New York Jets Mock Draft: Early Predictions for the 2013 Draft
With renewed hope and a Thanksgiving game against the New England Patriots looming, the NFL Draft might be the furthest thing on the minds of Jets fans.
However, it's never too early to start a "radar list" of prospects who could end up in the green and white next season.
The Jets have the look of a team that will finish somewhere around .500, give or take a game or two. That should land the Jets a draft pick somewhere in the 8-15 range.
With the NCAA season winding down and mock drafts starting to take shape, prospects could be identified that look to be good fits for the Jets.
The team has a ton of holes all over the roster, so there are a number of ways the Jets could go with their picks.
The Jets have an extreme dearth of dangerous skill position players. However, as it stands now, there don't appear to be many game-breakers projected as first-round picks.
The draft does appear to be strong at offensive tackle and linebacker, two huge positions of need for the team going forward.
Prospects will rise and fall tremendously after performances in postseason All-Star games, pro days and combines, so this is a very cursory look at the Jets' options in the first round.
Jets fans who follow the draft, though, should put these names on their early radar list, because it's never too early to start obsessing about the draft if you are a Jets fan.
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Tyler Wilson: QB (Arkansas)
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With so many holes on the roster, it would be unlikely for the Jets to spend a first round draft pick on a quarterback, especially if it is a high pick.
But let's say hypothetically that the Jets rid themselves of Tim Tebow and then decide to look at a quarterback-of-the-future in Round 1.
If that scenario unfolds, it is likely the Jets end up with Tyler Wilson.
It appears that Geno Smith and Matt Barkley could be top-five picks, so unless the Jets bottom out even worse than expected, it's unlikely either of them would end up with the team.
That brings up to Wilson.
The redshirt senior has decent size at 6'2" and is a traditional, well-rounded passer.
Wilson had been lauded for his vision and decision-making coming into this season, but has thrown a career-high 10 interceptions this year.
Wilson suffered a concussion in Week 2 this year and missed the subsequent game against Alabama. However, he did bounce back to have some strong games for a weak team.
Wilson has been plagued this season by a poor supporting cast on offense, so it sounds like he'd be in familiar territory if he winds up with the Jets.
Stuck behind Ryan Mallett for his first two seasons, Wilson didn't emerge until 2011, when he threw for 24 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
Wilson's status as a true franchise quarterback is something most scouts disagree on. Some mock drafts have him as a solid top-10 pick, while others don't include him in the first round.
Wilson's final draft position will be determined by his combine or pro day performance.
With Sanchez under a tight contract for 2013 and Greg McElroy still waiting for his chance, this may not be the year for the Jets to take a quarterback in the first round, especially with so many other holes to address.
But if they do, it will likely be Wilson.
Barkevious Mingo: OLB (LSU)
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As things stand right now, if the Jets could land Barkevious Mingo, it would be a major coup for the organization.
Mingo is one of the elite physical specimens in the draft and could finally be the pass rushing beast that has eluded the Jets for such a long time.
At 6'5", 240, Mingo would instantly bring size, youth and athleticism to a linebacking core that is in dire need of an overhaul.
A pairing of Mingo and Demario Davis would give the Jets a ton of speed and youth at the position.
Mingo also projects as someone who will be able to keep up with receivers in the passing game.
He would step right into Calvin Pace's role immediately and give the team a significant upgrade.
If Mingo stands out in the combine the way people think he will, he could be long gone by the time the Jets select.
However, if Mingo is there when they choose, he is the type of player Rex Ryan would absolutely fall in love with and make a significant push to add to the roster.
Keenan Allen: WR (Cal)
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Unfortunately for the Jets, this draft doesn't seem to be deep on impact skill position players on the offensive side of the ball.
As of right now, Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen projects as the top wide receiver in the draft.
At 6'3", Allen could pair with the 6'4" Stephen Hill to give the Jets two young, big targets at the receiver position.
Unlike Hill, Allen plays in a receiver-friendly system in college and exploded onto the scene as a sophomore when he caught 98 passes for 1,343 yards.
Best of all, Allen is a physical receiver who also has the ability to burn a defense down the field as well.
A 2013 Jets receiving core of Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill and Allen turns a 2012 weakness into a strength if Kerley and Hill both continue to develop.
Chance Warmack: OG (Alabama)
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While everybody is focusing on the Jets' needs at the skill positions on offense, one thing that has been ignored is the situation with their current guards.
Both Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore have expiring contracts and their future with the team remains uncertain.
Jets fans should be scared at the prospect of an offensive line featuring Slauson and Vladimir Ducasse starting at both guard positions next year, because that's the direction the team could be headed.
