New York Jets: Reviewing Their 2012 NFL Draft
At the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, Jets head coach Rex Ryan made a bold “guarantee” that his team would win the Super Bowl (via NJ.com) He also sarcastically said “Hey guys, I’ll be happy if we’re 8-8,” when describing what he would not say as a coach. One can assume that Ryan was very unhappy at the end of last season, when the Jets actually went 8-8 and missed the postseason.
Ryan has not made any more guarantees, but the Jets have certainly still made headlines this offseason, highlighted by the team’s acquisition of quarterback Tim Tebow.
That said, if the Jets are to improve upon last season and return to the playoffs, one of the most important steps was to draft well.
Did they do so? Read through the following slides to find out.
Evaluating the Picks
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Round 1, Pick 16: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 13
Coples is a very talented all-around defensive end with a great combination of size and athleticism. He is coming off of a disappointing senior season, but he has the potential to be a dominant player at the line of scrimmage. He has the size and strength to project well to lining up as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. When he is on his game, he is tough to block.
Round 2, Pick 43: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 31
Hill has the potential to be an elite deep threat receiver. He possesses an outstanding combination of size, athleticism and catching ability, giving him the potential to be a superstar.
He only had 28 receptions in his junior season, but averaged nearly 30 yards per reception. He separates well from defenders downfield and will use his size to his advantage. He lacks polish as a route-runner, but could be a star if he lives up to his potential.
Round 3, Pick 77: Demario Davis, ILB, Arkansas State
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 203
Davis is undersized and was not tremendously productive at Arkansas State, but he has tremendous athletic potential. Davis is a great all-around athlete who is a rangy playmaker, and he should find a way to get on the field and be a contributor.
He is not a great fit to play in a 3-4 defense, but he should be able to be a factor in the rotation at inside linebacker and be a special teams standout.
Round 6, Pick 187: Josh Bush, FS/CB, Wake Forest
Overall Prospect Rank: Not in Top 400
Bush is a versatile, athletic defensive back. He converted to free safety during his senior season, the position he is best suited to play, but his cornerback experience helps him. He has good ball skills but needs to improve as a tackler. Bush is likely to spend most of his time as an NFL player on special teams, but he can provide secondary depth.
Round 6, Pick 202 (compensatory selection): Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 163
Ganaway is a very solid between-the-tackles runner who had a very productive senior season. He is a big and powerful back, but he is not fast for an NFL running back. He is not particularly explosive, but he should be an effective short-yardage and goal-line back.
Round 6, Pick 203 (compensatory selection): Robert T. Griffin, G, Baylor
Overall Prospect Rank: Not in Top 400
Did the Jets think this Robert Griffin was related to the other Robert Griffin from Baylor, as in the quarterback who was selected No. 2 overall? Griffin is a massive guard, but he is not strong for his size. He is not athletic, was heavily penalized during his time at Baylor and his overall game as a NFL guard prospect is substandard.
Round 7, Pick 242 (compensatory selection): Antonio Allen, SS, South Carolina
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 75
There is nothing spectacular about Allen’s game, but he is well-rounded. He is a solid cover safety with good ball skills, and he is an effective tackler. He was a productive player in the SEC, and he can be a playmaker at the safety position for the Jets.
Allen is not a great athlete, but he is more than adequate. He could develop into a starting-caliber strong safety.
Round 7, Pick 244 (compensatory selection): Jordan White, WR, Western Michigan
Overall Prospect Rank: No. 146
White’s greatest asset is that he is a very polished receiver. He was a tremendously productive receiver at Western Michigan; he led the NCAA in receptions and receiving yards last season.
White has terrific hands and good verticality, but speed is a big concern. He is only 6’0’’ and is slow. That said, his consistency and hands should make him a solid possession receiver and No. 4 or No. 5 wideout.
Evaluating the Trades
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The Jets traded the No. 47, No. 154 and No. 232 overall selections to the Seattle Seahawks for Round 2, Pick 43.
Trading up to secure the chance to draft Stephen Hill was a tremendous move. Hill was unlikely to make it past the No. 45 overall selection, and he was an ideal second-round selection for the Jets. He was tremendous second-round value, and can be the deep-threat wide receiver that the Jets really need.
The Jets traded Round 4, Pick 108 and Round 6, Pick 188 to the Denver Broncos for quarterback Tim Tebow and Round 7, Pick 232.
