New York Jets 2012 Mock Draft: Best-Case Scenario 7-Round Predictions
Unless the New York Jets and their general manager Mike Tannenbaum think signing "Saint Tim Tebow," Chaz Schilens and oft-injured LaRon Landry will solve all of the team's problems from last season, there's still a lot of work to be done in the upcoming draft.
The Jets still have a glaring hole at right tackle due to the pitiful performance that Wayne Hunter was responsible for last season.
They still have need at the safety position as Landry can be good on the field but who knows when he's actually going to be on it. He missed 15 games the last two seasons due to an Achilles injury that instead of getting surgically repaired, he chose to use alternative methods.
These days Landry seems to be more interested in bodybuilding than football.
While Tebow could improve on a running game that was ranked 22nd in the league last season—a change of pace back to complement Shonn Greene could improve it even more.
Weapons for Mark Sanchez are still needed. Recently signed Chaz Schilens has the size at 6'4'' 225, and the speed to be Sanchez's No.1 receiver, but there's also a reason why Schilens only has 72 receptions in his four-year career.
The Jets also still need a pass-rusher and a linebacker who can inject some youth into their aging unit.
Here are the best-case-scenario picks for the seven rounds in the upcoming draft.
1st Round: Mark Barron
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The New York Jets have the 16th pick in the first round. By the time they pick the two top pass-rushers, Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram will be off the board as will the two top offensive tackles Matt Kalil and Riley Rieff. The two top receivers, Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd will also be off the board.
If the draft falls as predicted, the best pick at No. 16 would be Mark Barron, the 6'1'', 213lb safety out of Alabama.
The Jets are desperate at the safety position so it would make sense to select the draft's No. 1 ranked safety.
Barron can come in and start from day one.
2nd Round: Vontaze Burfict
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If the New York Jets are able to get Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict with the 47th overall pick they should give Tim Tebow a kiss on the lips for all the prayers he says.
Burfict was one of the top linebackers headed into the combine, but because he showed up a bit out of shape and performed poorly, his stock has fallen. He couldn't even run the 40 in under five seconds.
He also has some discipline issues with his on-field play since he lets his temper get the best of him, causing him to be called for a lot of personal foul penalties.
When Burfict is able to control his intensity, he is a very productive player. At Arizona State, he was the Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year. He was the consensus best linebacker in the country as a sophomore. And in his junior year, he had 68 tackles, four sacks and an interception.
If Rex Ryan can get Burfict to play smart, he has all of the talent needed to step into Bart Scott's starting position immediately, making the New York Jets aging linebacking corps younger and stronger.
3rd Round: Tommy Streeter or LaMichael James
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The New York Jets best-case scenario in the third round, the 77th overall pick, would be to have Miami's Tommy Streeter or Oregon's LaMichael James fall to them.
Tommy Streeter is a 6'5'', 219-pound wide receiver who was one of the fastest at his position at the combine, with an official 4.40 40 time.
Streeter is still very raw, as he started only one year at Miami. He needs to learn how to run routes better and concentrate more on catching the ball with his hands rather than body.
It appears he is willing to put in the time to improve. In 2011, Streeter won the Nick Chickillo Most Improved Player award.
Last year at Miami, he had 46 receptions for 811 yards and eight TDs, averaging 17.6 yards per catch.
Streeter fills a need for the New York Jets and is projected to be a third-round pick. He can be the deep threat and the red-zone threat they are missing.
Lamichael James is only 5'8'', but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in explosiveness. He is the home-run, change-of-pace back who can fit well with the between-the-tackles running game of Shonn Greene and the powering style of Tim Tebow.
Last year at Oregon, James rushed for 1,805 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 7.3 yards per carry.
Just like Lamar Miller, he has the speed, 4.5 40 at the combine, to break out for a big run every time he gets past the first wave of defenders.
James also has decent catching ability. He had 17 receptions in each of his last two years with the Ducks.
5th Round: Pass-Rusher, Linebacker or More Help for Mark Sanchez
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Nebraska's Jared Crick would be the absolute best-case scenario for the New York Jets if he falls to the fifth round, the 154th pick overall.
At 6'6'' and 285lbs, Crick has good size and was very productive at Nebraska as he had 9.5 sacks in both his sophomore and junior years. But, in his senior year, he sprained his MCL in spring practices.
The sprain resulted in Crick only playing in five games in his senior year.
If Crick is healthy, he can help fix the Jets' pass-rushing troubles.
6th Round: More Help for Mark Sanchez and Pass-Rusher
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The New York Jets have three picks in both the sixth and seventh rounds.
Two receivers could still be around at this point along with one pass-rusher.
The two receivers are Arizona State's Gerell Robinson and Oregon's Lavasier Tuinei. Both receivers are over 6'3'' and have the ideal size to be the prototypical, red-zone targets that Mark Sanchez needs.
Although they lack ideal speed, both Robinson and Tuinei were very productive, and both were their team's leading receivers.
In his senior year, Robinson had 77 receptions for 1,397 yards and seven touchdowns.
Tuinei had 48 receptions for 599 yards and 12 touchdowns in Oregon's run-heavy offense.
Either Robinson or Tuinei would be a good pick here. I would lean towards Tuinei so Jets fans can make up signs reading, ''Pass to Lavasier.'' This way the whole crowd can chant, ''Pass to Lavasier'' in the same rhythm as Busta Rhymes Pass the Courvoisier.
Taylor Thompson, a 6'5'' and 282lb defensive end out of Southern Methodist University could be a pass-rushing option coming off the bench for the New York Jets.
His game reminds me of Houston Texans J.J. Watt, but even if he is a step below Watt, Thompson can be a late-round steal.
In his senior year at SMU, Thompson had 40 tackles, one forced fumble and seven sacks, eight, if SMU's bowl game against Pittsburgh is counted.
7th Round: Best Player Available
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With three picks left in the draft, the New York Jets should go for best player available no matter what the position.
Two safeties from small schools could possibly still be available late in the seventh round.
They are Justin Bethel from Presbyterian and Duke Ihenacho from San Jose State.
Bethel has good size at 5'11'' and 200 lbs; he was also the first football player from Presbyterian to be invited to the NFL combine. He was very productive player in college, but his level of competition he faced could drop him this far down in the draft.
Ihenacho has even better size at 6'0'', 213lbs. But while Bethel is better in pass coverage, Ihenacho is more comfortable playing closer to the line of scrimmage to deliver the big hit and to help in run support.
Then there is Oregon starting QB Darron Thomas who was good behind center in college. If he is still available, the Jets should take a chance on him as he is simply a football player.
At 6'3'' and 220 lbs, Thomas can be the ideal candidate to be converted into a receiver.
Best-case scenario for New York would be to draft all three players.