NFL Draft 2011: 10 Biggest Characters Who Would Mesh with Rex Ryan
The NFL draft is only a few days away, and New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is looking for players who will not only make the Jets better on the field, but who will also bring a positive personality to the locker room.
In a draft class that is headlined by one of the biggest personalities in recent history, Cam Newton, there are plenty of characters who will be on NFL rosters once this weekend is over.
The job of Rex Ryan and the rest of the Jets draft team is to figure out which of these players will mesh well with Ryan and the team and which players will be detrimental in the locker room.
The following slideshow features 10 players the New York Jets could draft who would not only bring a lot of talent on the field, but who would get along with the boisterous Rex Ryan as well.
As always, feel free to comment below.
Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
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Jimmy Smith may be the player in the draft who has the most red flags surrounding him, but he is also a player who may work very well in Rex Ryan's system.
Smith has an extreme amount of confidence and believes that he can shut down anyone in the league. Of course along with that confidence comes a bit of arrogance, as Smith has already fired his first NFL agent.
Throw in the fact that Smith has quite a bit of interaction with the law, and in some ways it's a wonder how he will be drafted at all, let alone in the first round.
All of that being said, Smith is an extraordinary talent, and Rex Ryan would love to add another corner to his constantly improving defense.
Similar to Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, Ryan has not been afraid to bring in players with red flags in the past, and that shouldn't be what holds him back from drafting Smith either.
Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
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Another player who is in a similar boat to Jimmy Smith legally is the big defensive tackle out of Baylor, Phil Taylor.
While many people are predicting the Jets select Taylor, including myself, some teams are having a tough time getting over the aggravated assault charge that Taylor faced.
As stated in the previous slide, the Jets have added players to their roster who have a checkered past, and many of those players have turned it around.
With the departure of Kris Jenkins, the Jets are very much in need of a big defensive nose tackle, and a dropped charge should not stop Rex Ryan and New York from going after a very good player in Taylor.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech
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Jumping to a player who the New York Jets may select in a later round, Tyrod Taylor is on this list for a completely different reason than the first two players.
As opposed to being a big character legally, Taylor has instead turned into a glorified movie star, as one of the three quarterbacks featured on ESPN's "Three For The Show."
Taylor has been interesting to watch so far as he may not be as outgoing as Cam Newton, but there is definitely potential for him to be one of the best characters on the team.
The Jets may need to select a back-up for Mark Sanchez in this year's draft, and more importantly may need to replace Brad Smith if they can't afford him and lose him to free agency.
Taylor would fill both these voids as he is an ideal dual-threat quarterback, and Rex Ryan would love to add Taylor to the Jets roster.
Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
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If says a lot about a player to be selected as captain of their team, and even more for this honor to occur as a junior.
Usually awarded to seniors, Akeem Ayers instead was selected as the UCLA football team's captain this past season and was a leader both on and off the field.
Ayers would come to the Jets with a big personality, but one that exemplifies a leader.
Not only would this be beneficial, but the Jets could use a pass-rusher on the edge and Ayers would be able to fill this void.
If the Jets want to stay away from players who have questionable pasts, then they may go after a player like Ayers, who is a natural born leader and could be a future captain of New York.
Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
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While two other Cams may be off the board when the Jets select at No. 30 in Cam Newton and Cameron Jordan, arguably the best character Cameron may fall into their lap.
Like Akeem Ayers was at UCLA, Cameron Heyward was a captain for a very talented Ohio State team.
Although many say that Heyward is more of a "gentle giant" than a scary massive linemen, word is that Heyward was not afraid to bark out commands at Ohio State practices.
Any player who's been labeled as both a leader, but at the same time soft-spoken sounds like a perfect fit for Rex Ryan. Throw in the fact that the Jets are looking for a defensive end, and Heyward seems like the perfect player for Ryan to select.
Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
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Like his teammate on this list, Rahim Moore was also a captain for the UCLA Bruins.
Safety is one of the most important positions for a leader to play, as in many ways they are the quarterback of the defensive backs.
Moore was the unquestioned leader of that UCLA squad, and has already shown an ability to understand the opposing offense and change the defensive scheme accordingly.
The Jets were weak at safety after Jim Leonard went down with a broken leg, and with the potential loss of Brodney Pool to free agency, the Jets could go after Moore in the first round.
If they do, Rex Ryan will be very pleased to have a leader as his last line of defense.
Marvin Austin, DT, UNC
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One of the players who was involved with the now infamous North Carolina agent scandal, Marvin Austin is not a first-rounder on most draft boards.
Austin has been known as a "me-first" player, and that would obviously have to change for him to work in Rex Ryan's big family concept.
The Jets are desperate for a defensive tackle, and the reward may outweigh the risk when it comes to Austin.
If the Jets like Austin enough as a player on the field and think they can change him off it, then they could pull a surprise on the first day and take him in the first round.
Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona
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A player who has slowly been moving up many draft boards is Brooks Reed, who is crazy fast on the edge and could be the next Clay Matthews.
As opposed to almost every other person on this list, Reed's character is nothing flamboyant, but is rather that of a constant hard worker.
Reed is in the gym all the time, and would give it his all day in and day out no matter where he is selected.
Rex Ryan loves players who play their heart out and make up for any disadvantages they have, and Brooks Reed may fit that mold perfectly.
Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
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Another player who has brushed with the law before, yet is still projected to be a first-round pick is Adrian Clayborn.
Clayborn allegedly punched a cab driver after the cabbie honked at him.
It would be my guess that the Jets would overlook an incident like this as just a college kid being a college kid, and this would not hold back Rex Ryan from selecting Clayborn.
Originally most experts expected Clayborn to be off the board by the time the Jets selected, but with a few players moving up Clayborn is now on the outside looking in.
Clayborn's interaction with the law shouldn't hold him back from being selected in the first round, possibly by the Jets.
Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama
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The final player on this list is here for all the right reasons, as Greg McElroy is one of the most intelligent prospects in the draft.
McElroy was not only a first-team Academic All-American, but he was also a finalist for the Rhodes scholarship, a very prestigious award.
McElroy may be younger than Mark Sanchez, but if the Jets were to draft him in a later round, he could actually teach and help Sanchez understand the coverage better.
Although McElroy would not be a toy for Rex Ryan to use on the defensive side of the ball, his brilliance alone may be valuable to the team.