New York Jets 2014 NFL Mock Draft: 7-Round Predictions for New York
With 12 selections, the New York Jets are primed to be one of the most active teams in the 2014 NFL draft. They can move up or down the board, and they have the flexibility to keep all their options open at any point, methodically making the moves that will set them up for success for years to come.
The Jets have done a good job of addressing most of their needs this offseason prior to the draft. This way, they can be sure they're not reaching for need instead of taking the best player available. That being said, their biggest future needs are at wide receiver, tight end, outside linebacker, cornerback and on the offensive line.
FanSpeak's On the Clock premium draft simulator allows users to select a team to represent in the draft, making trades along the way. Here's one potential scenario that could unfold for the Jets.
Round 1, Pick 17: Traded to the Denver Broncos
In this scenario, the Jets receive the 31st, 63rd and 95th overall picks from the Denver Broncos for the 18th pick in the first round. The Jets give up the opportunity to draft in the middle of the first round in exchange for the picks that will give them even more flexibility to move up and down the board over the course of the weekend.
The 2014 NFL draft has been regarded as one of the deepest drafts in recent memory, so the Jets can capitalize by grabbing those extra picks. With this trade, they are up to 14 picks. That being said, six of those picks are of the compensatory variety.
Round 1, Pick 31: Dee Ford (OLB, Auburn)
The Jets have serious doubts about their long-term viability at outside linebacker. At present, they are counting on elder statesman Calvin Pace and injury-prone Antwan Barnes to get the job done in 2014. Beyond that, they will probably need to figure something else out.
Dee Ford can stand up or play down on the line, making him a great fit for the Jets who like to move back and forth between a 3-4 and 4-3 defense. He has the burst off the snap to rush the passer with his hand in the dirt (three-point stance) or standing up (two-point stance) with the production to prove it. He had 10.5 sacks in 2013, ranking second-best in the SEC behind Michael Sam.
There's one small (no pun intended) problem: At 6'2" and 240 pounds, he is undersized for an edge defender in the NFL, but it's not too late for him to get bigger. An NFL training program should help him add some size and functional strength, so he can better set the edge against bigger offensive tackles.
Round 2, Pick 41: David Yankey (G, Stanford)
The Jets trade the 49th and 95th overall picks to the Buffalo Bills for the 41st overall pick and the right to draft David Yankey.
The Vlad Ducasse era in New York ended with a thud, and the Brian Winters era is off to a rough start. The Jets could immediately improve the middle of their offensive line, which was the line's biggest weakness last year, by adding David Yankey to the mix. The Stanford product is considered a first-round talent, so getting him at the top of the second round could be good value.
He had an underwhelming performance at the 2014 Scouting Combine, with just 22 reps of the 225-pound bench press, a 5.48-second 40-yard dash and a 7.81-second three-cone drill. He looks like a completely different player on the field, though, showing the ability to get out in front of plays and block in space. He also has sound fundamentals that help him operate well in a phone booth.
If the Jets can get over the lack of athleticism shown in the Underpants Olympics, they can get a talented player by picking Yankey.
Round 2, Pick 63: Troy Niklas (TE, Notre Dame)
Thanks to the previous trade, the Jets have an extra second-round pick. Now that they've beefed up the trenches on both offense and defense, there's still plenty of room to address the skill positions. The Jets re-signed Jeff Cumberland earlier this offseason, but they can still use a tight end like Notre Dame's Troy Niklas.
At 6'6" and 270 pounds with 34.125" arms, he immediately provides a physical presence over the middle and in the red zone. He also has the frame to hold up as a blocker on the edge and showed more potential in that area than almost any other tight end prospect—certainly more than the likes of Jace Amaro and Eric Ebron, who will be drafted higher than Niklas.
With only two years of experience at tight end, he has yet to hit his ceiling at his new position. If he continues to improve, he will quickly develop into a No. 1 tight end for the Jets.
Round 3, Pick 80: Davante Adams (WR, Fresno State)
The Jets added wide receiver Eric Decker to their receiving corps, but with the failed development of Stephen Hill and with a lack of depth at the position, they could still be in the market for another receiver or two. Davante Adams didn't face elite competition at Fresno State, but he has the tools to be successful no matter the competition.
He doesn't beat the jam as well as you would expect from a 6'1", 212-pound receiver, but at just 21 years old, he has plenty of time to add functional strength. He has a keen ability to make contested catches by outleaping his opponents. He posted a 39.5" vertical jump, the third-best number for any receiver at the combine.
It's a good thing, though, because he doesn't have the speed to create separation on a consistent basis. He ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash and averaged only 13 yards per reception in college, but with a nation-leading 131 receptions and 24 touchdowns in 2013, he has proven playmaking ability and could provide a steady, consistence presence in the red zone.
Round 4, Pick 104: Brandon Coleman (WR, Rutgers)
Another wide receiver? Why not? With Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley and David Nelson already in the fold, there may not be room for everyone, but taking multiple shots at the board seems like a smart way to address the need and ensure the Jets end up with someone who can fill that need.
Coleman is similar to Adams in several ways. He does not have elite game-breaking speed, clocking a 4.56-second 40-yard dash at the combine—the exact same speed as Adams. That being said, he averaged a whopping 19.2 yards per reception in college, clearly showing some big-play ability along the way.
He stands taller than Adams at 6'6", and although his 32.5" vertical is not impressive for a man of his size, he did build a reputation in college for posting up smaller defensive backs and making contested catches. His presence in the red zone speaks for itself, as do his 20 career receiving touchdowns (better than one touchdown for every five receptions).
With three straight picks, the Jets add a great deal of size and playmaking ability to their offense in this scenario.
