spot at guard with Ducasse and Winter. Might be helpful considering Colons health issues. Looks like a very valuable pick, that could backup even the tackle position. If we didn't pick Winter in the third round, this pick would grade even better.
Pick #178: William Campbell DT/OG
To be honest, i didn't yet figure where this guy will play if ever given a chance. Some boards say he's a defensive lineman suggesting even NT other project him as a guard, which would be the third guard drafted this year. Why double-dip when you can triple-down?
Without lacking some respect for Campbell, i won't put a long story here, you hardly find any information about him.
Players on the board at that time:
RB: A. Ellington, K. Barner, L. Murray, R. Burkhead
WR: Coby Hamilton, Aaaron Mellette, Justin Brown, Alan Bonner,
TE: Mychal Rivera
DL: T. Williams, M. Catapano, L.M. Kapron, S. McGee, M. Buchanan, Ty Powell
OLB: Cornelius Carradine, DaVonte Holloman, Nate Palmer, Nick Moody
S: Bacarri Rambo, John Boyett, Zeke Motta,
Overall pick grade: D
Hard to figure any thoughts behind this. Does have someone in the frontoffice have personal ties with Campbell? I mean the third guard or another defensive lineman is just about useless. Considering some people still on the board, i figure there should have been some better players around. Linebacker or Safety is what i'd go for. Even if going DL I thought there might be better players available.
Pick #178: Tommy Bohanon FB
Mornhinweg wanted a Fullback and he got one. Tommy Bohanon has ties with Idzik's son and knows Josh Bush, but was within the best Fullback in this draft, mind that Juszczik went in Round 4. Bohanon was hoping to go to the Jets.
Should help the running game by blocking and occasionally carrying. Is said to be a natural pass-catcher and could line up even as a Tight End. Versatile and high character profile.
Overall pick grade: C+
Not that a Fullback is a primary position, but filling that spot with a seventh-rounder is legitimate. Seems a good fit for Mornihinweg and could start if he wins over Lex Hillard.
TE: Lutzenkirchen, Fauria, Stoneburner, Pantale, Furstenburg
WR: Da'Rick Rogers, Devonte Christopher, Jawon Lawson
OL: Kwame Geathers,
LB: Chase Thomas, Keith Pough, Brandon Magee,
S: Ray Polk, Tony Jefferson
Overall Draft Thoughts / Grade: C
No surprise here that i don't regard this draft to exactly fill the needs. You can't argue with players like Milliner, Richardson, Aboushi, Winter or even Bohanon as they all seem legitimate rookies with upside and picked appropriately. As for Campbell maybe there's someone else that knows more about him.
With many picks i feel that the project goes onto 2014 and forward. Cromartie could be potentially cut 2014 because he'd account for a 15 Million Cap hit, the signing of Milliner makes a lot more sense instead of valuating him as a replacement for Revis. Likewise the situation at the offensive line sees many players hitting feee agency in 2014 (D.J. Young, Colon, Peterman, Landolt, Howard, Ducasse) and basically leaving the Jets with only Mangold, Brick Ferguson and Schlauderaff active.
Just for a moment lets assume that the Jets really drafted with the perspective 2014 going forward. The situation at the Linebacker position doesn't look better with Lansanah, Mauga, McIntyre, Pace, Sapp, Bellore, Dickson and J. Smith having their contract running out after this season, leaving behind only Antwan Barnes, Demario Davis and David Harris. Similar at the Tight End position with all our players hitting free agency (Cumberland, Hayden Smith, Reuland). At least from the contract point of view the safeties are in place with Landry playing till 2015 and with Allen, Bush having a contract till 2016.
Regarding those facts i'm very disappointed to say the least, that known needs like LB and TE weren't addressed. Maybe the Jets will find a way to hit someone on the market. I figure as for TE the adaption to NFL might be faster then offensive linemen, but i don't think this applies to linebacker as well. As for safeties i can't evaluate Bush and Allen sort to say if one of them can become a long time starter.
In any case this was not a win-now draft, which i'm really ok with, but still leaves many open question marks. I'm going to end it with saying, that investing a second rounder on a QB might be not stupid, but in the overall perception Geno Smith will be considered a first rounder and therefore inheriting all the hassles of such. The circus will still be going on for a while.
This overall grade can be still be upgraded depending of other free agent signings.
Comments are welcome.