To rebuild efficiently and economically, the New York Jets must strive to get a perfect fit from each draft choice. Every prospect, even a late-round selection, is a potential contributor.
Tom Brady is evidence that late-round draft picks do not solely exist to provide training camp bodies. In fact, several of the New York Jets' recent sixth-round and seventh-round picks are either still with the team or have moved on via free agency:
- 2009, sixth round: Guard Matt Slauson played four seasons with the Jets, winning a starting position. He just signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears for $815.000.
- 2011, seventh round: Quarterback Greg McElroy completed his second year in 2012. His personal highlight was relieving Mark Sanchez against Arizona and leading the Jets to victory.
- 2012, sixth and seventh rounds: Safeties Josh Bush (sixth) and Antonio Allen (seventh) completed their rookie seasons in 2012. The ourlads.com Jets' depth chart projects Bush as a starter and Allen as newly-signed Dawan Landry's backup in 2013.
- 2012, seventh round: Wide receiver Jordan White saw limited action in 2012, catching one pass for 13 yards in the final game of the season. He remains on the roster.
As much as the Jets need impact players, their late-round draft picks will most likely be "projects," players who need to add one or more dimensions to their games to qualify as every-down personnel. It's rare that someone who is ready to take over a position falls through the cracks to be available in these rounds, but it's possible.
The suggestions that follow might be that exception. At the very least, they represent players who can make small contributions in 2013 while refining their games to expand their roles in the seasons to come.
NOTE: There may not have been as many safeties had the Jets signed Landry earlier.
Scouting information on these players comes from their NFL Spring Combine participant profiles.