5 Hidden Gems the New York Jets Should Have Noticed at the Combine
In his first year as the New York Jets' general manager, John Idzik showed an uncanny ability to pick talent in the early rounds.
First-round pick Sheldon Richardson won the Defensive Rookie of the Year in a dominant season on the defensive line; Dee Milliner improved significantly late in the season, and Geno Smith flashed signs of franchise-quarterback talent.
However, Idzik didn't show the same expertise in picking up promising prospects toward the end of the draft.
Outside of fullback Tommy Bohanon, the Jets didn't select a single player who made even the slightest impact last season.
For Idzik to retain the support of Gang Green fans, he needs to hit at least one home run late in this year's draft.
Judging from the combine, day two and three will not be lacking in talented prospects.
Click through to see five hidden gems who impressed at the combine and should have New York's attention.
With Calvin Pace headed for free agency, Quinton Coples struggles in coverage, and Antwan Barnes coming off a torn ACL, the Jets need to upgrade the outside linebacker position this offseason.
However, the position sits at the bottom of New York's areas of needs, given their lack of talent in the receiving corps and secondary.
Kevin Pierre-Louis, who according to CBS Sports is projected to be a sixth- or seventh-round selection, could prove to be a steal in this year's draft.
The Boston College product is very undersized for an outside linebacker, but he is phenomenal in coverage and possesses outstanding athleticism.
Pierre-Louis' athleticism was on full display this past weekend at the combine, where he dominated in nearly every drill. His 4.51 time in the 40 was the fastest of any linebacker, and he ranked in the top five at the position in the broad jump, vertical leap and short shuttle.
Pierre-Louis probably caught the eye of every NFL team at the combine, but the Jets should be the ones to take a chance on him.
Every NFL fan is aware of Gang Green's lack of talent in the receiving corps.
The Jets will likely pursue a top-end wide receiver or two in free agency, as well as target a wideout early on in the draft. However, that still might not be enough.
New York would be smart to take Jeff Janis late in the draft as an insurance policy.
Janis is a projected fifth-or-sixth round pick, according to CBS Sports. However, he will likely be creeping up draft boards after his impressive showing at the combine. The Saginaw Valley product is a big-bodied receiver, but he still managed to run a tremendous 4.42 in the 40-yard dash.
Janis has all the tools to be a successful wideout at the next level. Players like him usually aren't around late in the draft.
Devin Street is another late-round wide receiver prospect who lit up the combine.
Street is a bit higher on experts' draft boards than Janis, as he rates as a fourth- or fifth-round pick, according to CBS Sports.
Like Janis, Street is a tall and strong wideout whose size and superb athleticism allow him to make plays over the top of defensive backs.
For someone whose speed was considered a weakness, Street's performance was phenomenal.
I've stressed all offseason the Jets' need for a speedy third-down running back who can make plays in the passing game.
Dri Archer is the ideal man to fill that role for New York.
Archer was a fine pass-catcher in his career at Kent State, recording 64 catches for 888 yards and eight touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons combined.
However, its Archer's speed that really sets him apart.
Archer blew away the competition this weekend with a 4.26 40-time, which ranks behind Chris Johnson for second-best in combine history.
CBS Sports projects Archer as a seventh-round pick or even an undrafted free agent, so New York could get its man for a minimal price.
You can never have too much depth on an NFL roster, especially in the defensive backfield.
New York's pass defense dropped off significantly from 2012 to 2013, so its important that the Jets address the area both in free agency and the draft.
Jonathan Dowling is an promising talent for a player whose projected to go in the seventh-round or undrafted, according to CBS Sports.
Dowling is a big, physical safety with surprising athleticism. In fact, Dowling showed the extent of his athleticism in Indianapolis, where he ranked in the top eight at his position in the 40-yard dash, broad jump, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle in those combine events.
The Jets would be smart to give Dowling a long look on Day 3.