In each of the last two seasons, most draft experts had pegged Gang Green for a skill position guy to help restock an offense bereft of playmakers. Both times, though, Rex Ryan threw a curveball, going defensive with all three selections. Milliner seemed to be a great fit, a tough man corner to replace the departed Darrelle Revis. He struggled mightily in his rookie year, though, even getting benched on multiple occasions — though he did show signs of life down the stretch.
The Richardson pick followed the opposite trajectory; a bit of head-scratcher at the time (the Jets were loaded on the defensive front), the big man blew up in his first season, becoming one of the best young linemen in the league and turning what was already a strength into a quietly dominant force.
The Jets will hope to get that same impact out of Pryor, a rangy prospect from Louisville that will hopefully improve a safety position that has been a weakness for years. GM John Idzik passed on the highly-regarded HaHa Clinton-Dix to get his man, so there's a lot riding on this. Pryor projects as a strong safety, which the Jets already have plenty of, so it'll be up to Ryan to mix and match.
This pick may ultimately define the 2013 draft. Despite the signing of Michael Vick this offseason, Geno showed enough to earn a shot at running the show. His pocket presence still needs work, and he made some awful rookie mistakes, but there were flashes of brilliance.
Never a great in-line blocker, Amaro is essentially a slot receiver in a tight end's body. He may not be an every-down guy, but he has great hands and can stretch the seam for an offense in desperate need of dynamic players.
The Jets nabbed the versatile mauler from the MAC to plug a hole at guard, but after taking the starting job from Vladimir Ducasse in Week 5, Winters struggled — PFF graded him in the red ten times out of 13 eligible games, and he never adjusted to the size and speed of the pro game. This will be a make-or-break year. As I wrote last week, it's hard to see McDougle as anything but a reach in Round 3. He's a burner, but his size doesn't project well in Rex Ryan's bump-and-run scheme, and he can be fatally overaggressive at times. There were better options out there.
Shaq Evans, WR, UCLA
Dakota Dozier, G, Furman
New York needed options at receiver even after bringing in Eric Decker, and they tried to fill that hole for relatively cheap by waiting until Round 4. Saunders is a water bug, but Jeremy Kerley is entrenched as the slot receiver so he'll probably only get to make his mark on special teams in 2014. Evans is a bit more intriguing, a nice size-speed combination with great ball skills. Again, the depth chart at receiver is fluid, so the opportunities will be there, but both picks are probably projects.
Dozier drew buzz as a small-school prospect before the draft, and he certainly has plenty of upside. But he's learning a new position after playing tackle in college, and there will certainly be a learning curve. 2014 could be a de facto redshirt season, with Dozier inactive every week.
Aboushi was seen as an insurance policy, as both Austin Howard and Willie Colon were on the last years of their deals. He never saw the field in 2013, though, and the Jets felt compelled to resign Colon this offseason despite reports they had hoped Aboushi could fill his role at guard — probably not a good sign.
The stocky George (5-foot-11, 234 pounds) will probably slid in as a backup at both the Mike and Will spots along with Nick Bellore, and will have an opportunity to make his mark as a special teamer immediately.
2014: Brandon Dixon, CB, Northwest Missouri State
Campbell played mostly defensive tackle at Michigan before being drafted as a guard, as the Jets made a concerted effort to build offensive line depth last spring. None of those picks seem to be panning out, though, and Campbell didn't see the field at all last year.
Enemkpali, a defensive end turned linebacker, and Dixon, an athletic but raw small-school prospect, are both likely headed for the practice squad to start out their careers. Enunwa has a lot in common with Evans, and the battle for the fourth and fifth spots at receiver will be a logjam this summer. Boyd has an intriguing skill set, but he'll have to really improve his progressions as he moves to a pro-style offense — Dabo Swinney simplified his reads in college. Given the Vick signing, the No. 3 job is his only chance, but Jets brass seems to really love Matt Simms.
Bohanon made the team, which is about all you can ask for out of a seventh round guy. He has decent playmaking ability from the fullback position — he played some H-back at Wake Forest — and flashed some of that last season. A former safety, Reilly was a do-it-all outsider linebacker for the Utes. He doesn't have great athletic ability, but rarely wastes his movements and has a relentless motor.