That brings us to Chance Warmack.
Warmack is currently considered the top guard in the draft and although he projects as a possible Pro-Bowl-level offensive lineman, he should end up being picked in the middle of the first round.
Warmack could be the 2013 version of Dave DeCastro, an elite lineman who falls considerably simply based on the fact that teams don't like to draft guards too high.
At 6'2", 320, Warmack is a touch short, but the trade off is his excellent athleticism. He has the ability to get to the second level when run blocking and can hold his own against pass rushers.
With the status of Moore and Slauson up in the air and what looks to be a thin market for guards in free agency, the prospect of Warmack landing with the Jets is considerably high.
Luke Joeckel: OT (Texas A&M)
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When all is said and done, offensive tackle just very well might be the strongest position in this draft.
This suits the Jets quite well.
With Jason Smith due $12 million next season and Austin Howard still learning on the job, the Jets would do well by themselves to spend a high pick on a position of great depth in the draft.
The offensive tackle the Jets should target is Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel.
It's tough to tell just where he'll go because his draft slot will be determined by how many underclassmen offensive tackles enter the draft.
Joeckel finds himself firmly planted in the top 10 right now, but could slide if some underclassmen declare and jump in front of him.
If that happens, it could push the 6'6", 310 pound Joeckel right into the Jets' laps.
Joeckel is a polished tackle who specializes in pass protection. He did well protecting Ryan Tannehill's blind side as a sophomore. Joeckel anchored a 2011 line that gave up just nine sacks all season.
Jake Matthews: OT (Texas A&M)
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If Luke Joeckel doesn't fall to the Jets, they would be smart to just look on the other side of the Texas A&M line and snatch their other tackle, Jake Matthews.
Jake is the son of NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews and many of the same points listed in the previous slide about Joeckel remain true for Matthews as well.
At 6'5", 305, Matthews is a touch smaller than Joeckel, but is a dominant lineman just the same.
He is everything you'd expect in a lineman who is the son of Bruce Matthews.
He possesses great fundamentals and is an extremely smart and natural football player. He has the athleticism to thrive in the run game and will continue to develop as a pass blocker.
The reason that Matthews rates slightly lower than Joeckel is that there is a slight fear he could be bullied by bigger NFL pass rushers as a youngster.
As he matures, though, there is hope he could add weight to his athletic frame.
The free agent market for tackles is much deeper than it is for guards, so if the Jets have the chance to choose between Chance Warmack or Matthews, they could go with Warmack.
However, Matthews appears to be a safe pick and a player who will have a long and prosperous career as a tackle in the NFL.
Manti Te'o: LB (Notre Dame)
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It is very possible that this will be the final season for Bart Scott as a New York Jet.
The Jets will save $7.1 million if they cut their aging middle linebacker, so it seems to be a foregone conclusion that Scott will be a victim of the salary cap and a youth movement.
That will especially be the case if the Jets land Notre Dame's Manti Te'o with their first round pick.
Te'o is currently slotted somewhere near the upper-middle level of the first round of the draft, a place where the Jets could very easily be picking.
Te'o would give the Jets a high-motor leader who would carry the torch once it is passed on from David Harris.
Te'o would be the perfect fit for the Jets.
He's already highly recognizable as the clear leader of the No.1 NCAA team in the country, and everyone knows how much the Jets love to make a splash.
Although middle linebackers typically aren't picked very high in the draft, you wouldn't find many Jets fans complaining about nabbing the 6'2", 255 pound Te'o.
If the Jets end up with a top 10 pick, it becomes unlikely that they reach for Te'o.
However, if the Jets end up picking somewhere between 10 and 15, Te'o would be a very likely target.
Jarvis Jones: LB (Georgia)
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If the Jets keep dominating inferior opponents the way they did against the Rams in Week 11, the prospect of landing Jarvis Jones will become a pipe dream.
Jones could very well be the best player in the draft and as a high-motor, pass-rushing outside linebacker, he is just what the Jets need.
Despite the fact that most drafts project him as a solid top-five pick, Jones should be on the radar of Jets fans as the team will do their due diligence in scouting him.
The 6'2", 242 pound Jones has bullied his way around the SEC during the past two seasons and is quite possibly the best pass rusher in the country.
As a redshirt sophomore in 2011, Jones racked up 13.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for losses.
Jones plays the game in the mold of Von Miller, a fierce pass-rushing linebacker who refuses to take any plays off.
With the emergence of Muhammad Wilkerson and the continued development of Quinton Coples, the Jets would have a terrific young core if they saw it worth their while to trade up for Jones.