The New York Jets 2012 season was nothing close to what they expected. After finishing the year 6-10, free agency hurt the team as it lost nine of its 22 starters from last season. Since free agency began, the Jets have been very quiet mainly because of their salary cap issues. They are one of the highest NFL teams over the cap this offseason. This upcoming draft, the Jets have a pick in every round. They need to improve on last year’s draft where only their first round pick (Quinton Coples) really made a big impact. Their second and third rounds pick of Stephen Hill and Demario Davis are still question marks do to injuries and lack of major impact.
The main question surrounding the Jets involves the quarterback position. Once they figure out what they want to do there, everything else will fall into place. It seems they only have two options. They could draft a rookie quarterback in the first few rounds and let him take over right away or they can bolster the other holes on the team and help Mark Sanchez by giving him as many weapons as possible.
QB, RB, OT, OG, TE, DT, LB, CB, S
Round One Pick 9: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Ever since Jarvis Jones was cleared from his spinal cord injury, his stock has been rising. Teams who are looking for a legitimate pass rusher will be targeting Jones. The Jets have a hole at outside linebacker since releasing Calvin Pace and Jones can fill that immediately. He will fit well in Rex Ryan’s defense since he played OLB in a 3-4 defense at Georgia and excelled while on the field. He does a very good job leaning around offensive tackles or using his leverage to get underneath the lineman to attack the quarterback. Jones can be a very solid tackler on the next level but has a tendency to be engulfed at the point of attack due to his smaller size if he goes up against big tackles or tight ends.
Round Two Pick 39: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
The New York Jets need another quarterback since the Mark Sanchez experiment isn’t working. Tyler Wilson is the answer because he is the exact opposite of Sanchez. Wilson is a very smart quarterback. He does well sensing the pass rush and is very good at improvising in those situations. In addition, Wilson is tough as nails as he shows the willingness to step up into the pocket and take a hit when he releases a ball downfield. Sanchez had issues sensing the rush many times last season and seemed to forces passes while under pressure. If the Jets hope to turn things around, it starts with the quarterback position and Wilson is a first round talent based on his 2011 numbers. He had a poor 2012 with Arkansas mainly because of the Petrino scandal and he is being overlooked compared to the other quarterbacks.
Round Three Pick 72: John Jenkins, NT, Georgia
With the loss of NT Sione Po’uha, the Jets are in desperate need of a true nose tackle for their 3-4 defense. John Jenkins is a player who can step in on day one and start. He played football in the SEC which most will say is the toughest conference in college football and he succeeded. For a guy who weighs close to 350 pounds, he’s very quick and shows speed from time to time. He does a great job of taking on double teams and can control where a runner back lanes are with his strength. Jenkins can help collapse the pocket which would help the rest of the New York Jet pass rushers.
Round Four Pick 106: Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
The Jets made back-to-back AFC Championship games a few years back due to their strong running game that helped setup the pass. Since then, there running game has struggled. Signing Mike Goodson was a good start but they need a true workhorse back who can carry the ball 20-25 a game. Stepfan Taylor is their guy. He is a very physical running back and has great vision finding running lanes. Taylor can also be an elite pass catcher out of the backfield giving the Jets another option on offense. In addition to helping in the passing game, Taylor can be a very solid pass blocker as well. While the Jets have other needs that may be more pressing, landing a guy like Taylor can help them tremendously on offense.
Round Five Pick 141: Zeke Motta, FS, Notre Dame
After losing both of their safeties in the offseason, the Jets need to address this need in this draft. Zeke Motta is a very aggressive and high motor player at the free safety position. During his time at Notre Dame he is seen flying to the ball and making big plays in the run game. In addition, he displays great skills reading the quarterback along with play action plays. Motta takes the skills he learned at linebacker earlier in his career and translates it well to the safety position. Will be a big help to the Jets in the run game.
Round Six Pick 178: Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas
Since losing Dustin Keller to the Miami Dolphins, the Jets have a hole at the tight end position. Chris Gragg is one of the faster tight ends coming out of this class and can be a playmaker as long as he is healthy. Gragg started out the 2012 season on fire, collecting 14 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns in the Arkansas Razorbacks‘ first two games. He struggled the rest of the season with injuries. Gragg could turn out to be a steal if he can remain healthy for any NFL team.
Round Seven Pick 215: Sam Brenner, OG, Utah
The Jets have holes along their offensive line with Matt Slauson leaving during free agency and Vladimir Ducasse not showing much promise last year. Brandon Moore, their starting right guard is also a free agent, opening another hole. Sam Brenner is a versatile offensive lineman who can help fill a need on the Jets offensive line. During his last two years at Utah, he only allowed two sacks. He also has experience playing offensive tackle as well which adds value in the late rounds.
To be successful in the NFL, it all comes down to landing a franchise quarterback. With this draft, the Jets land the franchise quarterback in Tyler Wilson they need for the future. They also surround him with more weapons such as Taylor at running back and Gragg at tight end. With Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley, the Jets should be much better offensively. This draft also addresses needs at the linebacker and defensive tackle position for the Jets. If they hit on these picks, they can begin to build a solid young core so they can compete for an AFC East title in the next one to two years.