After a dismal and frustrating 6-10 2012 season for the New York Jets, there is a lot of questions that must be answered. The place that could be a useful source to answer these questions is the NFL Draft.
Many teams have utilized the draft to their best of their abilities and have turned their franchise around in one year. For instance, the Indianapolis Colts used the draft to get some cornerstone players such as Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, and Vick Ballard.
Hilton was taken in the third round, while Ballard was taken in the fifth round. So the question is how can the New York Jets utilize the draft to the best of their abilities? Here is my answer.
With the ninth overall pick, the Jets have options. One of our biggest needs is a quarterback. However, in the first round, the lack of quarterback’s available means the Jets need to get the best available player.
With the ninth overall pick, the Jets should pursue drafting Barkevious Mingo, defensive end/outside linebacker from LSU. Mingo is a tremendous athlete, with excellent speed for a defensive end, and is just disruptive.
Mingo is best used as an outside linebacker in the 3-4, making him a perfect fit for the defensive scheme Rex Ryan runs. Mingo needs to put on some weight in order to be more successful in stopping the run, but other than that he is on track to excel in the NFL.
In the second round, the Jets could get a huge steal with this pick. Eddie Lacy has become a household name after he had an incredible season with Alabama this fall. The Jets are in search of a running back, as Shonn Greene is a free agent, and the Jets do not seem keen on resigning him.
Weighing in at 220 lbs, Lacy is a powerful back who can straight up run over defenders. Lacy is not the fastest back, but with speedy backs such as Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight complementing Lacy, the Jets backfield can be a force to be reckoned with.
Finally, the quarterback situation is addressed by drafting Tyler Wilson from Arkansas in the third round. In the variety of mock drafts I have seen, Wilson has been spotted in the first round to the third round. If Wilson is available in the third round, it would be a great find for the Jets.
The quarterbacks in this draft are all big risks. There is no clear-cut quarterback that is sure to shine in the NFL. With that known, the Jets must still pick up a quarterback to contend with Sanchez or McElroy in training camp.
Last year, the Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson in the third round. If the Jets could fall into similar luck as the Seahawks, this pick could be a game changer.
Wilson had a remarkable 2011 season for Arkansas, but faltered in 2012 with injuries and lack of protection from the Arkansas offensive line. Wilson’s arm strength has been a question mark that he answered with a strong Senior Bowl game.
A guy the Jets should target in the fourth round is Stedman Bailey, Wide Receiver from West Virginia. Bailey led college football with 23 touchdowns last year, and became one of Geno Smith’s favorite targets. Bailey stands at 5’10 and weighs 195, which is not that big for an NFL receiver.
However, Bailey has great hands and his timing on deep passes is another strength that can make him a successful NFL receiver. Wayne Chrebet did not have the height that scouts look for in a receiver, and he flourished in the NFL, why not take a risk on a guy who knows how to find the end zone?
Names to look out for later in the draft for the Jets (Rounds 5 through 7) include Jawan Jamison, Hugh Thornton, Tyrann Mathieu, and Bruce Taylor. The Jets will have plenty of options on how to address this draft and the scouting department will have their work cut out for them.
We can only hope that the Jets use this draft to benefit the team in the long run and possibly create a complete turnaround, just like the 2012 Indianapolis Colts did.