2014 New York Jets Draft Redux
I wanted to do a “What if” piece on the Draft just to show you how great drafting, in even one year, can do wonders for an organization. Some of the players the Jets could have picked were very predictably great choices and other were more of a surprise. I’m not looking to pick on anyone (John Idzik), but since all the rookie contracts have expired on the 2014 Draft I figured it would be a good place to start.
I am going to cherry pick the best player in each round to show you what was available. Then I will list the Jets picks. Finally I even tell you some of what I had in my Draft notes and who I wanted to select back in 2014. For example, I did not have Charles Leno Jr. as a pick of mine. For those of you unaware Leno was a 7th round selection by the Chicago Bears #246 who is now a Pro Bowl left tackle.
In 2014 the Jets had 12 picks so if the team had done a great job of drafting the roster would look completely different now. Today we all realize now that John Idzik had no idea what he was doing or any semblance of scouting acumen. He was a cap guy in Seattle and only entered the Draft room there when he brought John Schneider his coffee. (Just kidding, or am I?) So the Idzik failure in the draft is more on Woody Johnson for hiring him in the first place and the scouts for doing such a poor job. In hindsight I have no idea what those scouts were looking at. From just a cursory perspective the effort was woefully poor.
An old adage that almost certainly rings true is, “Hindsight is 20-20,” and it is particularly true when it comes to the NFL Draft. 2014 was the last draft of the John Idzik era. He was coming off an 8-8 season and needed a roster-bolstering class to increase talent. This would allow the Jets to start ascending the standings in the East, to begin challenging the evil empire known as the New England Patriots. He had 12 picks at his disposal which was the most picks the Jets had since 1998.
Alas, Idzik was a neophyte without the skill to work the Draft (He didn’t make one trade.) or the ability to discern talent. He made 12 mostly poor selections, and the Jets finished the 2014 season at 4-12 which signaled the end for his tenure as the GM. This coincided with the end of the Rex Ryan regime as he was also let go only to be signed by the Buffalo Bills. He lasted a little under two years in Buffalo.
There is no telling how things would have turned out if different selections were made. Draft picks must be developed, and there is no proof that the Ryan regime was capable of doing that. There were not many players who evolved beyond the skills they had when they came to the Jets under Ryan.
Like I said the Jets had 12 picks, and a great GM will trade up and down the Draft in order to secure the players he desires. This Draft could have been epic in so many ways with All Pro players up and down the board I will try and relate my thoughts I had on the time on players we should have targeted. Also this will show you how previous Draft mistakes cause future Draft mistakes.
2014 NFL Draft
The Jets had the 18th pick in the draft after an 8-8 season and were mocked Odell Beckham by almost every site known to man before the Draft. I was not adverse to this. I thought Beckham was great, but I didn’t envision him as a superstar receiver. He went #12
I loved Aaron Donald as a prospect and knew he was going to be great. I didn’t think he was DPOY great but great nonetheless. I knew the Jets would never take him. He is a 3 tech, and the team ran a 3-man front with young talent already on the roster (Wilkerson Richardson and Harrison) so the need was not there. I really liked Richardson the year before and was ecstatic we took him, but I loved Donald. Donald went #13.
I liked Kyle Fuller but had him as a mid 2nd round pick and thought this was a little early to pic him. He proved me wrong. He has really developed and was PFF’s #7 CB last year. He has 15 INTs in 4 years (and was injured for the entire 2016 season). He was pick #14
Ryan Shazier was not high on my list as a possible ILB because I felt he was too small. He did struggle his first two years but gained some strength and weight and really developed. The Steelers have a great history of developing ILB, and Shazier was no different. Again Shazier was a mid 2nd round pick on my board, but I knew he would go in the 1st round. I just felt he needed more development. He was pick #15.
Zack Martin was the guy I really liked at the time. When the Draft started I thought he would be there at #18 and the Jets would grab him. Coming into the Draft he was the guy I wanted in the 1st round. Recently selected Brian Winters was a train wreck, and Willie Colon who was like 50 years old (he was actually 31) was on the other side. Martin was a first round talent at 6’ 4” and 308 lbs and played tackle at Notre Dame. He had short arms, though, and his game to me was more of a power game so I thought guard was the perfect spot for him.
