FanPost

2017 Draft Thoughts

Draft Needs:

The Jets are currently without their 4th round pick in the 2017 draft (it was traded away during the 2016 draft in exchange for the fifth round pick from Washington where they chose OT Brandon Shell) and as such they have 6 picks in the 2017 draft. I also believe the Jets will not be eligible for any compensatory picks so barring any trades, I do not expect the Jets to receive any more than the 6 draft picks they currently have.

As for positional needs, I believe the most important areas the Jets need to address through the 2017 draft are OL, CB, RB, and TE in that order. I will breakdown the Jets needs in the 2017 draft going position-by-position, below.

QB:

The Jets have taken a QB in 4 straight drafts (Geno, Tajh Boyd, Petty, and Hackenberg) with Geno and Hackenberg both being taken in the second round. It's no mystery that the Jets are perennially weak at the QB position and constantly undergoing QB competitions and changes every 2 years or less since the Chad Pennington days. There is the theory that you draft a QB until you have one, and even then if you're a team like the Packers, you take QBs when the value is there because they are so valuable. For the Jets in 2017, I disagree. They will have Petty and Hackenberg both under contract and on the active roster - and I expect the Jets to sign one of Austin Davis, Case Keenum, or Mike Glennon as well. While this is not the ideal QB competition at the moment, I believe it is the correct move if the Jets are serious about developing their young QBs and giving them chances to prove their draft positions.

RB:

To me, the lack of RBs in recent drafts from the Jets is disappointing. Only 2 RBs have been drafted since the Jets selected Bilal Powell in the 4th round of the 2011 draft, Terrance Ganaway in the 6th round in 2012, and Tommy Bohanon in the 7th round in 2013 (really he was a FB). I don't think there is any position as easily and cheaply filled through the draft than RB. Running back is a young man's position yet the Jets are only ceding carries to 30 year old Matt Forte and 28 year old Bilal Powell is an issue when you start thinking about the future. Both are on the books with significant enough dead money such that I doubt either is released. As such the Jets will have the same 1-2 RB combo next year, but I would like to see another mid-late round draft pick thrown into the mix.

FB:

Nope.

WR:

The 2016 draft process has provided the Jets with 3 new WRs on their current 53 man roster: Charone Peake (7th round pick), Robby Anderson (UDFA), and Jaline Marshall (UDFA). I think Robby has a chance to be a good WR, while Peake has shown better WR potential then Marshall but I love both on special teams and as such I expect both to make the 53 man roster next year along with Robby. Throw in the Eric Decker and the recovering Devin Smith into that 2017 mix and that's 5 WRs right there. If Brandon Marshall is not cut or traded (on the books with no dead money in 2017) then that would be 6 WRs already penciled in on the roster at WR. I don't want the Jets to spend another pick on WR in 2017 if they only have 6 picks. If they do go with a WR, then I want them to go really early for WR in order to find a potentially true #1 WR - the Jets have the depth but in life after Brandon Marshall they will need a true #1.

TE:

The Jets TE situation has been a very sorry state for years. We can talk all we want about how Chan's offense utilizes more WRs and HBacks than traditional TEs, but when you want to run the football you want a solid blocking TE for power packages and the Jets currently do not have that. I would like to see the Jets target a solid blocking TE, whether or not he can run solid routes and has great hands is slightly less important to me than getting a solid blocking TE. Late round or UDFA should be able to find one.

OT:

The Jets need a plan OT going forward and they need one yesterday. The right tackle competition this year hasn't been anything resembling the disaster I expceted it to be, but it's hard to imagine Ben Ijalana or Brent Qvale are the answers going forward. Ryan Clady has been an uninspiring signing as well - and at 30 years old with an injury history and almost no dead money in 2017, I think it's a very real possibility that if the Jets can land a top OT, they could cut Clady's 10+ mil contract and start the LT of the future. Even if Clady is still in the mix next year, it would be smart for the Jets to take an OT in the top half of the draft, someone to compete at RT immediately and to potentially succeed Clady at LT in 2018.

OG:

Winters has over performed this season, proving to be a decent run-blocker but still a below-average pass blocker. Meanwhile Carpenter on the other side of the ball has continued his solid play in NY since coming over from Seattle. I would like to see the Jets go OG in this draft as well, if nothing else they need some solid depth at guard and someone to hopefully usurp Brian Winters in the starting lineup.

C:

Mangold i old and injury prone, the stalwart and glue guy of the Jets offensive line for the past 10 years is beginning to break down and his play is no longer at an elite level. The Jets need to find a competent successor before his days are up, I am sure Mangold could help to take a rookie under his wing and mentor the next great Jets center. We have been blessed over the past 2 decades to employ 2 great HOF centers in NY - I would like see that streak potentially continued with the next great Jets center being discovered in the next draft or two.

NT:

With McLendon on the books for 2017 and with some decent play I fully expect him and Deon Simon to continue to be the NTs. I expect the Jets to do their due diligence in signing a NT for rookie mini camp/UDFA as well.

DE:

The Jets will definitely have Big Mo and Big Cat on the roster for 2017, what happens with Sheldon is still the biggest question for the Jets this off-season. Still, the Jets will need depth at DE as I expect Jarvis Jenkins to be released. I would like to see a high upside or a raw guy to be taken in the bottom half of the draft.

