We are now less than two weeks away from the NFL draft which means teams have looked at all the tape they need to and have shifted focus into meeting with the prospects. Each team is allowed a maximum of 30 visits, for non-local prospects, and so far the Jets have either met with or are scheduled to meet with 21 players. We’ll list the players below, by position, and of course we will update the list if/when more visits are announced.
The Jets are meeting with all of them. Okay, maybe not literally all of them but they will meet with the top five quarterbacks in this year’s class and really the only five draft-able quarterbacks in this class.
The Jets are still planning on meeting with Winston but there’s still very little chance they will actually have the opportunity to draft him. Winston will almost certainly go number one to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and while the Bucs might entertain the right offer to trade for the number one overall pick it’s unlikely Mike Maccagnan would be willing to give up enough to make the move from six to one.
Marietta continues to be penciled in to be taken second overall, whether by the Tennessee Titans who holds the second pick or to a team who trades for that second pick, but I’m still not convinced. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team traded up for Mariota but I also wouldn’t be surprised if Mariota slipped to the middle or even late first round.
The most likely options for the Jets to consider are Grayson and Petty. Neither would likely be ready to start week one but they could be available for the Jets in the second or, possibly but doubtful, third round.
As with the quarterbacks the Jets are looking at almost all of the top edge guys in this year’s draft. Unlike the quarterbacks this group is deeper and filled with more immediate impact players.
Bud Dupree (Kentucky)
Edmond Robinson (Newberry)
In my opinion the Jets top targets for the sixth overall pick are on this list. Beasley and Fowler Jr. should be number one and two on their board. Gregory would be right with them but his failed drug test at the combine should be enough to put him a notch below the top two.
Harold would make for a great second-round pick if he’s still on board and the Jets choose to go a different direction in the first.
Make that all the top quarterbacks, edge rushers and receivers. There is a clear consensus on the top three receivers in this draft, but there is nothing close to a consensus on how to rank the top three. Most people seem to think Cooper is the best of the bunch but many put the bigger, faster White at the top and a few think Parker is the best. In my opinion there all about equal they just possess different strengths and it really comes down to a matter of preference.
Cooper is the better route runner, most technically sound of the bunch and can be used in a wide variety of ways. White is bigger and faster than Cooper and Parker is the best of the bunch at high-pointing catches and winning jump balls.
Either of these three would make a tremendous addition to the Jets offense but they would have to be picked in the first round because none of them are making it past the middle of the first. However if the Jets don’t go receiver in the first this year’s receiver class might not be as good at the top as last year’s class but it might be deeper. Players like Jaelen Strong, Devin Smith, Nelson Agholor, Phillip Dorsett and Justin Hardy, to name a few, could also be great fits for the Jets in the middle rounds.
Tyson Chandler (N.C. State)
Peat is easily the best of this bunch. I’m a big fan of Peat, Flowers not so much (I’ll explain this in more detail next week when I start releasing my positional rankings for draft prospects). LSU’s La’el Collins is my number one lineman in this class but Peat is comfortably in the number two spot and would be well worth the sixth overall pick if the Jets choose to go that route. Florida’s D.J. Humphries is another tackle prospect I like a lot and the Jets might be able to grab him in the second.
Williams will probably be off the board by the time the Jets pick, and it’s certainly fair to wonder if he would be the right fit for the Jets anyway considering all their other needs, but he is probably the safest pick in the draft. If Williams is somehow still there at six Maccagnan could be tempted to stick with the best player available strategy and take Williams.
Ronald Darby (Florida State)
The Jets spent a boat-load of money on corners in free agency but that doesn’t mean they won’t look to add another in the draft. The more important need in the secondary is at free safety but the pickings are slim there in this year’s draft.
Antonio Cromartie just turned 31 and Darrelle Revis turns 30 in July and the new regime doesn’t know what they will get from the likes of Dee Milliner and Dexter McDougle so they could certainly look to add a rookie corner who could be brought along slowly, learn from Revis and Cromartie, and be ready to step in as they start to age more.
Peters is easily the best corner in the draft, in my opinion, but his issues with the coaching staff at Washington got him kicked off the team and if he’s somehow still available in the second it’d be awful hard to blame Maccagnan if he took Peters.
Cody Prewitt (Ole Miss)
Clive Walford (Miami)
Walford has given me a new term to use for evaluating players, that term is a Walford. A Walford is a player that jumps out at you enough when watching other players that you have to take notice but once you start to focus solely on that player you suddenly become a lot less impressed.
WHAT DOES THIS LIST TELL US ABOUT THE JETS DRAFT PLANS?
Honestly, not much other than the Jets are interested in a lot of really good players. I don’t think you can really call any of these smokescreens. Getting with all the quarterbacks has certainly gained a lot of attention but the Jets would be foolish to not take a good look at all these quarterbacks. So, even if they don’t end up drafting any of them I still wouldn’t consider it a smoke screen.
The other two positions most mock drafts have the Jets going are receiver and edge rusher and the Jets are meeting with all the top players at those positions as well. Whoever the Jets end up taking in the first doesn’t mean they weren’t interested in any of the players they pass on, it will just mean they liked that player the most.
Is it possible the Jets are loading up on visits at those three positions so they can sneakily take a player at another position? Of course, but those three positions and offensive tackle are where the value lies and if I was betting money on it I’d say the Jets will pick, in order, an edge-rusher, receiver, offensive tackle or quarterback with the sixth overall pick.