Actually Jerry Jones had the card in his hand with Johnny Manziel written on it when his son (Steven Jones) took the card from his hand and gave him the one with Zack Martin’s name on it. The Cowboys also really wanted Shazier and would have taken him if he was there. I was willing to trade up for Martin if I was the GM. hat is how much I liked him. What could have been. Martin went #16
I really liked C.J. Mosley as an ILB coming out and had a late 1st round round grade on him. I would have taken him at #18 because the Jets had David Harris (30) and Demario Davis (25) as ILB, and he would have been the replacement for Harris. Harris was good but slow in coverage and was getting old so it was a perfect spot for him. I would not have traded up for him, but I would of taken him over Pryor.
Idzik drafted Pryor in the 1st round, but I though Pryor was slower than I wanted and a big hitter who missed a lot of tackles. I had a early 3rd round grade on him, and I might have been a little generous with that assessment. At the time I was just so glad we didn’t pick Johnny Manziel. (It seemed like a Rex Ryan thing to do.) I would have been satisfied with any player. I held my breath when they read the card. I would have had a seizure if the called name was Manziel’s. I held out hope that Pryor would develop, but he never did.
If you draft a safety in the first round he has to be great. It is not one of the highest priority positions, and there are many serviceable safeties around you can get at a bargain. If you expect a Ronnie Lott or an Ed Reed or even a Jamal Adams then it’s worth the price you pay and then some, but Pryor was not that kind of talent.
I had 4 players I was looking at in this spot/ I liked Joel Bitonio a OT from Nevada who later went #35. I figured he would be a nice right tackle and would be a bookend with D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Bitonio was a Draft community favorite because he was thought to be a very good talent from a school (at the time) not known for its football players. I had a low 1st round grade on him.
Jason Verrett a CB from TCU I had as a lockdown corner. He has been a great pro when healthy although his career has been derailed by injuries. He went at #25. He was quick with probably the best mirroring skills in the Draft. He was smaller than I like (5’ 9 1/2” 180 lbs) and thought he may be used only as a slot corner in the NFL. (He wasn’t.)
Demarcus Lawrence, a OLB/DE from Boise State, would have been a nice replacement for Calvin Pace (34) as the rush OLB. I had a low 1st round grade on him, and the Cowboys traded up to grab him at #34. Lawrence had only two years of production at Boise State because he was was academically ineligible. He spent 2010 & 2011 at Butler CC. His two years in Boise were very good, though, with 20 sacks and 34 TFL in 23 games.
Brandin Cooks was also available and went at #20 to New Orleans. He has been with three teams in his five years since he joined league, but that does not take away his skill at the position. He has blazing speed and runs very nice routes. I have always been of the mindset that a 1st round WR is a mistake more times than not, and a WR would have to blow me away for me to use a pick on him in the 1st round. Still, I did not have Cooks as high as I should have.
Bradley Roby CB Ohio State I had as a mid 1st round grade until he got a DUI just before the Draft. I thought Roby had lock down CB skills with loose hips, great balance, elite speed, huge hands for his size, great ball skills, and an overall scrappy demeanor. Had he been 6’ 1” instead of 5’ 11” I would have had a top ten grade on him. If we the research on Roby found him to be ok (found that he had no alcohol problem) he would probably been my selection. He went #31 to Denver.
So either Martin, Roby or Lawrence would have been the pick, but with the absence of a investigation report on Roby or a trade up for Zack Martin. I went with Demarcus Lawrence as my selection, although without the DUI it would have been Roby as I was not sold on Lawrence completely at the time.
Remember, Lawrence was hurt much of his first 3 years in the NFL and has just now broken out the last two years to be a force on defense. So my pick would not have looked so hot the first three years he played in the league.
With the #49 pick we selected Jace Amaro who I had as a mid 2nd round grade. He had size with decent speed and great production in college at Texas Tech. Once he got to the Jets he ran poor routes, dropped easy balls, and could not block my grandmother. I don’t know what happened to him. Maybe aliens took over his body. I have rarely seen a player with such upside and production fail so miserably.
I liked Jeremiah Attaochu, but he did not fit Rex’s system. Rex liked big OLBs, and Attaochu was not very big. I had a high 3rd round grade on him. He went at #50
Ego Ferguson was a a mid 5th round grade in my book, but went to the Bears at #51.
