The New York Jets had a ton of holes to fill going into the 2013 NFL season, but I feel that new general manager John Idzik did a great job to help kick start the rebuilding process.
Pick #9, first Round: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
This was the obvious pick for the Jets here, given the Darrelle Revis trade a few days prior to the draft. Milliner was easily regarded as the best cornerback in the draft, and will be a nice number 2 corner opposite of Antonio Cromartie. This pick also lets Kyle Wilson move back to covering the slot, where he plays much better than on the outside. Milliner comes from college powerhouse Alabama, so getting coached under Nick Saban and playing against top SEC talent will help him to be more ready for the NFL. Scouts say he has to improve his hands, but he did have over 20 passes broken up last year. Milliner won’t be Revis, and he has injury concerns (5 surgeries in college), but if he can stay healthy, Milliner should have a big impact for the Jets.
Grade: A, only because this was the most obvious choice the Jets had at 9, and they got one of the best defensive players in the draft.
Pick #13, first round: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
I admit it, I get hyped into the big names. So when the 13th pick came around I expected the Jets to take Jarvis Jones (LB) or Kenny Vaccaro (S), which were more need areas. When the Jets selected for the third straight year another defensive line player, I was furious. I didn’t know who Richardson was and wanted Shariff Floyd or Star Loutelei instead. I would like to apologize to Mr. Richardson. The guy has a motor, and last year blew through the Alabama offensive line (which had two first round draft picks in this years draft) for 14 tackles! He is very fast and can line up in different spots on the field. Richardson was nicknamed the drive stopper for his abundance of tackles on third and fourth down.
Grade: B-, with Wilkerson and Coples, this can be a formidable front line. Still, the grade is lower because I would have liked to see another position taken here. This pick will also be linked to Revis, so hopefully Richardson pans out.
Pick #39, second round: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
This was a weak draft class for QB’s. I wanted the Jets to wait until the stacked QB class of 2014, but when the Jets saw what many considered the best QB in the draft still sitting at number 39, they pounced and took Smith. Tim Tebow was just cut as a result of this move, and many Jets fans are hoping the same for Sanchez. Lets face it, Sanchez doesn’t deserve to take another snap for the Jets, and the team knew this. Woody, also desperate for PSL sales and headlines, just made his team the talk of the town again (cause talking wins championships…). Like Richardson, I was upset at first, but I can’t help but feel excited now.
The Good: Geno Smith is a football junkie, and people say he was all about football and academics at school. He seems to be an excellent leader and already appears much more tougher mentally than Sanchez. Smith has a very strong arm, and scouts say he can make all of the throws in the NFL. He is also very athletic, running a 4.59 40 yard dash (same as Cam Newtown). The Jets saw what mobile quarterbacks like RG3, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaperenick did to the league last year, and hope Smith can do the same. Smith put up great numbers his final year at school, throwing 42 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.
The Bad: Scouts say he is sometimes painfully inconsistent with his accuracy, and struggles with sideline throws. He also tends to underthrow a lot of passes, and the best of the best will pick him off with ease. While he is mentioned to be mobile, sometimes he is reluctant to take off. Smith’s pocket awareness is also a concern (like Sanchez) and he struggles to pick up blitzes.
Grade: B, this is a high grade because 1. The Jets got the best regarded QB in the second round 2. Using a second round on Smith doesn’t mean they have to fully commit to him if he struggles this year (taking a QB next year can still be possible) and 3. the Jets absolutely knew they couldn’t put Sanchez out there. Geno Smith is already looking like the week one starter.
Pick #72, round 3: Brian Winters, Guard, Kent State. Grade: C+ Can be a good player, but concerns about how he will transition from guard to left tackle
Fourth round pick traded for Chris Ivory, running back from Saints. Grade: B+ Love this move, as Ivory will bring a ferocious running style to the Jets. With Bilal Powell and Mike Goodson, the Jets backfield is looking nice.
Pick#141, round 5: Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia. Grade:B- Jets needed o-lineman, high upside. Like more than Winters pick because he doesn’t need to transition to another spot on the o-line.
Pick#179, round 6: William Campbell, G, Michigan- Grade: C-
Pick#215, round 7: Tommy Bohanon, FB, Wake Forest- Grade: D isn’t this position pretty much dead in the NFL now?
Overall grade: B. It sucks the Jets had so many premiere draft picks in a draft many considered weak, but John Idzik did a great job with his first draft. The team didn’t add a linebacker, tight end or safety, some concerns, but filled other areas. The Geno Smith pick pretty much means Sanchez is done, and Dee Milliner should help the secondary improve. For people saying that the Jets were stupid for not taking a premiere offensive player in the draft, I laugh at them. Tavon Austin was the ONLY wide receiver/running back/ tight end worthy of being taken at either 9 or 13, and when he was gone at number 8, Idzik was smart to not force the team picking an offensive player that early. The rebuilding process is in full swing, but like 2009, when many thought the Jets were rebuilding, maybe they can surprise some people and make a run. A lot of things would have to go right, but it is fun to have some faith.