Jets 2013 Mock Draft: Final 7-Round Predictions for New York
With an extra first-round pick to work with, the Jets can accelerate their rebuilding process—as long as they use their picks correctly. Another bad draft would set the Jets back even further down the path of irrelevancy, and John Idzik is not going to be forgiven for a few bad picks after sacrificing the team's best player.
Here is a final seven-round mock draft for the Jets.
Round 1 (9th Overall)
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Pound-for-pound, Tavon Austin is the best receiver on the board. Jon Gruden told me he was his "favorite player in the draft", and it is hard to argue against such a strong position.
With 4.35 speed and incredible change-of-direction ability, Austin is more than a slot receiver. He can take carries out of the backfield, making him a terrific fit for the increasingly-popular pistol formation—all in addition to his electric return ability.
The biggest issue with the Jets using their most valuable commodity on Austin is that at just 5'8", he would be seemingly a replacement for Jeremy Kerley, one of the few bright spots on the Jets' anemic offense last year. With so many needs, why upgrade one of the few positions that is already occupied with youth and talent?
Ultimately, Austin is too great of a talent to pass up, and the Jets should not let preconceived position designations dilute the talent of their depleted roster. Selecting a lesser player because they are at a greater position of need only makes your roster worse. A player like Tyler Eifert may fill a more immediate need at tight end, but he is not on the same talent level as someone like Austin.
After all, no offense, especially one as anemic as the Jets, should worry about having too many explosive playmakers on its roster.
Round 1 (13th Overall)
Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
With or without Revis, the Jets simply cannot afford to go yet another offseason without addressing what has been a need throughout the entire Rex Ryan era at outside linebacker.
"Keke" Mingo only had 4.5 sacks in 2012, but he has an explosive first step that is unmatched by any other pass-rusher in this class. At just 240 pounds he will have to put on some weight and adjust to a new position at outside linebacker, but he has the athleticism and speed the Jets have been craving from the position for so long.
There is a good chance that the Jets will have a relatively wide selection of pass-rushers to choose from with the 13th pick, including Bjoern Werner and possibly Ezekiel Ansah. What makes Mingo the logical choice is his explosiveness, speed and size to make the transition to outside linebacker more seamlessly.
A player with so much potential and so little production may signal a low-effort player from afar, but Mingo plays with tremendous passion, always running out plays and playing until the whistle.
With Calvin Pace in the fold to stop the run, Mingo could start out as a third-down specialist and work his way into the starting lineup as he puts on weight and adjusts to his new position.
Round 2 (39th Overall)
Tony Jefferson, FS, Oklahoma
While the Jets were able to add Dawan Landry earlier in the month to give them flexibility on draft day, the Jets need young, dynamic players at the position who are versatile enough to play deep in zone coverage while being able to cover slot receivers and tight ends.
Jefferson is a tad short (5'11") and lacks ideal top-end speed, but he has tremendous flexibility that allows him to run with receivers in coverage with the ball skills to make game-changing interceptions. He is unafraid to come up in run support and deliver vicious blows.
Initially, Jefferson may be worked in as a core specialty teams player that enters the game in nickel packages—essentially filling the void left behind by Eric Smith, except Jefferson is much less of a liability in coverage. In short time, Jefferson should be a high-end starter who is capable of playing either safety position.
Jefferson's upside may be a bit limited, but he has the skill set to be a valuable part of Rex Ryan's defense from day one as he tries to rebuild his secondary.
Round 3 (72nd Overall)
Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
The Jets did sign Mike Goodson in free agency to complement Bilal Powell, but based on their interest in Saints running back Chris Ivory, John Idzik is far from being done upgrading the running back position.
Based on physical talent, Michael may be the best back in this class. He has tremendous burst and an explosive step. He finishes runs with a head of steam and plays with attitude.
However, there are multiple character and health concerns surrounding Michael as he enters the draft. He broke his fibia in 2010 before tearing his ACL in 2011. An alleged spat with the coaching staff diminished his role with the Aggies in 2012, and he overslept some interviews at the combine.