Troy Niklas from Notre Dame was a hulking TE who was the best blocking TE in the draft. I watched run his drills at the Combine, and he looked like a fish out of water. I actually wrote that in my notes. He had no receiving skills, and I had no interest he went #52.
I really liked Davante Adams. He was a top 50 prospect, but he ran only 4.56/40 and had small hands 9”. He did have good size and was insanely productive in college with 233 receptions in two years at Fresno State. He went #53.
Other available options were Jeremy Hill RB LSU who went #55, Carlos Hyde from Ohio State who went #57, and Allen Robinson who made Christian Hackenberg look good at Penn State who went #61. This is where the prior Draft mistakes come back to haunt you. We had drafted Geno Smith in the 2nd round the year before so we had no interest in Jimmy Garoppolo who went #62 to New England. We could have had him if we didn’t mess up the year before.
Although in retrospect if we had not drafted Smith we may have drafted Manziel, and my head would have exploded so I guess Geno actually saved me from mental torture. Just imagine how idiotic the Jets would have looked like if they had drafted Manziel. The buttfumble and Manziel might be too much to take.
I also liked Marcus Martin who was only 20 at the time of the draft and my #1 center prospect. He went to the 49ers at #70. He played as a rookie but had a horrible ankle injury and was never quite the same after that.
In the end I would have taken Jace Amaro and have been fooled like all the Jets scouts. I had him penciled in as my 2nd round choice long before the Draft and was ecstatic when the Jets drafted him. My bad.
This is the round I threw a chair across the room. There were three players I wanted. In order of desire they were Gabe Jackson Guard Miss State, Trai Turner Guard LSU, and Donte Moncrief WR Ole Miss.
This ended up being a Rex Ryan pick. He was shown some tape of Dexter McDougle and told Idzik he wanted this player. Idzik had no idea McDougle was an injured late 6th round talent and took him in the 3rd. Of course the Jets took McDougle, and the Raiders snatched up Jackson on the next pick. The McDougle pick was almost as bad as the Bears choosing another 6th round talent on the D-line this time in the 3rd round, Will Sutton. Chicago’s GM must have been on a bender and took two worthless D-linemen. Needless to say the Bears soon after saw Phil Emery as worthless and dumped him fast for Ryan Pace.
This Draft was a self inflicted disaster in team building. You had two starting guards that struggled for various reasons. Brian Winters was coming off a rookie year that was an unmitigated disaster, and Willie Colon was near the end of his time in the NFL and oft injured. When he wasn’t injured he played like he was injured. I appreciated his toughness to gut it out and play, but his effectiveness suffered because of it.
The team had a chance to trade up in the first round and get a All-Pro guard in Zack Martin and a golden opportunity to just select a Pro Bowler in Gabe Jackson who had a down year in 2018 and was still the PFF #18 rated guard. Another option was future Pro Bowler Trai Turner who also was injured and had a down year in 2018 and was still the PFF #24 guard.
Again the mistake of taking a OT from Kent State (Brian Winters) in the 3rd round (he was a 5th round talent) and making him a guard stopped the Jets from obtaining two Pro Bowl guards who were there for the choosing. One mistake causing another seems to be a motto for the Jets when they draft, and I am confident (I hope) that this will end with the hiring of Joe Douglas.
I am basically an amateur scout, and these moves were obvious to me when they were happening. The wound and disgust are still painful today as when it happened. These people were suppose to be professionals. How did they not see the same thing I and many others saw? It boggles the mind to think our interior line could be solid, but instead we took an injured CB in McDougle (He played two games in 2013.) who is now selling aluminum siding for a living.
(I don’t actually know what he is doing now, but he isn’t playing for the Jets).
You could make the case that if the Jets had no draft picks in 2013 they would have been better off. Without drafting Geno Smith (sorry GenoTime7) in the 2nd round in 2013 they may have drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the 2nd, and without Brian Winters (3rd round 2013) they may have selected two of Zack Martin, Gabe Jackson or Trai Turner. I’ll take it one step further. They almost certainly would have taken one of those guys. Draft mistakes lead to future Draft mistakes.
