New York Jets' general manager John Idzik will surely shoulder the credit—or blame—for the aftermath of this offseason. Tim Tebow, Geno Smith, Chris Ivory, Sheldon Richardson and a dozen or so other prominent players were on the move.
While many of the decisions were praised, several others have already been criticized. What truly matters is what these players do for the team this autumn and beyond. Here, we'll take a look at the most under and overrated key moves made and lay out expectations for the 2013 season.
The first major backlash against John Idzik came (perhaps unfairly) after running back Mike Goodson got himself into legal trouble. The complaint against Idzik was that one of his first acquisitions might be in jail instead of on the football field.
With a small amount of hindsight (though the legal case is not yet finished), this move might still have been a solid one. For starters, the main charge against Goodson was a gun possession charge, and it may end up being the case that the gun discovered in his friend's car was not his.
If Goodson ends up clear of the gun charges, then he is left only with possession of marijuana. Given how prevalent marijuana is believed to be in the NFL, this incident would suddenly become not so controversial.
From a football standpoint, what this all means is that Goodson might actually play for the Jets this fall. If he does, then this was still a good move by Idzik. Goodson brings a jump in athleticism and speed compared to what Shonn Greene presented last year at running back. If he is both healthy and free to play, Goodson and teammate Chris Ivory could form a deadly two-headed attack.
When the Jets signed Kellen Winslow at tight end, there was some sentiment around the country that he will be replacing Dustin Keller in some sense. Replacing Keller is not what he will be doing.
The first issue is that Keller did not leave as much of a hole for replacement as many think. While he was at times Mark Sanchez's favorite target, he was not very productive. He had good but not great hands and often was the target simply because Sanchez has been too quick to go to his dump-off option.
Meanwhile, both Jeff Cumberland and Hayden Smith have shown improvement this offseason. More likely than not, Winslow will begin the season at third on the depth chart (behind Cumberland and Smith) or fourth (if he is also behind Konrad Reuland).
In any event, this transaction will not be one that dramatically alters the course of the Jets 2013 season.
For a No. 13 overall pick who should be starting right away in a system that produces elite defensive linemen, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is not getting the type of attention he should be. Much of this is based on the mistaken perception that Richardson is not versatile enough for 3-4 sets and the misguided sentiment that Rex Ryan is no longer the best defensive coach in the NFL.
Richardson (also referred to at times as 'Boss Hog') is in a position be a high-level starter as a rookie, even more-so than cornerback Dee Milliner (picked No. 9 overall). Richardson has the athleticism and versatility needed to adapt to all of the different sets Ryan will use. He excels as a pass rusher and can be effective both in the 3-4, the 4-3 and sets that have teammate Quinton Coples lined up at rush linebacker.
Richardson is currently being ignored, but if he ends up in contention for Defensive Rookie of the Year, that ignorance will quickly disappear.
The move to draft cornerback Dee Milliner at No. 9 overall in this year's draft has been somewhat overrated, due to no fault of Milliner himself. While Milliner was the best defensive back in the draft (a perceived top-five talent) and was the right choice at No. 9, there is a flaw in the national perception of Milliner.
Milliner is viewed as a guaranteed starter, even as a replacement to Darrelle Revis. On the one hand, his starting position is far from guaranteed, as he has to compete against both Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson (both former first-round picks). Moreover, there is little to no chance of Milliner being the next Revis. Revis is a once-in-a-generation player, and you simply do not expect players to be like that.
Even if Milliner becomes a star in the NFL, do not think of him as Revis's replacement. That will always taint his role and his achievements. Milliner was simply the best player available at No. 9 in the draft this year.