New York Jets Day 3 2014 NFL Draft Primer

Ryan Alfieri@Ryan_AlfieriCorrespondent IIIMay 10, 2014

New York Jets Day 3 2014 NFL Draft Primer

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    Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

    Don't look now, but the 2014 NFL draft is one day away from being history.

    This draft has been relatively quiet for the Jets, who have yet to make a trade of a dramatic pick to shock the NFL world.

    Day 2 of the draft started well for the Jets, who landed one of the top tight ends, Jace Amaro, in the middle of the second round. They followed up their value pick with a bit of a reach on speedy cornerback Dexter McDougle, filling two of their biggest needs. 

    Armed with a whopping nine picks in a draft that still oozes talent, the Jets have a chance to turn a somewhat ordinary draft into one that will launch them into playoff contention. 

    Here is your Day 3 primer that includes everything you need to know about the final four rounds of the draft and how they pertain to the Jets. 

Day 2 Recap and Analysis

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    After a solid yet unspectacular first round, the Jets had another even day in the second and third rounds. 

    In what will likely turn out to be John Idzik's best pick of the draft, the Jets resisted the urge to trade up and still landed stud tight end prospect Jace Amaro. He is regarded by many as a first-round talent, and the Jets were able to fill a need position with a talented player while getting great value in the process. 

    Before he even steps on the field, Amaro may be the most talented pass-catcher on the team. 

    The Jets' third-round pick, Dexter McDougle, was a bit of a head-scratcher when you consider who was on the board. Instead of locking up an outside cornerback in Pierre Desir, they took an undersized speedster who will likely not see the field on the regular defense until 2015. 

    While the Jets managed to fill two areas of need, they have yet to tap into this deep receiver class to being rebuilding their receiving corps from the ground up. Look for them to use several of their nine remaining picks to stock up on pass-catchers and take advantage of the unusual depth in this draft. 

Updated Needs for the New York Jets

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    Wide Receiver: With two defensive backs and a receiver in the fold, receiver stands alone as the top need on the Jets by a sizable margin. The good news is that they have nine picks at their disposal to use on one of the deepest wide receiver drafts in years. Look for the Jets to start adding pass-catchers early and often throughout the final day of the draft. 

    Cornerback: The Jets were able to add a cornerback in the third round, but until they have an established starter at the outside spot opposite Dee Milliner, this remains near the top of their needs list. Unfortunately for the Jets, the time has passed in the offseason to find an elite man-to-man cornerback. They can continue to add depth, but this position is a long way from being fixed for good.

    Outside Linebacker: We have reached the point in the draft where the Jets can start to add developmental players behind aging starters, starting at outside linebacker. Look for them to add a situational pass-rusher to develop behind Calvin Pace, so they are ready for his eventual departure in 2016. 

    Inside Linebacker: With David Harris set to hit free agency in 2015, the Jets can afford to use one of their nine remaining picks on a long-term replacement. After all, the third day of the draft is the ideal time to find run-stuffing inside linebackers to fill Harris' role.

    Guard: Until Willie Colon's health concerns disappear or Brian Winters plays with much more consistency, the Jets should continue to tinker with their offensive line depth chart until one of their backup guards proves capable of starting. 

Top Day 3 Targets

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    Round 4

    Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson: It comes as a shock that Bryant is still on the board. He only has one year of starting experience, but his combination of explosiveness and speed is matched by few. He would be the ideal player to stick opposite Eric Decker at this point. 

    Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin: Abbrederis is arguably the best pure route-runner in this class; only his 6'1", 195-pound size has prevented him from being picked sooner. He could be an instant contributor, especially for a receiving corps that is nearly void of talent. 

    Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama: A jack-of-all-trades but master of none, Hubbard gives the Jets insurance in case Calvin Pace declines much faster than anticipated. Hubbard lacks an ideal amount of upside, but he makes up for it with his ability to plug-and-play from Day 1.

    Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming: A speedster who can be used on long passes and screens, Herron would give the Jets an element of speed that no one on the receiving corps could replicate. While he is inexperienced as a route-runner, his speed element would be more than welcome to the Jets' otherwise slow offense.

    Round 5

    Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia: The Jets may have added a tight end, but they could use some help in the blocking game. Lynch is a big body who is rough around the edges but has the physical tools to develop into a useful player. 

    Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech: The Jets' top two quarterback positions may be set, but they should still continue to tinker with the No. 3 spot until they have solidified the starter. Thomas has as much arm talent as anyone in this class, but he needs to find more consistency in his game. If quarterbacking doesn't work out, there is always the possibility of him moving to tight end.