They could have ignored the problems at guard and still picked up a RB in Devonta Freeman from FSU. He would have been more dynamic than a lumbering Chris Ivory. Freeman is a tough little runner with some power and receiving skills.
My pick was, would have been, and still is Gabe Jackson G Miss State. I would have jogged over from Florham Park to put it in I was that sure at the time.
The onslaught of poor drafting continued with 3 regrettable picks in the 4th round. The team picked Jalen Saunders at #104, and even astounding by Jets Draft misery standards this was an all time low. Saunders barely made it past training camp before he was cut. This is Mike Maccagnan worthy poor drafting, a 165 lbs receiver who was not very quick. I am shaking my head right now in disgust just thinking about it. I had him as a mid 6th round talent, and I way overrated him.
The team did slightly better with Shaq Evans a WR from UCLA selected at #115. Evans didn’t get cut during training camp. He hung around on IR for a year until he was cut in 2015. He went on to be signed and cut by the Jaguars, Patriots and Cowboys. He now plays in the CFL. His career total for NFL receptions is 0. He is another guy who did absolutely nothing in the NFL. These are not premium picks, but a 4th rounder could be a productive role player on your team for at least a few years with hopes he develops.
With the #137th pick the Jets selected Dakota Dozier who was athletic as a fire hydrant yet the Jets selected him. He had a 24” vert, 5.42/40 and an 8.14 sec 3-cone which are all just awful. There were no analytics at work here for the Jets. Dozier played in 4 games (sometime since I don’t remember him) in his first two years. He actually started 7 games for the Jets in 4 years and did so well that he was not re-signed and is now a member of the Minnesota Vikings, where he will sit on their bench.
It is almost like you could have opened up a phone book and found three better guys than this. A monkey with a player list and a dart board could rival Idzik in his drafting ability. This was the 4th round, not the 7th. You have to do better than this. The these players pale in comparison to a list of UDFA players from this draft.
Some of the Players available were
Justin Ellis NT Lousiana Tech, Cassius Marsh DE UCLA, Walt Aiken CB Duke, Maurice Alexander SS Oklahoma, Russell Bodine G/C N. Carolina, Aaron Colvin CB Oklahoma, Martavis Bryant WR Clemson, Anthony Hitchens ILB Iowa, De’Anthony Thomas RB Oregon, Pierre Desir CB Lindenwood, Tre Boston SS N. Carolina, James White RB Wisconsin, Nevin Lawson CB Utah State, Brent Urban DE Virginia, Cameron Fleming OT Stanford, Kevin Norwood WR Alabama Avery Williamson LB Kentucky, Telvin Smith LB FSU, Ryan Grant WR Tulane, Ricardo Allen CB Purdue, Aaron Lynch DE USF, Kevin Pamphile OT Purdue
All of these players have had varying degrees for success in the NFL. They are not stars, but they are solid role players which is what you would expect. You could say that James White was instrumental in two of the Patriots Super Bowl victories and a key cog in their offense since he was drafted.
I liked Cameron Fleming 6’ 6” 320 lbs OT as a swing tackle for the Jets. I didn’t have a really high grade on him (early 5th round) but thought he could develop. In the meantime he would be a backup. He was picked by New England and has played 61 of a possible 80 games; starting 23. So basically he’s a backup but still only 26 years old.
My three guys I wanted here were:
DaQuan Jones a NT from Penn State who has started 61 games for the Titans. He is exactly what you would expect from a 4th round NT. He provides a nice push in the middle, stuffs the run and has 6 career sacks. He signed a new contract. (I do think the Titans overpaid, though.) He is not a Pro Bowler but is a steady force in the middle. I viewed him as a player who could spell Harrison when needed and provide another huge goal line body. With him and Harrison in the middle a one yard TD run is no guarantee.
Brock Vereen a SS from Minnesota had great speed but never quite developed like I thought he would. He was drafted by the Bears but went to the Patriots and just decided to retire during his 3rd year in the league. He just didn’t want to play football anymore.
