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State of our NYJ: An Ideal and Realistic look at the Near and Foreseeable Future. A Mock Free Agency and Draft for the Strategists

While being a new poster on ganggreennation, I have been reading it for almost a year now. I have been a Jets fan for as long as I can remember. I played football and have always been interested in the personnel side of the game. Not only the big name free agents and first round picks, but the lesser knows guys, role players, and projects as well. I feel like I have a lot of good ideas to share. I study organizational management (basically business personnel and fit) and work in the football office at my college, a top 25 program.

All this said, I hope you humor me and read my thoughts on the state of the Jets right now, what our plan on Offense and defense should be, how to improve those things, and realistic expectations for next year and years forward.

I Hope to see your comments on how you think these players fit, potential better fits, and what you expect from our Jets going forward.

Our Offense (as it stands)

The Jets offense is not as anemic as us fans might believe. The most pressing issues are obvious: lack of talent and fit at wide receiver and tight end, a one-dimensional running attack, inconsistency at guard, and relying upon a rookie QB in a timing and decision making based system.

I do think Marty Morningwheg is good for this job. He will not transform our offense into the high-flying Broncos or knock-you-on-your ass Seahawks, but rather a poor-mans hybrid of the two. With Rex at the helm, we can expect, and expect to win, with a havoc-wreaking defense and an offense that can hold it together. A Rex-led team will never be a top 5 offense, but with a #1 defense, it doesnt have to be.

With a developing QB, ball-control pass game, and one-cut power runners like Ivory and Powell (and sometimes Bohannon), we are more fit now for the ground-and-pound mentality from the glory years of Rex than we have been in recent memory. Those power runs behind Mangold, Colon, and Howard with Ivory and Powell should be a staple of our offense going forward. I especially like our look out of the pistol (against falcons and other teams) with both a power back and speed back in the backfield, with the threat of an option, sweep, dive, or pass. Getting back to the run first, ball-control west coast passing offense will take our offense where it needs to be, which is a 60-40 run-pass offense with borderline top 10 production. Teams can and have won like this.

Current Jets who are Good Contributors For Our Offense (Keep ‘em):

Geno Smith, Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Jeremy Kerley, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Willie Colon, Austin Howard

Quality Backups/Role Players (Keep Em):

Garrard- bring him into camp as the 3rd. Let him teach Geno. Maybe cut him after camp

Nelson- nice 4th/posession receiver. deserves a very limited role in the offense

Salas- lot of scouts high on him out of college. Still young. shifty slot guy. backup Kerley/be our last receiver. can run good short/intermediate routes. good special teamer

Sudfeld- solid option as 3rd tight end. Big body. Potential in passing and blocking game.

Dalton Freeman- All-ACC center. had a great camp. coaches high on him before IR.

*Ijalana- decent swing tackle for a lower price. has starters experience. RT/LT versatile

*Schlauderaff- seems to always stick around. better than other guards at this point. bring him to camp.

Big Names That Need to Go (Offense):

Sanchez. Goodson. Holmes. Winslow. Cumberland. Ducasse.

Cut Our Losses/Failed Projects/backups who must go (Offense):

Simms- doesnt fit the system. big arm, no accuracy, dumb. didnt start in college. media headache.

Alex Green- can be replaced in the later rounds.

Stephen Hill- yes, already. Doesnt fit the system. cant run routes. drops. sucks.

Clyde Gates- enough is enough

Oday Aboushi- experts were shocked with this pick. weak for his size. left tackle only. low ceiling, lower floor. can be replaced in later rounds.

William Campbell- horrible pick, maybe bring him to camp. doubt he dresses for one game again.

