Stock Up, Stock Down for the New York Jets' Top Draft Targets
After months of inactivity following the frenzy at the beginning of free agency, the NFL offseason will pick back up in a big way on Thursday.
Yes, the NFL draft is finally upon us.
While moving back the draft a couple of weeks has left fans clamoring for even more football-related news, it has also served to add to the anticipation for the big event.
And for NFL prospects, it has been either a welcome relief or an ill-timed evil.
The extra time has allowed scouts and experts time to analyze prospects down to every last detail. That means that some previously hidden strengths, or weaknesses, may affect draft stocks.
Click through to see players whom the New York Jets might target and whether the stock of these prospects has skyrocketed or fallen significantly.
Stock Up: Odell Beckham Jr.
Earlier this offseason, Odell Beckham Jr. was being compared to his former LSU teammate Jarvis Landry.
While Landry's stock has plummeted since then, Beckham's has gone through the roof.
Today, Beckham is considered a slam dunk top-20 selection, largely due to an impressive offseason that included a fantastic combine workout. Beckham possesses great hands and even better athleticism. His leaping ability is off the charts, and he has a phenomenal work ethic.
The wideout has long been considered a possibility in the first round for the Jets. He met with the team back in April.
However, with his draft stock seemingly on a never-ending upswing, he might not make it to the 18th overall selection.
Stock Down: Marqise Lee
A year ago, Marqise Lee would have been in serious consideration to be a top-five pick.
But Lee's stock has been on a gradual downswing since then, and he's now widely regarded as a late first-round selection.
Lee's dramatic drop can be attributed to multiple things, but health concerns have to be at the top of the list. The USC product dealt with injuries throughout last season, and his play suffered as a result. His yardage total dropped by nearly 1,000 yards from the previous year, and he recorded just four touchdowns.
It's also largely assumed that Lee's leg injury prevented him from running at his own pro day, which further dented his draft stock.
The California native has tremendous upside, but this recent string of injuries and some issues with drops in 2013 have teams running scared.
If New York general manager John Idzik is one for risk, Lee would be an ideal selection, as his upside is tremendous. However, the bust factor is also very present.
Stock Up: Kyle Fuller
Kyle Fuller has gone from being a virtual unknown to a surefire first-round pick in the last few months. The Virginia Tech product was the last pick of the second round in Matt Miller's mock draft last December.
Now, Miller has him as the 24th selection.
Fuller's dramatic rise into first-round territory is largely due to his impressive showing at the combine. However, it can also be attributed to repeated viewings of his game tape. On film, Fuller appears to be a terrific athlete with an aggressive and tough playing style.
Fuller's still a bit of a question mark in coverage, but he'd be a perfect fit in New York's secondary opposite last year's first-round selection Dee Milliner.
The Jets could do a lot worse than Fuller come Thursday.
Stock Down: Jason Verrett
While Kyle Fuller has seen his draft stock rise in recent months, another top cornerback, Jason Verrett, has witnessed his dip.
Verrett was the 26th overall pick in Matt Miller's December mock draft. Now, he barely squeaks into the first round.
Unfortunately for Verrett, his recent stock drop is because of something completely out of his control—his height. In a league where tall, strong cover men such as Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson are the hot trend, Verrett would be a big outlier.
At 5'9'', he doesn't have the size to compete with the big outside receivers in today's NFL, leaving him as more of a slot cover man than anything else.
Verrett is fast, athletic, and tough as nails, but in the NFL landscape, he comes up a tad short.
Rex Ryan and company should keep that in mind when they're on the clock on Thursday.
Stock Up: Brandin Cooks
Brandin Cooks has been considered a potential first round selection for months now, but he's never quite received the kind of hype he is now.
Cooks, long considered a late first round pick at best, could go in the teens, according to Jason Butt of Yahoo.com.
The Oregon State product lacks size at 5'10'', but he possesses the electrifying speed, great hands and the kind of elite elusiveness that NFL teams look for.
New York has been interested in Cooks for a while now, having hosted him for a visit back in April. The Jets' interested in him has seemingly peaked a few days before the draft, though. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Gang Green could be interested in trading up for him if necessary.
If Cooks stock continues to rise in the hours before the draft, such a move up may be necessary to acquire his services.