After the second night of the NFL Draft, grades from media members continue to roll in.
Let’s see what they have to say. Before we do that, I will demand that you adhere to the most important rule we have.
Draft grades are stupid...unless they praise the Jets.
The Jets traded a fifth-round pick to move up two spots (from No. 38 to 36) to get running back Breece Hall, and they have now taken my top-ranked cornerback (Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner), wide receiver (Garrett Wilson) and running back in this class. Really nice job so far.
Analysis: General manager Joe Douglas traded second- and third-round picks to Tennessee on Thursday night for the right to select edge Jermaine Johnson II. Using the second-rounder acquired in last year’s Sam Darnold trade, the Jets moved up again to grab Hall. He’s the best back in the draft as a potential Jonathan Taylor-type ball-carrier and receiver that complements Michael Carter. The fifth-round pick included in the trade to select Hall was not a big deal. A solid value pick for the Jets, Ruckert could be a nice two-way tight end to join veterans Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah. They could have picked an inside linebacker like Leo Chenal or Channing Tindall, though, and taken a tight end on Day 3.
Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
Strengths: Elite vision, patient runner, quick feet with excellent lateral agility and contact balance, consistently maximizes what’s available
Weaknesses: Heavy workload, must improve pass protection
Iowa State’s Breece Hall dominated Big 12 competition for multiple years even though he won’t turn 21 until after the NFL draft.
The two-time All-American amassed a whopping 800 total touches in three seasons, which raises concerns about the miles on his tires. However, he should still have fresh legs entering the NFL as one of the youngest prospects in this year’s draft class.
Hall played in 36 of 38 possible games during his collegiate career. One of those missed absences came when he chose to opt out of the Cyclones’ bowl game this past season.
In the NFL, Hall likely won’t serve as a bell-cow. But he can have a similar impact thanks to his fantastic vision, which allows him to be extremely patient while waiting for a sliver to open and then explode through quickly closing holes.
Because of his style of play, Hall doesn’t look like one of the most athletic ball-carriers in the last 35 years. But he is. According to Pro Football Network’s Kent Lee Platte, the 217-pound back posted the ninth-highest relative athletic score during that period.
Basically, Hall is young, explosive and productive, with all of the inherent subtleties to play running back at a high level.
Michael Carter showed promise as a rookie, but Hall is a completely different type of runner. New York’s ground attack is predicated on the outside zone scheme the Shanahan family made famous, and Hall’s vision will make him deadly when running the scheme.
The Jets now have a true RB1.
Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State
Strengths: True Y-tight end, consistent physical presence in blocking schemes, can threaten the seam and make tough catches outside his frame
Weaknesses: Limited usage in passing game, overaggressive at times, can get out of control, lacks fluidity in routes
The Ohio State Buckeyes offense hasn’t featured the tight end position for decades. Rickey Dudley, whom the Oakland Raiders drafted in the first round in 1996, is the last Buckeyes tight end to eclipse 500 receiving yards in a season.
So, Jeremy Ruckert’s 615 career receiving yards in four seasons shouldn’t be viewed as an indictment of his receiving skills. Instead, his ability to haul in 26 receptions for 309 yards this past season in a wide receiver-friendly offense that featured three first-round talents in Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba (not eligible until next year) is impressive.
The 21-year-old has the ability to grow into a featured Y-tight end in the NFL. That designation is important, because the 6’5”, 250-pounder can immediately help an offense as an in-line option and lead blocker, which is where he excelled for Ohio State.
Ruckert has the physical ability to be a better receiver. However, NFL coaches know what they’re getting when it comes to him doing the little things at the position to be successful.
The New York Jets have done very well for themselves during the first days of the draft, and the franchise ended Day 2 strongly with the addition of Bleacher Report’s TE1.
With Ruckert, C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin on the roster, offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur can lean into 12-personnel packages with Corey Davis and Garrett Wilson now working outside the numbers.
36. Jets: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa St.
Minimal move to get a complete, three-down back. Hall doesn’t play to his combine workout but checks all the boxes of a nuanced runner. Awesome ball skills/receiving ability too. Maybe a tick early for a RB? Hall and Michael Carter now a fun, complementary duo.
101. Jets: Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio St.
My TE1 in this class. The best three-down player at the position. Blocks outstandingly. Deceptive juice down the seam, reliable hands and can make tough grabs outside his frame. Will be a more productive pro than he was in college.
36. New York Jets: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
The Jets gave up a fifth-round pick to move up two spots. Hall (5-foot-11, 217) is a complete back who did it all for Iowa State. He carried 718 times for 3,941 yards (5.5 YPC) and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. Hall also caught 82 balls for 734 yards and six touchdowns.
Per The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, he fumbled just once every 200 touches, and Hall forced the highest rate of missed tackles in the country, per Sports Info Solutions (SIS).
Hall is an excellent prospect, but given the state of the Jets’ roster, I’m not sure they needed to spend this high of a pick on a running back.
101. New York Jets: Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State
Ruckert (6-foot-5, 252) started 16 games for the Buckeyes. He had 26 catches for 309 yards and three touchdowns last season.
Ruckert was not a prolific pass-catcher at any point during his college career, but he possesses the skill set required — both as a blocker and receiver — to develop into a starter in the NFL.