The Jets need playmakers on offense in the worst way. Free Agency should be the first barometer of what John Idzik’s offseason game plan entails. I expect to see Jets make at least one signing or trade, pre-draft, for a wide receiver. Whether that ensues or not, do not be surprised if the Jets take a defensive player in the first round despite being bereft in talent on the offensive side of the ball.
The Jets, currently with the 18th pick, would seem to be targeting the best wide receiver or tight end prospects. Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans, the top two receiving prospects, should be off the board in the top ten, especially after no setbacks in this week’s combine. The next wave of wide receiver prospects are all very intriguing and talented, more so than previous years. Marqise Lee, Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham Jr., Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry, Davante Adams, and Jordan Matthews all have potential to thrive on the next level. Whether, they warrant the 18th pick in the first round is a different story.
Then there are the tight ends. Eric Ebron, Jace Amaro, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins could all be first round picks. All have versatile and multi-faceted skillsets at a position that has become en vogue in the NFL. Ebron and Amaro, in many of their college games last year, lined up in the slot for the majority of their snaps thus showcasing their ability to exploit mismatches. Jets have a need for a tight end and any of the aforementioned players appear to be an upgrade over what they have on the current roster. Ebron would project to be off the board after his eye-popping 4.50 sprints in the 40 yard dash at the combine; not the norm obviously for a tight end. Amaro and Seferian-Jenkins could be there, but once again: Are they worthy of the 18th pick? That would all depend on how one’s draft board is ranked, more importantly the one hanging in the Jets’ war room on May 8…which begs another question: Would the Jets take a defensive player at the 18th pick if their draft board dictated or persuaded them to take one?
It’s the classic argument of drafting for need or value. The latter is a philosophy I personally subscribe to, but it’s subjective per the team and the upcoming season’s expectations. So basically, not an exact science. While the top offensive skill players are targets for the Jets, they’ll be some exceptional defensive talents available that could entice them.
With Antonio Cromartie’s presence on the roster next season up in the air, a need for a cornerback could be eminent. Darqueze Dennard, Justin Gilbert, Jason Verrett, and Lamarcus Joyner are all top talents in this draft and could be amongst the players on top of Idzik’s draft board when it comes time to hand in the Jets’ card. All of the aforementioned corners have discernible skill sets that could translate to becoming a starter Day One, much like Dee Milliner did a year ago. It wouldn’t be farfetched to proclaim that Milliner would be a grade below some of this year’s crop, but that’s a different debate.
There are also a few safeties that could intrigue Idzik and Rex Ryan with Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen coming off average seasons. Calvin Pryor and Ha-ha Clinton Dix are highly rated safeties by most draft "experts" and once again, depending on Idzik’s board, could be considered. With the receiver class as deep as it is this year, Idzik could project drafting a wideout in the second round to address that need. Of course this will depend on how aggressive the Jets are in free agency which begins the first week of March. It should be an interesting process to watch for Jets fans.
Here are my Top 10 prospects amongst the four positions of WR, TE, CB, and S.
1. Sammy Watkins, WR Clemson
2. Eric Ebron, TE North Carolina
3. Darqueze Dennard, CB Michigan State
4. Mike Evans, WR Texas A&M
5. Brandin Cooks, WR Oregon State
6. Marqise Lee, WR USC
7. Jason Verrett, CB TCU
8. Justin Gilbert, CB Oklahoma State
9. Calvin Pryor, S Louisville
10. Jace Amaro, TE Texas Tech