The Jets’ braintrust: (left to right) GM Mike Maccagnan, Owner Woody Johnson, and Head Coach Todd Bowles
Here we are. Another year, another top-10 pick in the NFL Draft for the New York Jets. Which means they’re going to have a choice of some of the best college football players coming out. Unfortunately a team has to be putrid the prior season in order to be in that slot. And the 2016 New York Jets, with their robust 5-11 record, certainly qualified.
Jets fans have more endured the NFL Draft than enjoyed it. Historically it’s been a very uneven affair to say the least for the home team. Some of the picks turned out well (i.e. Joe Namath, #1 overall, 1965 – Joe Klecko, #144 overall, 1977 – Al Toon, #10 overall, 1985). And some picks were baffling at best (Blair Thomas, #2 overall, 1990 – Vernon Gholston, #6 overall, 2008 – Dee Milliner, #9 overall, 2013). But every year brings a new opportunity to make things right and that’s the task before GM Mike Maccagnan in the upcoming draft.
Here are some of the possibilities:
Myles Garrett – Texas A & M – Edge Rusher
Almost universally acknowledged as the probable #1 overall pick in the draft so far, Garrett has been described as an uber-quick, long armed freak who will spend his Sundays stalking, terrorizing, and hunting down NFL quarterbacks for a living.
VERDICT: If he were to be available at #6, Maccagnan would have to be certifiably insane not to select him. But trust me, Garrett won’t be there. So they won’t.
Deshaun Watson – Clemson – Quarterback
This is one that could haunt the Jets for some time if they choose to pass on Watson and he turns out to be Warren Moon or something. So, for that reason alone, the Jets should not rule out selecting him at #6. Right?
Watson has had a flair for the dramatic during his collegiate career, gaining most of his notoriety from playing well in the biggest games. Specifically against the vaunted Alabama defense in the national championship game the past two seasons. But his performances against any team that doesn’t have an elephant as a mascot is a little spotty. This has given some teams pause about picking him too high. But his ability to get away from the rush while making plays outside the pocket, his arm strength, accuracy and poise will likely move him into the top end of the draft.
VERDICT: Many are skeptical that Watson will be able to have the same impact as a pro that he did in college. I’m not one of them.
This kid is exponentially better than anyone the Jets currently have on their roster or even vaguely considered acquiring in either free agency, the waiver wire, or the nearest rec league. I see a star. I could be wrong. Have been in the past. But I don’t think so this time. The Green and White need to snatch him up if he’s there at #6 and never look back.
Jonathan Allen – Alabama – Defensive Lineman
This guy’s a beast, sweeping every major award a defensive lineman can possibly win at the college level last season. He has all the upside of a perennial Pro Bowler who can anchor a team’s defense for the next ten years. Just one issue. The Jets are strongest at his position. They need a defensive lineman like they need another clueless, billionaire owner.st
VERDICT: Even if he’s on the board, the Jets would be best served by passing on the big fella. If another team wants to trade into the slot, trading down is a very attractive option due to their lack of depth at nearly every position but defensive line.
Jamal Adams – LSU – Strong Safety
Though he is categorized as a strong safety, Adams can play all over the field. Known as a heavy hitter against the rush, he also has the ability to drop into coverage as a nickel corner (!) if necessary. His intangibles are also one of his best traits. He has been steadily moving up the draft board recently since the scouting combine, entering many a mock draft’s top five.
They could certainly use him. Current SS Calvin Pryor is now officially a bust and FS Marcus Gilchrist hasn’t been seen in some time. Certainly not in coverage.
VERDICT: If he is there at six, they need to sprint up to the stage with his name on the card. Just set him and forget him.
Marshon Lattimore – Ohio State – Cornerback
Darrelle Revis is an ex-Jet again and there is a vacancy at #1 corner. Lattimore mostly fits the bill. Great cover skills, speed, and athleticism are his strengths. But his weakness is glaring for someone who plays his position. He’s constantly pulling or straining his hamstrings. Even did so when he ran his second 40-yard dash in 4.37 secs. at the scouting combine.
VERDICT: If he checks out medically, he’d be a god send. There are gaping holes throughout the Jets’ secondary, none more glaring than at #1 corner. Lattimore would also be in line to wash away the stench of top-ten draft bust Dee Milliner.
O.J. Howard – Alabama – Tight End
The Jets’ tight ends were a non-factor the entire season, making less than 20 catches combined! O.J. Howard changes that in a New York minute.
He looks like a Pro Bowler to me. Big, strong, fast, great hands, good route runner, decent blocker, he’s the complete package at the position. He’ll be his quarterback’s best friend for a decade.
VERDICT: I believe if a player has the potential to be one of the best in the league at his position, you have to consider him at any point in the draft. Tight ends don’t go this early in the draft as a rule. But this one is an exception. Take him!
Leonard Fournette – LSU – Running Back
When a player has a chance to be transcendent, you have to consider him. Fournette sure looks the part. He was a man among boys in 2015 but was nicked up a lot in ’17, causing him to miss games. His speed/power ratio is Adrian Peterson-like. But he won’t be able to run past and through defenders like he did in college.
Verdict: If he were still on the board, there aren’t many players I would take over Fournette. His ability to run the football can transform a team’s offense practically overnight. And the Jets could use it in spades. Bring him in.