The player I wanted more than any in this round but I knew the Jets andRex Ryan would never draft was Telvin Smith from FSU. I saw every snap he played in college. (He played ILB for FSU.) He had sideline to sideline speed and could cover like nobody the Jets had. I had a early 3rd round grade on him (I undervalued him.) so for him to still be here (He went in the 5th round) was a godsend. Ryan only liked big OLB so with Smith moving outside in the NFL I knew the Jets would never draft him. I would have taken him in the 3rd round, but I had Gabe Jackson graded higher than him.
The 5th round was another stab in the dark by the Idzik regime when they took Jeremiah George from Iowa State with the 154th pick. An ILB with 4.91/40 speed (if you can call that speed), he showed little, was cut, and then signed to the practice squad. He was signed off the practice squad by the Jaguars appearing in 6 games before he was cut the following year. He also had stints with the Bucs and the Colts but is now selling used cars.
(Again I don’t actually know what he is doing, but he hasn’t played football since 2017).
Some of the players available were
Caraun Reid DT Princeton, Chris Smith LB Arkansas, Ed Stinson DE Alabama, Corey Linsley C Ohio State, A. J. McCarron QB Alabama, Keith Reaser CB FAU, Alfred Blue RB LSU, Kenneth Acker CB SMU, Wesley Johnson C Vanderbilt, Devon Kennard LB USC, E. J. Gaines CB Missouri, Pat O’Donnell P Miami, Zach Fulton C Tennessee,
Again all these players have varying degrees of success in the NFL. Corey Linsley has started every game he has played for Green Bay. He was the PFF #6 rated center in 2018. With Nick Mangold having a injury plagued year in 2014, Linsley would have been a welcome relief and could have solved the team’s center problems before they started.
This is how you draft smart. Have a player in place who can take over in case of injury or retirement. Mangold was 30 years old in 2014 so the time to find an eventual replacement was then, not when he could no longer play.
Theplayer I would have selected here was Christian Jones a ILB from FSU who went undrafted in 2014 because of a tainted urine test. I had a mid 3rd round grade on him and now was the time I would have taken a shot on him. He has played in 79 of a possible 80 games for the Bears starting 47 of those games. He hasn’t developed into a stud ILB like I had hoped, but he is a useful starter and a perfect backup who could play a lot of snaps if necessary.
The 6th round the Jets had 4 selections to make and actually found a usable player
Brandon Dixon was actually a decent pick at #195, he had some tight hips but ran well 4.41/40 and was an worthwhile dart throw at this stage of the game. He was a player I was hoping the Jets would take at this spot. He didn’t make the final cuts but was picked up by the Bucs and played in 14 games in 2014. He also played briefly with the Giants but is now out of football.
You all know Quincy Enunwa and was a home run of a pick so late in the Draft. A big bodied receiver with 4.45/40 speed Enunwa was overlooked by teams because of the run oriented Nebraska attack. His final game in the Gator Bowl made him stand out with 129 receiving yards and 2 TDs. He set a school record with 12 receiving TDs.
The drafting of IK Enemkpali should never have happened because of IK’s violent behavior. He was suspended in 2011 for punching an off duty police officer and later needed surgery on his hand when he punched and knocked two teeth out of another man. He played in 6 games on special teams for the Jets and was cut after he punched and broke the jaw of QB Geno Smith. He played in 11 games for Rex Ryan in Buffalo the following year. Rex Ryan showed some classless behavior when he made IK a captain for a game against the Jets. IK is now unemployed, and his meager football career is over.
The Jets drafted Tajh Boyd because he was a friend of Rex Ryan’s son, and Rex had promised Tajh he would draft him. Boyd had little skill to play in the NFL, and Rex Ryan had no business making such a promise. Situations like this that show why the Jets went straight downhill after the promising start to Rex’s Jets career. Boyd never played a down for any team in the NFL
Some of the players who were available
Walt Powell WR Murray State, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif OT Mcgill (Canada), Luke Bowanko C Virginia, Matt Paradis C Boise Sate, Marquis Flowers OLB Arizona, Daniel McCullers NT Tennessee, Andre Hal S Vanderbilt, Michael Campanaro WR Wake Forest, Shamar Stephen DT Connecticut, Beau Allen DT Wisconsin, Ulrick John OT Georgia st
If the Jets were not drafting a friend of the coach’s son they could had some of these productive players. Duvernay-Tardif has been a nice find at guard for the Chiefs, and Matt Paradis was everyone’s choice as a free agent center this year.
