New York Jets 2012 NFL Draft Report Card: Grades for Every Pick

Rocco Constantino@@br_jets_reportContributor IApril 30, 2012

New York Jets 2012 NFL Draft Report Card: Grades for Every Pick

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    The 2012 NFL draft was a crucial one for the New York Jets and Mike Tannenbaum.  

    The Jets came into the draft with holes all over the roster and Tannenbaum had a ton of pressure to fill them.

    After not making a huge impact in free agency and with limited cap room, the Jets needed to find multiple players who could make a big impact immediately.  

    So what did the Jets do?  Draft players with their first two picks who have huge question marks about their immediate production.

    There's no questioning the upside of Quinton Coples and Stephen Hill, but their bust potential has Jets fans nervous.

    It seems they are still suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from Vernon Gholston and understandably so.

    The positive on the Jets draft is that it seems that most of the Jets selections were players who were slated to go higher than where they were picked.  It appears the Jets got tremendous value on a number of their picks and could find a gem or two in the late rounds.

    Draft classes can never fairly be evaluated until the players have a couple of years to develop, but it's fun to have an initial reaction anyway.

    Here's our early grades on each of the Jets 2012 draft choices. 

Round 1: Quinton Coples, B-

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    This is a crucial draft, not just for the Jets future, but for Mike Tannenbaum's job security.  The fate of both lies greatly on how well Quinton Coples turns out as a first-round draft pick.

    Coples' athletic ability is unquestioned and caused him to be rated much higher than 16th overall in most mock drafts.  However, some teams may have been scared off by whispers of a "low motor" and the fact that he takes plays off sometimes.

    Not the Jets.

    The pick has to receive an average grade of a B- right now because of those work-ethic questions.

    It doesn't seem to be a bad pick by any stretch of the imagination, but there is bust potential there for sure.

    At his best, Coples draws comparisons to Julius Peppers, which certainly will be fine by fans everywhere.  He is third on the North Carolina all-time sacks list with 24, behind Greg Ellis and Peppers, and rates in the top 20 all time in the ACC.

    In reality, all draft choices need a couple of years to develop before they can really be accurately graded.  Because of the huge boom or bust potential in Coples, this grade can likely swing to an A or an F years down the line.

Round 2: Stephen Hill, B+

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    As with Coples, Stephen Hill is an incredibly gifted athlete with a high upside to his game.  If Coples and Hill realize their potential, fans could be talking about the 2012 draft as one of the best for the Jets in recent memory.

    But as with Coples, Hill's future success is no certainty.

    Mel Kiper had Hill slotted as the No. 4 receiver in the draft and projected him to go early in the first round or late in the second round, so the value seems to be there at the No. 43 selection overall.

    The Hill pick is generating strong reviews from draft analysis experts and for now will grade at a B+, with high upside potential.

    The only real questions surrounding Hill are brought on by the fact that Georgia Tech plays such a run-heavy offense that he only caught 28 passes last season and 49 for his entire career.  

    The routes that Hill was asked to run at Georgia Tech were not complex and it may take some time for him to develop a rapport with Sanchez.

    While those are the question marks, there are obvious reasons though that a receiver can catch just 28 balls and still be evaluated as a first-round talent.

    At 6'4", 215 pounds, Hill has a great NFL body and his 4.36 40 time belies his reputation as a burner.  Hill has tremendous hands and leaping ability and if he adapts to the pro game quickly, he can become dominant.

    Another plus in Hill's game is that by playing in such a run-heavy offense, he developed incredible downfield blocking abilities, something the Jets stress with their receivers.

    Rex Ryan has already declared that Hill will start for the Jets (although he later backed off those statements) and his development will be key to the Jets offense.

    The only reason the pick doesn't get a higher grade is because the Jets need help at the receiver position immediately and nobody knows whether Hill will provide that in 2012 or if he will take a couple of years to develop.

Round 3: Demario Davis, B-

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    Another pick that may take some time to sort out, but due to some depth at linebacker, Davis' quick development isn't as essential as Coples' or Hill's.

    The best part of this pick is that with a 4.5 40 time, Davis will add speed to a Jets linebacking corps that sorely needs it.  He has tremendous lateral quickness and closes on the ball very quickly.  Compared to Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas, Davis will look like a pure blazer at linebacker.

    Davis was an absolute tackling machine at Arkansas State and a monster at the combine, where he had the top broad jump and vertical leap out of all linebackers.

    Davis was a man among boys at Arkansas State, but obviously the NFL will be much different.  Some serious concerns about his pass-coverage ability linger and keep his draft grade as a B-.

    Another thing really keeping Davis' grade down is the fact that of all the top draft experts, only Mike Mayock had him in his top 100, and he had him at 86.

    He may have been taken higher than most projected at 77, but without a fourth- or fifth-round pick, the Jets needed to take him when they could if they liked him so much.

    Davis projects to be a strong special teams player and if he develops quickly, it could mean even less playing time for Bart Scott throughout the season. 

Round 6: Josh Bush, C-

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    After trading away their fourth- and fifth-round picks, the Jets went 110 picks between selecting Demario Davis and Josh Bush.

    Bush will add some depth to the secondary and will likely be a special teams contributor for Mike Westhoff if he makes the roster.

    He may carve a niche out for himself in a dime package, but to think that he can take on the role of a key contributor at free safety might be a little to ask of him right away.

