Prospects are preparing for the upcoming NFL draft, and this years draft is loaded with talent. Early round picks are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Many analysts speculate that the Jets will most likely draft a tight end or receiver with their first round pick. This isn't a concrete assumption, but it seems to be valid. Where will the Jets go with there late round picks? Let's look at some intriguing options.
Storm Johnson: RS Junior Running Back UCF 6'0" 215 lbs. Projected Round: 5-7
The UCF Knights bursted on to the scene this season after winning the Fiesta Bowl. The Knights made noise after taking down Louisville. Much of the Knights success has been attributed to the play by projected first round quarterback Blake Bortles. Bortles played extremely well this past season, however he benefitted from the solid play of running back Storm Johnson.
Johnson was a highly touted recruit coming out of Loganville High School (Loganville, Ga.). He earned a 4 star rating from Rivals.com. Johnson was originally committed to Miami, where he was projected to be the next great Hurricane tailback. As a true freshman at Miami, Johnson carried the ball 9 times for 119 yards and one touchdown. Johnson sought more playing time, so he decided to transfer to UCF. He sat out his sophomore season due to transfer rules.
As a a redshirt sophomore, Storm carried the ball 113 times for 507 yards and 4 touchdowns. This past season Johnson improved his stats, rushing for 1139 yards on 213 carries scoring 14 rushing touchdowns. Johnson declared for the draft after putting together a solid season. He is a compact runner with a strong physique for the NFL.
The Jets had a respectable run game this season, but they could benefit greatly from a player like Johnson. Johnson has a nice burst in the hole and adequate field vision. He could work on perfecting his speed. If the Jets were to draft Johnson, It would be a safe late round pick. His potential isn't clear yet, but with time he could develop into a strong runner.
Denicos Allen: RS Senior Outside Linebacker Michigan State 5'11" 225 lbs. Projected Round: 6-7
Another interesting draft prospect is outside linebacker Denicos Allen. Allen has earned three letters with the Michigan State Spartans, and has established himself as a cornerstone of the Spartan defense. As a redshirt sophomore, Allen accumulated 11 sacks. This past season Allen was named a second team All-American by SI.com, posting impressive stats: 91 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and 15 quarterback hits.
The glaring issue with Allen is his size. Standing at 5'11" and weighing 225 pounds, he is undersized for an NFL outside linebacker. What he lacks in size, Allens makes up for with instinct and intensity. His closing speed is almost unparalleled. He fills the hole quickly and accelerates through his tackles with force. His size hurts him in shedding lengthy blockers. Allen angles himself perfectly to the ball carrier and uses his full body in tackling situations.
If an NFL team is willing to look past Allen's size, they may be able to develop him into a deceptive pass rusher. He has the potential to make an impact. He is a safe late round pick
The Jets need to address their weaknesses early on in the draft and even test free agency. There is some room to experiment with later draft picks, but this is a team on the cusp of returning to the postseason. The Jets need to be careful in taking risks that can send them backwards.