Next up: the Jets, who pick one spot later than they did last year. My pal Brad Cotter of The Jet Press helps preview this year’s draft from Gang Green’s perspective…
1. Are the Jets in a position where they should simply take the best player available or should they add a pass-rushing end or linebacker in Round 1?
This year is going to be a huge challenge for Mike Tannenbaum and company. With one pick in the first two rounds and the uncertainty of free agency the Jets are going to have no choice but to take the best talent on their board. There are a few obvious areas for improvement for Gang Green, but many of these positions can be made through free agency, potentially.
Safety, Nose Tackle, Defensive End, Outside Linebacker, Offensive Line and Wide Receiver are all potential positions that are in need of help. Most years the free agency class determines the draft needs whereas this year the draft will determine the free agency push, which is why the Jets need to stick to their draft board through the process. Here are some of the popular picks for the Jets at 30.
Jonathan Baldwin (WR) – Pitt
Rahim Moore (S) – UCLA
Phil Taylor (NT) – Baylor
Ryan Kerrigan (OLB) – Purdue
Justin Houston (OLB) – Georgia
Stephen Paea (DT) – Oregon St.
Muhammad Wilkerson (DT) – Temple
The Jets have made many draft moves in years past to get the guy they want, but I don’t think they are going to be moving anywhere this year. The Jets have no choice but to draft the best talent on the board at every pick. This could work out in our favor as there is a huge free class available for signing.
2. Do you think they’ll draft a corner? Kyle Wilson had a rough rookie season and Antonio Cromartie’s future with the team is up in the air.
I don’t think Cromartie will be back this year and despite popular belief I don’t think there is a need to draft a corner. Without a pass rush, any secondary in the league will be exposed. There is no doubt in my mind that a solid pass rush and Darrelle Revis as a shutdown will lend a huge help to the development of Kyle Wilson and company. Expecting lockdown corners on every down with an inconsistent pass rush is just unrealistic. Wilson is an exceptional talent and needs time to develop. Granted, the tape will show consistent inconsistency, but there is enough talent on the roster to develop. Vernon Gholston was a miss, but Wilson can’t be in that class just yet.
3. What about running back? Can Shonn Greene be a No. 1 guy? If not, should they consider Mark Ingram or a running back later in the draft?
The major question for this offseason is: Is Shonn Greene the guy for “Ground and Pound”?
This is the make or break year for the NJ/Iowa kid. Many people thought last year was going to be his breakout year, but with the uncertainty at a few positions on the offensive line, we’ll give him a pass. There are no excuses this year and Greene should be the team’s workhorse. LaDainian Tomlinson should have a diminishing role while Joe McKnight’s role should increase. Bottom line is the Jets are set in the backfield and will not be looking to add depth through the draft.
4. Who are you predicting they take with that first-round pick?
I’d love to give you guys a first round pick but this year is so much more unpredictable than years past that it is nearly impossible. Assuming the Jet stay at 30 and the other teams draft for need I believe the pick will be: Best available.
Phil Taylor could be the guy in the first round, though a Kendrick Ellis could be a late-round steal.
Unlike other years where the debate becomes obvious, 2011 depends on the post-draft strategy. The Jets are in a good spot with numerous options. Let’s hope they take advantage.