By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
Now that the 2012 season is officially in the books, draft season is officially underway for all 32 teams and it is time to start predicting who the Jets will draft come April.
This is a crucial draft for the Jets in several respects. With a new GM in place and many holes to fill, this team simply cannot endure another poor draft to set them back even further. Much of what they will do depends on whether or not they like a quarterback enough to take with the 9th overall pick, which will impact how they approach the rest of the draft with two outside linebackers spots to fill.
Here is a full 7-round mock draft for the Jets:
Round 1: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
The Jets will have a handful of linebackers to pick from as players such as Demontre Moore or Dion Jordan will likely be available at this point in the draft, but Mingo is the best fit for what the Jets need from the linebacker position.
The Jets added a power interior rusher last year in Quinton Coples, but they have not had a legitimate edge rusher since Calvin Pace’s 2008 season. If the Jets can keep their secondary intact from last year, this defense has a chance to be special with a stud rush linebacker.
Round 2: Zac Dysert, QB, Miami (OH)
Dysert’s stock has taken a significant hit after a poor showing at the Senior Bowl, as he had trouble with his accuracy and his arm strength was less than impressive.
Still, Dysert is a “gamer” that flashes big-time potential on tape. Taking a quarterback in the second round carries much less risk; if Dysert does not pan out, the team can simply move on from him without bringing the entire team down with him.
Round 3: Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
The Jets have one solid running back under contract in Bilal Powell, but they need a more explosive player who can score with any play from the running back position. Joe McKnight has flashed that ability, but he has not been able to convince coaches to get more significant playing time.
Round 4: Robert Lester, SS, Alabama
Both of the Jets’ safeties are set to be free agents. While they do have Josh Bush and Antonio Allen waiting in the wings, neither have proven themselves in a full-time starting role. Plus, there is a possibility that Eric Smith will be a cap casualty making depth an issue at the position.
Lester excels as a deep safety and a hitter in the box, which is a perfect skill set for the Jets’ predominant Cover-1 system.
Round 5: Dion Sims, TE, Michigan State
If the Jets cannot retain Dustin Keller, tight end suddenly becomes a massive need for the Jets. Sims is an athletic receiving tight end who could be a matchup problem for NFL linebackers.
Round 6: Marcus Davis, WR, Virginia Tech
Davis has all of the physical skills to succeed in the NFL, but he simply cannot seem to put them all together to become a dominant receiver. The Jets have a starting group of receivers set, but depth is a big issue and Davis can take his time developing on the roster in the meantime.
Round 7: David Queensbury, OT, San Diego State
The Jets have three offensive lineman set to be free agents after the season. At the very least, they need to add depth and competition to their roster if they are to sustain any changes along their underrated offensive line.