2011 NFL Draft: 10 Possible Targets for the New York Jets

Austin SchindelAnalyst IIMarch 23, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: 10 Possible Targets for the New York Jets

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    When is making two straight AFC championship games not enough? Well, when you have a coach like Rex Ryan, and a city like New York, either you win it all, or you have not done your job.

    Going into the 2011 NFL season, barring there is one, the New York Jets will be looking to capitalize on their successes over the last two seasons and make a run at their division, and the Super Bowl. 

    Since the end of last year, the team has unloaded some of their under-performing veterans such as Jason Taylor, Kris Jenkins, and Damien Woody, and will look to reload through the draft. Luckily for the Jets, this year has a deep pool of defensive linemen and outside linebackers, holes the team needs to fill.

    Here are the players that the Jets will target in the 2011 NFL Draft.

1. Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

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    2010 Stats:

    Tackles: 52

    Sacks: 4 (19 career)

    Scouting Report: Potential defensive end in both the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, Clayborn has a great explosive step that would have put him at the top of the first round in last year's draft.

    He is not going to get to the quarterback like Jared Allen or Dwight Freeney, but he would an asset in the run game and has good enough technique to be an adequate pass rusher.

    His stats were down this year, but this is due to the double and triple teams that were put on him throughout the season. 

    Why the Jets need him: Some question his endurance and toughness, but under the tutelage of Rex Ryan he can flourish. The Jets need a guy that can play big as the 3-4 defensive end. With the looming free agency of Shaun Ellis, the team will need to potentially replace the veteran with a player of a similar body type that can play big in the 3-4.

2. Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

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    Scouting Report: Gabe Carimi is not the most athletic offensive lineman in the draft, but he makes up for it by being a solid, sound run blocker, and a player that does not miss many assignments. He is projected to be selected in the later rounds, maybe 2nd or 3rd, which would benefit the Jets. 

    Though he played left tackle at Wisconsin, Carimi will probably switch over to the right side in the pros. He will have to work on his footwork and speed to compliment his huge frame.

    Why the Jets need him: Damien Woody is no longer the Jets right tackle. While they have been grooming Vladimir Ducasse to take over the right side, I can see the team bringing in a guy of Carimi's size to compete for the spot. His excellent run blocking skills make him all the more appealing.

3. Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona

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    2010 Stats:

    Tackles: 47

    Sacks: 7

    Scouting Report: Reed has become a senior bowl, combine and pro day standout. In the senior bowl, he had a sack and two tackles for loss. He also ran the fastest 10 yard split at the combine. He has a non-stop motor and could be taken with the Jets' second pick on draft day.

    Why the Jets need him: There are plenty of guys with skill out there, but not a lot that have a constant motor. The NFL has shown that if you work hard, and play every play like it is your last, then you have a shot to be a contributor on a team. The Jets could use a guy that wants to get after the quarterback or hunt down running backs from sideline to sideline.

4. Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

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    2010 Stats:

    Tackles: 68

    Sacks: 4

    Scouting Report: He has had experience playing both defensive end and outside linebacker. In the NFL, many scouts project him as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He has been somewhat inconsistent, and does not have a ton of experience getting to the quarterback.

    His six interceptions in the last two years shows that he has some ball hawk in him, and can play in coverage as a linebacker. 

    Why the Jets need him: Ayers is versatile, athletic and can tackle. The team could ask him to gain some weight and play defensive end, or let him fit into his natural position as an outside linebacker. Either way, he would be a nice player to have.

5. Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA

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    2010 Stats:

    Tackles: 77

    INTs: 1 (10 in 2009)

    Scouting Report: Moore had an incredible 2009 season, intercepting 10 passes, but was not nearly as good in 2010. There are not a lot of safeties in this year's draft, which will keep his stock high, despite his down year. His greatest assets are his speed, athleticism and jumping ability. 

    Why the Jets need him: When Jim Leonhard went down with injury, the team's defense faltered. The combination of Eric Smith and Brodney Pool did a good job, but putting Moore next to Leonhard could be explosive.

    The Jets like to use their safeties to blitz, and Moore could be the player the Jets wanted Kerry Rhodes to develop into.

6. Cameron Heyward, DE/DT, Ohio State

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    Tackles: 48

    Sacks: 4

    Scouting Report: Cameron Heyward is a physically imposing and dominating figure. He has shown flashes of greatness and at times has been considered one of the top picks in the draft. What scouts have a problem with is his inconsistency.

    He is best suited as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme because he can take on defenders and hold his position up front. 

    Why the Jets need him: He is not going to get after the quarterback like the Jets would like, but he could be a solid edge defender and a force to deal with. If coached right, he can tap into his potential and one day become one of the better lineman in the NFL.

7. Randall Cobb, WR/PR, Kentucky

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    2010 Stats:


    Receptions: 84

    Yards: 1,017

    TDs: 7


    Yards: 424

    TDs: 5

    Scouting Report: He is a do it all type of player. He can run, catch, and return both kickoffs and punts. He comes from the same mold as Dexter McCluster or Percy Harvin, and can make an impact on a team in several different ways.

    Why the Jets need him: He can make Brad Smith expendable and give the team some speed at the wide receiver position. Braylon Edwards might be gone via free agency, leaving room for his replacement. In the NFL, players that are smaller and more compact have become the wave of the future. He can become the primary return man and be a headache for opposing teams.  

8. Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Temple

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    2010 Stats:

    Tackles: 68

    Sacks: 10

    Scouting Report: Muhammad Wilkerson has improved his stock every time he has taken the field for scouts. The 6'5'', 300+ pound defensive lineman has impressed NFL teams by getting into the backfield and drawing multiple offensive lineman. He can play either defensive tackle or even potentially defensive end in a 3-4 defensive.

    Why the Jets need him: Without Kris Jenkins, the team could not stop the run nearly as effectively as they would have liked. Wilkerson would be a dominating force who can rush the quarterback, while also stopping the run. He is disruptive, and would make the linebacker's jobs a lot easier.

9. Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

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    2010 Stats:

    Tackles: 70

    Sacks: 13 (33 career)

    Scouting Report: He is not terribly athletic, nor fast. But, he has consistently produced during his time at Purdue, and improved every year. Many compare him to a player like Aaron Kampman, because they both have strong motors, and use their size to make up for lack of speed. 

    Why the Jets need him: The Jets can use him in the 3-4, as a defensive end, or outside linebacker, depending on whether or not he loses weight. He can get to the quarterback and be disruptive in the run or passing game. He played well in the senior bowl, and despite all of the knocks on him, he could be a solid contributor. 

10. Justin Houston, DE, Georgia

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    2010 Stats:

    Tackles: 56

    Sacks: 10

    Scouting Report: Scouts love his explosiveness and pass rushing abilities. He is still young and raw, but has a huge upside. He was the standup outside linebacker in Georgia's 3-4 defense and flourished there. 

    He needs work on dropping back into pass coverage, but having the speed and quickness to get the quarterback is a skill that is more difficult to teach. 

    Why the Jets need him: He is a pure pass rusher, and the experience he gained playing in the SEC cannot be overshadowed. The Jason Taylor era is over in NY, and Houston could be the player the Jets hoped they were getting when they signed the veteran.


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