4 Offensive Playmakers the New York Jets Must Target in the 2012 NFL Draft
This season, the Jets offense has been nothing but mediocre. Even with an offensive line anchored by all-pros like Nick Mangold, D'Brickashaw Feguson, running backs Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson and receivers like Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress, they cannot find a way to produce on offense.
So far, the blame has been shared by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and quarterback Mark Sanchez who have both had poor moments on the field this season. The Jets are currently 5-5, and with the way they have been playing recently, their schedule seems to be becoming more and more difficult as we near the end of the season.
With that, let's take a look ahead towards March and April as we look at possible prospects the Jets should try and grab during the 2012 NFL draft.
As always, feedback is welcome. Enjoy!
1) WR Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State)
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Okay, so hear me out on this one. This pick could be the worst/best-case scenario for the Jets. Based off their play in the last few weeks and during their early three road game losing streak, it is possible that the Jets only win a few more games left on their schedule.
If that happens to be the case, they may end up with an average draft pick, with their first-round pick being somewhere between 16 and 21. If that happens, they could do something similar to what they did in 2009 by trading up for Mark Sanchez and getting Justin Blackmon.
Blackmon would make for a solid receiver in the Jets system if they keep Brian Schottenheimer around. Schottenheimer runs a different form of the West Coast offense, which would make Blackmon a contributor and good fit starting during OTA's.
2) WR Dwight Jones (University of North Carolina)
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The senior is having a good season as he has caught 69 passes for over 1,000 yards on a mediocre North Carolina team. In an offense with one big receiver in Plaxico Burress, Jones could be another big threat in the red zone for the Jets as their other starting receiver (Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley) are small but speedy.
Jones is the opposite of Kerley and Holmes as he has a big build, standing tall at 6'4", weighing 225 pounds. Also different from the small receivers, Jones' speed is not one of his best attributes.
If the Jets were to grab Jones, they would utilize him in the red zone a la Plaxico Burress. They have Burress and tight end Dustin Keller as targets in the red zone, but with small receivers like Holmes and Kerley trying to get open in the end zone, it makes things more difficult.
Jones will allow Sanchez to throw a few more lower-risk jump balls, rather than trying to have to force the ball in the end zone, something that has been one of Sanchez's downfalls for a while.
3) WR Michael Floyd (Notre Dame)
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This pick would be the compromise between Blackmon and Jones. It would most likely be the result of the Jets getting a pick somewhere between Nos. 22 and 26 without trading up.
Like Jones, Floyd is a receiver with a strong build, he is 6'3" and 220 pounds. Similar to Blackmon he has big play potential.
The downside to Floyd is his off the field issues and overall attitude. Since starting his career at Notre Dame, Floyd has had three alcohol-related incidents, with his most recent one coming this past offseason.
If the Jets keep wide receiver Plaxico Burress, he and Santonio Holmes could be good mentors for a receiver that may end up in trouble if not placed in the right locker room. Both receivers have been hailed in the national spotlight and criticized to above and beyond in the national spotlight.
Floyd could become a big playmaker for the Jets as defenders place their focus on receivers like Burress and Holmes in an offense that is looking to have a bigger emphasis on the aerial attack as franchise quarterback Mark Sanchez matures.
Why All of the Wide Receivers?
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At this point, the question you may be asking is "why would the Jets want a wide receiver?" The reality is, aside from Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley, the Jets are thin at the position. With the departure of Derrick Mason coming earlier this season, if one of these receivers goes down it could make a big impact on their offense.
As of right now, the next receiver for the Jets in the event of an injury to one of the three listed above would be Patrick Turner, who will probably play against the Bills this Sunday as Jeremy Kerley has not practiced this week due to a knee injury according to the Jets.
After this season, the Jets are going to need another receiver, one that is going to be able to make some sort of an impact especially if all the attention is going to be on Burress and Holmes.
4) OT Riley Reiff (Iowa)
All right, so an offensive tackle isn't exactly a playmaker but the Jets may need one, especially one that can play as early as next year.
Right tackle Wayne Hunter was expected to come in this season and not miss a single beat after Damien Woody retired last season after several knee injuries over the last few years, but Hunter is obviously having some issues.
On their injury report, the Jets have Hunter as a full participant with a hamstring injury, which means he is relatively healthy. An offensive tackle who is relatively healthy should not be getting beat as badly as Hunter has been over the last few weeks, like this play late against the Von Miller and the Broncos last week.
Hunter has had that kind of lackluster play all season, which is why the Jets need another offensive tackle to protect Mark Sanchez, because we all now Vladimir Ducasse will never be able to get the job done.
Therefore, Reiff would be a good addition to the Jets, he has been able to show that he can play against tough pass rushers and has the ability to be thrown into the mix at the start of OTA's come this spring, something rookies missed last year because of the lockout.