*This is my own personal view of what would constitute the Jets perfect draft.
The draft is one of the most exciting features of the NFL calendar. It's eagerly anticipated by every set of supporters, however it holds a special appeal for struggling franchises. It represents a chance to improve and put yourselves back in contention. Teams who draft poorly struggle to consistently compete, regardless of how many free agents they sign.
The Jets have a lot of holes that need to be filled, they won't be able to do it all with this draft, but their position is such that they can make great progress. So here's my personal blueprint for how they can get maximum return on their investment.
Jets trade #6 overall selection to the Browns.
Browns trade #12 overall, #33 overall selection to the Jets
With the #12 overall selection, the Jets select Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
It's hard to win in this league without having a QB. Through the draft process my belief in Mahomes has continued to grow. He is a gunslinger and he does come from that air-raid system. He will make some mistakes and at points he will try to do too much. However Mahomes just has something, he's got the size, he's got the arm, he's got the confidence and touch. He's a leader, he's made reads in college and worked through progressions. He moves safeties with his eyes and he keeps plays alive that have no right to be kept alive. He moves well in the pocket, he keeps his eyes downfield and he uses his legs when he needs to. I'm willing to take a gamble on this guy and picking up an extra 2nd round selection in this draft allows you to take that chance.
With the #33 overall selection, the Jets select Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Do I think Conley will still be here? Probably not, but as the first selection of the 2nd round. It's not completely unreasonable to expect that he'll be here. Conley is one hell of a talented corner, he has the size, length and strength to play on the outside in the NFL. He can work in press man, but he has everything to work in Zone as well. He runs well (4.44 at the combine) and he has a natural feel for the position. He baits QB's before closing with authority. He's not as fluid as Lattimore, but he plays the ball well in the air. He has the talent to come in and start straight away.
With the #39 overall selection, the Jets select David Njoku, TE, Miami
Here's another one that may already be off the board, but most have him as a late first, early 2nd round talent...and this is an early 2nd round selection in a perfect scenario. Who doesn't love a Miami tight end? We're talking Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham and Jeremy Shockey etc etc. Njoku is just an incredible athlete. He his big, fast with good acceleration in and out of his breaks. He's a red-zone threat who's a nightmare to cover in the end zone. He climbs the ladder to snatch the ball out of the air and if he can just cut the focus drops out, he'll be one hell of a player. He needs to add a little strength for the blocking game, but you're immediately getting a dangerous pass catcher.
Jets trade Sheldon Richardson, DT
Cowboys trade #91 overall & conditional 2018 pick
I think we'd all love to think that Sheldon was worth more, but with multiple suspensions, a cap hit and a contract that's running down. I think a late 3rd pick, with the potential of a low 2018 conditional pick is the best we can do. I want to see the back of him and we can't risk him getting in trouble again and destroying any value.
With the #70 overall selection, the Jets select Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State
This should come as no surprise to any regular readers of GGN. Godwin is one of my absolute favourite prospects in this entire draft. He combines the four things I love in receivers, size, strength, speed and the ability to catch the ball away from his body. He's a savvy route runner who manages to find spot spots in zone and has enough wiggle to get away in man. In the 3rd round he offers some excellent value and he gives our new shiny QB a target to go along with Enunwa, Decker, Anderson and Njoku. That's what I like to see.
With the #91 overall selection, the Jets select Derek Rivers, OLB, Youngstown State
There is a lot to like about Rivers, he plays with a strong punch, he's an effort guy who goes all out on every snap and converts power to speed when closing in on the QB. All of that has directly led to results on the field. Look at his production, 58 tackles, 19.5 for a loss and 14 sacks in 2016. Some say he's a pure effort pass-rusher but I think that's doing him a huge disservice. He's not Von Miller, but he does have some explosion out of his stance and he has experience playing in space as a linebacker. He does need some work, but here in the 3rd I'll take a productive pass rusher with good athletic ability who needs work.
With the #107 overall selection, the Jets select Pat Elflein, C, Ohio State
Nobody seems to be able to agree on Elflein, some see him as a 2nd round prospect and some see him as a 5th. So I'm going to take him in the late 3rd, and I'd run this selection to the podium. His pass protection does need some work, but he's a very intelligent player who can carry on the excellence at the C position for the Jets. He's a team captain with strong leadership. He has good play strength who blocks with patience. He identifies defensive shifts and communicates them clearly. He plays to the whistle on every single play, setting an example to the rest of the team. I'm not sure Johnson is the answer for the Jets, when you can get a guy like Elflein in the 3rd, you do it.
With the #150 overall selection, the Jets select James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh
James Conner represents one of the best stories in college football, haven't fought cancer and won, I wouldn't bet against him kicking some butt in the NFL. He's a big power back who will destroy any arm tackles, lower body power is off the charts. He creates with power rather than wiggle, but he's a guy who's shown that he has a nose for the end-zone and when he gets an opportunity to get up to speed, he's tough to bring down. I was impressed with the strides he made with his pass catching (21REC, 302 Yards, 4 TD) in 2016, as well as his pass protection. He'd give the Jets a nice 1-2 punch with Powell, and the 5th round is excellent value for a guy who will come in and play his heart out every single week.
With the #191 overall selection, the Jets select Julie'n Davenport, OT, Bucknell
Look for developmental talent late in the draft, and that's exactly what we're getting here. Davenport has had a good pre-draft process and if you believe the rumours, there are a lot of teams intrigued by his potential, including the Patriots. He's 6'7 and around 320lb's with desirable arm length and hand size. He plays with a good punch and keeps blockers away from his frame, he also looks good out in space and has natural athletic ability to block on the move. He has very sloppy technique which you'd expect from a tackle out of Bucknell, but he performed admirably when facing tough opposition at the Senior Bowl. On more than one occasion he stonewalled pass rushers like Vine Biegel. Mike Mayock named him the best small school prospect at the Senior Bowl. He was also a 2 year captain, are you starting to see my preference for strong leadership?
With the #224 overall selection, the Jets select David Jones, FS, Richmond
You know I had to get a safety in here somewhere. This late in the draft, I'm looking at players who do a few things very well, you're not going to get a polished player in the 7th. I've heard the calls for a ball hawk over there in CF for the Jets and Jones is that. He's had a few injury problems, but when he was healthy in 2015 he had 9 interceptions, including a 4 INT game against James Maddison. Level of competition is a concern and the angles he takes are a concern. However he's an intelligent guy with a nose for the football and the instincts to play the position. Get him some coaching, work with him for a year and see what happens.
Here are a handful of prospects who I think may be looked over for the draft, but who I'd like the Jets to seriously consider bringing into camp for competition.
K/P - Kenny Allen (Michigan)
G - Greg Pyke (Georgia)
OLB - Bryan Cox Jr (Florida)
RB - De'Angelo Henderson (Coastal Carolina)
DE - Garrett Sickels (Penn State)
OLB - Brooks Ellis (Arkansas)
CB - Howard Wilson (Houston)
OT - Jylan Ware (Alabama State)
LB - Marquel Lee (Wake Forest)
CB - Taylor Reynolds (James Maddison)
So there you have it, if you've read this far then thank you! This is my ideal draft scenario. So to conclude, we would be entering the 2017 season with the following draft additions:
Pat Mahomes - QB
Gareon Conley - CB
David Njoku - TE
Chris Godwin - WR
Derek Rivers - OLB
Pat Elflein - OC
James Conner - RB
Julie'n Davenport - OT
David Jones - FS