With the Super Bowl now a memory and the winter trudging along, the NFL is in perhaps its quietest period of the year. About the only thing to do now is wait to hear if your team cuts anybody and follow along with the latest mock drafts on the internet.
With the New York Jets holding the No. 9 pick during this transitional offseason, the NFL draft takes on an even more important role for Jets fans this year.
Despite the fact that most mock drafts are now getting closer to agreement as to which prospects belong in what spots, nobody seems to have a real grasp of which direction the Jets will go.
Would they pass on Jarvis Jones because of medical concerns if he fell to them? How about making Chance Warmack the first guard taken in the top 10 in over a decade? What would happen if possible No. 1 overall Geno Smith fell to the Jets at No. 9?
This slideshow checks in with 12 NFL writers from around the internet to see who they have the Jets taking No. 9 overall and the logic behind that pick.
The 12 writers have projected seven different players to the Jets, so there are plenty of opinions to digest and debate.
Follow RC Cos and the BR Jets Report on Twitter: @BR_Jets_Report.
ESPN draft guru Todd McShay has the belief that the Jets will continue to take risks in the draft despite the fact Mike Tannenbaum is no longer around.
In his latest ESPN (insider only) mock draft, McShay has the Jets drafting Georgia's Jarvis Jones.
The Jets haven't shied away from taking risky players with big upsides in the past. That's just what they'd be doing if they selected Jones.
Taking a small-school player like Muhammad Wilkerson was a bold move, as was taking a physical freak like Quinton Coples with the belief they could motivate him. Those look like risks that will pay off greatly for the Jets.
However, taking a risk on a workout warrior like Vernon Gholston is still a dark cloud that hangs over the organization.
The risk with Jones is a different one though, as his spinal stenosis is a very serious condition that could mean a very short career in the NFL.
But if Jones is able to stay healthy, he could give the Jets a player built in the mold of Von Miller.
Jets fans seem to be divided in their desire for Jones, and that's understandable.
However, McShay believes the Jets are willing to take a chance on a Jones, who could turn out to be the best player in this draft.
Surprisingly, Mel Kiper is one of the only major NFL draft experts who has Dion Jordan coming off the board to the Jets at No. 9.
In his ESPN (insider only) mock draft, Kiper sees the high-motor Jordan as the best pass-rushing option for the Jets where they stand.
Jordan has been a name that's been bandied about by Jets fans as they debate which of the available pass rushers will best fit into the Jets defense.
Some may say that Jordan is a reach at No. 9, and most mock drafts reflect that.
The four experts on NFL.com have Jordan at an average draft position of 12.5 and CBSSports.com's Rob Rang and Dane Brugler have Jordan at No. 30 and No. 15 respectively.
If the Jets do land Jordan, they will be getting a linebacker that would be an instant upgrade in Calvin Pace's old position.
Jordan uses his tremendous quickness to get to the quarterback and work in pass coverage extremely well.
However, at 6'7", 240 pounds, Jordan is a little light as an outside linebacker and struggled with missed tackles last season.
Jordan might be a reach at No. 9, but if the Jets traded down and were still able to nab him, it would be a major coup for John Idzik.
There was a time not too long ago that Geno Smith was a slam-dunk candidate to come off the board first overall to the Kansas City Chiefs.
That belief is now on hold, pending how Smith and other top-choice candidates fare during pre-draft workouts.
For the Jets to have a chance at the top quarterback in the draft, a number of things have to fall into place.
Bleacher Report's Ryan Riddle is one of the few draft experts who has those things breaking the right way to allow Smith to fall to the Jets.
Riddle offers a logical look at Smith coming off the board to the Jets at No. 9 as opposed to No. 1 overall to the Chiefs:
This pick becomes a lot safer at ninth overall as opposed to first. The Jets are badly in need of a fresh face at quarterback and Geno Smith is a good bet to be the most productive of the rookie signal-callers.
Smith is one of the more accurate passers in this class and has displayed impressive composure under pressure. His cool demeanor and pocket presence make him a hot target for several teams come April.
It's hard to argue with Riddle's point that the Jets need a fresh face at quarterback and if Smith is available, he'll be hard to pass up.
One thing that could prevent the Jets from drafting Smith if he is available is that they might get too good of a trade offer to pass up from another quarterback-starved franchise.
