Draft Day Needs: Outside Linebacker

An edge rusher might be the most important draft day need for the New York Jets writes GWR's Andrew Soares.

Draft Day Needs

The NFL Draft is just a few weeks away and front offices across the league will have some major personnel decisions ahead. The first round is where many franchise players find their home. In recent years, the NFL has seen an infusion of rookies that make an immediate impact on Sundays. Last year, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III led the Colts and Redskins respectively to improbable playoff berths. The Jets elected to take North Carolina standout Quinton Coples with their first pick. Coples enjoyed a great rookie season, becoming one of the key players on the defensive side of the ball for Rex Ryan and company.

This year, the Jets enter the draft with holes at many positions. One glaring weakness on the depth chart is outside linebacker. As the league becomes more and more reliant on the arm of the franchise quarterbacks to score points, players that can bring the passer to the ground will become increasingly more valued and coveted. Should Gang Green choose to select a defensive pass rusher, the following are the top five players who can enjoy immediate success with the rebuilding franchise.

1. Barkevious Mingo, LSU

The fit: Mingo would be a great upgrade to the Jets front seven should he be selected. Confident in the 3-4 scheme, Mingo could capitalize right away from being on the field alongside Coples and Muhammed Wilkerson. Mingo is an athletic monster with both the speed and the size to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks. The LSU alum could prove to be a shot in the arm of a pass rush that is in desperate need of new life.

2012 stats: 38 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble

2. Dion Jordan, Oregon

The fit: Jordan is easily the most athletic member of the outside linebacker class. He boasts a 4.6 40-yard dash, 4.35 20-yard shuttle, and a 122-inch broad jump, all while standing and an intimidating 6'6'' and weighing in at 248 lbs. Jordan's size makes it easy for him to bat passes from out of the air as well as gives him an impressive reach when trying to bring pressure on the quarterback. Jordan looks more like a basketball small forward with his agility and ability to stop and start on the playing field. Many experts regard him as the top player at his position and a viable top ten pick.

2012 stats: 44 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles

3. Jarvis Jones, Georgia

The fit: Jones is the most natural 3-4 pass rusher in the 2013 class. He can be plugged into Rex Ryan's scheme right away and make a run at defensive rookie of the year. The only drawback with Jones is his history of medical issues, most notably his spinal stenosis. However, New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski suffers from a similar condition which didn't impede his record breaking 2011 numbers. Should the Jets take a chance on Jones with the ninth overall pick, the Georgia Bulldog will become a workhorse and commit to wherever Coach Ryan decides to play him.

2012 stats: 85 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, 7 forced fumbles

4. Jamie Collins, Southern Mississippi

The fit: The drop off between the top three on this list and Collins is large but Collins is a great option in his own way, He is easily the most experienced player in the 3-4 scheme that the Jets run. He is also one of those players that has great athletic ability as well as football sense. He started off his collegiate career playing as a defensive back so Collins can also double in coverage as well as in pass rushes. Should the Jets choose to take an offensive player in the first round, Collins could become a great worthwhile pick in the second round.

2012 stats: 92 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 4 forced fumbles

5. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers

The fit: Greene can be one of the hometown favorites for the Jets. A lifetime New Jersey native, Greene attended high school in Elizabeth and chose to attend Rutgers to further his football career. Greene is familiar with the natives and the pressure of playing in a New York/New Jersey atmosphere. Furthermore, Greene had an exceptional pro day. Running a 4.7 40-yard dash at the combine, Greene showed up at pro day a full ten pounds heavier and managed to shave a second off of his time. Greene is another defender who is a great combination of size and speed. If the Jets select Greene, the All-American would make a great depth option with high end potential to become a starter.

2012 stats: 136 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 2 interceptions, 6 forced fumbles


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