5 2014 NFL Draft Prospects Guaranteed to Interest the New York Jets
Coming off a bumpy but altogether solid 8-8 season, the New York Jets will look to continue their ascent in the AFC with a terrific draft.
The Jets have plenty of holes throughout the roster, including at outside linebacker, secondary and cornerback, but their main issues lie with the offensive skill positions.
New York currently possesses one of the most talent-starved receiving corps in the NFL, and with Santonio Holmes likely to be cut and Stephen Hill showing no signs of improvement, the problem cannot be addressed internally.
Expect Gang Green to look to select one of the many explosive offensive weapons available at the top of the draft.
Here are five draft prospects sure to interest the Jets in the first round of this offseason's draft.
Mike Evans has everything teams look for when they scout collegiate wide receivers.
Evans has immense pro potential, but he was also extremely productive during his tenure at Texas A&M.
In 2013, Evans emerged as a go-to receiving target for Johnny Manziel, and he finished the season with an astounding 69 catches, 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Evans physical tools are perhaps even more impressive than his collegiate production.
The 20-year-old has unbelievable size at 6'5'' and 225 pounds, and his leaping ability is top-notch. Evans projects to be an incredibly dangerous red-zone target at the NFL level.
Evans also possesses above-average acceleration off the snap, and he is capable of not only beating opposing cover men downfield, but also making defenders miss in the open field.
Evans would immediately open up the field for Geno Smith and the Jets offense, and he could easily become the elite receiver Hill failed to become.
Marqise Lee may not have the colossal size and strength of Evans, but he still projects to be one of the finest wide receivers in this year's draft class.
Lee is an explosive playmaker capable of turning a simple catch into a long gain or touchdown on any given play. The USC product is a phenomenal route-runner, and his speed, acceleration and open-field elusiveness are elite.
Despite coming off a down year in which he struggled with nagging injuries and failed to break 800 yards or five touchdowns, Lee was still very productive throughout his collegiate career.
In 2011 and 2012, Lee combined for a ridiculous 191 receptions, 2,864 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Lee is the kind of receiver who can come in and immediately emerge as a No. 1 receiver, and fortunately for the Jets, he should be available when they are on the clock with the 18th overall pick.
If the Jets adequately address the wide receiver position in free agency (which is very possible considering the talent available), the team may decide to go with a tight end in the first round.
New York has serious concerns at tight end right now.
Jeff Cumberland has decent physical tools, but he is yet to put it all together and become a real receiving threat, and Kellen Winslow might not even be back next season.
Jace Amaro is arguably the most talented tight end prospect in recent years.
Amaro has both the collegiate production and physical tools that NFL teams love to see.
In this past season at Texas Tech, the junior put together one of the most amazing tight end seasons in history, as he recorded 106 catches, 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns.
Amaro doesn't have huge size for a tight end, but he has phenomenal athleticism, speed and route-running ability. He's also a monster after the catch and a decent blocker up front.
Amaro would give Smith a big, athletic target in the passing game, and he would take pressure off the rest of the receiving corps.
Amaro isn't the only standout prospect at the tight end position in this year's draft class.
Eric Ebron may not have put up the same jump-off-the-page stats as Amaro did this past season (62 receptions, 973 yards and three touchdowns), but his physical tools rival those of Amaro.
Ebron is an athletic freak with elite speed and elusiveness. He has the ability to beat defenders off the snap, and he is phenomenal at making defenders miss in the open field.
The North Carolina product has perhaps the highest ceiling of any player on this list, as he is far from reaching his physical potential.
When watching Ebron, he looks like a Vernon Davis prototype, as he has too much speed for linebackers to cover and too much size and strength for defensive backs to defend.
Ebron would be a terrific selection for New York in the first round, and he could be key to Smith's development into a franchise quarterback.
Kelvin Benjamin has come out of nowhere to become one of the most sought-after receiving prospects of the 2014 draft.
Benjamin put together a fantastic year in his sophomore season, as he emerged as the top target for Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, and he was crucial to Florida State's BCS National Championship run.
Benjamin recorded 54 catches, over 1,000 yards and a ridiculous 15 touchdowns this past season, and he caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the national championship.
Benjamin has monster size for a wide receiver (6'5'', 234 pounds), and his leaping ability and catch radius are second to none. He also has the innate ability to separate from defenders, and his speed and quickness are nothing to scoff at.
The 22-year-old could easily become one of the NFL's most dangerous red-zone targets early on in his career. The Jets are sure to take a long look at him this offseason.