I really liked McCullers who is a monmouth of a man (6’ 7” 352 lbs), but I had already selected a nose tackle. He was going to play sparingly anyway because Harrison was so dominant.
Instead of wasting picks here the Jets should have either picked more wisely or look to trade away some pick for next year. Baltimore traded a 6th round pick in 2015 for the 218th pick in this draft so there was trades to be made. Always try to trade for picks in the upcoming Draft
The Jets only had 6 selections the following year
My 4 choices in this round were :
Brandon Dixon, I had him at this pick before the Jets drafted like I stated earlier.
James Hurst OT 6’ 5” 315 lbs North Carolina who went undrafted, He played in 74 of a possible 80 games and has started 42 of those. He would be a starter you would look to replace but makes a solid swing tackle for any team.
Shayne Skov 6’ 3” 247 lbs ILB Stanford who went undrafted. He was a heat seeking missile as a tackler. He had a bad ACL injury which affected his speed, and I was hoping another year of rehabbing injury would get him back to health; it didn’t. He played parts of four years and will probably make a roster again this year.
Rashaad Reynolds CB Oregon State 5’ 11” 190 lbs He was a little slower than I would have liked at 4.51/40 but had good technique. He had three solid years in college with 10 INTs and 218 tackles. I had an early 5th round grade on him, but he went undrafted and was a UDFA pickup by Jacksonville. He played four years in the league and is now a private coach.
The Jets had one pick in the seventh round
The Jets choice of Trevor Reilly was a decent choice. He was a few years older than most prospects because of a religious mission he spent two years on. He was a dart throw as a prospect and played 4 years in the league with 3 different teams mostly on special teams.
Some of the players who were available (including UDFA’s)
Charles Leno OT Boise State, Isaiah Crowell RB Alabama STate, Brandon Coleman WR Rutgers, Willie Snead WR Ball State, Bennie Fowler, WR Mich State, Albert Wilson WR Georgia State, Allen Hurns WR Miami, Trey Burton TE Florida, Xavier Grimble TE USC, Brent Qvale OT Nebraska, Ryan Groy OG Wisconsin, Jonathan Harrison C Florida, Tyler Larsen C Utah State, Kerry Wynn DT Richmond, Mike Pennell DT Colorado st, Shaq Barrett OLB Colorado st, Daniel Sorensen SS BYU
Leno was a Pro Bowler in 2018 and just signed a $38 million extension with the Bears.
You can see even in the 7th round there is plenty of talent left if the general manager is a good judge of talent. You can try and find the next diamond in the rough, or you can select a player who has talent but moved himself down a Draft board over character concerns
My choice in this round was Sentral Henderson OT 6’ 7” 331 lbs Miami. I had a low 2nd round grade on Henderson with an asterisk. He is a massive human with talent but had numerous suspensions from failed drug tests and was an underachiever in college. He was drafted by Buffalo at #237 and has had an up and down career. As a RT prospect the upside was too much not to gamble on him.
You can see the 2014 draft was an unmitigated Disaster and caused the downfall of Idzik and Rex Ryan. Woody Johnson needs blame as well for putting someone so unprepared to be a GM in a place of total authority. To have 12 total picks and to basically luck out on a 6th round pick is disgraceful. The entire scouting department would need to be replaced or at least make selected firings. The point is moot because Mike Maccagnan came in and did almost as bad a job, especially his first few years.
I went through this exercise to show you a few things:
1) A draft mistake is a HUGE mistake and not only wastes a precious resource in a pick but hurts the drafting in future years as well. When you make a bad decision on a pick you then further the mistake because you are trying to develop that player into a viable asset. You don’t realize you have made a mistake until years down the road. Meanwhile you missed out on other possible candidates because of your mistake.
2) Every pick is a possible Pro Bowl player. In this draft Charles Leno was the #246th pick and he is a Pro Bowl left tackle in 2018. In 2014 17 UDFA players went to teams and played big roles for those team. Any one of them could have been drafted, but teams didn’t do enough research to find them. Many were from big schools so they were right in front of them to see.
