NFL Draft 2011: Assessing the Role of Every Single New York Jets Selection
The Jets draft team has a reason for picking every single one of these players and expects contributions from both the first and last round selections.
With the current lockout situation, it is going to be that much more difficult for these college players to adjust to their new NFL teams, and it is possible that not all six of these players will be on the roster come Week 1 of the season.
From first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson to back end of the seventh-round pick Scotty McKnight, all six players will be working their hardest to make a splash with the Jets. The following slideshow predicts what role each player will have with the Jets next season.
As always feel free to comment below.
Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
Many experts believe the Jets really got a steal in Muhammad Wilkerson at the 30 slot. Not only was he one of the best available players, but he also filled a huge gap on the team.
Everyone was aware of the Jets need to address the defensive line early in the draft, and they did that by adding Wilkerson. Although he played defensive tackle in college, he should fit into the Jets scheme better as an end.
Right now, the Jets have Mike DeVito and Shaun Ellis playing end, with Trevor Pryce also in the mix.
Both Ellis and Pryce are getting up there in years and likely are not going to contribute as much as they have in years passed.
This should mean that Wilkerson has a golden opportunity to not only get playing time right away, but also to fight for the starting spot.
My best guess is that by the end of the season Wilkerson will be starting at end and playing at least every first and second down.
Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton
The Jets went with back-to-back picks for their defensive line, adding big Kenrick Ellis out of Hampton in the third round.
Ellis has a massive frame and will definitely be filling the void at the nose tackle position that has been left by Kris Jenkins.
Right now the Jets starting nose tackle is Sione Pouha, who has shown that he can play, but with a smaller frame is also better suited against the pass.
On the other hand Ellis is 6'5" and 346 pounds, and can clog up the middle very well against the run.
My best guess would be that Ellis will play most of the running situations, while sharing time with Pouha who will be playing the passing situations.
All of this is assuming that Ellis will be on the field at all, as he has a pending assault charge filed against him.
Bilal Powell, RB, Lousiville
This pick came as a surprise to most Jets fans. In the fourth round, there seemed to be much better players who could fill more important needs than a running back who had one good year.
The Jets obviously see something in Powell, and as the video above shows, he can be a Shonn Greene like back.
While Greene has pretty much locked down the starting position for the Jets, behind him is an aging LaDainian Tomlinson and a player who looks like he could be a bust in Joe McKnight.
The selection of Powell isn't the most ridiculous thing the Jets have done in the past few years, but it seemed a bit premature.
My best bet is that Powell will likely be the fourth string running back for much of the season, which may be best as he could still use a few more years to fully develop his game.
Jeremy Kerley, WR, TCU
This is the pick of the draft that I may be the most excited about, as it could very well fill a few holes on the Jets roster.
Brad Smith has been the do-it-all for the Jets the past few seasons, and especially came on strong last season. Now Smith is a free agent and may ask for more money than they Jets are willing to give him.
Kerley can come in and do a lot of things that Brad Smith does, and for a lot cheaper.
He is a great kick and punt returner, a solid receiver in the slot, and can lineup in the backfield and both run and throw.
Standing at only 5'9" Kerley will be difficult to spot in a lot of these situations, especially behind the Jets large offensive line.
My best guess is that Kerley will contribute as the Jets go-to option on the wildcat, and will also be the punt returner for the team.
Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama
Greg McElroy seems like a great value in the seventh round, as he is both a proven winner and will help fill a massive hole on the Jets roster.
McElroy won't be starting for the Jets, baring an injury to Mark Sanchez, but he will be a much more qualified back-up than either Mark Brunell or Kellen Clemens.
Brunell's best years are way behind him, and he is more on the team for Mark Sanchez to wipe boogers on than for him to go out and lead a drive.
Kellen Clemens has given a lot to the team, as shown in last year's Hard Knocks when he was willing to take a pay cut to stay around. Unfortunately he is a free agent this year and his production on the field has been poor when given the chance.
My best guess would be that the Jets will likely put McElroy as the number two quarterback in the depth chart, and he will be a huge upgrade from Clemens. It is also worth mentioning that McElroy was one of the most intelligent players in the draft, and this could benefit Mark Sanchez big time in the film room.
Scotty McKnight, WR, Colorado
Mark Sanchez may have played a big role on getting childhood friend Scotty McKnight drafted, but he will have to play an even bigger role to get him on the final roster.
McKnight was actually statistically one of the best college receivers of all time, but almost every team does not see him as an NFL prospect.
McKnight will have to work very hard to make the team, and a lot of it will come down to if the Jets lose either Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards to free agency. If both of these players stay, the odds of McKnight making the team are slim.
My best guess would be that McKnight will end up on the Jets practice squad and could join the team if one of the receivers goes down with an injury.