Daniel Jeremiah from NFL.com has managed to secure the most controversial draft choice for the Jets out of the major NFL websites.
Jeremiah believes the Jets' glaring need at wide receiver trumps all other needs and has them selecting Cordarrelle Paterson from Tennessee.
He offered the following insight on Patterson:
The Jets need explosive players on offense. Patterson is a perfect fit to provide some excitement on the outside. He also provides additional value on special teams, contributing as both a kick and punt returner.
While that assessment of Patterson's ability is accurate, Jeremiah failed to mention that he is one of the few writers who has Patterson slotted as a top-10 pick.
What also makes this pick even more unlikely is that he has the Jets passing up on Bjoern Werner, Damontre Moore and Barkevious Mingo to select Patterson.
Patterson may turn out to be the best receiver in the draft, but this is not the year to be spending a top-10 pick on a receiver.
While Cordarrelle Paterson would be a reach at No. 9, if the Jets landed Star Lotulelei here it would be an absolute steal.
Lotulelei is on a short list of players who are under consideration as the best player in the draft and CBSSports.com's Rob Rang has him falling to the Jets.
For that to happen, a few unexpected developments need to happen. Rang put those events in place when he projected Barkevious Mingo, Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson all jumping into the top eight.
If that's the case, the Jets will have their choice of a few consensus top-eight prospects.
Rang breaks down what would happen if the Jets found themselves in that position.
With three quarterbacks projected ahead of them and the top edge rushers off the board, the Jets could be forced into the best player available strategy, which would make Lotulelei an obvious contender. The Utah standout could combine with recent first round picks Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples to give the Jets the fearsome three-man front head coach Rex Ryan prefers.
While defensive tackle isn't the biggest need for the Jets in this draft, having a player like Lotulelei in front of them would be too good to pass up.
A dominant, young defensive line consisting of Coples, Wilkerson and Lotulelei would give the Jets something to build around for years to come.
Rob Rang's CBSSports.com counterpart Dane Brugler went in the opposite direction of Rang with his NFL draft top 10.
While Rang had a number of surprises, Brugler stuck close to the consensus and produced a logical top 10 based on team needs.
That scenario had the Jets tab LSU outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo at No. 9.
Brugler went with the logic that the Jets would take the best player available at a need position for the team:
The Jets need a lot of help in several areas, mostly on offense, including the quarterback position. But the Jets have struggled to put pressure on the opponents' backfield and Mingo is an ideal fit to stand up as an edge rusher in a 3-4 scheme.
Mingo is another possibility that has the Jets fanbase divided.
People in favor of Mingo love his athleticism and quickness, something that Jets severely lacked from their linebackers in 2012.
However, Mingo's performance in 2012 was nothing like his dominant 2011 season and that dropoff has people concerned.
The only questionable thing about this is that Brugler has the Jets passing up on Jarvis Jones to select Mingo.
WalterFootball.com offers some of the most extensive free draft insight on the internet (outside of Bleacher Report, of course) and their respected draft analyst Charlie Campbell has the Jets drafting Barkevious Mingo.
Even though Campbell has Mingo slated at No. 9, he isn't high on the pick at all.
...[T]here is some serious bust potential with him, but NFL teams and other pundits hold him in high regard. Thus, he could go in the top half of the first round.
Campbell provided extra insight into Mingo's 2010 and 2011 seasons and showed what spurred him to be recognized as one of the best defensive players in the country coming into 2012.
Mingo (6-5, 240 [sic]) had a breakout 2011 season. He showed blinding speed and was a disruptive force. Mingo totaled 46 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and one forced fumble. He recorded 35 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and six pass breakups in 2010.
Interestingly, Campbell also has the Jets passing on Jarvis Jones, whom he projected all the way down to No. 17 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
One of the most fundamental rules when it comes to the NFL draft is that a team should not spend a high pick on an interior offensive lineman.
In fact, the last time a team spent a top-10 pick on a guard was 1997, when the Saints drafted Chris Naeole with the No. 10 pick.
According to Tony Pauline, the Jets' need for a guard and Chance Warmack's projection as a Pro Bowl-level player will put an end to that streak.
Pauline pointed out the obvious when he projected Warmack to the Jets at No. 9:
Ideally, the Jets would like a pass-rushing linebacker. But Warmack fills a desperate need at guard. He will immediately move to the top of the depth chart in New York.
