Originally published on: http://www.mtrmedia.com/jetsjive (The best source on the web for Jets news and analysis)
The Jets made some pretty surprising moves on the third day of the draft. Here’s some analysis and a grade for each of the draft picks and each of the roster moves they made over the last few days:
Drafting Kyle Wilson (Grade: A-):
The Boise State cornerback was rated as the best at his position by multiple teams on their draft boards. The Jets got great value with Wilson, drafting him 29th overall. They have some extreme depth in the secondary now, and there is some speculation that Cromartie might make the move to free safety, giving the Jets a stacked pass defense of Revis, Wilson, Cromartie, and Leonhard. There is also speculation that Wilson will play at nickel cornerback and Ryan confirmed that he will immediately start there as well as at punt returner. Imagine being a quarterback playing against this pass defense now. You look at your #1 receiver, but Revis is on him. You turn and glance as your #2 option, but Cromartie is all over him. Of course, your slot guy must be open. Wait, Kyle Wilson has shut him down as well. Where do you look? Your tight end will be covered too. It really is scary just thinking about it.
Drafting Vladimir Ducasse (Grade- B)/Releasing Alan Faneca (Grade- C+):
Obviously the Jets had planned on releasing Faneca after the draft as long as they found a viable replacement. They believe that Ducasse can be that guy. Faneca definitely lost a step over the past couple years and there is no doubt that he gave up a bunch of sacks last season. Maybe Matt Slauson (who the Jets drafted last year) and Vladimir Ducasse can do a better job than Faneca, but I think he is worth holding on to based purely on his leadership ability and the fact that he could mentor our younger linemen.
Drafting Joe McKnight (Grade- B+)/Trading Leon Washington (Grade- B-):
I can’t really give legitimate analysis on the trade, which I will explain in a second, but I can analyze the draft pick. McKnight is a Washington-esque back, a player who can do it all: run the ball, return kicks, return punts, etc. It already seems as though Kyle Wilson will be the punt returner, but I’d expect McKnight to step in for Leon Washington at kick returner. In the fourth round, McKnight was definitely a high value pick. Now I have to explain why I don’t think I can analyze the Washington trade. Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan obviously know something that I don’t. If Leon Washington was in great shape and his injury had recovered perfectly, he would still be a Jet. On the other hand, if Leon’s recovery didn’t go well or if he can’t cut/juke/spin/accelerate as well as he used to be able to, the Jets would be stupid not to trade him. The fact that they traded him and a seventh-round selection for a fifth-round selection leads me to believe that the latter is the case, but like I said, we’ll talk about this one once Washington has had some run with Seattle.
Drafting John Conner (Grade- A-):
I am not going to pretend I know anything about this kid, but my post-draft research leads me to believe that he is a low-risk, high-upside draft pick that will be able to step in for the veteran fullback Tony Richardson (who is 38 years old) when his tenure with the Jets ends. Conner has one of the best fullbacks to ever play the game at his disposal. He can learn from T-Rich and hopefully the 240-lb back can be the future fullback of the team. ESPN had him ranked as the second-best at his position in the draft so let’s hope they aren’t lying.
OVERALL DRAFT WEEK GRADE- B+:
The Jets lost a running back and an offensive guard this week. Both of those guys are very likely to be worse than they have been in the past in the coming year, one because of injury and one because of age. They added a replacement for both of those players, and while only one of those replacements (Joe McKnight) will actually step in and play this year, Vladimir Ducasse does seem to be extremely promising and the Haitian offensive guard shows a lot of potential. The Jets also picked up some depth at fullback and definitely made some smart moves this week, adding depth on the offensive line and in the run game, definitely intelligent moves with LaDainian Tomlinson, Tony Richardson, and Alan Faneca all just a few years shy of retirement. I think Mike Tannenbaum exercised some restraint this week and actually managed to remain relatively quiet and stay out of the headlines over the last few days. Rather than go in with a bang, Tannenbaum recognized how deep the draft is and didn’t trade up until the fourth round, remaining content with the draft choices the Jets had in both the first and third rounds. Absolutely a positive draft week for the team. Don’t let the Washington and Faneca moves bother you; it was partially about money and partially about football, but I think MT made the right choices yet again.