This was a trade well worth making for the Jets. Tebow led the Broncos to the playoffs as a starting quarterback last season, and he should have been worth more than two Day 3 draft selections.
Tebow could eventually end up supplanting Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback, but even if he never does, the Jets should find a way to utilize his talents—talents they were unlikely to find with a fourth- or sixth-round draft pick.
The Jets traded cornerback Dwight Lowery to the Jacksonville Jaguars in September 2011 for Round 7, Pick 214. The Jets later traded Round 7, Pick 214 and quarterback Drew Stanton for Round 6, Pick 187.
The Jets traded away a player who has become a starting free safety in Lowery—a player they could really use in their secondary now. However, at the time of the trade, the Jets would have released Lowery, so they were better to get something in return than lose him for nothing.
In the Stanton trade, the Jets basically moved up 27 spots for nothing. The Jets had signed Stanton as a free agent, but he asked for a trade following the team’s trade for Tebow. In granting Stanton’s request, the Jets were able to move up in the draft for a player they no longer needed anyway.
The Jets traded Round 7, Pick 224 to the Green Bay Packers in September 2011 for guard Caleb Schlauderaff.
The Packers drafted Schlauderaff in Round 6 of the 2011 NFL Draft but were set to release him in final cuts, so the Jets sent them a seventh-round pick to acquire him. Schlauderaff is a solid backup guard, and they would probably be looking for a backup with a seventh-round pick anyways.
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Coples was very solid value in Round 1, but the best value that the Jets got in this draft was drafting Hill in Round 2. Even though the Jets gave up two Day 3 draft picks to move up four spots to select him, Hill was well worth it. He was widely expected to be a first-round draft pick, and was tremendous value given his potential in the middle of the second round.
The Jets also got tremendous value in Allen in Round 7, who should have been selected much earlier, especially in a weak draft class of safeties. Ganaway and White were also good value in the late rounds.
On the other hand, Davis was a big reach in Round 3 for multiple reasons.
While he is a great athlete with upside, he is not an ideal fit for a 3-4 defense and he is a late-rounds talent. There was still much better talent available who would have fit better at inside linebacker, including Miami’s Sean Spence, Florida State’s Nigel Bradham and Texas’s Keenan Robinson.
Another very questionable selection for the Jets was Griffin, who was not worth a draft pick at all. The Jets wasted a compensatory draft selection by using it to draft him, who by a large margin was only the second-best player with his own first and last name on his college team.
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Coples was worthy of being the No. 16 overall draft selection, but when needs are factored in, he was not the best choice for the Jets. While Coples can certainly help the Jets at defensive end, they already had a very solid pair of starters at the position in Mike DeVito and 2011 first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson.
The Jets could have drafted an even better talent while filling a major need for a pass-rushing outside linebacker. South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram and Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw were both still available; either would have been a steal at No. 16 overall, and a perfect fit for the Jets defense.
Not only did the Jets pass up the top hybrid pass-rushers in the first round, they did not address that need at all during the draft.
One of the Jets’ other major needs was for a deep threat at wide receiver. Plaxico Burress was a solid one-year option, but they needed a long-term replacement, and they found that in Hill.
With Bart Scott’s play on the decline, adding another inside linebacker to the rotation was a good move for the Jets, which they did by drafting Davis. The Jets also needed to address the safety position, and added two in Bush and Allen.
Another need that the Jets failed to address was at right tackle.
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The Jets made one draft move that made perfect sense, which was to trade up for Stephen Hill. Hill was great value in Round 2, and he filled the need for a dynamic deep-threat wideout to add to the passing offense.
The rest of the Jets’ draft was incomplete and disappointing. The Jets addressed some areas of need but neglected others, and did not get the value to offset it.
Quinton Coples is a good addition to the defense, but he was not the best pick. That is also the case with the Demario Davis selection, where there were many better linebacker talents available that also would have been better scheme fits.
The Jets found two quality talents who should contribute with their Round 7 compensatories in Antonio Allen and Jordan White. That said, the Jets made questionable choices in Round 6 by reaching on Josh Bush and Robert T. Griffin.
The Jets did not address their needs at outside linebacker and right tackle, while it is unclear exactly how Coples and Davis will fit in. Coples and Hill could both emerge as stars, but the Jets could have had a better overall draft.