By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer
As the mid-season mark approaches the Jets have been like the stock market, up and down. The opening week offensive explosion was both unexpected and encouraging. That is until the offense mustered up only 10 points and 210 total yards versus an aging Pittsburgh defense then got shut out by the 49ers two weeks later. Then again Gang Green has lost to three good teams (Pitt, NE, 49ers) and beat three average teams (Miami, Buffalo, Colts) so a 3-3 record is appropriate. Losing the best defender on the roster and maybe the league in Revis makes the prognosis seem bleak despite being at .500.
Oh and that Tebow guy, well he’s been as lightly used and strategically deployed as Rex said he’d be. Although three fake punts for first downs isn’t exactly what the hype would suggest.
There has been some success, but still a lot of holes and questions that need to be answered. Here are some of the areas of improvement and how the 2013 draft can help fill them.
—DE/OLB: Crank Up the Pressure—
1. Jarvis Jones GEORGIA 6’2 242
Scouts love this guy as he’s been a beast for the Bulldogs, especially getting after the quarterback. Jones has terrific speed and a low center of gravity that allows him to come screaming off the edge and avoid the reach of lineman. He doesn’t have the long frame you typically look for so his transition will be tougher than most. However, he is more than just a pass rushing phenom as his athleticism allows him to be very solid in coverage and running sideline to sideline. Those abilities are nearly as important to his stock as his pass rush skills, at least in my opinion. He isn’t an ideal fit in the Jets system and would be much better suited for a traditional 4-3 look, but with his talent level you take him if he is available.
2. Sam Montgomery LSU 6’5 260
Montgomery is a Rex Ryan special: an explosive athlete, who is a bit on the raw side, but plays with incredible energy and is blessed with superior measurables. If he can put it all together he could be an All-Pro down the line, but unlike similarly talented Quinton Coples, Montgomery brings it on every down and should only improve under Rex Ryan’s tutelage. He has been a force at times for the Tigers and with some added weight could potentially play as either a DE when the Jets go with the 4-3 look or OLB in the 3-4 hybrid.
3. Barkevious Mingo LSU 6’5 240
Like his fellow Bayou Bengal Montgomery, “Kiki” is somewhat of a project, but has a relatively different skill set. Mingo has blurring speed due in part to his very thin frame, which needs to be addressed for the NFL. He would be out of place playing the DE spot like he is currently for LSU. The length of his 6’5 is at the same time an advantage and dramatically increases his upside, mainly because he can create separation between himself and bigger lineman if coached properly.
–WR: Targets for Sanchez–
1. Keenan Allen CAL 6’2 215
Allen has all the makings of a solid NFL receiver and could still be available outside the top 10. I think his skill set fits better in the Jets offense than the similarly rated Robert Woods. Allen isn’t as fast as Woods, but has the frame to give Sanchez a bigger target to throw to and wider margin for error. Plus he has the ability to start and stop quickly and rack up YAC with his elusiveness and balance. Providing the offense with a red-zone threat has the potential to covert field goals into touchdowns as well.
2. Cordarrelle Patterson TENNESSEE 6’3 200
Patterson has gone from a JUCO transfer and #3 wide receiver to breakout star. Patterson is raw sure, but at 6’3 and the explosion and speed of a dynamic return-man he’s full package. The only drawback is that you have a similarly undeveloped Stephan Hill lining up out wide as well, but Patterson and his potential is good enough to gamble on.
3. Tavon Austin WEST VIRGINIA 5’9 176
Jeremy Kerley is no bum, but Austin is a bona fide game breaker with the ability to bust open a defense from the slot. There are plenty of options you could go with ahead of the 5’9 speedster, but explosive plays are something every team yearns for and the Jets are lacking. His ability to turn simple bubble screens into 50 yard scores would give Sanchez a chance for some easy completions while developing more of a rhythm.