One major factor to keep in mind is the last-minute trade of star cornerback Darrelle Revis prior to the draft, which changed the draft landscape for the Jets, both in terms of the picks they have available and their sudden need in the defensive backfield.
Given the depth of this year's draft class, it is conceivable that the Jets could target any position on the field (except most likely for kicker/punter).
Here is the complete big board for the New York Jets for the upcoming 2013 NFL draft.
The New York Jets have multiple needs this year. As such, they can largely pick the best player available rather than going crazy over specific needs. However, there are a few positions of urgent need, including outside pass-rushers and offensive linemen.
Below is the big board of the top 10 overall players the Jets should be interested in. We see several outside pass-rushers, including both defensive ends and outside linebackers (which are not so different in a Rex Ryan hybrid defense).
We also see offensive linemen and quarterback Geno Smith, who could be great in a West Coast offensive scheme.
Of particular interest is cornerback Dee Milliner, who crops up on this list due to the recent Darrelle Revis trade.
Honorable mention goes to offensive guard Chance Warmack, who remains a legitimate possibility for the Jets' No. 9 overall pick.
|2||DE||Ezekiel Ansah||Brigham Young||6'5''||270|
|3||OT||Luke Joeckel||Texas A&M||6'6''||310|
|4||OT||Eric Fisher||Central Michigan||6'7''||305|
|7||DE||Bjoern Werner||Florida State||6'4''||256|
|8||QB ||Geno Smith ||West Virginia||6'3''||220|
The obvious top option at quarterback for the Jets is Geno Smith out of West Virginia, who is not only the top-rated prospect this year but is also a good fit for a West Coast offense.
Beyond Smith, E.J. Manuel out of Florida State is an interesting option. Manuel is a player whose stock has done nothing but rise over the past few months. According to Brian Bassett of TheJetsBlog.com:
[E.J. Manuel’s] stock has been rising and he’s seen by some as a potential late first round pick. The Jets would presumably consider him as a possibility with their second round pick.
NFLDraftScout.com has the 23-year-old quarterback out of Florida State as a solid second-round pick. Manuel has the height, the arm strength and the experience that puts him in a class where he could potentially be an impact rookie.
Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley and Tyler Bray round out the big board. These three quarterbacks are all risky picks who have shown flashes of the potential needed to perform as a rookie.
|1||QB ||Geno Smith ||West Virginia||6'3''||220|
|2||QB||E.J. Manuel||Florida State||6'4''||240|
Eddie Lacy out of Alabama has been the top running back prospect by most accounts throughout the offseason. Realistically, he will probably be picked too soon for the Jets to consider him, since they should not be looking at first-round running backs.
Giovani Bernard is an interesting candidate on the big board who might stick around long enough in the draft for the Jets to take him into consideration. A short, powerful back, he could potentially become the full-time, reliable starter the Jets have not had since Thomas Jones. According to Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com:
[Giovani Bernard] had a solid Combine. He ran well in the 40 and looked good in the receiving drills. Size concerns are his biggest negative. Bernard was an electric play-maker for North Carolina this year. He dominated conference play including a massive day [23 carries for 267 yards] against Virginia Tech. Bernard found the end zone in every game he played in 2012. Bernard ran for 1,228 yards and 10 touchdowns this season while averaging 6.7 yards per carry. He also hauled in 47 passes for 490 yards and five touchdowns. Bernard averaged 16 yards per punt return as well, and even scored on two of them.
Montee Ball out of Wisconsin is another back who has received praise and attention. Andre Ellington and Knile Davis round out the top five on the big board.
|1||RB ||Eddie Lacy ||Alabama||5'11'''||231|
|2||RB||Giovani Bernard||North Carolina||5'8''||202|
Tavon Austin out of West Virginia is a talented young prospect at wide receiver who has been discussed in concert with the Jets. Cordarrelle Patterson is the other obvious top talent. Some of the interest in Austin comes from the fact that he played with quarterback Geno Smith in college.
Keenan Allen, Justin Hunter and DeAndre Hopkins round out the top five in terms of receivers who the Jets should be looking at.
Beyond the obvious choices, an interesting late-round option could be Marcus Davis out of Virginia Tech. Regarding the risk/reward trade off inherent in drafting Davis, Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com reported:
A talented but frustrating prospect on tape is Virginia Tech's Marcus Davis, who is expected to test very well in Indianapolis. Effort and consistency are large issues that will be tough to overlook, but with impressive numbers in the 40-yard dash and vertical jump, Davis could prove to be worth the risk based on his athletic potential.
