Before the February 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, USC's Marqise Lee was supposed to be the New York Jets' consensus first-round pick. Other wide receivers such as Texas A&M's Mike Evans, LSU's Odell Beckham, Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin and Oklahoma State's Brandin Cooks have drawn the favorable attention of draft analysts and Jets officials.
With roughly a month to go before the draft, the Jets' draft picture grows murkier. It's no longer a matter of which wide receiver they'll pick. With cornerback now a critical need, ESPN New York's Rich Cimini reports that the Jets are looking at first-round cornerback prospects too.
With all the changes going on, it's probably a good idea to check out a group of possible draft picks with whom you may be unfamiliar. Some are third-day prospects; the majority will be off the board after Round 2.
This list isn't comprehensive. You won't see wide receivers such as Clemson's Sammy Watkins, Lee or Evans. You won't see leading tight end prospect Eric Ebron of North Carolina. You won't see leading cornerback prospects Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State or Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State.
That doesn't mean the Jets aren't interested in them. They've visited most of these players' pro days, scheduled individual visits or in most cases done both.
But the NFL combine drew attention to other players whom you should meet. They're the ones who are putting the speculation back into the Jets' draft-day plans. Not only are they making us question the choice among wide receiver, tight end or cornerback, but they're also making us debate which wide receiver, which tight end and which cornerback.
Players most likely to be part of these debates occupy positions one through eight on this list.
But don't discount the potential of the prospective late picks or undrafted free agents you'll meet. Remember that in 2013, seventh-round pick Tommy Bohanon became the team's starting fullback after Lex Hilliard got hurt. Safety Antonio Allen, a seventh-round pick in 2012, is steadily increasing his contribution to the Jets pass defense. One of this list's lower-ranked players may join them.
A combination of mock-draft placements, team interest as evidenced by pro-day attendance and scheduled visits, and NFL.com profile grading influences this ranking. I'm assuming that the Jets will select one of the three tight ends in the second round and either a cornerback or wide receiver in the first without trading picks.
Now that all of the ground rules are perfectly clear, let's meet a few of the players on the Jets' 2014 draft board.
- NFL draft profiles and grades: NFL.com draft tracker
- Scouting profiles come from NFL.com's draft tracker and Bleacher Report's Pro Player Comparison videos. When these sources disagree on a player's height and weight, I cite the figures from NFL.com.