    What drops this pick down to a C- is that Oklahoma State's hard-hitting free safety Markelle Martin was still on the board and would have been a great value in the sixth round.  Martin went three picks later to the Titans.

    Bush wasn't invited to play in any postseason All-Star games, nor was he invited to the NFL combine, but maybe the Jets saw something when they had to dig for some reliable player evaluation.

    Bush was a third-team All-American and played just one season at free safety after moving over to cornerback.  

Round 6: Terrance Ganaway, A-

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    The funny thing about Terrance Ganaway is that the Jets probably are more sure about what they will get from him than they are about Quinton Coples or Stephen Hill.

    That is not to say that Ganaway has the upside of Coples or Hill (he doesn't by a long shot) but he does come with less question marks.

    Ganaway is a punishing load of a running back and will be a major factor in the running game immediately.

    The pick rates as an A-, and that could be on the conservative side.

    Picture this, Jets fans: Gang green has the ball on the 3-yard line and are absolutely desperate for a touchdown.  They trot in Tim Tebow, Ganaway, John Connor and Stephen Hill.  They can either beat you with Tebow's nose for the end zone, throw jump ball to Hill or blast their way in with Connor and Ganaway.

    How do you defend that?

    Ganaway wasn't considered any kind of prospect coming into his senior year, but after piling up 1,547 yards and 21 touchdowns in Baylor's explosive offense, he got himself on many teams' radars.

    He had just 500 rushing yards in his career coming into this season before his unexpected eruption.

    Ganaway topped the 200-yard mark three times and had his best game against Texas Tech when he was an absolute bull.  He carried the ball an incredible 42 times for 246 yards that game.

    At a solid 6'1", 240 pounds, Ganaway has the power to push the pile, even if he lacks any kind of elusiveness.

    It's hard to find a shred of negativity anywhere about this pick, which could be a home run for the Jets very quickly.

Round 6: Robert T. Griffin, D

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    The Jets really needed to address their offensive line and waiting 203 picks to do so probably wasn't a smart thing.

    The Tim Tebow and Stephen Hill trades robbed the Jets of their middle-round picks and with so many holes, one position of need was bound to be left out and it was the offensive line.

    Griffin might have the size of an NFL offensive lineman at 6'6", 330, but has too many holes to contribute right away.

    He isn't projected to provide any kind of competition to Wayne Hunter or Valdimir Ducasse, and when you aren't even on the level of those two turnstiles, the pick can't rate any higher than a D.

    The major complaint on Griffin seems to be his lack of athleticism.  He is said to be top-heavy and inconsistent in his technique.  He doesn't have initial explosiveness or any kind of quickness to speak of.

    On the plus side, he is a massive person who does seem to do well in pass blocking.  He also is expected to be able to provide depth at either guard or tackle.

    The Jets seemed to be drafting here on the notion that you can't teach size.  Tony Sparano will have his work cut out for him here and it will be interesting to see how much the Jets expect of Griffin in year one.

Round 7: Antonio Allen, A-

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    From the start, Antonio Allen has one thing going for him: He isn't Eric Smith.

    The Jets seem like they got great value in the seventh round with their selection of Antonio Allen.  He was a strong tackler at South Carolina, but the way he was used may have hindered his draft status. listed Allen as a fourth-to-fifth-round pick, and he was rated as the 101st player on the consensus big board, so the Jets nabbing him in the seventh round at No. 242 rates as a A- because of the tremendous value.

    Allen was listed as a safety, but played close to the line of scrimmage in a rover position most of the time.  Basically, South Carolina put him where they thought the ball would be and expected him to make a play.

    Allen has very good size at 6'2", 210 and if he can adjust to a more traditional role, he will produce better at safety than Josh Bush, who was picked 55 selections earlier.

    On the downside, Allen has a lot of work to do in his pass-coverage game, as he is seen mainly as a run-stopper.  

    There is no question that he possesses high-level, NFL run-stopping ability as-is, but in passing downs and against pass-heavy teams, Allen should be further away from the field than the beer vendor in the upper deck at MetLife Stadium.

    He does have a good amount of athletic ability, though, and if he develops any kind of pass-coverage skills, he will have a very fine career as an NFL strong safety.

Round 7: Jordan White, B+

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    One look at Jordan White's 2011 game log and you will either think it's a misprint or stats from a video game.

    White topped the 100-yard mark in 10 of his 13 games and led the country with 140 receptions and 1,911 yards.

    Absolutely ridiculous numbers.

    White played at Western Michigan, so he didn't see top competition on a regular basis, but the Broncos certainly didn't shy away from playing great competition in their non-conference schedule.

    Western Michigan took on Michigan, Illinois and UConn in road games in 2011 and faced Purdue in the Little Caesar's Bowl.  

    In the three games against Michigan, Illinois and UConn, White totaled 40 catches for 424 yards.

    Then he topped all of that against Purdue when he torched them for 13 catches and 265 yards. 

    On those numbers and production against top competition, the 2011 All-American gets the Jets a B+ for this selection.

    He runs terrific routes and has trustworthy hands, and almost everything written about White makes him sound like Wayne Chrebet.

    The negatives on White are that at 6'0" he doesn't have ideal height and he doesn't have blazing speed or explosiveness.

    He is worth a shot for sure in the seventh round and could have an impact in a now-crowded Jets receiving corps.