New York Jets Ultimate 2014 Draft Primer
If it feels like an embarrassment of riches, that's because it is. At least it is, comparatively speaking, when considering the Jets had 13 picks in a three-year span from 2009 to 2011, the fewest in the league in that time period.
The Jets will have a chance to put those picks to use beginning May 8.
It could have been two weeks ago, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell basically admitted that the draft was delayed this year simply so people could continue talking about it for two more weeks. The extra time has allowed NFL teams, writers and fans to get more familiar with the prospects entering the league, though, so perhaps it's not completely useless.
So, in an effort to get everyone up to speed on the players to watch and the team's selections, let's take you through all the buzz, names and information you need to know before the draft.
List of 2014 Draft Picks
Round 1, pick 18
Round 2, pick 49
Round 3, pick 80
Round 4, pick 104 (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers, acquired via trade for Darrelle Revis)
Round 4, pick 115
Round 4, pick 137 (compensatory selection)
Round 5, pick 154
Round 6, pick 195
Round 6, pick 209 (compensatory selection)
Round 6, pick 210 (compensatory selection)
Round 6, pick 213 (compensatory selection)
Round 7, pick 233
Position-by-Position Big Board
- Tom Savage (Pittsburgh)
- Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois)
- Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech)
- Tajh Boyd (Clemson)
- Aaron Murray (Georgia)
- Bishop Sankey (Washington)
- Tre Mason (Auburn)
- Ka'Deem Carey (Arizona)
- Charles Sims (West Virginia)
- Jeremy Hill (LSU)
- Mike Evans (Texas A&M)
- Marqise Lee (USC)
- Odell Beckham, Jr. (LSU)
- Brandin Cooks (Oregon State)
- Jarvis Landry (LSU)
- Eric Ebron (UNC)
- Troy Niklas (Notre Dame)
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Washington)
- Jace Amaro (Texas Tech)
- C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa)
- Zack Martin (Notre Dame)
- Joel Bitonio (Nevada)
- Ja'Wuan James (Tennessee)
- Jack Mewhort (Ohio State)
- Justin Britt (Missouri)
- Gabe Jackson (Mississippi State)
- Xavier Su'a-Filo (UCLA)
- David Yankey (Stanford)
- Trai Turner (LSU)
- Jon Halapio (Florida)
- Marcus Martin (Southern California)
- Travis Swanson (Arkansas)
- Weston Richburg (Colorado State)
- Bryan Stork (Florida State)
- Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma)
- DeMarcus Lawrence (Boise State)
- Anthony Barr (UCLA)
- Dee Ford (Auburn)
- Scott Crichton (Oregon State)
- Jackson Jeffcoat (Texas)
- DaQuan Jones (Penn State)
- Will Sutton (Arizona State)
- Kelcy Quarles (South Carolina)
- Anthony Johnson (LSU)
- C.J. Mosley (Alabama)
- Shayne Skov (Stanford)
- Christian Jones (Florida State)
- Chris Borland (Wisconsin)
- Max Bullough (Michigan State)
- Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State)
- Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State)
- Keith McGill (Utah)
- Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska)
- Walt Aikens (Liberty)
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama)
- Calvin Pryor (Louisville)
- Dion Bailey (USC)
- Tre Boston (North Carolina)
- Ed Reynolds (Stanford)
- Deone Bucannon (Washington State)
- Jimmie Ward (Northern Illinois)
- Craig Loston (LSU)
- Brock Vereen (Minnesota)
- Vinnie Sunseri (Alabama)
Disclaimer: The big boards are based on players that fit the Jets from a need, value and scheme perspective. Defensive tackle is not a big need, for example, so the top prospects at defensive tackle are left off.
Round 1, Pick 18
Team needs: WR, TE, DE/OLB, S, CB
For years, the Jets have failed to develop pass-catching talent, and it has left them with little choice but to invest a high pick in a wide receiver or tight end. If they want to stay put and take a receiver, Marqise Lee (USC) might be the best pick for them.
Lee has the nimble feet to run quick-hitting routes and can catch the ball on short routes and turn on his speed for long gains after the catch. There are concerns over some injuries throughout his college career and whether his slight frame (6'0", 192 pounds) can hold up at the NFL level, but his skill set is a perfect marriage for Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast offense.
The Jets could add a new two-tight end wrinkle to their offense by drafting Eric Ebron (UNC), who brings a similar skill set to Lee's as a pass-catcher, but at 6'4" and 250 pounds, he could be considered a matchup nightmare: too big to be covered by defensive backs, too quick to be covered by linebackers. He is not yet a refined in-line blocker, but he has room to grow in that role and showed some promise in limited opportunities.