If Michael was drafted by the Jets, he would have a chance to sit behind two veteran starters (Powell and Goodson) while he took his time learning the blocking schemes so many rookies struggle with, creating a more seamless transition to the pro ranks. Throwing a hot-headed Michael into a premier role off the bat could lead to some disastrous on-field mistakes.
If Michael can find a way to stay healthy and stay focused on being a productive runner, he should flourish in the NFL and prove to be worth the risk later on the second day of the draft.
Round 4 (106th Overall)
Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State
While shipping Darrelle Revis out of town does give the Jets some extra resources to build up other parts of their roster, it also creates a gaping hole at cornerback opposite Antonio Cromartie, where former first-round pick Kyle Wilson has struggled.
McFadden is a fluid player with tremendous flexibility and ball skills and is a physical player in bump-and-run, making him an ideal fit for Rex Ryan's heavy man-coverage schemes.
However, there are concerns about McFadden's deep speed, as he ran a mediocre 4.54 40-yard dash at the combine and struggled to keep up with some of the faster receivers he faced. At just 190 pounds, McFadden will struggle to match up against some of the bigger receivers, no matter how well he is able to stay in position.
Even if McFadden cannot cut it as a starter, he has the makings of a terrific slot cornerback with his physicality and ability to change direction.
Round 5 (141st Overall)
Brian Winters, OG, Kent State
Despite playing tackle at Kent State, Winters' average foot speed make him a much better fit at guard in the NFL. A former high school wrestler, Winters is excellent at using leverage and plays with a high level of tenacity.
Meanwhile, to say the Jets have an "unsettled" guard situation would be putting it lightly. Willie Colon has missed 20 games over the last two seasons for the Steelers, and former second-round bust Vladimir Ducasse is slated to start at the other guard position.
Winters will take some time to learn a new position at guard (he has never played the position), but he should at least compete with Ducasse for a starting job. At worst, Winters would provide valuable depth behind an injury-prone veteran starter in Colon.
Round 6 (178th Overall)
Dion Sims, TE, Michigan State
As of now, the top tight end on the Jets roster is Jeff Cumberland, a former undrafted free agent who struggled to stay healthy last year as he filled in for Dustin Keller.
Cumberland offers some value as a receiver, but he is not going to strike fear into a defense and is hardly a mauler in the run game. The Jets need to find a tight end who can create size mismatches without being a liability in the run game.
At a massive 6'5", 285 pounds, Sims has the makings of an excellent two-way tight end as a size mismatch for most linebackers and safeties that can dominate as a blocker. John Idzik comes from an organization that places a high priority on drafting larger players to compete in the defensive backfield (note the size of their cornerbacks and strong safety), and Sims fits the mold perfectly.
However Sims is hardly a fluid mover, almost looking clumsy moving in space because of his rather high center of gravity. Whoever ends up drafting Sims must be patient in developing him as a route-runner, but he has a chance to be a big-time weapon in the future.
Round 7 (215th Overall)
Marcus Davis, WR, Virginia Tech
Davis is the ultimate boom-or-bust receiver prospect. With great size and solid top-end speed, Davis has been compared to Dez Bryant based on his physical gifts. He was the source of the vast majority of the Hokies' big plays, averaging a staggering 18.7 yards per catch as he nearly set a school record in receiving yards.
However, Davis has struggled mightily with drops and concentration issues. His lack of effort as a blocker was worthy of a Deadspin post, and eventually led to his midseason benching.
If Davis goes to a team where he can learn and develop without being thrust into a starting lineup too soon, he has a chance to succeed. Being selected as late as the seventh round may be a humbling experience for a player that has yet to realize his full potential.
With the Jets (especially if they use an earlier pick on a receiver), Davis can learn the nuances of being a professional wide receiver while providing the team with much-needed depth at the position.