5 NFL Draft Prospects Guaranteed to Interest New York Jets

John SheaContributor IIIDecember 16, 2012

5 NFL Draft Prospects Guaranteed to Interest New York Jets

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    The New York Jets (6-7) are at a vital crossroad headed into the impending offseason.

    The Jets' front office has plummeted into total disarray while player personnel has been depleted to a level that spells distance from the best teams in the NFL.

    The 2013 NFL Draft is arguably the most decisive first-year player draft in Jets' history.

    If the Jets want to return to the table of Super Bowl contenders in the foreseeable future, they need to draft immediate impact players on both sides of the football.

    2012 has been marked by controversy and off-the-field antics for the Jets. They rank 30th in total offense to appropriately substantiate the critical ineffectiveness demonstrated by embattled quarterback Mark Sanchez.

    The fourth-year starter has been starved of playmakers on offense, tremendously aiding his regression.

    The Jets ultimately need to prioritize adding a vertical threat to an offense that lacks speed and construct a viable pass rush to re-assert the blitz-oriented defense as prominent.

    The following details five draft prospects that are guaranteed to peak the Jets' interest when they bury themselves into the war room on April 25, 2013.

Keenan Allen (WR)

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    California wide receiver Keenan Allen is the best deep-ball threat in the 2013 NFL Draft and should be on the Jets' radar in the first round.

    Allen is an athletic player who thrives against quality competition. He has quick speed off the line of scrimmage, enabling him to get open down field. His 6'3", 210-pound build is considered to be prototypical, highly representative of successful NFL receivers.

    Allen possesses an athletic combination of speed and agility, allowing him to create plays in space and generate big gains on short passing routes.

    His natural quickness enables him to beat defensive backs down field, making him an ideal fit for the Jets, who don't possess any receivers that can easily create separation.

    Allen was limited to nine games in his junior season because of injury. He was a prominent focus of defensive game plans—frequently double-teamed—but still compiled over 700 yards receiving on 61 catches while finding the end zone for six scores.

    His most impressive season at the collegiate level came in 2011 when he was selected First Team All-Pac-12. Allen snagged 98 catches for 1,343 yards and six touchdowns to rank among the most deadly vertical passing threats in the FBS.

    Allen has exceptional hand-eye coordination and can make big plays on the fly, a feature void from a passing attack that ranks third from last in the NFL at 186.8 yards per game.

Jarvis Jones (OLB)

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    Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones is a tremendous pass rusher who will have an immediate impact in his rookie season.

    Jones has demonstrated brute strength and quick, agile movement, enabling him to break off the edge and pummel ball carriers in the backfield.

    He was selected First Team-All SEC despite playing just 11 games in 2012. He was also a Butkus Award finalist as one of the best linebackers in the country, recording 14.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss to headline one of the best defenses in the FBS.

    It was Jones' second season as a starter at the college level after transferring to Georgia from USC.

    Jones is a solid fit for the Jets' 3-4 base defense because of his ability to blitz the passer and drop back into coverage. He has strong football instinct and is capable of covering the entire field. Jones registered 85 tackles this season, demonstrating tremendous hustle.

    The Jets need a ferocious linebacker that can sack the quarterback and stuff the run. Jones is a hard-hitter that can fill that void. He's expected to be drafted in the upper echelon of the first round and is guaranteed to interest the Jets.

Kawann Short (DT)

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    Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short fits the profile of a powerful defensive lineman that can overwhelm opponents.

    He is arguably the most underrated player in the impending draft and is projected to be selected in the second or third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

    Short is a beastly defensive tackle that withstands both strength and agility. He can bench press over 400 pounds and has demonstrated the ability to push offensive lineman backward in the trenches.

    He was selected First Team All-Big Ten in an impressive senior season. Short tallied 43 tackles, including 15.5 for loss, while also generating seven sacks, four blocked kicks, and two fumble recoveries.

    Short boasts the ability to dominate the line of scrimmage and frustrate the opposition.

    He was considered to be the No. 1 senior NFL prospect out of the Big Ten entering his senior season and didn't disappoint expectations.

    The Jets would be wise to draft Short and commence the process of rebuilding a defensive line that has been moderately efficient at best.

    It's arguable that NT Kenrick Ellis has been a bust, undoubtedly failing to meet expectations. The future of veteran Sione Pouha is also unclear, as the 34-year-old could need offseason surgery to repair his back.

    The Jets don't have a prominent force on the defensive front that can blast through the trenches and pressure the quarterback. 

    Short has demonstrated the ability to bully the opposition, a trait seemingly void from the Jets' defensive line.

Tyler Eifert (TE)

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    Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert is the best prospect at his position in the impending NFL Draft.

    He added to his strong accolades in 2012, earning the John Mackey Award as the best tight end in the nation.

    Eifert is an excellent blocker up front and also has the speed necessary to stretch the field. Eifert is the all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards as a tight end at Notre Dame.

    He tallied 44 catches for 624 yards and four touchdowns, and was a pivotal component on an undefeated team that will compete for a national championship in January.

    Eifert is a solid fit for the Jets because of his size and speed. He's relatively comparable to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in terms of size and ability.

    Eifert's ability to adjust to off-target passes would make him an ideal target for quarterback Mark Sanchez, who often struggles in delivering accurate passes.

    He's confident and dashing, unafraid to move through traffic over the middle to snag catches on curl routes and slant patterns.

    Eifert is considered to have exceptional ball protection skills, able to shield the ball from defenders in a crowd.

    The purpose for considering Eifert as a logical selection for the Jets in the first round is simple: It's unknown if current Jets' tight end Dustin Keller will be back in 2013.

    Keller is Sanchez's favorite target, which means that the Jets would likely look to draft a formidable replacement if Keller is lost in free agency.

Tavon Austin (WR/KR)

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    West Virginia wideout Tavon Austin scored a touchdown four different ways in 2012: run, pass, punt, and kickoff return.

    He's a slot receiver that possesses a ton of speed and big play ability. Austin's numbers in his senior season are ridiculous.

    He caught 110 passes for 1,259 yards and 12 touchdowns, accumulated 598 yards on 61 carries and three touchdowns, and also totaled over 900 yards on returns.

    Austin is an impact player who can effectively operate in various personnel packages on offense. His game-changing speed is dangerous for opponents, especially when blitzing four or more defenders.

    He doesn't have the traditional build that typically describes top NFL receivers, but is an offensive specialist that can have a positive impact on the Jets.

    Austin has been compared to the likes of Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, although scouts consider him to have inferior route-running skills in contrast to Welker.

    Austin is a change-of-pace brand of player that can break down a defense in an instant.

    The Jets are in dire need of speed on offense. Austin would supply relentless quickness on an offense that has struggled to produce big plays in 2012.

    If Austin falls to the Jets in the second round, he would be near-impossible to pass up.

    The potential results of attaining a speed-first player like Austin are spectacular.