New York Jets 2014 Mock Draft with Player Scouting Profiles
The New York Jets finally appear to be back on the upswing, but their efforts to this point will be for naught if they don't capitalize on a crucial draft for them.
With an extra third-round pick from the Darrelle Revis trade, the Jets have a chance to add another huge influx of young talent that will set them up for perennial playoff contention for years to come.
There will be plenty of emphasis on upgrading the skill positions, but there are many positions on defense that cannot be overlooked as well.
Here is the first mock draft of the season for all eight of the Jets' draft picks.
Round 1: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
The Jets need a lot of help at the skill positions, but no position on the roster is thinner than the tight end depth chart.
Kellen Winslow and Jeff Cumberland, who made up a quintessentially mediocre tight end tandem in 2014, are set to be free agents. Even if the Jets bring in a big-time free agent, they still need help at the position with a player who can both block and make plays in the passing game.
Tremendous combination of size, speed and athleticism, Eric Ebron is the prototypical tight end prospect from a measureables standpoint. At 6'4", 245 pounds, Ebron is a matchup nightmare because of his frame alone. Ebron has great body control and flexibility that allow him to get separation with ease.
Ebron is essentially a wide receiver in a tight end's body, able to shake defenders and get yards after the catch.
His upside is tremendous, but Ebron is a little rough around the edges when it comes to some of the smaller details of his game. His route running is a bit choppy, as he wins with his athleticism rather than his ability to set up defenders.
He is also known to have an issue with drops and can be redirected in his routes far too easily. Despite his size, he does not make contested catches as consistently as he could.
Round 2: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
With the tight end position getting the help it needed in the first round, the Jets can focus on beefing up their receiving corps in the middle rounds, which could use an influx of young talent no matter how much money they wind up spending on the position in free agency.
At 6'3", Jordan Matthews has a nice frame that he uses well. Matthews is at his best when making difficult catches and is unafraid to go over the middle. He is also dangerous after the catch and plays with an aggressive attitude that few players at his position can match.
Matthews' intangibles stood out during the Senior Bowl, as he requested game film of the opposing cornerbacks to study prior to the event.
Despite his large frame and ability to make tough catches, Matthews falls short in his overall athleticism when it comes to acceleration and flexibility. He tends to run at one speed when running routes, not knowing how to properly set up cornerbacks at the top of his routes.
While Matthews is not a slow player by any means, he does not possess the elite speed that would make him a first-round pick.
Round 3 (from Tampa Bay): Jeremiah Attaochu, DE, Georgia Tech
Now that they have added much-needed help at the offensive skill positions, the Jets can start using their resources to shore up their underplayed defensive needs, specifically at outside linebacker.
With Calvin Pace entering free agency (and will be 34 by the conclusion of the 2014 season), finding a long-term solution at outside linebacker must be a priority.
Jeremiah Attaochu's best asset is his burst off the line of scrimmage. His speed often takes blockers by surprise, and he is adept at changing direction to take advantage of an outstretched tackle trying desperately to keep up with his first step.
At 253 pounds, Attaochu should not have much of a problem making the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker, especially given his movement ability.
While Attaochu is light enough to play outside linebacker, he is almost too light for the position. His thin frame helps his speed, but his lack of bulk affected his run defense at Georgia Tech, and it will almost certainly be an issue in the NFL if he does not increase his size.
The question for Attaochu is whether or not he can add the necessary size without losing his explosiveness in the process.
Round 3: Lamarcus Joyner, DB, Florida State
The Jets secondary was one of the worst units in the league last year, and with Antonio Cromartie possibly on his way out, the Jets must start to add young talent. With Kyle Wilson a pending free agent in 2015, the Jets are going to need a slot cornerback to take his place if they do not re-sign him.
Lamarcus Joyner is one of the most versatile defensive backs in the draft, able to play safety, cornerback or slot cornerback. He has tremendous athleticism and quickness and is unafraid to play with physicality. As a safety, he has good instincts for where the ball is and the ball skills to reel in interceptions.