    Round 6

    James Gayle, OLB, Virginia Tech: A natural bender around the edge, Gayle is a perfect fit for what the Jets need in a late-round outside linebacker prospect. He will be able to contribute immediately as a pass-rusher while developing his technique in the run game. In due time, he will be a completed project by the time the Jets are ready to move on from Calvin Pace. 

    Mike Davis, WR, Texas: Davis has good size and speed for being a deep receiver—but he does not do much else. A slow accelerator, he will struggle to be anything more than a deep-ball specialist in the NFL. With the Jets, he will open up the field for Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley underneath.

    Michael Sam, OLB, Missouri: Sam is not much of a run defender, but he makes up for it with his explosiveness as a pass-rusher. Just like Gayle, Sam can be used situationally on obvious passing downs while developing into a more complete player.

    Round 7

    Matt Hazel, WR, Coastal CarolinaA prototypical slot receiver from a smaller program at Coastal Carolina, Hazel could provide insurance in case Jeremy Kerley misses more time in 2015. His 6'1", 198-pound size, however, will prevent him from being anything more than a slot receiver in the NFL.

    Chris Davis, CB, Auburn: Chris Davis will forever be known for his historic return to put Auburn in the national championship game, but he is a solid defensive prospect on his own. A good tackler with (obvious) return ability, he can contribute in dime packages and on special teams while working his way up to the slot position. 

What Are the Experts Saying?

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    Round 4, Pick 104

    Matt Miller: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, OT, McGill (Canada): At 315 pounds, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has a chance to be an overpowering guard if he can adjust to the NFL game in a reasonable amount of time. 

    Bucky Brooks: Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State: Another big, raw offensive line prospect, Turner would have at least pushed the underwhelming Oday Aboushi and William Campbell for a spot on the bottom of the roster. Unfortunately, the Dolphins grabbed him in the third round.

    Round 4, Pick 104

    Matt Miller: Rashaad Reynolds, CB, Oregon State: One of the quickest cornerbacks in this draft, Reynolds would be an ideal slot cornerback if he was a bit thicker and stronger against the run. Still, his ability to stick with receivers makes him well worth the pick at this spot.

    Bucky Brooks: Preston Brown, ILB, Louisville: With David Harris set to his free agency in 2015, this pick would have made a ton of sense. Preston Brown is a bit stiff and lacks coverage ability, but he is a thumper in between the tackles and would have transitioned into David Harris' role nicely. Too bad the Bills got him first in the third round.

    Round 4, Pick 104

    Matt Miller:  Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State: See analysis above. Of course, getting Turner later in the draft is obviously better than using an earlier pick, especially for a developmental prospect who won't see the field as a rookie. Again, he's already off the board.

    Bucky Brooks: Xavier Grimble, TE, USC: Despite his great size (6'4") and athleticism, Grimble never quite lived up to the hype at USC. Maybe a change of scenery in the professional environment will bring out the best of him, as he is worth the risk this late in the draft.

    Round 5, Pick 154

    Matt Miller: Daniel McCullers, DT, TennesseeA two-gapping specialist, McCullers would make a lot more sense for any team but the Jets. With Damon Harrison and Kenrick Ellis on the roster, the Jets may not have room for another defensive tackle, never mind using a mid-round pick on the position.

    Round 6, Pick 195

    Matt Miller: Michael Sam, OLB, Missouri: Michael Sam is well-known for the headlines he has made off the field, but he is actually a good fit for what the Jets are missing at the outside linebacker spot. A pass-rushing specialist, he can be used situationally behind the incumbent Calvin Pace, who will take care of early-down run duties.

    Round 6, Pick 209

    Matt Miller: Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw Valley: Jeff Janis has all of the measurables you are looking for at 6'3" with 4.37 speed, per CBS Sports, but he does not quite play up to what his combine numbers may suggest. A slow accelerator with sketchy hands, he will need some time to develop before he can put his athletic skill to full use.

    Round 6, Pick 210

    Matt Miller: Lonnie Ballentine, FS, Memphis: It seems unlikely that the Jets would use another draft pick on a safety after using their top pick on Calvin Pryor. Prior to the draft, Ballentine would have made sense as a developmental player, but at this point, the safety position is set for 2014. 

    Round 6, Pick 213

    Matt Miller: Andrew Jackson ILB Western Kentucky: Andrew Jackson is another solid candidate to potentially take over for impending free agent David Harris. While a bit undersized and unreliable going sideline to sideline, Jackson is a big hitter and an effective run-stuffer between the tackles. He would fill Harris' role nicely. 

    Round 7, Pick 233

    Matt Miller: Kendall James, CB, Maine: His small stature will limit him to the slot, but James has tremendous instincts that will give him a chance to stick to a team as a dime corner who excels on special teams. 