Our Defense (as it stands)

We should be excited about our defense. Our defensive line is the best in the NFL, no questions asked, and should be for years. I love the depth of Ellis behind Harrison at NT, but would like to see another 3-4 end picked up to spell the ‘sons (right now only Douzable--who I also love)

Our Linebackers have done surprisingly well, considering the mediocre talent and depth shown in the position. I really do think Coples is a misfit as a true 3-4 OLB, and hope to see more 4 man fronts in the future. I think a 4 man front Right to left of Coples, Harrison, Wilkerson, Richardson, with 3 linebackers R to L as Davis, Harris, And McIntyre could be an intriguing option to mix it up.

Our inside linebackers did well this year (particularly Davis showing promise), but with Harris growing older with an unfavorable contract, and not many trustworthy players behind him, we need to shore up some depth there and maybe restructure Harris.

At outside linebacker, I am once again not sure of Coples just yet. I like McIntyre on the strong side on running downs a LOT, and we can not expect Pace to produce half of what he did this year next year. Barnes, coming off major injury and aging, is still a one-trick pony (and not very good at that trick to begin with) and should not be relied upon. Jermaine Cunningham still has a lot of potential as a pass-rusher and was an interesting signing.

Now to our secondary. I think this is a unit on the rise. Milliner will be a good NFL corner. I think Cromartie should go. Wilson was drafted as an outside corner and has been forced to play nickel his entire career, give him a chance there? Also...you could find a worse alternative than Darrin Walls. There are also some intriguing free agent/draft prospects (get to that later).

Our safety situation is not as bas as it seems. Antonio Allen can be a great player, but I believe is playing out of position, being held back by Landry. Move him to SS where he belongs and save some money by cutting Landry. There are some intriguing safety options in the draft/free agency as well. Our SS should be a hitter/tackler/tight end coverer (somethings that Allen excels at) while our FS should be a rover/coverage type (rookie, free agents). I also think Ed Reed could do this very well, all while teaching the forgotten corner-turned-safety Josh Bush the tricks of the trade.

Who to Get Rid of on Defense:

Bellore + Mauga (maybe bring to camp). Pace (production will again go way down). Cromartie (too expensive even with restructure). Dawan Landry (stunting Allen’s growth).

Under the radar guys who could contribute:

Ellis Lankster, Darrin Walls, Jermaine Cunningham (pass rush potential, former high pick), Josh Bush (former CB turned Safety who could be asset in coverage), Ed Reed (best of all time, can still cover, coach on the field), Rontez Miles (intruiging FS prospect), Tim Fugger (versatile LB prospect), Ras-I Dowling (2nd round pick, still tons of potential).

So, What do we need to Address in FA and/or Draft?

  1. #1 Receiver
  2. #1 Tight End Threat
  3. #2 Receiver
  4. 3-4 Pass rusher
  5. Free Safety
  6. Guard Competition
  7. OT Depth
  8. Backup QB
  9. #2 TE
  10. ILB depth
  11. CB
  12. 3-4 DE depth
  13. Change of Pace RB
  14. More WR

No. 1 Wide Receiver Options (Rd. 1 or 2)

Watkins, Decker, Nicks, Maclin, Evans, Lee, Crooks, Benjamin, Beckham, Robinson

As much as we would love to see Watkins fall to us at #18, it won’t happen. I think we get better value in free agency with Jeremy Maclin here, which is why I like signing him in FA

#1 Tight End Options (Rd. 1-3)

Ebron, Pitta, Amaro, Pettigrew, Fred Davis, Sefarian-Jenkins,

Amaro is my favorite pick at 18. see him being a Jason Witten type for us for a long time. Ebron may be gone, but even if he isn’t, I see Amaro as a better long term guy. Possession type guy who can get us 8 catches a game as a short safety valve type with YAC ability.

No. 2 Receiver Options (Rd. 2-5)

Crooks, Danario Alexander, Britt, Edelman, James Jones, McCluster, Golden Tate, Landry, Richardson

I personally love Jordan Matthews. I think he will have the most productive career out of any receiver in this draft. Guy can do a lot of things well. Hopefully will be there when we pick in the 2nd. If not, another one of these rookies mentioned hopefully will be. Double dipping at WR this offseason is a MUST, if not triple or quadruple, but a total revamping.

