It’s finally here! After months of waiting, being subjected to utter nonsense, and purposely spread misinformation, and trying to ‘separate the weak from the obsolete’ the 2015 NFL draft is finally here. As always the draft is full of moving parts and rampant speculation but no one really knows what to expect and this year there is even more uncertainty than normal.
We know (at least we think we know) Jameis Winston is going to be the first overall pick, we know a bunch of receivers will be taken in the first round (likely matching last year’s first round total of five) and plenty more good receivers in the middle rounds. We know this is a really deep running back class while the offensive line class as a whole is severely underwhelming. We are pretty sure Marcus Mariota will end up as the second pick in the draft and it probably won’t be the Tennessee Titans who pick him. Will it be Chip Kelly? Or will the Cleveland Browns offer up their two first-round picks to draft the Oregon quarterback?
Just a few months ago everyone was raving about this year’s crop of pass-rushers, and it’s still an impressive and deep class, but now two players (Randy Gregory and Shane Ray) that many thought could be top 10 picks are being talked about dropping until the second, third or even fourth round. A lot can change in the NFL draft landscape in very little time and what you think you know means absolutely nothing until years from now, but of course isn’t that what makes the draft so fun?
I’ll list my guess at who the Jets will draft at six below (I do think they will look into trading down to collect more picks but I don’t know that they’ll get a good enough offer to do so), but since picks three through five can go in so many directions, and unlike most media talking about the draft I’m willing to admit I’m Jon Snow and I know nothing, I’ll start by listing, in order of how I think they’re ranked, the six players I think they are most likely to pick and I’ll also included a wildcard option.
*Disclaimer. Some of this is based on things I’ve heard but most of it is based on who I think make the most sense for the Jets. Not from a need base because while these options do matchup with needs I just happen to think these are the best players that could be available.
Dante Fowler Jr. (Florida) or Vic Beasley (Clemson) - As always I could be wrong here but I think the two players the Jets are hoping are still available are edge rushers, Fowler and Beasley. If somehow they were both available I think the Jets would take Fowler over Beasley (Beasley has shown more as strictly an edge rusher but outside of rushing the passer Beasley doesn’t offer much and Fowler is much more well rounded and versatile which we know Todd Bowles likes) but I also think Fowler is more likely to be off the board by the time the Jets pick.
If either of these players are there I think the Jets would be thrilled and their fans should be as well. I know many fans won’t like it because they want to go offense, and I get that, but in my opinion the best value at six would be one of these two if they are available. If we assume Winston and Mariota go one and two and Jacksonville, Oakland of Washington doesn’t trade down then all the Jets need is for either Jacksonville or Washington to take someone not named Fowler or Beasley and the Jets will have the opportunity to draft one of them.
Jacksonville and Washington both make sense for either Fowler or Beasley and while we shouldn’t completely rule Oakland out they did just take Khalil Mack last year and I’m guessing they’ll take a receiver this year. So, if Jacksonville or Washington take Leonard Williams or a receiver, or someone else, the Jets could get one of the guys that I think is one of their guys.
Amari Cooper (Alabama) or Kevin White (West Virginia) - If both Fowler and Beasley are gone, or I’m just wrong and the Jets don’t take Fowler or Beasley, my next guess would be they take whoever they think is the best receiver available. As mentioned above I think the Oakland will take a receiver, which one I have no idea, and I also think it’s possible Jacksonville could take a receiver which would mean it’s possible both of these receivers are off the board by six.
Go ahead and listen to the people who will sit there and tell you they know, without a doubt, that one of these receivers will be better than the other if you want but I’ll just say I think they’re both going to be great. Cooper is more pro-ready thanks to his time at Alabama and his superior route-running ability but White is bigger and faster and could be better in the long run and as always with receivers it’s not always about who is the better receiver but who goes to the better situation.
If the Jets miss out on these top two receivers I wouldn’t be stunned if they took Louisville’s DeVante Parker but my guess is they would take one of the pass rushers or offensive linemen over Parker. But again I don’t know. If they don’t get a receiver in the first there will still be plenty of really good receivers available to grab in the second, third and fourth rounds and I’ll make sure to mention those options after the first-round ends tonight.
Brandon Scherff (Iowa) or Andrus Peat (Stanford) - Just a couple of days ago La’el Collins from LSU would have not only been on this list but he would have been my number one ranked offensive lineman. Strictly from a football related standpoint Collins is, in my opinion, the best offensive lineman in the draft. He could be plugged into guard and start immediately and could eventually slide out to tackle over the next year or two.
But of course it’s not all about football and the circumstances surrounding the murder of a pregnant women with personal ties to Collins has teams nervous. It very likely could be that Collins is connected to the murder victim but not in any way connected with the actual murder but teams are understandably nervous to just assume that’s the case since it just happened a few days ago and the investigation is ongoing.
I have Peat as my number two rated offensive lineman because he’s a tackle. Many seem to think Schreff can be a tackle in the NFL, I don’t. I think Schreff will be a great guard and the best guard in this class but I don’t think he has the footwork and lateral ability to play tackle in the NFL. Schreff will be a pro bowl guard for a long time in this league but to take a guard at six seems silly even in a down year for the top of the draft and for a team whose biggest weakness, in my opinion, is the offensive line.
The other day I had plenty of people tell me Peat would be a huge reach at six but I disagree. I think Peat goes in the top 10 regardless of if the Jets take him. He’s got a huge frame and is crazy athletic, he plays with good power and knee-bend, slides well with his back straight and hands up ready to punch defenders. His athletic ability really shines through when he moves to the second level and beyond. He does have mental lapses and has a tendency to get grabby and hold when he doesn’t need to, will occasionally whiff in space and sometimes he gets a bit too aggressive but if the Jets take him at six I will have no issues with that decision.
On a related note this idea of players being a “reach” has gotten out of control. If a team likes a player and thinks they won’t be there when they pick next then trust your scouts and make the pick. That does not equal reach in my mind. If you want to say a player that is selected in the second but everyone had fourth or fifth round grade on is a reach then fine, but if the selected player would have gone in that same round I refuse to call that a reach.
Possible wildcard selection
Leonard Williams (USC) - Would the Jets really take another defensive lineman? If Williams somehow falls to the sixth spot I think they have to consider it and not even with some convoluted thinking that they could draft Williams and trade Muhammad Wilkerson. They certainly could do that but I still don’t think they have any interest in trading Wilkerson. If Williams is there the Jets have to consider it because there’s a very good chance he’ll have the highest grade on their board.
The pick - I’m going to go with Beasley as the Jets pick. Again I have no problem telling you this is a total guess. Not only could Beasley be off the board but no one outside of the Jets organization knows what the Jets draft board looks like and we have no history of Mike Maccagnan being the shot-caller in the draft to base anything off of.
This pick could go in so many different ways but it will be hard for Maccagnan to screw this pick up because even with all the questions surrounding certain prospects there are enough safe legit options for him to get the pick right.