Projecting the Impact of New York Jets' Key Rookies in 2012

Rocco Constantino@@br_jets_reportContributor IJuly 9, 2012

Projecting the Impact of New York Jets' Key Rookies in 2012

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    After last season's monumental collapse and the flawed roster Mike Tannenbaum constructed, it was crucial for the New York Jets to find success in the 2012 NFL draft.

    Because the Jets sent fourth and sixth-round draft choices to Denver in the Tim Tebow trade, it gave Tannenbaum less room for error.

    This meant that Tannenbaumn needed to find immediate impact players with at least his first three picks in addition to finding some late-round gems.

    If early indications prove to be truthful, Tannenbaum may have done just that.

    Jets rookies have drawn nothing but praise from their coaches and teammates during OTAs and minicamp, and not just for their play on the field.

    Quinton Coples, Stephen Hill and Demario Davis have all shown to be tremendously hard workers and and seem to possess strong leadership qualities in addition to their physical talents. 

    The Jets also seem to have found some potentially useful players in the late rounds as well.

    Things like preseason performance, learning the playbook and injuries will factor into how much of an impact each of their draft picks will have in 2012, but for now, things are looking good.

    This slideshow will project the impact each of the Jets' draft picks will have during the 2012 season using an "impact factor" ranging from 0-10.

    It should be noted that the rating is based on potential impact on the season, not the level of play a player is expected to have.

Quinton Coples

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    Quinton Coples is still a couple of weeks away from attending his first NFL training camp, but he has already had a big impact on the franchise.

    Coples presence and his success in OTAs and in minicamp were part of the reason Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine have decided to take a look at how a 4-3 defense will work with the Jets this year.

    No matter what formation the Jets use, Coples will be asked to be a major presence along the defensive line.

    Last season, both Muhammad Wilkerson and Sione Pouha played over 600 snaps on the defensive line over the course of the season. Coples should expect that kind of playing time as well in 2012.

    While Pouha and Wilkerson were productive with their extended playing time, Coples needs to surpass their production if the Jets want to have a truly fearful defense.

    All signs are pointing towards Coples being a major factor on the Jets defense immediately, giving the Jets a feared defensive lineman who can generate pressure on the quarterback consistently. 


Stephen Hill

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    So far as a Jet, Stephen Hill has shown all the physical tools that make it seem like he was a great selection as a second-round draft pick.

    However, that might not translate to huge production in year one.

    If Rex Ryan had to fill out a starting lineup tomorrow, Hill probably would be the starting wide receiver opposite Santonio Holmes.

    However, that position is tentative based on the chemistry he develops with Mark Sanchez during the preseason and the progress he makes in learning a much more complex and different system he worked in at Georgia Tech.

    Hill's impact on the Jets might come in ways that show up more on film than they do in the box score.

    There's no reason to think he won't be an excellent blocker in the running game, and his presence in the red zone will likely draw attention away from Dustin Keller and other receiving options.

    Another factor that might keep Hill's production limited as a rookie is the fact that Sanchez has already built up tremendous chemistry with Keller and showed late in 2011 that he will trust Jeremy Kerley as well.

    Expect Sanchez to take shots with Hill downfield at times, but a majority of the throws will be disbursed among Keller, Kerley and Santonio Holmes.

    Hill possess the talent, physical skills and work ethic to become a big star in this league, but as a rookie, he will be a role player in what could be a surprisingly deep wide receiver corps.


Demario Davis

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    If the impact a rookie will have on a team is equivalent to the buzz generated during OTAs and minicamp, then Demario Davis will have the biggest impact on the Jets as a rookie.

    Davis not only has the physical tools and an incredible motor that should be expected of a stud linebacker, but he also has impressed his coaches and teammates with advanced leadership skills.

    Davis' role is one that will likely increase as the season goes on, but there's no reason to think the Jets don't have something special here.

    As of now, Davis probably wouldn't be in the Jets' starting lineup, but that doesn't mean he can't work his way in. He may be the player that is watched the closest during the preseason, and if he proves his mettle there, he may be too good to keep off the field.

    Davis figures to have an immediate impact on special teams and is a candidate to generate some game-changing plays at linebacker.

