New York Jets' Post-Draft Wish List
The draft shows may be over after the final bell rings at the end of the seventh round, but for NFL teams, the precious hours immediately following the draft is the most hectic time of the weekend.
The players left over did not get drafted for a reason and are all flawed players, but there are countless examples of teams nabbing tremendous players in the infamous "eighth round."
John Idzik's mantra is "competition," as a player's draft status or contract is not going to set the depth chart. These players have as much chance to make the roster as anyone under Idzik's watch.
Here is a wish list of 10 college free agents that would be welcome additions to compete for a roster spot in training camp.
Paipai Falemalu, DE, Hawaii
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Paipai Falemalu has decent size at 6'3" and 241 pounds, but he will have to put on weight to avoid the "tweener" label in the NFL.
Falemalu has not quite developed in terms of his pass-rush, can bend the edge and plays with tenacity. Good coaching can turn him into a quality NFL player if a team is patient enough with him.
The Jets neglected to add an outside linebacker in the draft (again), making this position a priority as the Jets try to get the most in the hectic post-draft frenzy.
Kendial Lawrence, RB, Missouri
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Lawrence is undersized at 5'9", but he has tremendous speed and burst that would make him an excellent change-of-pace back in the NFL.
How fast is Lawrence? He has a 40 time clocked at 4.33—faster than West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin, who went eighth overall.
The Jets already have a lot of runners after adding Chris Ivory, but they do not have any true home run threat outside of Joe McKnight, who has yet to convince his coaches that he belong on the field with the first-team offense on a regular basis.
Eric Martin, DE, Nebraska
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Eric Martin is an athletic pass-rusher who is a bit of a "tweener." He played a bit out of position at Nebraska and would be a projection to 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
Meanwhile, the Jets' outside linebacker position remains thin, and Martin's burst and athleticism would be a welcome addition to a position that is currently occupied by two aging veterans.
If Martin can learn to play in space, he has a chance to be a steal from the "eighth round."
Gary Walker, FS, Idaho
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While he does not have tremendous size of speed or size (4.53 40, 5'11"), Walker has tremendous range and athleticism.
Walker is also a sure tackler, leading his team in tackles his junior season with 99.
Like the linebacker position, the Jets have avoided adding any players that would help their thin safety situation. Undersized-yet-productive players like Walker will give them much-needed depth.
Walt Canty, S, Duke
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While Walt Canty was not a member of a powerhouse football program at Duke, he has a lot of abilities that coaches love.
A team captain who led the team in tackles, Canty is a disciplined player with good instincts. He has average measurables at 6'0" and 200 pounds, but most coaches would rather have a smart player who will have a positive impact on the locker room than a talented player who underachieves.
If Canty sticks around on an NFL roster, it will be because of his reliability on special teams as a sure tackler.
Alonzo Tweedy, CB, Virginia Tech
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While he never started at an outside corner position at Virginia Tech, Alonzo Tweedy has the making of a great depth corner and a special teams ace.
Tweedy is a great tackler and plays with tremendous physicality. He played defensive back in sub-packages and lined up as a "whip" linebacker.
Tweedy may not ever start on the regular defense of an NFL team, but he will last in the NFL because of his special teams play.
Shawn Williams, S, Georgia
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Williams was in the shadow of a highly touted prospect in Baccari Rambo, but he would be an excellent priority free-agent signing.
A versatile player, Williams is an aggressive hitter who can also make plays in coverage when reading the quarterback's eyes. However, he does have a tendency to over-pursue plays and get beat because of his over-aggression.
Williams played in a variety of spots from the safety position and could find a home as a third "big nickel" safety in the NFL.
Drew McAllister, DB, USC
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McAllister was buried on a depth chart behind a slew of talented defensive backs at USC, but like Alonzo Tweedy, he could stick around for a long time in the NFL as a core special teams player.
McAllister does not have exceptional speed (4.56 40) but he could be a valuable hybrid cornerback/safety at the next level. He is a sure tackler that can be moved around as a blitzer in addition to his role on special teams.
Lamaar Thomas, WR, New Mexico
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After missing out on Tavon Austin, the Jets are still in desperate need of offensive playmakers. They added plenty of talent in the trenches but still need an element of speed on the edge.
Lamaar Thomas has great athleticism and speed (4.40 40), but he has not been quite as productive as you would imagine for such a gifted player.
Perhaps a new environment and NFL coaching will turn Thomas into a more productive player.
Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma
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It truly is amazing that a player as good as Tony Jefferson went undrafted, no matter what off-field concerns a team may have.
Jefferson is a tremendous athlete that can cover slot receivers and play deep in zone while making plays in the run game. He does not have ideal size at 5'11", but he can match up with receivers in the slot.
Jefferson was suspended for two games after failing drug tests, but he is at least a third-round talent that can be had for nothing. For the safety-needy Jets, they need to do everything they can to bring him and compete for a starting job at free safety.