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NFL Draft Grades: How Do Analysts Like the Jets' Selection of Darron Lee?

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How do analysts think the Jets did by selecting Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft? As always, remember Draft grades are stupid unless they praise the Jets.

SB Nation (Dan Kadar)

20. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

The Jets needed to add speed and talent on their defensive front, and that's what they get in Lee. He's a rangy linebacker who has some potential as a pass rusher. Getting him at the No. 20 pick in the draft is something of a steal.

Grade: A-

Yahoo (Eric Edholm)

20. New York Jets: LB Darron Lee – Almost a nickel safety-sized player, Lee is fast and highly athletic to match up with tight ends (um, New England perhaps?) and backs (say, Shady McCoy) right away. He's a good fit on a defense that has a lot of bulk up front, which should keep Lee clean from having to stack and shed linebackers, which is not his strength. Expect Lee to play at one of the inside spots in the Jets' 3-4 scheme, but he has versatility. Grade: B+

CBS (Pete Prisco)

Jets select: Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State

Like this pick a lot. He is a speed linebacker and they need speed on defense. Good pick.

Grade: B+

Washington Post (Mark Maske)

Jets (20th pick)… Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State… No one has told the Jets, apparently, that this is a QB-centric league. They haven’t re-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick. They didn’t trade for Colin Kaepernick. They had their chance to draft Paxton Lynch and didn’t do it Thursday night. They still have time to fix their quarterback situation. But until they do, they don’t get the benefit of the doubt, even though there was nothing exactly wrong with the choice of Lee. There’s a reason why the Broncos, who got their QB Thursday night, win Super Bowls and the Jets don’t. Grade D+

Sports Illustrated (Doug Farrar)


Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State


The Jets need more players with real movement skills, and with Myles Jack's medicals pulling him down the board, Lee may very well be the next-best option. He won't impress anyone with his size (6' 1", 232 pounds), but remember that Jets coach Todd Bowles was in Arizona when Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington were redefining what mobile linebackers could do. Now, Bowles has his own cover linebacker who can tackle pretty well, rush a bit and cover everything from curl-flat to seam routes. From that perspective, it's a good pick. Those who are unimpressed are just going to have to realize that the 230-pound linebacker is the wave of the future.

Pro Football Focus (Steve Palazzolo)

20. New York Jets: Darron Lee | Grade: C-

The Jets go with the athletic Lee who flies around the field, but still has work to do to become the coveted "3-down linebacker." His athleticism does not translate directly to his coverage as he ranked 73rd among linebackers in 2015 after posting a negative grade in 2014. Lee can make plays against the run, using his speed to get to the ball when unblocked, but he’s not special enough in this area to warrant the first-round pick. His best work comes as a blitzer as he can defeat blocks and his +8.2 rush grade was among the best in the nation last year. Ultimately, for Lee to live up to his draft spot, he must get better in coverage.