The main problem with picking a guard so high is that there will be other viable options later in the draft and with so many other holes to fill, guard is a position the Jets can wait to fill.
CBSSports.com projects that only 10 guards will come off the board in the first six rounds, so there will be plenty of good options in the middle of the draft.
While some fans might grumble at the selection of Warmack, the prospect of Vladimir Ducasse starting next season should really scare fans into accepting this pick.
Another person who believes the Jets will buck the trend of avoiding guards in the top 10 is Bob Montgomery of The Jet Press.
Montgomery has the Jets passing up on outside linebackers Barkevious Mingo and Dion Jordan in order to grab Chance Warmack with the ninth pick.
Montgomery has defenders Jarvis Jones, Star Lotulelei, Bjoern Werner and Damontre Moore all off the board by the time the Jets pick.
If that scenario plays out, the best options for the Jets would be Warmack, Mingo, Jordan or offensive tackle Eric Fisher.
While fans might not like taking a guard that high, Warmack is the player among that group most likely to develop into a Pro Bowl player.
As with most mock drafts that have Jarvis Jones available for the Jets, Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News has a few surprises in the top eight to push the dominant linebacker to No. 9.
A scenario like that would have to unfold for the Jets to have a chance at Jones, especially if Eric Fisher and Dee Milliner fall out of the top eight, as Iyer has projected.
Iyer offers this brief but very accurate description of Jones and how much Ryan would love him:
Rex Ryan is desperate to upgrade his pass rush with a versatile, explosive player. His offense has a ton of issues, but Jones can be a special defensive playmaker. Ryan could use him well in a variety of ways.
What Iyer doesn't mention is Jones' medical condition. It's easy for everyone to sit around and play doctor, but the truth is that nobody knows just what will happen with Jones and his health.
FF Toolbox offers some of the most exhaustive scouting reports and draft information on the web, including six writers who regularly update their mock drafts.
Ben Standig, one of their top contributors, has produced the most recent mock draft. And like many others, he has the Jets selecting Barkevious Mingo.
It sounds though that Standig isn't convinced that Mingo will be an every-down player right away.
Against the run, he has a long way to go. He will require a year or two to add bulk to his frame and he will continue to fill out in his first few years in the league.
Mingo will likely begin his career as a pass-rush specialist as he transitions into the role of a 3-4 OLB. In particular, his tackling technique in open spaces will need refinement as well.
As with most mocks that have projected Mingo to the Jets, Standig doesn't project any surprises in the top eight, outside of the Bills selecting quarterback Tyler Wilson, which wouldn't be a huge surprise at all.
I couldn't let a draft article go by without offering my own projection, even if I don't fit the bill as a "mock draft expert."
I see the Jets with one of four options here if they don't trade out of the No. 9 spot: Jarvis Jones, Barkevious Mingo, Dion Jordan or Damontre Moore.
Choosing Chance Warmack, Geno Smith, Eric Fisher or Star Lotulelei wouldn't be a bad thing, but the need for a pass-rushing linebacker trumps the other holes the Jets have. With a number of top options available, this is the year to address this need.
Right now, I have the Jets selecting Jarvis Jones with the No. 9 pick.
Jones' medical condition is well-known, and that should cause the teams selecting in the top five to pass on him.
If he gets past the Browns at No. 6, Jones should fall to the Jets at No. 9 as the Cardinals need help on the offensive line and could go for Eric Fisher. If they don't go after a lineman, the Cardinals could select the quarterback they like best.
The Bills pick No. 8 and also need a quarterback to build around. There is a chance the Bills could just go with the best player available, which could be Jones if they ignore his health concerns.
Jones to the Jets would be an exciting move, but one that would come with its detractors.
While Jones could suffer a devastating injury at any point, the real worry is how Jones will deal with the wear-and-tear of everyday life in the NFL over the years.
To put the argument simply, would you rather have a Von Miller-type of player for four or five years or take your chance on someone else who might be around longer, but not have as high a peak as Jones?
The reason I'd take my chance on Jones is that while at his peak, he could help the Jets recover from the past two seasons and help the Jets transition at linebacker. By the time he breaks down, the Jets could (hopefully) have better financial means to find a replacement for him.