By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer
I heard a lot of surprised twitter comments that Arthur Brown, Tank Carradine and Manti Te’o weren’t taken in round one. To be honest Geno is surprising but the rest not in the least to me. All are overrated in my opinion. Brown is undersized and not very physical. As a linebacker that is concerning to me. Carradine is a good, solid pass rusher. But certainly not a first rounder in my book. And Te’o? I could care less about Lennay Keuka (well, because she isn’t real!) but Te’o is not very good in coverage. Please, do not let the seven INT fool you. One hit the ground, and a bunch of the rest were gifts. He doesn’t have great change of direction or the ability to flip his hips and turn to cover. Call me crazy but all of the aforementioned players might not even be among the best left.
Here is a look at some of the best available prospects for the Jets and league in general.
If you look at 21-28 you could take the 2 out of each and that big board wouldn’t be all that insane. That just shows how deep and weak this class is all in one. It also shows how much I like Eifert! And no he isn’t #1 overall. Yet if you give me anyone of those eight versus the top eight and I’d be more than cool with it. I really like all of those guys even more than Vaccaro, Richardson, DJ Hayden and Tavon Austin. Call me crazy or chalk it up to a truly crazy year. Or more accurately both.
DE Margus Hunt SMU
He is all potential. I am all in. A once in a generation athlete who is simply a freak has a ceiling among the stars. I would have been hesitant in round one, but in round two the potential reward well outweighs the risk involved. Running a 4.6 flat is insane for a 277 pounder and he had a vertical of 34.5 (same as Ansah) and a broad of 121 (one inch shy of Dion Jordan). He is also hulk strong with 38 reps and was originally a shot put and discus thrower on the Mustang track team. I actually think he showed some on field ability and certainly wowed with 17 total blocked kicks!!! He is mainly all potential and could be labeled a work warrior. That’s fine, but in round two the sprint to the podium. But as hard as I try I won’t touch his 4.6.
WR Justin Hunter Tennessee
Talk about potential. Hunter is 6’4, long, with a massive vertical and Olympic level long jumper and 4.42 speed. So even with consistent hands not quite there yet he is a must have in the second. Those triangle, make it octagon, numbers mean you might get a complete bust, or top five receiver. It could be too risky for some but I like the gamble, especially for only a second round price tag an offensively challenged Jets squad.
TE Zach Ertz Stanford
I was quick to jump on the Ertz bandwagon early around mid season, but have always felt very strongly that Eifert is superior. But at this point in the draft Ertz would be a good play and would drastically improve the Jets’ passing attack. Ertz is a little less explosive and not nearly as good a blocker. I can tell you whoever plays QB would appreciate the route running, ability to get open and red zone presence out of Ertz at the tight end spot.
WR Robert Woods USC
Woods is no longer the census #1 wide out, and that’s perfectly okay. He is still a precise route runner with good speed, a solid initial burst and soft hands. He has the size and speed to work out of either the slot of X position. He does struggle getting off the line when challenged physically, but with that said he quickly creates space with deceptive routes and then can turn on the jets just enough to breakaway from defenders.
RB Johnathan Franklin UCLA
How Mel Kiper has Montee ball #28 overall and above Franklin stupefies me. Like Ball, Franklin is a complete back but he has the explosion and burst Ball lacks. He can block and is among the best in this class as a receiver out of the backfield. Franklin also has the vision to read the play, follow his blocks and then use that jet-like explosion. My one question was fumbles, but he has solved that problem to my satisfaction.
WR Keenan Allen California
The failed drug test rumors of the combine do really scare me, along with his injury aided 4.72 but I absolutely love his size, hands and overall craftiness in the open field. He is an after the catch stud despite lacking breakaway speed. He could develop into an elite #2 X receiver or solid #1. At worst he is a consistent and sure handed #3 who offers a little bit of everything. Not bad out of a second round pick.
QB Geno Smith West Virginia
6’2 (1/2) 218
Yes his descent from census #1 overall and Heisman lock to out of round one was rocky. I don’t expect an Aaron Rodgers like vindication, but Geno seems to have really taken this hard. Is he running home in shame, and showing weakness? Normally I might agree, but being drafted is supposed to be a happy life changing event that justifies all your hard work so no issues here at all. He is imperfect, inconsistent and more streaky than solid. He is also a very mobile 6’3 signal caller with an NFL arm, at times a beautiful deep ball and a fluid, quick release. He still has quality starter upside so taking him in round two would be more than a solid value pick. And don’t forget a quality starting QB is worth twice as much as a starting quality center. Sorry Dallas fans.
3-4 OLB Jamie Collins Southern Miss
6’3 (1/2) 250
Playing for a bad team in a bad conference won’t get you noticed. Posting 84 total tackles and 10 sacks in 2012, then running a 4.64 at 250 lb, 41.5 inch vertical and will. Collins is the long, quick twitch athlete ideal to be cut loose as a pass rusher in a 3-4 scheme. He has the length to keep bigger linemen off his body and the speed and explosive athleticism to simple destroy tackle one on one. I have some minor questions about his lack of strength and ability to handle the physicality of the pro game if thrown into the fire early, but he would be perfect in the Jets 3-4. Ryan will be able to tailor the defense to his skill set and the trio of Wilkerson, Coples and Richardson could give Collins the green light and a lot of one on one matchups to exploit.
CB Johnathan Banks Mississippi St.
Sometimes a poor combine will devalue a player’s stock to unwarranted levels. Banks was a top four corner prospect before he ran 4.61 in Indy. Is he a first round talent? Probably not, but the traits scouts loved about him are still there. He has great experience (four years in the SEC), an ideal frame (6’2 with 33 (7/8) inch arms, longest among corners) and the athleticism that allows him to be used in both zone and man coverages as well deployed as a blitzer. Banks can make tackles in run support and breaks on the ball effectively making him a true ball hawking corner. Sure his straight line speed isn’t great, but he has the size and athleticism to hang with the taller possession receivers, especially in a zone scheme.
DT Johnathan Hankins Ohio St.
I admittedly missed on him back on the mid season mark as I all but guaranteed he would keep his top 15 overall value. Oops. I still like his ability to anchor and control the line of scrimmage and think his surprising athleticism and overall strength makes him an underrated pass rushing threat. He can stuff the run up the middle and would be a great fit on the Jets line, if they didn’t take Sheldon Richardson. That’s okay someone else might get a darkhorse Pro Bowler at the nose tackle spot.
QB Tyler Wilson Arkansas
You might know I have a prospect crush on Wilson. I acknowledge that no QB is a true tier one prospect and Wilson has some troublesome flaws. He is barely 6’2, has a funky delivery and at times terrible footwork. Not to mention his tendency to push the ball into dangerously close coverage. However, when you talk what I call “on field intangibles” like toughness and competiveness he destroys the competition. He withstood a dumper fire of a situation in Fayetteville after his coach left just before the season and his replacement well, struggled. Plus he lost three wide outs to the NFL. Yet, he lead the team each week and stared down the gun barrel taking some punishing hits in the process. That NFL ready mentality and toughness are nice compliments to his leadership, intelligence and arm strength.
SS Johnathan Cyprien Florida International
A late riser who thoroughly impressed at the Senior Bowl is a physical safety who can wade through traffic and close on the ball. He is a true gamer and has the athleticism and feel for the game to make plays in the secondary, although his bread and butter is knocking people silly in the run support.
OG Larry Warford Kentucky
A massive mauler who in a road grader in the running game Warford could excel in a physical man scheme. He has the strength to push tackles off the ball and enough athleticism to hold his own in pass protection.