Tavon Austin ||West Virginia||5'9'''||174|
|3||WR ||Keenan Allen||California||6'2''||206|
The top two tight end prospects appear to be Tyler Eifert out of Notre Dame and Zach Ertz out of Stanford. Both are big receiving targets with high ceilings.
Sean Yuille of PrideOfDetroit.com recently argued for Ertz as the Jets' best option for their early second-round pick:
I went with [Zach Ertz as the Jets' second-round pick] because I considered him a safer pick and because the Jets need all the help they can get on offense. The tight end position has really evolved over the last few years, and here the Jets add a weapon for whoever is the starting quarterback this year and in the future.
Gavin Escobar, Travis Kelce and Jordan Reed round out the top five for the Jets. With former starter Dustin Keller gone and being replaced by the unproven Jeff Cumberland, tight end is a potentially crucial target for New York in this year's draft.
|1||TE ||Tyler Eifert||Notre Dame||6'6'''||250|
|3||TE ||Gavin Escobar||San Diego State||6'6''||254|
There are three highly respected offensive tackles near the top of this big board: Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson. Those guys might not even be available by the time the Jets pick at No. 9 overall. D.J. Fluker rounds out the top offensive tackles.
Along the interior offensive line, Chance Warmack is the clear top prospect and is incredibly NFL-ready. With the Jets having holes at offensive guard this offseason, Warmack is an option they will have to consider.
Looking into the later rounds, offensive tackle Brian Winters is a player the Jets should consider as a value pick.
|1||OT||Luke Joeckel||Texas A&M||6'6''||310|
|2||OT||Eric Fisher||Central Michigan||6'7''||305|
|4||OT ||Lane Johnson ||Oklahoma||6'6''||303|
Along the defensive line, the Jets should be most interested in outside pass-rushers. For that reason, defensive ends like Dion Jordan, Ezekiel Ansah and Bjoern Werner are highly desirable. Margus Hunt is a risky but intriguing prospect as well with his extreme height and length.
On the interior, Star Lotulelei is the obvious top prospect. He has all the skills needed to serve as a 3-4 nose tackle. That position was vacated this offseason by Sione Pouha. It might be filled by Kenrick Ellis, but Ellis remains unproven and somewhat injury prone.
There were brief concerns about Lotulelei's heart health. This concern was viewed for a time as a barrier to him being a high first-round pick. However, no major danger was ever confirmed regarding his heart. The most recent reports provide evidence that his heart is in a healthy state.
|2||DE||Ezekiel Ansah||Brigham Young||6'5''||270|
|4||DE||Bjoern Werner||Florida State||6'4''||256|
When it comes to linebackers, the Jets have obvious motivation to look into outside linebackers. On the inside, they have a veteran leader in David Harris along with recent draft pick Demario Davis.
On the outside, it is a different story. Outside linebacker is arguably the most important need on the team this year heading into the draft. While they have Calvin Pace and Antwan Barnes, two aging veterans who can compete for a spot, the Jets would be well served drafting one or even two young replacements.
Barkevious Mingo is an obvious choice to consider and could be their first overall pick. Jarvis Jones is another likely first-rounder who could be enticing for Rex Ryan and John Idzik.
Rounding out the group of outside linebackers are Arthur Brown, Jamie Collins and Khaseem Greene.
|3||OLB||Arthur Brown||Kansas State||6'0''||241|
|4||OLB||Jamie Collins||Southern Miss||6'3''||250|
The defensive backfield is an interesting spot for New York. After trading star cornerback Darrelle Revis and allowing Pro Bowl safety LaRon Landry to leave, the defensive backfield is ready for some new faces. It is debatable whether or not the tandem of Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson can hold the fort at cornerback. In either case, there are needs at safety.
The Jets have two picks in the top half of the first round: No. 9 and No. 13. Either pick could potentially be used on a defensive back.
Dee Milliner is the most intriguing choice at cornerback. However, his value is so high at the moment that he might not even reach the Jets at No. 9. Kenny Vaccaro is likely to be the top free safety off the board, and at strong safety Jonathan Cyprien is a player the Jets should consider.
Rounding out the big board are Desmond Trufant and Johnthan Banks. Desmond Trufant is the brother of Isaiah Trufant, who plays for the Jets.
All five of these defensive backs are strong candidates to be first-round selections.
|4||SS||Jonathan Cyprien||Florida International||6'0''||210|
|5||CB||Johnthan Banks||Mississippi State||6'1''||185|