Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan have a chance to build this franchise in their image, and it all starts with free agency and the draft. The last few years, Drew (@DrewfromJersey) and I have teamed up to mock our New York Jets loving hearts out. Last year we had us picking ODB in the 1st, and was met with a lot of negative feedback. I think we know how that has turned out. Maybe we will get more love this time around.
Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Florida
6'3" - 265 Pounds - 4.68 40
One thing we haven't had in a very long time is a dynamic pass rusher that other teams need to account for, or they will have a long day ahead of them. I know people will groan over another defensive first round pick, but Maccagnan has a history of first round pass rushers, and we absolutely need one. It came down to Amari Cooper, Brandon Scherff and Dante Fowler. There is a good deal of depth at WR, so if we don't get one in the 1st, it isn't the end of the world, plus Percy Harvin would look great in Chan Gailey's offense. Scherff fills a big need along the O-line, but Maccagnan has never gone with an O-lineman in the first. Fowler is a terror off the edge, and is very versatile. He can play a number of positions in Bowles' defense. His numbers are not a good interpretation of what a maniac he was rushing the passer.
Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina
6'0" - 188 Pounds - 4.45 40
Even if Harvin comes back, we should stockpile some WR talent behind him. His injury history is extensive, and needs a safety net. Enter Justin Hardy. Hardy has been very impressive for the East Carolina Pirates. His only year with 1,000 yards or less was his freshman year. He also had over 100 receptions in both of his last two years. Hardy might not be physically imposing at only 6 foot, but he has long arms, and great hand strength to pluck balls out of the air. He would make a very good complement to a receiving corps that is starting to look up.
Daryl Williams, OT, Oklahoma
6'6" - 329 Pounds - 5.36 40
I have not forgotten about our beleaguered O-line. Even though we have Breno Giacomini coming back next year, I can't think of a single person who thinks he is our savior at RT. D'Brickashaw Ferguson is also getting older, and has been declining for a little now. Replacements or competition needs to be brought in. In the meantime, Daryl Williams can challenge Breno right away for that starting RT spot. Williams has had a very good year for the Sooners. This was highlighted by an amazing game against Shawn Oakman. Williams is one guy that was not intimidated by the meme sensation.
Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio)
6'0" - 180 Pounds - 4.53 40
One of our saddest positions is CB. There is no need for me to go into great detail about how bad our CBs were. This is a position that needs to be aggressively pursued in the offseason. I am talking about a top flight free agent signing and a draft pick or two. I don't want to put all of my eggs in the Dee Milliner/Dexter McDougle basket. Quinten Rollins is one of my favorite CB prospects coming out this year. His small school status, along with his limited time as a college football player (1 year) will keep Rollins relatively low on draft boards. He is almost certain to climb higher as the draft approaches. For now, the 4th round is an appropriate place for him. Rollins is a tremendous talent that will only grow as a player under Bowles.
Jake Ryan, ILB/OLB, Michigan
6'3" - 236 Pounds - 4.70 40
We have a severe deficiency in our LBing corps. Other than Demario Davis, there isn't really anyone else that really belongs back there. Quinton Coples has shown he is capable, but we are doing him a great disservice taking him away from the D-line. David Harris will be hitting free agency, and might not be coming back. We need to retool here desperately. Jake Ryan is a very talented LBer. He is one year removed from an ACL tear in 2013, and looked a lot like his 2012 self in 2014. He can play a number of LBer positions, which is exactly what we need.
Adrian Amos, FS, Penn State
6'0" - 215 Pounds - 4.60 40
It should be no surprise that I am going back to the secondary here. Sure it's the 7th round, but we can still find some possible gems here. Calvin Pryor struggled a big in his rookie year. I think a lot of that has to do with playing out of position. A FS needs to be brought in to hang back and hunt. This would allow Pryor to play closer to the line, and be a menace. Amos has a very good year for Penn State. He finished the year with 3 interceptions and 7 passes broken up.