Last night at the NFL Draft, the New York Jets got started on the work towards rebuilding their roster.
Taken with the 9th and 13th picks overall were Alabama cornerback, Dee Milliner, and Missouri DT, Sheldon Richardson.
Reaction to these moves varied.
Some were disappointed in these moves just based on Sheldon Richardson. This belief is not a correct one to have because as I have said many times here already, who actually knows how well these guys will play? Just because someone is not a household name now does not mean it was a bad pick.
Here is a rundown of each pick from NFL.com’s Mike Mayock:
“Essentially, New York traded Darrelle Revis for Dee Milliner and a three next year. I’ve got him as my second-rated corner on the board. For me, he does everything. He plays press man. He can play off man. He understands zone concepts. He tackles, which is rare.”
“This is an explosive, freakish athlete at 310 pounds. The Jets fans are not really excited, however, about this particular pick.”
Yes, Jets fans are not happy. To go along with the thought that they just don’t know about this guy (he is said to be one of the fastest big men around who is also a clutch tackler, making half of his stops on 3rd and 4th down), the decision to go defense-defense have left some dumbfounded about how the Jets could not improve their non-existent offense.
This is a big point to make, and also one which has made people adjust their viewpoint of Rex Ryan’s role in the Jets decision-making process.
That said, a quick look at the draft shows there were not many impact skill players to draft in the first round.
Here are the list of skill players taken after Richardson: TE Tyler Eifert, WR DeAndre Hopkins, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, and…well…that’s it.
With a ton of receivers available in the middle rounds, and no one that is the game-breaker previously taken WR Tavon Austin is, it is hard to fault the Jets for going defense again – outside of Eifert, there was no one who they particularly needed to take this early.
Without the option of moving down, the Jets took the next guy on their board, the best available player, a strategy this barren team has to take.
Milliner will obviously attempt to fill the shoes that Darrelle Revis vacated at corner. He will not be Revis – no one really can be – but he will be a cheaper option the Jets will control for at least five seasons. He is not much of a ball hawk, but he is known to be a strong coverage CB with a good body to defend bigger wide receivers and some tight ends.
Richardson will now anchor the middle of the defensive line. As many have believed, Kendrick Ellis is not an every down player, and without Sione Pouha, this was yet another spot that must have been filled at some point over the next two drafts.
Most believed the Jets would shift Coples or Wilkerson inside and take another DE. Instead, the Jets took a guy who can eat up offensive lineman on the inside, and give an advantage to the other two, who finished the ’12 season with a ton of QB-pressuring potential.
So where will the Jets go from here? A report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter states the Jets may be going after QB Geno Smith:
This would be a terrible mistake. The Jets cannot mistaken good value for good QB. Just because you can take Smith a round later does not mean he magically becomes your QB of the future.
If you want to take a flyer on someone, do it in the middle to late rounds – you do not do it in the 2nd round of a draft where teams have straight up told the world they don’t think a future franchise QB is available.
What should the Jets actually do?
Stanford TE Zach Ertz remains available and could fit right into the needed tight end spot that Dustin Keller emptied going to the Dolphins earlier this year. He is thought to be one of two elite TEs available this year and would fill a huge need on offense.
Alabama’s Eddie Lacy, the top running back in the draft. is also still available and could fall to the Jets. The worst RB tandem in the league does not have a future starter in its midst; grabbing Lacy or Montee Ball this round could be a great move.
One other intriguing option is Florida International’s Jonathan Cyprien – a great coverage safety with an instinctual first step. In the system Rex Ryan runs, this is a great type to fit into their secondary.
We’ll see what the Jets do in just a few hours. Let’s all pray that if they wrongly go QB, that they somehow pick the right one.