One way or another, the Jets have to find skill-position talent on offense in this draft. They do not, however, have to do it in the first round.
In fact, one school of thought is to draft on defense early, since there is plenty of depth available at wide receiver. There are several good defensive end-outside linebacker hybrid prospects worth a first-round pick, including Anthony Barr (UCLA), DeMarcus Lawrence (Boise State) and Dee Ford (Auburn), so the Jets should have plenty of options in the first round if they want to add some speed and explosiveness to their pass rush.
The best option of those three would be Barr. As a former running back, he has the explosive first-step quickness to get into the backfield before an offensive lineman has the opportunity to react. At 6'5" and 255 pounds with 33.75" arms, he has exactly the frame the Jets like in their outside linebackers. He would be tested in coverage, but he has the athleticism to adapt in that role and could immediately contribute as a pass-rushing specialist.
If one of the top two cornerback prospects falls to them—either Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State) or Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State)—don't be surprised if the Jets pull the trigger. Their top two corners have significant question marks: Dee Milliner after an up-and-down rookie season and Dimitri Patterson after an injury-plagued 2012-2013.
Round 2, Pick 49
Team needs: TE, DE/OLB, S, CB
The Jets have enough needs that they should prioritize getting the best player available, not necessarily addressing particular needs in each round. That being said, their first-round choice could help dictate the rest of the draft.
If the Jets opted to bolster the defense in the first round, they may want to get in on the depth at wide receiver before it's too late. One intriguing option at wide receiver in the second round: Cody Latimer (Indiana). At 6'2" and 215 pounds, Latimer has the size to line up on the perimeter and enough bulk to absorb hits on short routes over the middle. He needs to work on running more precise routes, and he may never be a true "deep threat," but he has many of the tools the Jets will need from a receiver.
The Jets could still use a tight end, and the group may be thinning out at this point. They can still have any number of different types of tight ends; Troy Niklas (Notre Dame) offers a more versatile mix of blocking ability and pass-catching potential, while Jace Amaro (Texas Tech) is a standout pass-catcher who lines up primarily in the slot. If the Jets are looking for a true two-tight end offense, Niklas makes the most sense of the two.
Now would be a good time to jump on the edge defenders as well, with less depth at the position relative to other positions. Jeremiah Attaochu (Georgia Tech) is a player who makes sense for the Jets in this spot. He may need to get stronger to hold up on the edge, but he has the explosive first step to make an impact as a pass-rusher while Calvin Pace remains the run-stuffing edge defender.
Round 3, Pick 80
Team needs: DE/OLB, S, CB, OG
If the Jets bolster their offense with their first two picks, they'll need to act now if they want to add some explosiveness to their pass rush. One option that could still be available at this point is Trent Murphy (Stanford), who is accustomed to a 3-4 scheme after playing in one for the past four years. His 51.5 tackles for loss over the past three years are fourth-most in the nation, and his 31.5 sacks are the most. He led the nation with 15 sacks as a senior.
Jackson Jeffcoat (Texas) is less of a fit if the Jets want a "true" outside linebacker who can set the edge and drop into coverage, but he is the better, more explosive pass-rushing prospect.
If the Jets haven't yet drafted a cover cornerback and would like to bolster their shaky depth chart at the position, Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska) may still be on the board. At 6'3" and 218 pounds with 32.375" arms, Jean-Baptiste has the length to get a jam on any of the NFL's premier No. 1 receivers. He will need to spend some time in the weight room to maximize his ability to reroute receivers (13 reps on the bench press) but he is an explosive athlete (41.5" vertical) and would fit the mold of a Jets cornerback.
Round 4, Pick 104 (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Team needs: CB, WR, OT, ILB
The Jets are still in need of help at cornerback. If Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska) is still on the board in the fourth round, they should be sprinting to the podium with their pick. At 6'3" and 218 pounds, his frame is ideal to play the boundary at the NFL level. As mentioned in the previous slide, there are areas he needs to improve (strength and speed are less than ideal) but the potential is there.
Other options include Keith McGill (Utah) and Walt Aiken (Liberty), both of whom also measure 6'3", or Pierre Desir (Lindenwood), who measures 6'1". All three fit the profile of a Jets cornerback for their size and ability to hold their own in man coverage.
As much as the Jets need athletic talent at receiver, they also need players who can, well, play. If the Jets still haven't addressed the wide receiver position for some strange reason, they could target someone like Jarvis Landry (LSU), Kevin Norwood (Alabama) or Jared Abbrederis (Wisconsin). All three are similar in that they will not wow you with incredible speed but instead with solid route-running, sure hands and a keen ability to get open soft spots in coverage.
