By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
Now that the dust has all but settled in free agency, we now have a much clearer picture of each team’s needs as the draft approaches (just a month away!). Unexpectedly, the Jets lost several key players and were only able to replace them with a handful of under-the-radar signings.
Here is my latest seven-round Jets mock draft:
Round 1: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
While the Jets were at least able to add Antwan Barnes to give them a veteran presence at the position, outside linebacker is one of the team’s top needs with one open linebacker spot still wide open. Plus, Barnes is best used as a rotational player at this point in his career.
Oregon’s Dion Jordan would be the ideal pick, but unless the Jets are willing to trade up and use up valuable picks to do so, the Jets are going to have to settle for Mingo. Mingo has terrific burst, but he lacks ideal edge flexibility and does not have the experience in coverage that Jordan does.
Still, he should be a huge upgrade over anything else the Jets have had at the linebacker position in several years and finally give the Jets a legitimate pass rushing threat.
Round 2: Phillip Thomas, FS, Fresno State
After the team was unable to retain either LaRon Landry or Yeremiah Bell, safety has become one of the team’s top need areas with only Josh Bush and Antonio Allen to work with.
Thomas led the nation in interceptions and is an extremely physical player up in the box. Thomas does not exactly comes form a football powerhouse, but he has a skill set that will allow him to be an impact player as a rookie.
Round 3: Jordan Reed, TE, Florida
Now that Dustin Keller is in Miami, the Jets need to find themselves another legitimate receiving threat from the tight end position. Reed is much like Keller in that he is a much better receiver than a blocker, but he has much better size that he uses to shield defenders away.
With some time, he may be able to improve as a blocker with his large frame, but he would make an immediate impact as a security blanket for whoever is under center for the Jets in 2013.
Round 4: Zac Dysert, QB, Miami (OH)
His underwhelming performance at the Senior Bowl hurts his stock, but Dysert has put together a handful of games that show that he has a chance to be a starter in the NFL.
Dysert has a solid arm and poise, having managed to produce with one of the worst supporting casts in college football. There is some concern with him coming from a spread offense at Miami, but at this point in the draft, the value of having a young quarterback with lots of potential on the depth chart is too good to pass up.
Round 5: Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
Talent-wise, Michael is one of the most talented backs in this draft, with great burst and a physical running style that is only matched by few.
However, there are a lot of character concerns that are associated with Michael (he accidentally slept through some combine interviews). If he can get his mind in the right place, whoever drafts him is going to get one of the top steals of te draft.
Round 6: Marcus Davis, WR, Virginia Tech
Like Michael, Davis has all of the makings of a late-round steal: he has a great frame and solid speed to go with his tremendous athleticism and body control.
Still, Davis is frustrating because he gives questionable effort as a blocker and has had a handful of costly drops and lapses in concentration. In the right situation, if given some time to develop and mature, Davis could pay dividends for a team willing to take a chance on him at this point in the draft.
Round 7: Earl Watford, OG, James Madison
The Jets replaced both Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore with the oft-injured Willie Colon, and they appear to be ready to head into the draft with Vladimir Ducasse atop their depth chart at the other guard position.
Adding depth in this draft must be a priority.
Despite coming from a smaller program at JMU Watford is a good athlete that excels in the run game. With time, he could be a solid pass protector if he is kept inside at guard.