3) Draft picks are the lifeline for your team to infuse talent in your roster. It does no good to have 12 picks if you draft the wrong players. You scouting department has to do a superior job in order to get the right information into the hands of decision makers. 2014 was a total failure by the scouting dept. You know John Idzik was relying 100% on the scouting info.
4) You can’t just hope that players will fall to you. You need to target players, understand the Draft board, and move around the board to get your players. John Idzik didn’t make a single trade, and his Draft was a disaster.
You have to understand your board and the needs associated with it.
For example, In the 2013 NFL Draft the Cowboys owned the #18 pick with a lot of good 1st round talents still left on the board, Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, and DeAndre Hopkins, but the Cowboys needed a center in this draft. They ended 2012 with Phil Costa as the starter and Ryan Cook as his backup. (Are you listening Mike Maccagnan?)
On their horizontal board they had Travis Frederick with a high 2nd round grad.e and the only other centers they had rated above the 7th round were Brian Schwenke from Cal and Khaled Holmes from USC. They were both graded as 4th round prospects. The Cowboys took some heat when they traded down from #18 to #31 (they also acquired the #74 pick) which was a little below value. They passed on some great players because they needed a quality center.
They drafted Frederick at #31 and got more heat when Mike Mayock said he was a 3rd round talent. Before his illness took him from the game in 2018 Frederick was a 4 time Pro Bowl player with one first team All Pro season. The Cowboys used and trusted their board. By doing so they added the centerpiece (no pun intended) to their line which became the strength of the team. Mike Mayock was very wrong.
5) You have to see the future and draft for the future. Nick Mangold was 30 years old in 2014 and had played a lot of football. With 12 picks it should have been an easy decision to draft a center that you could groom and have him take over for Mangold in a few years. You saw centers all up and down the board. Most could have been had for little Draft capital, Corey Linsley and Russell Bodine in round 4 (when the Jets had 3 picks in that round) and Matt Paradis in round 6. The same goes for Calvin Pace who was near the end of his time in the NFL. It was time to bring in a young pass rushing prospect (Demarcus Lawrence) to have him learn under Pace for a year. That may have been ideal.
The bottom line is you need to draft well to attain and sustain success in the NFL. One great class can help carry your team from the basement to a contender in a single year. Then you must add on each year with selected impact players and solid role players. You can see below in the best selection category, if we had even added a few of theses players we would have been in much better shape now.
2014 Selection categories
Jets Selections My Selections Best Selections
#18 Calvin Pryor Demarcus Lawrence Roby/Lawrence/Cooks
#49 Jace Amaro Jace Amaro Adams/Robinson/Garoppolo
#80 Dexter McDougle Gabe Jackson Jackson/Turner/Freeman
#104 Jalen Saunders DaQuan Jones Jones/Bodine/Colvin
#115 Shaq Evans Brock Vereen Bryant/Hitchens/Urban
#137 Dakota Dozier Telvin Smith Smith/Fleming/Williamson
#154 Jeremiah George Christian Jones Linsley/McCarron/Kennard
#195 Brandon Dixon Brandon Dixon Paradis/Duvernay-Tardif
#209 Quincy Enunwa James Hurst Enunwa/Hurst/McCullers
#210 IK Enemkpali Shayne Skov Hal/Campanaro/Flowers
#213 Tajh Boyd Rashaad Reynolds Allen/Stephen/John
#233 Trevor Reilly Seantrel Henderson Leno jr/Henderson/Burton
I myself only did marginally better than the Jets, but I am just a amateur scout and a single person with limited resources to use to scout the players. My only advantage is that I have been doing this longer than many of the scouts. The Dexter McDougle and Jalen Saunders picks were just awful. Each player was no better than a 6th round talent, and that even may be generous.
Like I said this is not a condemnation of John Idzik but of the Jets scouts and on Woody for hiring a guy with zero scouting acumen.
You can look back at this Draft, make your own selections, and tell me where I went wrong. The link is below.
No team ever comes close to perfection in Drafts because these are just kids and you are drafting them with just an idea of where they might be in the future. These draftees are human just like you and me. They face temptations, problems, doubts plus about 100 other things that could derail a career so it is not a perfect science.
Hopefully now with Joe Douglas as the top man he will build a quality scouting department and bring the Jets some elite talent. Only time will tell.
Let me know your thoughts.