Joyner also doubles as an electric returner, having scored five touchdowns on returns during his career at Florida State.
Joyner's drawback is his stature. At just 5'9", many will peg him as a slot cornerback. However, Rex Ryan can use him much in the same way the Arizona Cardinals use Tyrann Mathieu as a free safety who can be moved all around the defensive backfield.
Round 4: Devin Street, WR, Pittsburgh
So far, Stephen Hill has not turned out to be the dynamic big-play machine they were looking for. The Jets must continue to add young talent at the receiver position who can be used situationally at first before developing into starters.
Devin Street shows a lot of resemblance to former Pittsburgh great Larry Fitzgerald as a good athlete who excels at "plucking" the ball out of the air. He has very good size for the position (6'3") and carries with him an attitude of toughness that is evident when he competes for contested catches and with his willingness to take big hits.
The biggest concern surrounding Street's game is his lack of top-end speed. Cornerbacks can run with him relatively easily, and he is not overly dangerous after the catch, despite his obvious effort and competitive nature in this area.
Round 5: Jon Halapio, G, Florida
With Willie Colon set to hit free agency and Brian Winters struggling at left guard for most of his rookie season, the Jets must continue to add depth along the offensive line.
In particular, the Jets should be in the market for a mauling run-blocker to upgrade a facet of their offense (run blocking) that was largely mediocre last season.
Jon Halapio is at his best as a run-blocker. Halapio plays with a mean streak that is evident in the way he finishes plays. He knows how to get the most out of his 6'3", 321-pound frame and is able to drive defenders several yards out of the way when he is able to lock on with his hands.
Halapio is also adept while blocking in space, especially when pulling.
As good as he as he is as a run-blocker, Halapio is about as bad of a pass protector. He struggles with his balance, having a tendency to stay too high and now allowing himself to anchor against the bull rush.
Most of Halapio's struggles in protection stem from fixable technique and weight distribution issues, but he needs some time with NFL coaching before he should be thrust into a starting lineup.
Round 6: James Gayle, DE, Virginia Tech
Even after adding a prospect at the outside linebacker position in the third round, the Jets need to continue to inject youth into a position that has been starved for young talent for far too long.
At this stage of the draft, the Jets will be working with "tweener" players who don't quite fit at either the defensive end or outside linebacker position in the NFL but have a lot of talent to work with nonetheless.
James Gayle was a complete player at defensive end for the Hokies, excelling against the run and the pass. He has a lot of athletic ability that is evident in his ability to bend around the edge and chase down ball-carriers.
Gayle also increased his pass-rushing repertoire. No longer does he just rely on his bull rush to get to the quarterback; he can win in a variety of ways, whether it be his hands, athleticism or strength.
At 6'3", 255 pounds, Gayle has the ideal size to make the transition to outside linebacker in the NFL. However, he was rarely used in coverage at Virginia Tech and has the skill set that would be better suited for a 4-3 defensive end.
Gayle also does not have tremendous length, limiting his effectiveness when disengaging blocks against longer NFL tackles.
Round 7: Jake Murphy, TE, Utah
The Jets already drafted their prototypical receiving tight end threat, but they still have room on their roster for a "project" player at the position who can develop on the bottom of the depth chart while contributing on special teams.
Jake Murphy has an imposing frame (6'4", 252 pounds), making him a tough man to cover when the ball is anywhere near him. He has a pair of tremendous hands and underrated body control that allows him to make tough, contested catches with relative ease.
His size and hands make him a perfect player to use on special teams as well as situationally in the red zone.
Despite his huge size, Murphy struggles as a blocker, but his struggles are not a result of a lack of effort. Rather, Murphy is inefficient in his technique and does not know how to use his size to his advantage just yet. He tends to stand a bit too upright, which leads to him getting pushed around more than he should.
Murphy is also lacking a bit in terms of his speed and agility, which limits what he can do after the catch.