The Jets made a strength even stronger with their pick of the fantastic defensive lineman Leonard Williams from USC last night, tonight they look to add two more players that can come in and contribute right away. They won’t get another player of Williams’ caliber, no one will as many pundits think Williams could be the best player in this draft, but while the first round as a whole wasn’t filled with as much talent as usual the middle rounds are absolutely overflowing with quality prospects.
Will Mike Maccagnan continue to stick to the best player available, even if that player is another defender? Or will Maccagnan look at his roster and think the need more offense and go with the best offensive player available? Below I’ll list the most likely targets for the fifth pick in the second round as well as give you a bunch of names to watch for a possible third round pick.
Before we start listing the targets as with yesterday I do think the Jets will entertain offers to trade down and collect more picks and even though the first-round was relatively quiet when it came to trades that’s because the value wasn’t there for most teams to feel the need to trade up. These next few rounds should see a lot more trades and don’t be surprised if the Jets get in on that action. But for the purposes of this article we’ll assume the Jets stay pat and use the fifth pick in the second and the sixth pick in the third.
There will be plenty of really good defensive options for the Jets to turn to in the second but I think the Jets look to go offense. They could go with a receiver or running back but considering the huge drop off among offensive linemen that will take place after the next five, or six if you count La’el Collins and I do, offensive linemen come off the board I think the Jets address that in the second and look to go receiver/running back in the third and fourth, not necessarily in that order.
OL - Offensive line remains the Jets biggest need, in my opinion. That doesn’t mean the Jets need to force an offensive line pick but if Maccagnan decides he wants to come away from this draft with at least one starting quality lineman he will likely have to do it in either the second or third, unless they want to hope and pray Collins slips to them in the fourth.
Collins was my top rated offensive linemen in the entire draft and the only reason he didn’t get drafted last night is because of the lack of information surrounding the tragedy of a murdered pregnant women that he knew. If I was a GM and I felt comfortable that the only connection he has to this murder is that he knew, and maybe was the father of the child, the murder victim and was in no way connected to the actual murder I would have absolutely no problem taking him in the second.
Sure you could argue that you might be able to get in later but I wouldn’t take that chance. Getting him in the second is a big of steal for me plus I would think if I’m thinking about taking him someone else probably is too so I’ll just ensure I get the best offensive lineman in the draft with a second-round pick. Since I don’t know what information teams have about this I won’t blame any teams for passing on him if they aren’t confident but I won’t blame anyone who takes him either.
Jake Fisher (Oregon) , is 6’6 1/8” and 306 pounds and has crazy athletic ability. He’s not a particularly good run blocker as he doesn’t drive with power, but his pass protection potential is outstanding. He has quick feet and impressive lateral sliding ability. Has the flexibility and foot speed to counter-balance his lack of anchoring power and would have a very realistic chance of starting week one for this Jets offense.
T.J. Clemmings (Pittsburgh) , is the opposite of Fisher. Clemmings is still raw, as he started his college career as a defensive tackle but made the switch to offensive line in 2013, and while he needs to clean up his technique and fundamentals he is already a good and powerful run blocker. His pass blocking needs a lot more work but he does have the size, arm-length and foot speed to eventually become a really good tackle in this league.
Of the available guards left A.J. Cann (South Carolina) is the only one I would consider in the second. Cann isn’t a top-notch athlete but has great technique, knee bend, hands and is reliable.
WRs - If the Jets want to add another receiver the second-round would be a great place to do so. There will still be quality receivers available in the third or fourth but nobody with the play-making/game-changing ability of the three receivers listed below.
I have Jaelen Strong (Arizona State), rated above Devin Smith (Ohio State) when ranking them in a vacuum but admittedly I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets preferred Smith over Strong because he would be a better immediate fit in this offense. Smith was by far the best deep threat in college football last year and absolutely has the ability to continue taking the top off of defenses in the NFL. Strong is a good deep threat as well and you have to love the way he wins, great with jump balls and making tough catches in practice but he does have trouble creating separation on short routes as he’s more fast than quick. Either way Maccagnan can’t go wrong with one of these two, however I do expect at least one of them to be off the board within the first four picks maybe even first to the Titans.
At 6’5 1/8”, 237 pounds, Dorial Green-Beckham (Missouri) could very well end up being the best receiver in this draft. The problem is he could also end up never playing a single snap. Green-Beckham ran a 4.49 40, presents himself as a huge target as a deep threat or red zone threat, has a insane catch radius and is great at making adjustments to play the ball in the air. He is still raw and runs an extremely limited number routes, maybe he has expanded on his route tree during his time off but the reason he is still available is because of his character concerns.
As always I don’t like to try to judge the character of a college kid I’ve never met so I leave that to the GMs but if Maccagnan is comfortable with his character the Jets could be the perfect place for him as he could lean on Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker to be his mentors.
RBs - My guess is if the Jets want to draft a running back they’ll wait until the third or fourth and take the best one available but if they wanted to spend a second on one it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch. I’d suggest shoring up the offensive line or receiving core first and possibly even going defense again before looking to add a running back but if they have their heart set on either Jay Ajayi (Boise State) or Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska) I wouldn’t blame them for making sure they got them when they could.
Ajayi is a more complete back, absolutely a three-down back that could handle a full workload, can run with power and quickness (has a different style than Marshawn Lynch but looks very similar when running over defenders), can catch out of the backfield and handle blocking responsibility.
Abdullah is a small back that will probably never be a three-down back, but his speed, quickness, sharp/effortless jump cuts (reminds me of Arian Foster the way he smoothly glides with his cuts) and receiving ability make his a weapon every time he touches the ball. He is a very willing pass blocker but not the most effective. In today’s NFL teams don’t like to use running backs for three-down anyway so I wouldn’t let that stop me from taking a play-maker like Abdullah. If either Ajayi or Abdullah are there in the third I’d run that card up to the podium myself. If they are both off the board by the third then Duke Johnson (Miami) or Tevin Coleman (Indiana) would make an excellent consolation prize.
I won’t go into detail about the defensive players, partly because I think the Jets will go offense in the second and I expect most of the guys on this list to be gone by the time the Jets pick in the third, partly because this article is already getting long but mostly because I know a lot of you Jets fans don’t even want to entertain the thought of another defensive player in the second. So, instead I’ll just list them below and if the Jets do happen to pick one of them I will be ready to share my notes on that player.
Randy Gregory (Nebraska)
Eli Harold (Virginia)
Hau’Oli Kikaha (Washington)
Denzel Perryman (Miami)
Quinten Rollins (Miami, OH)
As with the running backs I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets selected a quarterback in tis draft but I don’t think they use a second on one. I have Garrett Grayson (Colorado State) as the best available quarterback left on board and really he’s the only one I’d consider drafting, ideally in the fourth but since this is the NFL he might go in the second or third. Grayson ran a pro-style system, has good enough arm strength to make all the throws, does a great job of using his lower body to make said throws and has solid starter potential.
I can’t see him becoming a perennial pro bowler but he could certainly develop into a slightly better than average quarterback. I can’t say I have the same confidence in Brett Hundley (UCLA) or Bryce Petty (Baylor).