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2012 NFL Mock Draft 7 Rounds: Who the Jets Must Target Each Round

Vinny MessanaCorrespondent IApril 23, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft 7 Rounds: Who the Jets Must Target Each Round

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    The New York Jets have 10 selections in the 2012 NFL Draft, on April 26th. GM Mike Tannenbaum will need to make careful choices with each of them because the Jets have plenty of holes to fill after last season's collapse.

    There is also the possibility that the Jets elect to make a trade, either to move up spots or to acquire other picks. Tannenbaum has shown the propensity to make a trade if he feels strongly about a player.

    Over the past three years, the Jets have had only 13 selections, partly due to trading up, but also having lost some of their compensatory picks.

    As per NFL rules, the Jets will be unable to trade away their four compensatory picks this season, which still leaves them six that can be dealt.

    Here are seven players the Jets organization should target in their slot.

Round 1: Courtney Upshaw, OLB Alabama

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    Of all the Jets deficiencies, they are in desperate need of a pass-rusher the most. They ranked 17th in the league in sacks, with 35.

    Their current outside linebackers feature three players that are primarily pass-rushers. But out of that group only one of them, Aaron Maybin, is under 30 years old.

    Rex Ryan needs a pure pass-rusher, and he has already visited Melvin Ingram and Quinton Coples. They are expected to be selected before the Jets get the opportunity.

    The next best option is Courtney Upshaw out of Alabama. Anybody that watched the BCS National Championship is aware of his abilities, as he recorded six tackles and a sack.

    He is 6'1", 272 lbs. and has the ability to play defensive end or outside linebacker, which gives Rex the option to utilize his versatility.

    The good news for the Jets is that his style of play and tenacity enabled him to be a dominating defender in college; he was also a bruising hitter. The bad news is that his speed (4.7 in the 40-yard dash) is not particularly impressive for a OLB. It is not clear if his talent will allow him to be a dominating sack specialist or a versatile linebacker.

    The last time the Jets selected a hybrid defender in the first round was when they owned the sixth overall pick in 2006, and Jets fans don't want to be reminded of that pick.

Round 2: Brandon Taylor, S LSU

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    Currently, the Jets have three safeties on their active roster: Eric Smith, Tracy Smith and the newly acquired LaRon Landry.

    None of them are particularly good in coverage, which the Jets must address because they were destroyed by tight ends in the 2011 season.

    Ideally, the Jets could select Alabama safety Mark Barron, but he is expected to go earlier in the first round.

    Brandon Taylor could really help the Jets secondary, as he had a terrific senior year and shared LSU's outstanding defensive player award with Morris Claiborne. He recorded 71 tackles and two interceptions last season.

    He received an above average grade on his instincts/recognition and run support by ESPN, and he grades out as average on his cover skills.

    He is not exceptionally tall, standing at 6'0", but is in exceptional shape, and ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at the combine.

    The Jets could really use his skills, even if he is not the best cover safety.

Round 3: Marvin McNutt, WR Iowa

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    After the Jets address their defensive needs with their first two picks, they can switch their attention to the other side of the ball.

    As of now, the Jets wide receiver depth is extremely thin. That can be changed quickly with a solid draft pick as well as a veteran player such as Braylon Edwards.

    Marvin McNutt possesses good size at 6'3" and 216 lbs. His fastest 40-yard dash was 4.43. At the Senior Bowl, he showed the ability to get open consistently, and has a 37" vertical jump.

    He has the ability to score touchdowns, as he recorded a school-record eight in the 2011 season.

    He can become a big playmaker for the Jets, who currently lack the ability to throw the ball deep. McNutt would be a great fit for the Jets in the third round.

Round 4: Mitchell Schwartz, OT California

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    The Jets are either delusional, or simply not telling the public the truth when they express confidence in the ability of Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse to help the team win.

    Hunter was one of the worst tackles in the NFL, allowing the most sacks on the team and being penalized 12  times. Ducasse was used in obvious running situations as an extra blocker, because he has not displayed the ability to be relied on to protect Sanchez in normal packages.

    Mitchell Schwartz is a 6'5" 318 pound tackle out of California. He was used on both sides, but would certainly be used exclusively on the right.

    He has NFL bloodlines, his brother was selected in the 2008 draft, and he has displayed terrific intangibles such as leadership qualities.

    Schwartz is not very quick but has shown the ability to mitigate some of the best pass rushers, and has been solid in run blocking and is able to get to the second level, according to NFL Draft Scout.

Round 5: Brandon Lindsey, DE Pittsburgh

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    The Jets may look to use another pick on a defensive end, considering they lack a dominating player at the position. Muhammad Wilkerson had a solid rookie season, but will need another player to line up on the opposite side of him.

    Rex needs a quick pass-rusher in his system and Lindsey could fill the void.

    Lindsey is not a huge body at 6'2" and 254 lbs., but possesses solid speed and ran a 4.78 40-yard dash.

    His senior season was very strong, as he recorded 54 tackles, 8.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

    Although Pittsburgh ran a 4-3 defense, scouts at Walterfootball.com believe his skill set is best fit for a 3-4 defense, which the Jets run.

Round 6: Tashaun Gipson, CB Wyoming

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    The Jets actually are in a position of strength at cornerback. Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson form one of the top defensive back trios in the NFL. Obviously, much of the stats are helped by the lockdown ability of Revis, but they have done a solid job collectively.

    A team can never have enough depth in the secondary, as injuries can potentially cause a season of turmoil, due to the pass-heavy league the NFL has become.

    A late-round cornerback that could be available for the Jets is Tashaun Gipson of Wyoming. Although the Mountain West Conference is not generally regarded for its strength, Gipson put up tremendous numbers in 2011. He recorded 95 tackles, five passes broken up and three interceptions.

    Gipson's quickest 40-yard dash was a recorded at 4.52, and he is 6'0". He can be a potential sleeper pick in the late rounds.

Round 7: J.K. Schaffer, ILB Cincinnatti

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    The Jets have one rock at inside linebacker in David Harris. He will be with the team for the long-term. Aside from Harris, the Jets have the aging Bart Scott, who is no longer a three-down linebacker. There are other younger players such as Josh Mauga, who is not ready to have a major contribution.

    In the seventh round, you generally just take the best players available, but the Jets could have a potential steal with Schaffer.

    Despite his relatively small stature of 6'1" and 227 lbs., he possesses pretty significant speed as he ran a 4.69 40-yard dash. He is also a very emotional player.

    Schaffer had a fantastic 2011 season in the Big East, as he recorded 114 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and six passes broken up. That is filling up the stat sheet.

    It would be a good idea to take a flier on this overachieving but under-sized inside linebacker.

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