Put yourself in the New York Jets' war room during Round 1 of the 2014 NFL draft. The Jets' clock has started. You look at your short list, the most desirable players on your board. If only one of these players is available, you'll pick him without a moment's hesitation. If more than one is available, you'll have a happy debate to resolve.
You'll have to decide which member of your short list best fits the 2014 Jets.
It's important to prioritize your short list. Talent alone won't qualify players. They must be capable of being instant solutions to the Jets' most pressing needs. We've talked about the three biggest needs being wide receiver, cornerback and tight end. Add safety, edge-rusher and guard if you wish. How you prioritize the team's needs goes a long way towards determining who makes your short list and the order of preference they occupy.
Order of preference is the focus of this slideshow. You know whom the Jets are considering. (For a quick refresher, check out ESPN's Rich Cimini's April 25 list of Jets' pre-draft visitors.)
Here are the factors that determine positioning:
- Relevance: Some Round 1 picks would look great in green and white as they fill acknowledged needs. It's important to determine the priorities among needs and design a short list to match.
- Ability: Players on the Round 1 short list must be ready to step into the Jets' starting lineup and make an immediate impact in 2014. Projects are not acceptable. Save them for later picks, preferably on Day 3.
Availability is not a factor. This short list addresses the question of players the Jets would select without hesitation if they were still on the board by the 18th pick. The higher a player's rank, the less hesitation there will be.
The likelihood of availability tends to decrease with more highly ranked players. The top three choices will almost certainly be gone.
Now is your chance to see if we agree on the Jets' priorities. Did I leave out a player who could make the difference between mediocrity and the playoffs? Is someone on my list more of a no-brainer than I suggest? Remember, the later on the list is better. The last slide you see should be someone the Jets select with minimal debate.