With a trio of rookies in key positions last year, the Jets exceeded most expectations. Unpredictable and charismatic, Rex Ryan was impressive in his coaching debut.
Mike Tannenbaum will need to make his early picks in the 2010 draft count because they traded their third, fourth, and fifth-round picks. However, they are set to receive one of the Philadelphia Eagles' two fifth-round picks from the “conditional picks” part of the Lito Sheppard deal.
As one of the final playoff teams to make a divisional round appearance, Tannenbaum will be somewhat handcuffed in the free agency market.
First, a quick look at both sides of the ball before the seven-round mock draft.
Mark Sanchez should improve after his okay—sometimes shaky—rookie season. Shonn Greene impressed the team enough in limited action to the point Thomas Jones probably won’t return unless a restructured deal is reached. Ownership has 3.3 million reasons not to pick up his option but that would leave them without potentially two-thirds of their backfield if Leon Washington can’t fully recover from an ugly compound fracture in his fibula.
Jerrico Cotchery is a nice No. 2 receiver but Braylon Edwards needs to prove he’s capable of holding down the top spot—something he hasn’t done yet. He’s an extremely frustrating player because he sometimes appears to have the make-up of an elite receiver, but inconsistency has prevented him from reaching his potential.
Dustin Keller is a pretty good safety valve at tight end for Sanchez to grow with. However, they might consider finding a speedy, tough, and sure-handed receiver as a priority in the draft—visions of former Jets standout Wayne Chrebet come to mind. Even though he went undrafted out of Hofstra, Jets front office personnel would be thrilled to have that kind of production out of an otherwise early round selection in this draft.
Even though Mike Pettine orchestrated the league’s stingiest defense, he will likely have a new weapon or two at his disposal in 2010. Marques Douglas and Shaun Ellis are both capable, but not really explosive, options anymore. Both players turn 33 this season.
How many more unproductive seasons can the team handle from Vernon Gholston? Apparently Rex Ryan is ready to give him one more shot. Lito Sheppard was part of the best pass defense but he’s clearly not the same pro-bowl player of past seasons and he hasn’t lived up to expectations. At least not enough to warrant a $10 million option bonus when the league season officially begins Mar. 5.
Kris Jenkins will hopefully return to form after his 2009 season-ending torn-ACL injury.