Round 4, Pick 115
Team needs: WR, RB, S
As mentioned in the previous slide, Abbrederis (Wisconsin), Norwood (Alabama) and Landry (LSU) would all be great options. As long as they can learn the system, any of the three would step in and contribute to the offense, with the savvy route-running and sure hands to give Geno Smith a reliable weapon. The best fit of the three may be Abbrederis, who has the flexibility to play on the outside and in the slot.
This could also be the spot where we begin discussing Dri Archer (Kent State), this year's multipurpose athlete whose position will likely be defined by his team. At 5'8" and 173 pounds, he is a bit small to continue at that position in the NFL. The Jets could still ask him to play some running back, but they could make him a slot receiver like Dexter McCluster. If nothing else, he'll have immense value as a return man on special teams.
Round 4, Pick 137 (Compensatory Selection)
Team needs: S, DE/OLB, OG
Get ready to read the words "compensatory selection" quite a bit in this slideshow. The Jets have four of them in the 2014 draft.
With 12 picks in this year's draft, the Jets should theoretically be able to address every need on their roster (if they get their picks right). One spot where they still have major question marks is at safety, and they may want to find some answers soon before they miss out entirely. Two players to consider in this spot: Tre Boston (UNC) and Ed Reynolds (Stanford).
The better pick may be Boston, who has experience all over the secondary as a free safety, a strong safety and even a cornerback. That means he'll be a perfect fit for the Jets defense, where he'll be asked to cover tight ends and running backs man-to-man at times, when the Jets go Cover 1 or 0. He doesn't have the best long speed to cover sideline-to-sideline like a true deep safety, but his blend of skills will give him value in the Jets defense.
Round 5, Pick 154
Team needs: DE/OLB, ILB
With so many needs in this draft, the Jets can't afford to take any approach other than "best player available" but if they've played their cards right, they will have addressed several needs on both sides of the ball by the time this pick rolls around and they can start double-dipping at positions of dire need.
One potential position is the defensive end/outside linebacker spot, where the Jets are having a hard time keeping their depth chart loaded with young talent. Look no further than Jackson Jeffcoat (Texas), son of Dallas Cowboys legendary defensive end Jim Jeffcoat. At 6'3" and 247 pounds with 33.875" arms, he has the length to play on the edge if he adds some bulk to his frame. He has the potential to develop into a starter on the edge but would be a great fit for the Jets' defense as a pass rushing specialist.
Another option would be Adrian Hubbard (Alabama), who is more accustomed to the nuances of being a true outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense from his experience at Alabama. Depending on who you ask, Hubbard could be gone anywhere from the third to the sixth round.
Lamin Barrow (LSU) would be a good choice here if the Jets want to go with an inside linebacker to give them some depth behind David Harris and Demario Davis. He's also a smaller linebacker, like Davis, which would give the team two legitimate sideline-to-sideline linebackers with the range to make plays all over the field. He needs to work on some fundamentals, though, and tackling form has been an issue.
Round 6, Pick 195
Team needs: ILB, S, OT, OG
With four sixth-round picks, the Jets have an opportunity to clean the board of any players they want—whether it's an athletic player who has some character concerns or a productive collegiate player with questions as to his ability to translate to the NFL.
One of their first stops on this tour could be Vinnie Sunseri (Alabama). The 5'11", 210-pound safety may not possess the elite top-end speed that teams prefer in their deep safeties, but he is a willing tackler and good at reading and reacting in short spaces, which should help him as an in-the-box safety. He also has experience on special teams to help him contribute as a rookie even if there's no role for him on defense yet.
The Jets could also opt to finally begin addressing the offensive line with this pick, and if a player like Matt Patchan (Boston College) is on the board, it makes perfect sense. The Jets need depth regardless of the position, but Patchan could play either tackle or guard. He has shown the talent when he has played but has not been able to stay healthy.
Round 6, Pick 209 (Compensatory Selection)
Team needs: ILB, OT, OG, QB
Going back to the big board, Max Bullough (Michigan State) could still be available in the sixth round. The 6'4", 249-pound inside linebacker doesn't have the speed that teams typically prefer, but with Demario Davis in his hip pocket, the Jets have speed on the inside. He'll be asked to cover less ground in the 3-4 than he would in a 4-3.
Even if he can't contribute on defense immediately, he can participate on special teams, having spent time on kick and punt coverage in college.
Round 6, Pick 210 (Compensatory Selection)
Team needs: OT, OG, C
One of these four sixth-round picks should be dedicated to helping the Jets replenish their depth chart on the offensive line.
