Earlier this week, I put up a gag tweet wondering if I should put out a column mocking the mock drafts. It was just a joke, but many responded positively towards it. Why could that be?
Every year, millions of page views are wasted looking at mock drafts that were the product of a ton of wasted time by good sportswriters. Some sites know more than others, but most will not even come close to predicting even 5% of the first two rounds. [I guess you can say I’m not a fan…]
It’s not to say there is not some merit to looking at the players and the needs of specific NFL teams, but there just simply is not enough time and expertise available to most writers to research all of college football and know all of the ways NFL teams work – outside of the handful experts spread amongst ESPN, Fox Sports, Yahoo, and a few blogs.
So for the poorly prepared, local blogger, giving all he thinks is necessary to talk about the draft, here is a new plan for the “mock draft” – It’s called the “Positioning Draft.”
How does this work? Well, we take a team – perhaps this writer’s team, the New York Jets – and we take the team needs, the draft pick positions, and the most efficient times for drafting those positions and try to determine when the team should make what positional pick.
So let’s start with the areas the Jets could use improvement or depth:
QB, RB, FB, WR, TE, OL, DE, DT, LB, S, CB…K…P.
Okay, so everywhere. Being realistic and using the Jets 8 picks wisely (will only make one hypothetical trade during this, but not harp on it), I will try to determine the best method for filling certain needs the Jets have at the best times they could be drafted.
Remember, this is less about finding a specific guy as much as filling a need. I may use a name or two, but other than in the instance of the undisputed “best guy available”, who the Jets actually take in a position means little as much as the filling of a position.
So lets start from the beginning.
1st round, 9th pick
1st round, 13th pick
These two picks go hand in hand and the fate of the team may rest on who is taken here. Ideally, I’d use one up front and try to package the other for a late 1st in ’13 and a 2nd in ’14. If they can do that, I think in this NFL of today, it is highly important to have a strong option at TE, especially if the Jets are going to draft a young QB next year. My pick if they are able to trade down would be at that position – where Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert or Stanford’s Zach Ertz could be waiting to be drafted.
Tight ends tend to take an extra year to develop to their fullest. Having to learn routes and blocking strategy, it tends to have a bigger learning curve than most offensive positions. Getting that TE in the first year of the Jets rebuild would be ideal.
That said, this is not about hypotheticals.
If we are to use those picks, it seems like four players are likely to to be available come the Jets pick, any of which would fit very necessary needs – OG Chance Warmack, CB Dee Milliner, DE Barkevious Mingo, and ILB Alec Ogletree.
The obvious pick would be a CB, to replace the departed Darrelle Revis, but I think there is a ton of depth for a 2nd or 3rd round grab, so it is not a mandatory pick. In addition, I do not think Milliner will be around for the Jets at 9 and do not want to see them give up picks to move up at any point in this draft.
Ultimately, my thought process with a team like the Jets is to take the best man available. As detailed above, the Jets are bereft of talent, which means reaching for anybody makes no sense when everything is a need.
With that said, we cannot watch another season where the offense has trouble scoring for even a game. If the dynamic WR is available, you take him. Tavon Austin fits the need and should be available according to expert ranks. If he’s gone, so are the WR options for that early, so I’d use the 2nd of the two picks to take one of the top TEs.
With the other, I think you remember the this is the first year of a rebuild, and one of the most important things a team could have is chemistry on the offensive line. Guard is a huge hole for the Jets and getting that new one in there early to work with Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson is extremely important – so I would go with Chance Warmack (OG), or the best OL available at #13 (Jonathan Cooper, Lane Johnson, etc).
2nd round, 7th pick
The Jets need for offensive help was taken care of in the first round at WR/TE and OG. This leaves the CB, S, and DE positions in most need for improvement at this point of the draft.
Always looking over their shoulder at the big brother, New York Giants, the Jets see that the defensive rush is incredibly important for a championship defense. With Darrelle Revis gone, no longer can the Jets lack a rush.
Available early in this round should be a bunch of strong DEs like Alex Okafor, Cornellius Carradine, or Datone Jones, amongst others. The Jets could wait until the 2nd round to grab one, but this is as far as they should go before snatching one up.
3rd round, 10th pick
At this point, you could begin to look at running backs as well. My hope is the Jets take at least one, ideally two, and they should be someone who can catch with a big of speed over power.
But it is still early, and despite having the worst RB tandem in the NFL, it really is not the most important position to hit early in a draft any more.
At this point, the most important thing is to get Antonio Cromartie some help in the secondary. Luckily for the Jets, the 3rd round should have several players around that could fit the bill.
CBs Darius Slay, David Amerson, Logan Ryan, Robert Alford, BW Webb, Will Davis, and many others make the 3rd round a good spot to grab a corner. Even a safety could be taken here with Eric Reid, TJ McDonald, Robert Lester, and others projected to be around at this point. There should be a host of CBs still available in the FA buyers market like there was prior to the draft, so a pick between a CB or S is closer than it seems even after the Revis trade.
4th round, 9th pick
Frankly, you can go one of 5 ways here and they all work. Want to take the leftover gap of CB or S? Many will still be available.
Maybe you want to grab a WR if they have not already. Terrance Williams, Ryan Swope, Markus Wheaton, Darick Rogers, Kenny Stills, and Cobi Hamilton are all projected 3rd round WRs, one of which could still be around. A couple of TEs should still be available like Jordan Reed who they could grab.
A linebacker could be grabbed here with a ton of OLBs and LBs expected to possibly be available – from Gerald Hodges to Chase Thomas. The name does not matter, but being able to wait this long to grab one does for maximizing picks.
There has been a lot of RB value around the 3rd-5th round in recent years. The value of taking a non-elite RB early has fallen lately and some projected to go as early as the 3rd round could be available here. I’d make my RB play here and take a chance that one of these mid-draft players would work. From the big names like Montee Ball, to the smaller, local names – like Jawon Jamison or Miguel Mayonset – could be available for the Jets. Considering that it is hard to hit on a star RB in the draft, this middle round pick should at least give you a part-time back that could contribute.
5th-7th round picks
If my plan is followed, the Jets will have drafted a WR/TE, OG, DE, CB/S, and a RB in the first 4 rounds. That is 4 of their biggest holes attempted to be filled and a “best available” type pick with the WR or TE.
With the rest of the draft, I would focus on grabbing an LB, more secondary depth, and perhaps another RB or OL.
The problem with the Jets spending any big picks on a linebacker is the status of head coach, Rex Ryan. If he goes after this year, who knows if the 3-4 will go with it. Defensive lineman who could rush are always needed, so taking a shot with a valuable pick on one is never a bad idea. With the linebackers, what system you are in will tell you what type is needed. Looking for a gem in the late rounds, where risk is low, is probably ideal there.
Also unstable because of the coaching situation and other factors is the QB position. We do have a GM in place at the moment, so any QB taken would be his choice.
But with the possibility of a new coach and new system next year, is taking a QB that fits this system ideal right now? Taking a late flyer on a QB is never a bad idea, but taking one early when you need so many different things in a draft like this, weak in QBs is a bad idea.
Ideally, this draft should add to the offense with at least one WR/TE, and start working its way through the Jets biggest holes at OL, DL, LB, CB, RB, and S.
Of course, this is just my highly unqualified position that has only made one actual draft pick prediction. We’ll see what John Idzik decides to do tomorrow.
In the meantime, did you enjoy another fun time-waster?