3-4 OLB Pass Rusher (Best Player Available)

This is less of a pressing need as the others, but I could see the Jets taking an outside rusher in free agency, as early as the 2nd round, or throughout the draft. Some Guys I like:

Aaron Lynch (6th rd). Dee Ford (2nd rd.). Jordan Tripp (4th). Jason Worilds (FA) Brian Orakpo (FA)

Free Safety (Best Player Available)

I could see the jets staying still at safety, but I hope they don’t. plenty of options out there throughout later rounds of draft of free agency. Hope they hang onto Ed Reed and Josh Bush as well:

Stevie Brown (FA). Jairus Byrd (FA). Calvin Pryor (2nd rd.) Kenny Ladler (4-5th rd.) Vinnie Sunseri (5th Rd.). Malcolm Jenkins (FA).

Guard (Starter or Competition)

Brian Winters was not the answer last year. Colon is getting old. A plug and play starter would be nice, but some depth and competition is necessary.

Jon Asamoah (FA). Rich Ohrnberger (FA). Geoff Schwartz (FA). Cyril Richardson (2nd). Gabe Jackson (3). Anthony Steen (4). Ryan Groy (7th).

OT Depth

We need some young, versatile guys who can fill in at multiple positions and maybe one day start.

Wesley Johnson (LT-OG-C-RT) (6-7th). Marshall Newhouse (FA). Anthony Collins (FA). J’Marcus Webb (FA). Spencer Long (OG-OT) (7)

Backup QB

Young, mobile, accurate backup in the late rounds who will not threaten Geno and mess with his confidence, also maybe a Veteran (if not garrard) to mentor him.

David Fales (5th). Aaron Murray (5th). Connor Shaw (UFA) Bryn Renner (UFA) Colt McCoy (FA). Tarvaris Jackson (FA).

2nd TE

Hopefully get our #1 with Amaro, Ebron, Pitta, or another. But we need to douple dip here. Sudfeld can be a good 3.

CJ Fiedorowicz (3-4 rd). Xavier Grimble (7th). Colt Lyerla (UFA). Andrew Quarless (FA). Ben Hartsock (FA)

ILB Depth

Davis is on the Rise. Harris is Solid, but on a bad contract, getting older, and cant cover the pass. Im sick of nick Bellore and Mauga.

Shayne Skov (3rd rd.). Chris Borland (3rd rd.) Dan Fox (UFA). Arthur Moats (FA) Kavell Conner (FA). Max Bullough (7th rd.)

CB

Releasing Cromartie: do we trust Milliner and Wilson/Walls on the inside and find some depth? or do we look for a starter?

Captain Munnerlyn (FA). Vontae Davis (FA). Sam Shields (FA). Chris Cook (FA). Javier Arenas (FA.). Stanley Jean-Baptiste (3rd rd.) Deion Belue (5th). Andre Hal (6-7 rd). Aaron Colvin (7 rd.)

3-4 DE Depth

We all know we have the starters set. Ellis and Douzable are excellent backups, but one more wouldnt hurt. 6 d-linemen is good to have. maybe one that can play multiple positions.

Jeoffrey Pagan (UFA) Kaleb Ramsey (UFA) Caraun Reid (4 rd.) Deandre Coleman (UFA). Jay Bromley (7 rd). Brandon Deaderick (FA). Nikita Whitlok (FB) (UFA)

Another RB

Ivory is Power, Powell is balance, Goodson should be gone. Do we need that lighting fast home-run threat? That one-cut and go? or both?

Delone Carter (FA). Kapri Bibbs (UFA). Lache Seastrunk (3-4). Isaiah Crowell (UFA). Charles Sims (4 rd.) Andre Williams (4-5 rd). Marion Grice (5 rd.)