Jon Halapio (Florida) started all four years in the SEC and faced a lot of elite competition as a result. The 6'4", 323-pound guard isn't considered as light on his feet as other prospects, but he is powerful and can hold his own in one-on-one situations. With questions about the development of Brian Winter and the year-to-year contracts for Willie Colon, the team should add another layer of depth to the middle.
If the Jets want to go with an offensive tackle to bolster their depth, Justin Britt (Missouri) would be an intriguing option. He has a prototypical frame for a starting offensive tackle (6'6", 325 pounds, 10.25" hands, 33.5" arms), but he has played nearly every position on the offensive line. Regardless of Britt's best positional fit, the Jets could give him time to develop his fundamentals and let the rest figure itself out.
Round 6, Pick 213 (Compensatory Selection)
Team needs: QB
The final of these sixth-round picks should be for a quarterback. The Jets have both Geno Smith and Michael Vick on the roster, but with only Matt Simms behind them, the team may be wise to add to the competition for the third roster spot at quarterback.
There are question marks around Aaron Murray (Georgia) as it pertains to his recovery from a torn ACL, but he makes good decisions, is accurate and is considered a leader among his teammates and an outstanding citizen. The two-time All-American does not have the elite deep accuracy of a franchise quarterback, but he has all the characteristics that could make him a valuable backup for any team.
Another intriguing option, in a similar mold, is Keith Wenning (Ball State). He steadily improved with each season, but may never have all the traits desired in a starting-caliber NFL quarterback. The Jets would not be able to employ the read-option element of their offense if the slow-footed Wenning were forced into extended action, but his ability as a pocket passer would help keep the offense on schedule.
Round 7, Pick 233
Team needs: CB, WR
With this pick, the main purpose should be to try to find a player who can make the roster. Cornerback and wide receiver are the two positions where the bottom of the depth chart is shakiest.
Andre Hal (Vanderbilt) may be a bit small for a full-time starting role in the NFL, but the 5'10", 188-pound cornerback started 26 games in the SEC and was productive (31 passes defensed, five interceptions over the past two season). Even if he never develops into a true defender, he could at least carve out a niche on special teams as a returner. He averaged 23.1 yards per kick return in his collegiate career.
There could also be a wide receiver available to help on special teams, like San Jose State's Chandler Jones. He didn't return kicks like Hal, but he was frequently in on kick and punt coverage. He was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, but he posted a blazing-fast 4.34-second 40-yard dash and 6.78-second three-cone drill at San Jose State's pro day.
Latest Draft Buzz
Some updated Jets pre-draft buzz:
- Could the Jets really look into drafting a quarterback in the first round? "We remain open-minded," Idzik said during a pre-draft news conference, according to Kimberley A. Martin of NewsDay. "We're going to evaluate each pick and the players that are available to us at that pick, and we'll pick who we think is the best player." It could be just a non-answer/smokescreen, but the Jets could also be keeping their options open if a top prospect falls in their lap.
- What would it be like if the speedy wide receiver Brandin Cooks (Oregon) were on the same field with Chris Johnson? "It's going to be like a 4x100 relay," Cooks told ESPN's Rich Cimini. The Jets are in need of a wide receiver and could be looking for one in the first round. Cooks' versatility, speed and run-after-catch ability would be a good fit in the Jets' West Coast offense
- Cooks told Brian Costello of the New York Post that he and the Jets have been "talking a lot on and off. I took a visit. I think the visit went great. It’s one of those things. I feel like they’re pushing for me, but who knows?"
Here is a complete list of the players that had an official visit with the Jets during the pre-draft process (via Rich Cimini of ESPN New York):
- Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, Eastern Illinois)
- Logan Thomas (QB, Virginia Tech)
- Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, LSU)
- Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State)
- John Brown (WR, Pittsburg State)
- Brandin Cooks (WR, Oregon State)
- Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)
- Jarvis Landry (WR, LSU)
- Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
- Walt Powell (WR, Murray State)
- Jace Amaro (TE, Texas Tech)
- Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina)
- C.J. Fiedorowicz (TE, Iowa)
- Troy Niklas (TE, Notre Dame)
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE, Washington)
- Kevin Pierre-Louis (LB, Boston College)
- Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State)
- Kyle Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech)
- Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
- Dex Mcdougle (CB, Maryland)
- Keith McGill (CB, Utah)
- Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)
- Jason Verrett (CB, TCU)
- Demarcus Lawrence (DE/OLB, Boise State)
- Deone Bucannon (S, Washington State)
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S, Alabama)
- Calvin Pryor (S, Louisville)
Erik Frenz is also a Patriots/AFC East writer for Boston.com. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand or via team news releases. Combine measurements and workout numbers provided by NFL.com.
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