DeCastro or Barron a New York Jet in Alternate Universe, but Not Ingram
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Teams don't like to share "what if" information about the draft because it invites second-guessing, but because of hard-working beat writer for the NY Daily News, Manish Mehta, we can get a peek into how the draft would have played out in an alternate universe.
The Jets were considered a strong candidate to take South Carolina DE/OLB Melvin Ingram at No. 16, but when Quinton Coples was still available in that spot, he was the selection. Now, we find out from Mehta that Ingram had a late-first round grade from the Jets, and if Coples was gone and they couldn't trade down, they would have taken Stanford OG David DeCastro.
This accentuates the value the Steelers got in taking DeCastro No. 24 overall. The interesting twist to this pick is that the Jets sorely need a right tackle, much more than they need a guard. Riley Reiff was the next offensive tackle to come off the board, but it sounds like he wouldn't have been the pick even though DeCastro has some skills that could translate to right tackle.
Mehta also uncovered that the Jets would have made "an aggressive attempt" to trade up for safety Mark Barron if he had fallen past the No. 10 pick. They never got the chance as the Buccaneers took Barron seventh overall.
The Jets didn't select a guard or safety until the sixth round, when they took Wake Forest DB Josh Bush and the other Robert Griffin—Robert T. Griffin—a guard from Baylor. From this, we can conclude that the Jets don't put together a need-centric board, and their move up for WR Stephen Hill in the second round and their selection of LB Demorio Davis in the third would have been unaffected by the outcome of their first-round pick.
If Quinton Coples works out, no one will remember that the Jets were considering DeCastro, who is a high floor player as opposed to Coples' boom or bust profile. If the Jets get the lackadaisical player we saw in Coples' senior film and DeCastro fulfills expectations in Pittsburgh, fans may wish that Mehta never divulged what he learned from his sources.
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