More WR’s

low-round guys. low-tier FA’s. Posession Receivers who could help out the roster.

Austin Collie, Jacoby Ford, Robert Meachem, Kevin Ogletree, Louis Murphy, Tiquan Underwood.

Michael Campanaro (7th rd). Kevin Norwood (6 rd.) Dri Archer (UFA) Chris Boyd (UFA)

My Plan

so, after it’s all said and done: here is my mock free agency signings and draft. Note: I have omitted resigning current players and have already told you which players I want cut. We have plenty of cap space, this will work out.

Free Agency Signings:

QB Colt McCoy

WR Jeremy Maclin

WR Robert Meachem

TE Ben Hartsock

G Rich Ohrnberger

ILB Kavell Conner

OLB Jason Worilds

CB Captain Munnerlyn

FS Stevie Brown

The Draft

Unlike most years, we have all our picks. We actually have all our picks and then some. Not accounting for trades (which probably will happen), this is how I would spend our picks:

1-18: Jace Amaro. TE, Texas Tech

2-17: Jordan Matthews. WR, Vanderbilt

3-5: Lache Seastrunk. RB, Baylor

3-16: Gabe Jackson. OG, Mississippi St.

4-15: Kenny Ladler. FS, Vanderbilt

4-comp: Jordan Tripp. OLB, Montana

5-14: Deion Belue. CB, Alabama

5-comp: Colt Lyerla. TE, Oregon

6-19: Wesley Johnson. OT, Vanderbilt

7-18: Aaron Colvin. CB, Oklahoma

7-comp: Kevin Norwood. WR, Alabama

7-comp: Jay Bromley. DE, Syracuse

Notable UFA Signings:

Isaiah Crowell. RB, Northern Alabama

Nikita Whitlok. NT/FB, Wake Forest

Jeoffrey Pagan. DE/DT, Alabama

Chris Boyd. WR, Vanderbilt

Dri Archer. ATH, Kent State

Spencer Long. OG/OT, Nebraska

Dan Fox. ILB. Notre Dame

Connor Shaw. QB, South Carolina

This is, of course, not barring trades in the draft (which we may likely do). 12 picks is excessive, 12 rookies will not make a team. I could see us moving up to the top of the 2nd to ensure a higher-tier WR. I could also see us moving back up in rounds 3-4 to pick a better Guard or safety prospect. Idzik is also not opposed to player-for-pick trades on draft day, as we have seen. perhaps a middle round pick for an established utility offensive/defensive lineman and safety/corner.

Projected Depth Chart 2014

QB: Geno Smith. Colt McCoy. Connor Shaw

RB: Chris Ivory. Lache Seastrunk. Bilal Powell. Isaiah Crowell. Dri Archer

FB: Tommy Bohannon. Nikita Whitlok

WR1: Jordan Matthews. David Nelson. Chris Boyd

WR2: Jeremy Maclin. Robert Meachem. Kevin Norwood

SLOT: Jeremy Kerley. Dri Archer. Greg Salas.

TE: Jace Amaro. Colt Lyerla. Ben Hartsock. Zach Sudfeld.

LT: D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Wesley Johnson

LG: Gabe Jackson. Brian Winters. Spencer Long

C: Nick Mangold. Dalton Freeman

RG: Willie Colon. Rich Ohrnberger

RT: Austin Howard. Ben Ijalana

DE: Muhammad Wilkerson. Leger Douzable

DT: Sheldon Richardson. Jay Bromley. Nikita Whitlok. Jeoffrey Pagan

NT: Damon Harrison. Kenrick Ellis. Jeoffrey Pagan

OLB: Quinton Coples. Antwan Barnes. Jermaine Cunningham.

ILB: David Harris. Kavell Conner

ILB: Demario Davis. Dan Fox

OLB: Jason Worilds. Garret McIntyre. Jordan Tripp

CB1: Captain Munnerlyn. Darrin Walls

CB2: Dee Milliner. Aaron Colvin.