EDGE:

The single biggest piece of the puzzle that has eluded the Jets defenses of late is a great EDGE rusher. We all hoped Mauldin could develop into that guy after a few promising outings in his rookie season - but so far it appears he'll never be more than an okay situational player with ST value. The Jets need an EDGE guy and every year they are projected one in the first round only to miss out on their guy or pass entirely.

LB:

With David Harris on his last year or two, and Taiwan Jones still being an unproven potential successor, I would like to see the Jets look for another "thumper" in this draft. They nabbed their speed LB this year in Darron Lee - time to get an enforcer in 2017.

CB:

The Jets have the highest payroll at CB in the NFL yet they are one of the worst secondaries in football. What that tells you is the reality, that the Jets roster at CB are all overpaid FA CBs because they failed to draft decent CBs in recent years. In order for the Jets to improve as a football team both on the field and off the field (financially speaking), the Jets need to get some return on their drafted CBs. Juston Burris was taken in the 4th round this year, but if he can't prove he can contribute the Jets may need to go CB early in the 2017 draft.

SS:

Calvin Pryor is regressing 2016 after a nice 2015 season. So long as he doesn't regress further this season, 2017 will be his "make-or-break" year. I also like Rontez Miles as a backup, so I don't see any urgent need to go after a SS unless they provide great value in the mid-late rounds.

FS:

Marcus Gilchrist will most likely be back in 2017, but beyond that I am doubtful. Unless he picks up his play, the Jets should be thoroughly reviewing all of their options at FS both in the draft and in FA. Antonio Allen is an uninspiring backup as well, so youthful depth at either safety position would be welcomed.

K/P:

Please sign any top kickers or punters to compete. Folk is consistent but certainly replaceable (especially at his salary) and Lachlan Edwards has also been uninspiring in his rookie season. Special teams competitions are always boring, but also crucial to ensuring a team's success.

Players I would like to see the Jets target in the 2017 draft:

Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

As I said before, the only way I am comfortable with the Jets taking a wide receiver in this draft is if they can find a true #1. In my opinion, Mike Williams is the most physically dominant wide receiver in this draft and the most likely to be the best NFL WR from this draft.

Carl Lawson, DE/OLB, Auburn

There are several top DE/OLB/EDGE guys in this class and lucky for the Jets, that's been one of their biggest needs for several years now. You could argue any one of Myles Garrett, Derek Barnett, Tim Williams, Jonathan Allen, and even a Charles Harris. The reason I like Lawson over those other guys is for a few reasons: first is that I see Garett and Allen as more traditional 4-3 DEs and in the Jets 3-4 defense may be better suited as a DE than OLB/EDGE and the Jets really do not need another elite young 3-4 DE. Then there's Williams and Barnett, I like Williams a lot but I haven't seen enough tape on him to know if he can cover or drop back from time to time, I also have not seen enough in his pass rushing repertoire to know that he is a great EDGE rusher. I do see the speed and explosion and I do like him, but I think Lawson gets the nod over him here for several reasons. In Auburn's defense, Lawson plays mostly standing up on the EDGE (as he most likely would in NY) and he also does drop back in coverage on occasion and has held his own. Lawson has been productive as a pass rusher as well. Finally, Barnett feels like the a technician in the pass rushing game and does a good job stopping the run too, but he looks like weight may be an issue and I am concerned about how his athleticism will translate to the NFL - I expect him to have lesser numbers at the combine than Lawson and Williams.

Ejuan Price, DE/OLB, Pitt

Ejuan Price may not get drafted. Ejuan Price is going to be "too short", "too small", "played in the ACC", and "a tweener". Ejuan Price is also currently tied for the NCAA lead in sacks (8 solo 2 assisted). Ejuan Price is a 6' 250 pound 4-3 defensive end for the Pitt Panthers, and he's dominating the ACC. Think about that, a guy the size of a LB who plays with his hand in the dirt taking on opposing offensive tackles and guards, and dominating. I could rave about his motor, his instincts, his speed, his hand usage, his footwork, his spin move, but instead let me show you a few gifs against UNC this season:

Ejuan Price safety vs UNC

Ejuan Price uses his hands and keeps his balance to avoid the cut block before showing great closing speed to force the safety

Ejuan Price Sack vs. UNC

Lined up at LDE, wins with speed and leverage for the sack

Ejuan Price pressure vs. UNC

Lined up at RDE, wins with leverage and speed to force the QB hurry and gets a QB hit

Ejuan Price pressure vs. UNC

Here Price goes inside the RT, rips the RG, and turns the corner to get a path to the QB.

In all of these gifs, Price makes the play in less than 3 seconds. Now he won't be asked to line up as often with his hand in the dirt in the NFL - but it's clear to me that Price has the athleticism and instincts to play OLB if necessary (started his career at Pitt at LB). He's decorated (3rd place in ACC defensive player of the year voting in 2015), he's a leader (senior captain), he's productive, and he's an outstanding athlete. He checks every box for me except height and length, and for those reasons I think whatever team gets him is uncovering an absolute steal in the 2017 draft. As good as I felt about Jatavis Brown at ILB last year, I feel even better about this kid and he's even more undersized for his position than Brown was, meaning he should come at an even cheaper price.

I will follow up this FanPost with another later in the season, including a deeper list of players I like for the Jets in the 2017 draft. Let me know if you like the inclusion of gifs and if you'd want to see more statistical breakdowns and comparisons for these posts. Thanks for reading, and make sure you remember the name Ejuan Price.

This is a FanPost written by a registered member of this site. The views expressed here are those of the author alone and not those of anybody affiliated with Gang Green Nation or SB Nation.