As free agency approaches and we all make our wish list for Santa with a bunch of players we personally want our teams to target, I got to thinking. Besides stating the obvious that our opinions have absolutely no outcome of anything the team does, we can try to figure out if our GM has a specific way to approach free agency and the draft.
Last off season was a period of transition from the older vanguard, to a youth infused roster with a ton of questions marks as well as potential. We had 13 new starters in 2013 from the previous season, 6 on offense, 7 on defense. Of the new starters, 9 of them were the result of either a FA acquisition or a draft choice.
On offense, we replaced
QB Mark Sanchez with Geno Smith
RB Shonn Greene with Chris Ivory
FB Lex Hilliard with Tommy Bohanon
TE Dustin Keller with Kellen Winslow
LG Matt SLauson with Brian Winters
RG Brandon Moore with Willie Colon
On defense, we replaced
DT Mike DeVito with Sheldon Richardson
CB Darrelle Revis with Dee Milliner
SS Yerimiah Bell with Dawan Landry
Other new starters than weren't a result of a FA acuisition or draft selection were
MLB Bart Scott with Demario Davis
Rush LB Bryan Thomas with Quinton Coples
With glaring holes all over the roster, we can assume one way or another, both with strong possibilities for each. We were in the midst of rebuilding and needed a ton of roster turnover just to rid it of bad contracts and players not living up to theirs.On offense we realistically needed a QB, FB, RB, 2 WRs, TE, LG and a RG. Out of the needs at 8 positions on offense, we filled those holes and replaced players through FA and the draft at 6 positions.
On defense we realistically needed a NT, DT, LOLB, MLB, ROLB, CB, FS, and a SS. Out of 8 positions in which we needed change, we filled the need through FA or the draft at 3 of them.
We can assume that when the Jets were on the clock during the draft, their selections were need based. To be fair, we did need a new CB, a DT, a QB, a LG, a FB among several other positions. However, we can also argue that our draft philosophy last season was Best Player available based. After our first 2 selections in the first round, John Idzik publicly said that our selections 2 of the top 4 players on their board (Whether thats true we'll never know).
In the weeks and months leading up to the draft, it had become cautiously apparent that we were in love with Tavon Austin. So what happened? The rams also wanted him and traded one spot ahead of us to choose him. There were also reports out there that we were smitten with Barkevious Mingo, who went to the Browns 3 picks ahead of us. Had chosen them if they fell to us, both players would also have filled needs at rush LB and WR. So it got me thinking....
Based on the amount of roster turnover, little cap space to work with, and several aging players not living up to their contracts, John Idzik's hands were tied last offseason. However, a year later, with a light at the end of the tunnel and a lot to be excited about, we are in a position to dominate the draft and FA. With lots of cap space available and not nearly as many positions needing to be addressed, we will get a much clearer picture of how John Idzik will approach FA and the draft in years to come. Will he go with players like Eric Ebron, Marquise Lee or Mike Evans in the 1st round or Austin Seferian Jenkins, Allen Robinson or Jordan Matthews in the second like we're all expecting? Or will he throw a curveball and go best player available and select a possibly dropping (for whatever reason, hypothetically for the sake of assuming a great talent falls further than expected) Anthony Barr, Khalil Mack or god forbid Louis Nix III?
That's the beauty of being a fan, not knowing but still preparing as if you do. I can confidently say that we don't know just yet what to expect from Idzik in the draft, and that excites me. If he deems a player like Brandon Cooks worthy of the 18th selection, I have faith. I trust him to build us a winner, but seriously don't take another DT in the 1st round lol. Have faith gang green nation, GO JETS!!!