Ladies and gentlemen we are just over 24 hours away from the 2012 NFL draft. An event that we have been looking forward to for months. We have interviewed prospects, we have scouted potential Jets, we have talked with draft experts about who we will select and why we will select them. We have gone back and forth, and we have continuously put up a collection of mock drafts over the off-season that highlight who the experts have us taking.
So I thought what better way to finish it off than to put together a final collection. So here we go, starting with the NFL.com analysts:
16. New York Jets: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa. The team has reportedly tried to trade starting right tackle Wayne Hunter in the past. Reiff could fill in at that spot right away if Rex Ryan finally finds a taker before, during or after the draft.
16. New York Jets: Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina. Hearing that his stock has dropped a bit as teams search for the right spot to play him. The Jets will use him in a variety of ways to maximize his talents. Don't be surprised if he plays some ILB, too.
16. New York Jets: Whitney Mercilus, OLB, Illinois. A better outside rush prospect than Melvin Ingram.
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama. There's no question the Jets need to get after the quarterback to underscore one critical element of Rex Ryan's team profile: a dominant, turnover-fueled defense. Upshaw transitions best as a 3-4 OLB. When I studied him, he reminded me in some ways of Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley: similar size, similar body type. In addition, Upshaw showed the natural strength to be an effective power rusher. There were also snaps in which he bent the edge and closed with speed. Upshaw has the versatility to put his hand on the ground and rush from a three-point stance, as well.
16. New York Jets: Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina. Rex Ryan wants to get back to bullying offenses with an aggressive pressure scheme that sends rushers from all angles. Ingram possesses the speed and athleticism to thrive as a hybrid weapon along the front seven, which will improve a pass rush that has underachieved the past few seasons.
Join me after the jump for a host of more selections
16. New York Jets: Dontari Poe, Memphis, DT. Rex Ryan's gleeful. Deep down he knows Poe has a chance to be another Haloti Ngata, a freakishly talented interior force against the run and pass. But Poe isn't known for being freakishly productive -- five sacks in three years at Memphis -- and Ryan and coordinator Mike Pettine will have their work cut out to make him a top NFL starter.
Here are four more from the guys over at CBS
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama. By attending the workouts of virtually every highly rated pass rusher in the country, the Jets have essentially advertised the fact that they're looking to address this area via the draft. Upshaw isn't as a nimble athlete and thus could slip slightly as teams place too much value on postseason workouts. He is, however, powerful and pro-ready.
16. New York Jets: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Head coach Rex Ryan will be searching for a pass rusher with this pick, but I think even he would agree that passing on Michael Floyd here would be a mistake. Floyd is a big target with the toughness and athleticism to make tough catches and make plays after the reception. He has some off-field baggage, but the skill out-weighs the concerns and Floyd would give Mark Sanchez another legitimate option opposite Santonio Holmes.
16. New York Jets: Nick Perry, OLB, USC. Perry has versatility and can play standing up or down in a stance. Rex Ryan loves guys like Perry and will create a Terrell Suggs role for him.
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama. Where do they get the pass rush from? Upshaw is a perfect 3-4 outside rush player.
The following come from the two most notorious draftniks. It is Insider content, but here are the selections:
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama. Rex Ryan should see Upshaw as a great fit for what he's trying to do on defense. Upshaw has size to hold up against the run even as a pass-rusher in a 3-4, making him an ideal fit here. He plays with a high motor, sheds blocks well with quickness and violent hands, and he'll make plays all over. I do think the Jets could grab Barron if he's on the board. They could use a talent upgrade on defense in several spots.
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama. Upshaw is the kind of physical, versatile front-seven player Rex Ryan loaded up on in his days with the Ravens, showing explosiveness and power as a pass-rusher and as a run defender. Floyd also would be a consideration here if he were available, and he would be a good complement to Santonio Holmes.
16. New York Jets: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Is there any doubt the Jets will be targeting a receiver early? Santonio Holmes is a trouble-maker and Chaz Schilens is slated to start. Chaz Schilens! Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow need competent receivers to throw to, but this selection isn't just about the passing game.
The Jets want to go back to their old ground-and-pound offense. What does that have to do with Michael Floyd? Well, they believe that he's the best blocking receiver in the 2012 NFL Draft. They're reportedly eying him for the No. 16 pick, and that apparently is a reason why.
16. New York Jets: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame.
16. New York Jets: (It has us trading up to #9) Ryan had Adalius Thomas in Baltimore, and now, for the price of the Nos. 16 and 47 picks (with the Jets' also getting the Panthers' fourth-round selection in the swap), New York will find Ingram too good a fit to pass up. His pass rush ability as a 3-4 outside linebacker would probably be more of sure thing than standing pat and taking someone like Courtney Upshaw, Whitney Mercilus or Chandler Jones.
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama.The Jets have a star studded and highly paid defense but that didn’t necessarily translate into as many impact plays as it should have last season. In fact, despite the emergence of Aaron Maybin as a situational pass rusher the Jets were a middle of the pack team in terms of sack production. With both Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas now well into their thirties, it may be time to bring in another outside linebacker who can be a threat off the edge. Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw doesn’t have the ideal length or speed that you look for but that didn't stop the Crimson Tide star from racking up 31.5 tackles for a loss and 15.5 sacks against elite SEC competition the past two years. Upshaw is simply a great football player with a knack for being in the right place at the right time and would be a perfect fit in the Jets scheme
16. New York Jets: Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina. Ingram becomes Rex Ryan’s new Adalius Thomas.
16. New York Jets: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State. Blackmon is a media darling after twice winning college football's Biletnikoff Award and scoring three touchdowns in the Fiesta Bowl, two on busted coverages and the third on a badly blown tackle. NFL teams will not grade Blackmon as a top-ten prospect after he runs a 4.55-4.60 at the Combine. Blackmon would fit in New York, however, as a physical, possession-type No. 2 receiver to book end Santonio Holmes. Free agent Plaxico Burress is certain to move on.
16. New York Jets: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama. Upshaw played in a 3-4 set at Alabama and should be able to make a quick transition to the NFL in a outside linebacker role. There are a number of options for the Jets at this spot, but Upshaw is an outstanding defensive talent who could considerably improve the Jets' pass rush in 2012. Aaron Maybin will likely return for 2012, but the Jets need more than Maybin to increase the pressure they bring against opposing quarterbacks. There is speculation that the Jets may be looking to move up to draft South Carolina DE/OLB Marvin Ingram, but in the event that doesn't happen, Upshaw could fill the Jets' 3-4 OLB need quite well.
16. New York Jets: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Adding weapons to the passing game is an absolute must. Floyd has the skills to be the red zone target Plaxico Burress was, but has the speed and playmaking skills to provide much more.
16. New York Jets: Michael FLoyd, WR, Notre Dame. Plaxico Burress is a free agent and the offense must get more weapons for Mark Sanchez if he is ever going to become even an average NFL quarterback.
16. New York Jets: Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College: The Jets add a productive tackler at inside linebacker.
16. New York Jets: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis. Poe’s measurables are going to inflate his stock too high; I don’t think he’s a first-round talent.
16. New York Jets: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford.
16. New York Jets: Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois — While everyone else waits for Mercilus to fall to them, the Jets will reach a little bit further for one more shot at finding an impact defensive lineman.
16. New York Jets: Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State— Rex Ryan’s Planes need a 3-4-scheme pass rusher who is outstanding, and McClellin suggests the impact NYJ was missing last year as Ryan’s latest Super Bowl guarantee fizzled. Of course, this pick would be pending the approval of Tim Tebow.