Round 4, Pick 115: Trevor Reilly (OLB, Utah)
Adding Dee Ford is a good start, but the Jets could still use another presence on the edge. Trevor Reilly is more than that: He provides a towering presence on the edge at 6'5" and 245 pounds, boasting the versatility to play nearly every linebacker position. He can also put his hand in the dirt as a pass-rusher.
He steadily improved throughout his career at Utah, and although he never turned into a flashy player, he developed some of the traits that could help him be a steady presence in the NFL. He ranked in the top 25 players in both tackles for loss and sacks in 2013.
He is not considered a great athlete in terms of his ability to play in space, but he could work on improving those skills to become an every-down player. For now, he has some burst off the snap and can contribute in a rotational role. It's worth it to throw some darts at the board at outside linebacker and make up for lost time developing those players.
Round 4, Pick 124: Jackson Jeffcoat (DE, Texas)
The Jets trade the 154th, 195th and 233rd overall picks to move up 30 spots and grab Jackson Jeffcoat. Who needs that many late-round picks anyway?
Then again, some of you may be asking yourselves, "Who needs three edge defenders in one draft?" This pick isn't a need pick, it's a luxury one. When you have 11 picks in one draft, you can afford to take a chance on a project who could develop into a solid role player.
Jeffcoat has NFL bloodlines, as his father was the famous Jim Jeffcoat of the three-time Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys of the early '90s. He takes after his father with his ability to get into the backfield, notching 13 sacks to rank fourth in the nation in 2013 and 19 tackles for loss to rank ninth. He put on a clinic of athleticism at the combine, posting top-five numbers at his position in the 40-yard dash (4.63 seconds), the broad jump (123"), the three-cone drill (6.97 seconds) and the 20-yard shuttle (4.18 seconds).
At 6'3" and 247 pounds, though, he is considered undersized to play the edge in the NFL. Give him some time to fill out that frame, and he could be a weapon in the Jets defense for years to come, even if only in a rotational role as a pass-rusher.
Round 4, Pick 137: Preston Brown (ILB, Louisville)
David Harris enters the final year of his contract and has been trending downward ever since he signed the last one. At 30 years old, he may be in his last year with the Jets. With DeMario Davis ready to step in at one of the two 3-4 inside linebacker spots, the Jets should be looking to grab someone to step into the other.
While Davis is the proverbial "heat-seeking missile" for his athleticism and coverage ability, Preston Brown is a run-thumper who is at his best when he can come downhill and attack the line of scrimmage, either shooting gaps or taking on blockers.
He can be exposed in coverage, so he may be limited in how he can contribute at first, but as a 3-4 inside linebacker, he won't be asked to run and cover on tight ends every down. If he can round out his coverage game, he could become a complete linebacker and potentially a starter.
Round 6, Pick 209: Arthur Lynch (TE, Georgia)
The Jets are an injury away from a catastrophe at tight end. Jeff Cumberland is a viable starter, and adding Troy Niklas gives the team two talented tight ends, but neither Zach Sudfeld nor Chris Pantale has earned a roster spot for 2014 yet.
Arthur Lynch is a two-year starter at Georgia with 54 receptions for 890 yards and eight touchdowns over the past two seasons. He is known more for his blocking ability, and CBS Sports' Rob Rang held him in high regard for his ability in that area:
Lynch's strength and awareness as an in-line blocker rank among his most impressive attributes at this point in his career. He is quick off the snap, latches onto defenders quickly and securely and is competitive. He is particularly effective on combination blocks in which he initially helps an offensive tackle double-team a defensive lineman before switching off to chip a linebacker at the second level. Lynch shows reliable hands and has a big frame to shield defenders from the ball.
With three sixth-round picks, the Jets can afford to take some luxuries, especially after addressing most of their other needs. Lynch adds depth and special teams value and should vie for a roster spot.
Round 6, Pick 210: Matt Patchan (OT, Boston College)
With D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Breno Giacomini ready as the starting tackles, the Jets aren't desperate for an edge protector, but they may need to start developing someone to assume a starting role down the line. Boston College's Matt Patchan has the tools to eventually develop into a serviceable starter.
At 6'6" and 302 pounds, he ran a 4.97-second 40-yard dash and posted a 33.5" vertical, proof of his combination of size and explosiveness. It's no surprise, then, that NFL.com's Nolan Nawrocki commended him on those traits in his scouting report: "Fires out of his stance. Effective with an angle. Good foot speed when asked to pull or get to the second level. Functional kick-slide. Flashes a strong punch. Aggressive and competitive. Has tools to work with."
The Jets have an opportunity to bolster their depth at offensive tackle, where they have struggled to develop players (Vlad Ducasse, Wayne Hunter) and can replenish the depth at the position with this pick.
Round 6, Pick 213: Loucheiz Purifoy (CB, Florida)
After adding Dee Milliner in the draft last year and Dimitri Patterson in free agency this year, the Jets aren't in desperate need of a cornerback. They could be, however, if Patterson is only in the fold for one year, or if Kyle Wilson is playing his last year with the Jets.
Loucheiz Purifoy has great size for the position at 5'11" and 190 pounds and is a smooth athlete. In his time at Florida, Purifoy played both man and zone coverage but showed his strength to be in the press. That said, he is not strong enough to hold his own in press-man coverage consistently at the NFL level, but with some time in a professional training program, he could add the functional strength necessary to carry out those duties.
From a fundamentals standpoint, he is one of the rawest prospects in this year's draft, but he'll be in a situation where he can learn from others and come along slowly in the defense. He also has special teams experience that can help him contribute in the meantime. If anyone can help him maximize his potential, it's Rex Ryan.
Combine results courtesy of NFL.com.