CB3: Kyle Wilson. Deion Belue. Ellis Lankster

SS: Antonio Allen. Rontez Miles

FS: Stevie Brown, Ed Reed?. Kenny Ladler. Josh Bush. Rontez Miles

Where does this off-season leave us:

The offense rides or dies with the growth of Geno. If he learns to utilize his new weapons I could see us being an 11 win team. If not, I believe or floor is 6 wins.

Passing Attack:

This should be Geno’s team. If He can learn to utilize these weapons, and morningwheg shorter passing system and the run attack support him enough, he could be the guy moving forward. I believe Maclin-Matthews-Kerley complement eachother very well. With Meachem/Nelson/Norwood as good posession receivers and options now and down the line. Chris Boyd is also an intruiging project who could be an X-factor in the future. Letting Jace Amaro and Lyerla out there early will allow them to learn on the run, and they could be an explosive tight-end tandem, one of the best in the league going forward.

Run Game:

I really like this proposed stable of backs. I think Crowell is a hidden gem, and Seastrunk could be the steal of the draft and really open things up for our offense as a change of pace to Ivory. Powell is there as the old-reliable. Crowell as another multi-purpose one cut back with a lot of talent and not a lot of wear+tear. I think Bohannon can develop into a good blocking fullback. I’d be happy with Ivory+Seastrunk each having around 750 yards with powell getting us another 400. Geno can also be a threat in the option game.

O-Line:

Our only question mark is our guards. I like Colon back on a short contract to mentor Winters (and Gabe Jackson?). Ohrnberger is also a solid utility lineman who can give decent starting snaps. Wesley Johnson gives us an extremely Versatile, smart lineman who could develop into a great career backup and possible decent starter across the line (remember Robert Turner?). I’d ideally like Colon to start on one side and have Gabe Jackson emerge on the other side, with Ohrnberher backing up both sides and have winters some time to learn. Colon can give us another year of solid play then hand the reins to winters.

D-Line:

Not much to say here. Just need some bodies to occupy the 3-4 ends when the ‘sons get tired. Pagan could turn out to be another stud, Pagan is a run-stuffer who can play any 3 positions, and the undersized nosetackle whitlok just seems like a guy who Rex is going to love.

ILB:

Harris and Davis as the starters. Kavell Conner would be a great 3rd guy to have for run support. And fox could come in on passing downs as he is way better in coverage than harris.

OLB:

Seems like a bit of a log jam with my current off-season mock, but bear with me: Coples should not play on running downs, at least not in a two point stance. We dont know what Antwan Barnes has left. Worilds would come in and be our best linebacker right away, can play 3 downs. On running downs I’d like to see Worilds and McIntyre (or maybe Tripp) manning the outside. Passing downs let loose with any combination of Coples, Worilds, Barnes, Cunningham, or Tripp.

CB:

I like Milliner and Munnerlyn on the outsides. If milliner continues to struggle, he can play dime packages and move Wilson back outside (his natural position) or throw walls back there. Colvin can also play outside, and play it well. I like Wilson and Belue and Colvin in the slot, as well as Lankster providing depth. Kenny Ladler can also man-cover.

Safety:

I want Antonio Allen at Strong Safety. He is a better fit. He can be a good-to-great SS in this league. We need more of a coverage guy in FS. Not a gambling ball-hawk type either, a safe, coverage man. Stevie Brown could be a steal in FA and become a better-than average starter. Ladler waiting in the wings will be a great third safety. Josh Bush and Rontez Miles still intruiging options, and who knows what Ed Reed will do?

ST:

I don’t think we should break the bank for Folk. Kickers are kickers, he had one great year. We can find a comparable kicker in the scrap heap. A new punter wouldnt suck either.

I like Archer Returning both Kicks and Punts. Or maybe Kerley. Or Ed Reed.

Sorry for the length, but I worked hard. Tell me what you think. Again...please comment.

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