4 Predictions for Day 3

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    Jets Will Select at Least Three Wide Receivers

    The Jets have attacked most of the biggest needs so far, but they have somehow managed to avoid using one of their top three picks on a wide receiver. With nine picks at their disposal in one of the deepest receiver drafts in the last decade, they have a chance to completely rebuild their receiving corps with three or four picks in the later rounds. 

    Jets Will Trade Up

    Having nine picks to work with in four rounds is a tremendous luxury, but fitting 12 rookies onto a roster is going to be a challenge. The Jets would be better off exchanging their high quantity of picks for quality, adding more potential starters in place of extra depth players. 

    Specifically, they should look into trading up for a receiver since the position opposite Eric Decker is still up for grabs.

    Jets Will Take a Quarterback

    The Jets will let Geno Smith and Michael Vick battle it out for the starting job in 2014, but the third spot on the depth chart is still up in the air. The fact that they were keeping tabs on a quarterback in the first round, per NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, proves that they are not getting comfortable at the position anytime soon. 

    Whether it is Logan Thomas, Aaron Murray, Tajh Boyd, David Fales or A.J. McCarron, look for the Jets to add some competition for Matt Simms with a late-round pick on a quarterback who takes a deep slide down the board.

    Jets Will Attempt to Trade for a Veteran

    Just like how they acquired Chris Ivory during last year's draft, the Jets are poised to make another trade for a veteran player to help cut down on the amount of unproven rookies they have to bring in. 

    Whether it be receiver Denarius Moore or cornerback Johnathan Joseph—who have both been rumored to be on the trade block, per ESPN.com's Paul Gutierrez and The Wall Street Journal's Michael Salfino (subscription required), respectivelybringing in a veteran at one of the top need positions (receiver and cornerback) would give them flexibility for the rest of the draft and will not force them to start a rookie before he is ready. 

    Adding a player via a trade would help make up for their inactivity in free agency, even if it does cost them a draft pick or two.

Updated Mock Draft

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    Round 4, Pick 104: Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson: It is mind-boggling that the Jets have gone this long without tapping into this deep wide receiver class. Martavis Bryant is a raw prospect, but he has rare speed and explosion that cannot be taught. If he can develop quickly, he will be the perfect target opposite Eric Decker.

    Round 4, Pick 115: Yawin Smallwood, ILB, UConn: A lanky, fluid athlete, Smallwood has a lot of potential to be a do-it-all linebacker who could eventually replace David Harris. Smallwood, however, does tend to take too many false steps and make mental mistakes. If he can clean up his game to move more efficiently, he has a lot of upside to develop into a quality starter.

    Round 4, Pick 137: Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina: Ellington is an explosive, quick player off the line of scrimmage; only his 5'9" height will hold him back from being a high-end starter at the next level. At worst, he can provide depth behind Jeremy Kerley in the slot, where the Jets have been far too reliant on one player to stay healthy all season.

    Round 5, Pick 154: Michael Sam, OLB, Missouri: Looking at Michael Sam from an on-field perspective, he is a perfect fit for what the Jets are looking for in a developmental linebacker prospect. A pass-rushing specialist who struggles against the run, he can contribute early on passing downs while he learns behind Calvin Pace to develop into a full-time linebacker. 

    Round 6, Pick 195: Dakota Dozier, OT, Furman: A powerful, road-grading tackle from a small program at Furman, Dozier is a prime candidate to make the transition to guard. As long as there is uncertainty regarding Willie Colon's health and Brian Winters' consistency, the Jets need to continue to add players to the interior line to ensure they are stocked with depth. 

    Round 6, Pick 209: Shaquelle Evans, WR, UCLA: Evans is a contradicting prospect: He can make tough catches but misses some easy ones. He has good speed, but his acceleration is average. None of his measurables stand out, but he does not have many glaring weaknesses, either. Simply put, he is a possession receiver who will help the Jets move the chains, even if his upside is a bit limited. 

    Round 6, Pick 210: A.C. Leonard, TE, Tennessee State: The Jets have a shiny new tight end in Jace Amaro, but they could still afford to add depth to the position. Leonard was one of the top performers at the combine, and talent has never been his issue. An arrest during his time at Florida led to his transfer to Tennessee State. At this point in the draft, he is worth the risk as a top talent in the sixth round.

    Round 6, Pick 213: Chris Davis, CB, Auburn: The Jets already added a new slot cornerback with the selection of Dexter McDougle, but extra depth at a need position like cornerback is hardly a bad problem to have. Davis is famous for his epic return in the BCS Championship Game, but he can also serve well as a dime cornerback who can contribute in the return game.  

    Round 7, Pick 233: Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane: One of the top performers at the Senior Bowl, Grant has the making of an excellent possession receiver with good hands, quickness and later agility. His 6'0" size may limit him to the slot, but the value at this point in the draft is too good to pass up, even with Jeremy Kerley on the roster.