    Davis still needs to show that he can be successful in pass coverage to become a full-time player, but if he gets that part of the game down, he will be in contention with Quinton Coples to have the highest impact among rookies in 2012.


Josh Bush

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    The way it appears right now, for the Jets' sake, Josh Bush better have a big impact on the team in 2012.

    As the Jets roster is presently constructed, just 16 days before training camp begins, Bush is the only true free safety on the roster.

    That could change by the start of the season, either with a position change for a current player, the signing of a camp causality from another team or the return of Jim Leonhard, but as of right now, it's Bush and nobody else.

    Nobody knows for sure what the depth chart will look like come September, but even if Bush isn't the starter, it appears he will play a lot of snaps for a sixth-round pick who wasn't even invited to the NFL combine.

    Bush's impact is hard to project because it seems the Jets free safety position is entirely up in the air.

    The Jets aren't likely to go into the season so thin at free safety, so it seems that Bush's impact will be less than what it projects to be right now.

    At a minimum, he will be a solid special teams player and someone who will be a speedy cog in a typically deep Rex Ryan secondary.  On the high end of the spectrum, Bush will see significant playing time as a starter and will need to adapt to the pro game quickly.


Terrance Ganaway

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    Of all the Jets' late-round picks, Terrance Ganaway has the potential to have the biggest impact on the team in 2012.

    The team's running back corps is alarmingly thin, and somebody is going to have to carry the ball in addition to Shonn Greene.

    It stands to reason that Joe McKnight will get the first shot as the No. 2 back behind Greene, but his knack for fumbling and overall lack of significant development as a running back make him anything but a sure thing.

    It's entirely possible that McKnight comes into his own this season and offers the Jets an explosive option behind Greene, but if he falters, expect Ganaway to be the one to benefit the most.

    If Ganaway's bowling-ball running style translates to the pro game, he will quickly become a favorite of Tony Sparano, Rex Ryan and Jets fans across the land.

    It remains to be seen whether Ganaway will be as physical in the NFL as he was at Baylor, but if he runs a few people over during the preseason, expect Ganaway's style to be too tempting for Ryan and Sparano to pass up.

    This will be true, especially if they are committed to re-establishing the power running game as much as they say they are.


Robert Griffin

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    If Robert Griffin has an impact on the Jets' 2012 season, it will likely mean that something catastrophic has happened.

    Griffin didn't get much work with the first-team during OTAs or minicamp, and it seems he is destined for the practice squad in 2012.

    Despite poor play in 2011, the Jets offensive line was remarkably healthy last season, as just about every starter has shown a tremendous knack for showing up to work each week.

    Backup offensive linemen Vladimir Ducasse and Caleb Schlauderaff might not make Jets fans feel warm and fuzzy, but it is likely the two of them will at least start camp ahead of Griffin on the depth chart.

    Unless Ducasse and other backups prove to be too incompetent to keep around or there are multiple injuries on the line, expect Griffin to remain a project and see little game action during the 2012 season.


Antonio Allen

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    By most accounts, the Jets were tremendously fortunate to find Antonio Allen in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL draft.

    Allen is basically a linebacker in a safety's body, which means he is the type of player that Rex Ryan will easily fall in love with.

    When it comes to his impact on the 2012 season, though, Allen might find himself in somewhat of a logjam at safety.

    With LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell and Eric Smith all cemented ahead of Allen on the depth chart, it will be hard for him to find significant playing time right away.

    However, because of Landry's penchant for injury and Smith's declining play, there will most likely come a time in 2012 that Allen will be counted on for significant snaps.

    Like Terrance Ganaway, Allen possess the qualities that Ryan looks for in his players, and if his coverage skills develop, Allen could become a significant player for the Jets as the season wears on.


Jordan White

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    Jordan White was taken in the seventh round of the draft as a developmental prospect without much of an eye towards the 2012 season.

    When White missed just about all of this offseason with a broken foot, it likely cemented his spot as a practice squad player at best.

    White is worth taking a chance on, just based on his 140 catches and 1,911 yards last season at Western MIchigan, but he is going to have to bide his time before he gets any real consideration in the rotation at receiver.

    Expect White to stick as a practice squad player and see no significant game action in 2012.