5 Late-Round Sleepers Who Would Be Perfect for the New York Jets
With a young and capable quarterback, a stout defensive line with huge upside, and a terrific head coach, the New York Jets are back on the upswing.
However, Gang Green's roster is still littered with holes. For the team to emerge as a playoff contender next season and beyond, the front office needs to address these concerns.
While the Jets have plenty of money to spend in free agency, the best way to solve these issues is through the draft.
While first- and second-round selections receive all the hype, it's important for John Idzik and Co. to find serviceable players in the later rounds.
The following five players can be had towards the end of the draft, but they could easily provide key depth and upside.
New York has serious issues to address on the back end of the defense, as the team lacks talent and depth at both safety positions.
Grabbing Louisville product Hakeem Smith in the sixth or seventh round would pay immediate dividends.
Smith doesn't have the flashiness or upside of the early round safeties, but he could make an impact splitting time with another youngster.
Smith's coverage skills improved drastically in his senior season, as he prevented big plays and recorded five pass deflections and three interceptions.
The Georgia Native is also a reliable open-field tackler, and has proven he can make an impact in the running game.
Louisville has shown a history of producing capable NFL safeties. There's no reason why Hakeem Smith can't continue this tradition.
The Jets have just as much, if not more, question marks at the cornerback position as at safety.
Dee Milliner struggled for much of his rookie season and Antonio Cromartie's future is unclear.
Aaron Colvin has as much upside as any player that will be available on Day 3.
In fact, Colvin was a projected early round selection before he tore his ACL at a Senior Bowl practice just last week.
Despite the injury, Gang Green would be smart to take a chance on Colvin.
Colvin is a smart, physical corner who gets in opposing receivers' faces relentlessly. He can also make an impact in the running game, and he is capable of making big plays.
Colvin could be a solid NFL corner for the next decade if his injury heals correctly. Rarely is a player with that potential available so late in the draft.
With Stephen Hill appearing like a bust and Santonio Holmes likely on his way out of New York, the Jets are guaranteed to sign a marquee wide receiver in either free agency or the draft (or both).
However, it's important for Gang Green to have depth at the position, as injuries have plagued New York's receiving corps in recent years.
Cody Hoffman would be a smart selection in the final rounds of the draft, as he could be a serviceable backup at the NFL level.
Hoffman doesn't have breakaway speed and he can sometimes be bullied by opposing defensive backs, but he is a big target with good hands.
Hoffman was also very productive throughout his collegiate career.
In his final three years at BYU, Hoffman averaged over 1,000 yards and nearly nine touchdowns a season.
Hoffman will never emerge as a go-to option, but he could easily become a solid possession receiver for Geno Smith.
Gang Green is also very likely to make a major move for a tight end this offseason.
While signing a No. 1 option is all good and well, both Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow are free agents.
Even if the Jets do re-sign Cumberland, its important the team adds depth to the position.
Marcel Jensen would be a tremendous option for New York on Day 3 of the draft.
Jensen wasn't overly productive during his career at Fresno State, as he recorded just 48 catches and three touchdowns in three seasons.
However, Jensen is a huge target with above-average athleticism and hands. And most importantly, he is a phenomenal blocker at the line of scrimmage.
Jensen would bring toughness and versatility to the Jets' offense. And he can be had for a minimal price.
The Jets' running game exploded late this season, as Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell emerged as a phenomenal one-two punch on early downs.
However, New York still lacks a true third-down option who can make big plays in the passing game.
Mike Goodson was supposed to be that man last year, but his legal troubles likely mean he's on his way out.
Enter De'Anthony Thomas, one of the most well-known collegiate athletes of the last few seasons.
Like his former teammate that came before him, De'Anthony Thomas lacks the size and power to be an every-down option in the NFL.
However, Thomas' unbelievable speed and elusiveness would make him a perfect third-down running back for Marty Mornhinweg's offense.
Thomas would also provide a spark in the return game, where New York struggled all last season following the departure of Joe McKnight.
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