By now, we all probably know quite a bit about Calvin Pryor and Jace Amaro. For the most part, we like both those picks as evidenced by sky high approval ratings and generally positive comments about both players. However, the bulk of the discussion since the end of Round 3 has been dominated by the latest addition to the depth chart at cornerback; Dexter McDougle out of Maryland.
This has been an extremely divisive pick, and unsurprisingly so for it has widely been perceived as a reach. I'm seeing a lot of people here very unhappy about the fact that we've drafted a player in Round 3 who may well have been available deep into today's late rounds. Counter-arguments defending the pick have largely centred on the premise that the Jets have met with the player, scouted the player and hopefully done their due diligence.
Now, the sense I'm getting from both camps is we don't really know a lot about the newest member of the Jets roster. Certainly I didn't. I legitimately had no opinion on this pick, and very little information to go on. Hence, it was time to hunt down game tape. Of course, by now you probably know that Dexter McDougle missed most of this season due to injury. We only have 3 games worth of video on him, so lets make the most of what we have.
I chose to start with last game of the season, Maryland's trip to the University of Connecticut. I highly recommend watching the 6 minute clip below, before forming your opinion on our 3rd round pick.
Dexter McDougle vs UConn (2013) (via Aaron Aloysius)
From the UConn game, I saw a couple of things I really liked, most of all his ball skills. This guy already has the best hands of any corner on our roster. He's a very fluid runner with the ball as well, which makes me think he could be a real weapon in the turnover battle and he may have a role on special teams. Good solid tackler, in my opinion.
What I didn't like so much was that there were a couple of receptions there were he seemed to leave a little too much separation to his receiver. I did think he challenged the receivers well, but obviously he's not the biggest defensive back and maybe not the fastest either. I'm slightly concerned about his ability to adapt to the far higher level of competition he'll face in the NFL. I don't think he's slow, by any means, and he seemed pretty smooth on the backpedal, but didn't really see him as an out and out burner.
Next up, Maryland against Florida International, a home game. This video confirmed my impressions of McDougle, both positive and negative. I did get to see another positive here, his potential usefulness as a blitzer. Could be a nice weapon for Rex to use in that aspect.
Dexter McDougle vs Florida International (2013) (via Aaron Aloysius)
Now for our final video, having worked back to McDougal's first game of his ultimately truncated season. Old Dominion University comes to town. I'm not a college football fan, and until today I didn't even know there was an Old Dominion University. Learn something new every day....
Back to McDougal though, this video if anything further confirmed my original impressions, Especially the negatives, unfortunately. He does have some work ahead of him before he can be a starting press man corner in the Rex system.
McDougle ODU (via Aaron Aloysius)
The reason I've put these videos up here (courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com) is because my guess is a few others here may not have seen much of Dexter McDougle. The danger with that is we can allow our impressions to be clouded by mock drafts and prospect breakdowns coming from people who do hundreds of these at a time. I think it's always useful to review video and come to our own conclusions.
My personal opinion is that I consider this pick to be a reach in the sense that he's not going to start from day 1. Perhaps there were players the Jets passed on who could have made much more of an impact in 2014. If this was a 5th rounder I would have loved the upside here. Perhaps the Jets were guilty of falling in love with a tough, talented corner who could grow into a solid starter, and hence overdrafted him. Perhaps they legitimately saw a risk that another team was likely to take him before the high 4th rounder Tampa sent us.
I think its entirely possible that Dexter McDougle never actually starts a game for the New York Jets. I also think its possible that he ends up being a very valuable piece, maybe as a starting cornerback or as a nickelback. How this fits with what the Jets do in 2014, I cannot say. Perhaps Kyle Wilson ends up moving back to the outside where he was in my mind better than he was given credit for in 2012. Perhaps Patterson starts all year, or Darrin Walls makes the jump to starter.
It's hard for me to love a 3rd round pick that may not help that much this season, particularly as corner was a position where the Jets could have used help. It's also hard for me to hate a pick that could lead to a very productive player down the line. I'm left feeling ambivalent about this pick, which isn't very far from where I was 1000 words and 3 videos ago. Since it's draft time, I'll go for the optimistic view and lean towards the positive side of this. There certainly could have been worse picks. With Round 4 starting in an hour and potentially 9 more Jets picks ahead, I'd be overjoyed if this is the biggest head-scratcher of the draft.