The Jets' class in the 2015 NFL Draft is now complete. The six players are listed below along with a quick first thought for each.
Round 1, Pick 6 Leonard Williams, DL, USC
It certainly was not a need, but Williams was the consensus best player in the class. If that player falls to the sixth pick, you might as well pick him. The addition of Williams makes what was already a collection of terrific young talent into arguably the best defensive line in the NFL. Todd Bowles is a very creative coach, and now he has four first round picks in Williams, Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Quinton Coples who can line up and play effectively almost anyway. He can mix and match. I can't wait to see all four of them play together, particularly on passing downs.
Round 2, Pick 37, Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State
This pick keeps growing on me the more I study Smith. He's speedy and was one of the top deep threats in college football last year. I love the subtle things he does running deep routes to shake defenders and to track balls. It is also nice because the Jets don't need him to make an immediate impact. For the first time in a long time, wide receiver was not a big need entering the Draft. If Smith can step in and play immediately, he will be a big help as a deep threat, opening things underneath for other receivers. The Jets would be perfectly fine if Smith is the fourth receiver, though, and just part of the supporting cast. He's also an excellent gunner on special teams so he can pay his way on the roster there.
Round 3, Pick 83, Lorenzo Mauldin, OLB, Louisville
The Jets grabbed him after trading down in the third round. I'm not sure that Mauldin has Pro Bowl potential, but I think he looks lke a good fit for the Jets. He has experience lining up all over the place, on defense, and there is a relentlessness to his game that I really like. All of the interior line talent the Jets have will give him favorable matchups to exploit on the outside.
Round 4, Pick 103, Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
The Jets traded up one slot early in the fourth round for Petty. They gave up just a seventh round pick they acquired in their third round trade down. There is a tendency in the Draft to reach for a non-elite quarterback way too early. Sometimes it happens in the late first round. Sometimes it is in the second or the third. Browns fans are now nodding their heads remembering Brandon Weeden. Many mocks guessed a team would do something like that for Petty. I give the front office credit for not being tempted to burn a second or a third round pick on Petty. I still think this was at least one round and probably two too early for Petty. There was still good talent available at the top of the fourth. It felt a bit too soon for a start from scratch raw tools quarterback project. Petty isn't just unfamiliar with NFL concepts. He didn't even have a playbook in college. He's purely a developmental guy. It says a lot about the great start this front office is off to that I can't even get too upset. It isn't like they burned a second round pick here. It was a fourth.
Round 5, Pick 152, Jarvis Harrison G, Texas A&M
A little while back, Mike Maccagnan made an astute observation that successful franchises find and develop quality offensive linemen in the middle and late rounds. The Jets have drafted an awful lot of offensive linemen in the middle to late rounds over the past decade, but only Matt Slauson really turned into a quality starter. A lot of people seem to feel that Harrison did not fall to the fifth round because of his talent. The questions about him seem to be about motivation. This Jets regime after doing its homework seems to think it can figure out how to motivate him. He has the talent to be a good starter if they do.
Round 7, Pick 223, Deon Simon, DT, Northwestern State
A small school interior lineman, Simon has a tough task to make the final roster, particularly given the defensive line talent the Jets have. He seems like a likely practice squad candidate, where the coaches will hope to refine his technique and turn him into a player.