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Grading the New York Jets Draft

New contributor Marty Graw joins us at an excellent time.  He gives us his thoughts on the Jets’ draft, breaking it down player by player.

Round 1, Pick 16 (16): *DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina*

At this pick, I was hoping for Ingram or Mercilus. I was pretty upset when I had first heard Coples’s name, due to all the concerns surrounding him (specifically lack of work ethic). I’ll get into that later, but let’s begin with a scouting report on Coples via walterfootball.com.

Strengths:

  • Ideal size
  • Good speed around the edge
  • Can beat tackles with a speed rush
  • Quick get off of snap
  • Fast, strong hands
  • Athletic
  • Repertoire of pass-rushing moves
  • Power to bull rush
  • Hip flexibility
  • Solid knee bend
  • Holds ground in run defense
  • Versatile; can rush from different positions
  • Is able to play in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme
  • Can beat double teams
  • Good pad level
  • Durable

Weaknesses:

  • Good but not great speed
  • Some criticize his motor

That scouting report looks amazing, right? Walter also mentioned that he would most likely fall to, at maximum, the 12th selection.

Well, he fell all the way to your New York Jets, and we should feel very lucky to have him. The “motor concerns” are, quite frankly, BS. In 2010, no one even considered his motor an issue; after his head coach was fired at the beginning of the year and UNC changed to position coaches who played him out of position at 4-3 DE, it was tough for Coples to adjust. The rest of his middle-of-the road defense didn’t help either. Now that he’s on a top 5 defense in the NFL, playing next to his high school teammate Muhammad Wilkerson, I don’t think the motor will be an issue. If the only other concern is “good but not great speed,” I’d say we have a great player on our hands.

Here’s a couple of videos for your viewing pleasure:

SportsScience

Ultimate Highlights

Pro Day

Coples at 4-3 DT, not 4-3 DE

Moving on, then.

Round 2, Pick 11 (43): *WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech*

When I first saw that the Jets had moved up 4 spots, giving up a 5th and a 7th, there was only one player I thought we should draft: Stephen Hill. Obviously, I was very pleased with the selection. This kid was projected to go in the first round and the Rams took Brian freaking Quick over him. Morons.

Only 3 people above 6’4″ and taller have ever run a 40 time in the 4.3 at the Combine: Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson, and Stephen Hill.  We’ll ignore Tyrone Calico.

When Hill was drafted, he was smiling all around; then, while being interviewed, he did the J-E-T-S chant to the crowd. That’s the kind of enthusiasm you want from a draft pick. The kid loves the game and wants to be a Jet.

Hill has the potential to be an amazing receiver for the Jets. Here’s his scouting report via walterfootball.com:

Strengths:

  • Game-breaking speed
  • Big-play threat
  • Explosive
  • Impressive first-step quickness
  • Quick feet
  • Athletic
  • Agile
  • Ideal height, length
  • Good blocker for the run
  • Leaping ability
  • Legitimate red-zone weapon
  • Dangerous with ball in his hands
  • Picks up yards after the catch
  • Great body control
  • Has some strength; well built
  • Quality guy in the locker room
  • Big upside

Weaknesses:

  • Raw
  • Didn’t run the route tree in games
  • Lack of experience
  • Needs developmental time

A few things stick out to me there. He is a great locker room guy (we need that for sure), he’s a red zone threat, and he can run block. This guy is a perfect fit to pair with Holmes.

Though Hill does need development time, he’ll most likely get that time on the field from the get-go. I’d bet Rex puts him in at #2 receiver immediately unless Chaz Schilens shows us something we aren’t expecting, and that’s a good thing. If this guy can have an AJ Green-like first season, or even something half as good as that, the Jets’ passing offense will do really well, all but guaranteeing we won’t have to see Tebow start a game, an excellent bonus.

One thing to note on Hill: stuck in an offense that ran the triple option, he only had 28 catches last year, but had a 29 YPC. His YPC was higher than his number of catches.

Out of all the picks this draft, I think Hill works out the best for the Jets.  Here are some highlights of Hill for your viewing pleasure.

Highlights against Coples’s defense

One-handed catch against Coples’s defense

Ultimate Highlight Video

40-yard dash at the Combine

Hill being drafted, introduced by our own Wesley Walker

I think this kid is a star, the best receiver in this class – I think he’ll be even better than Blackmon.

Round 3, Pick 14 (77): *OLB/ILB Demario Davis, Arkansas State*

I was begging, pleading for George Iloka (the 6’4 safety from Boise State) at this pick, but I do like Davis. He serves basically the same purpose Iloka would have anyway.

Davis is a fast, strong linebacker. He has first round talent, but he played in the Sun Belt, making him a riskier pick. However, even at Senior Bowl Week, he was doing really well against NFL talent. This makes me confident in his abilities.

He had one of the fastest 40-times and one of the highest number of bench presses amongst linebackers. I am assuming that the Jets are either switching to a 4-3 base (with the Coples pick) or that Rex wants this guy for coverage of Gronk/Hernandez purposes. Let’s assume the latter.

Here’s a scouting report of Demario Davis:

Strengths: Demario Davis is a physical specimen – When watching him on film two words come to mind: explosive and powerful – He is one of the fastest linebackers in this draft class (4.53) and is THE strongest, producing 32 reps on the bench press – Davis can truly play a sideline to sideline type game – Tracks down the ball carrier all over the field, has great closing speed – When he gets to the ball he finishes with power – Has the ability to play any linebacker position, from 4-3 ILB, to OLB and could also be utilized as an edge rusher in a 3-4 – One of the most powerful tacklers in the draft, punishes the ball carrier with each tackle, wraps up and drives into the ground – Probably the most explosive first step of any LB, can get to top speed quickly – Keeps his pad level low, showcasing natural bend in his hips and knees – Takes on blockers at point of attack, can shed with his hands or with natural power – Fluid athlete, can move laterally, change direction easily and turn and run – Played in the 4-2-5, allowed to run free and make plays – Plays with an intensity and passion on each play, I think he could be at his best when he’s blitzing, just a relentless player – Plays instinctive, once he sees the play develop, it’s like he’s shot out of a cannon – His athletic ability allows him to be pretty solid in coverage, can run with backs out of the backfield and get a chip on the TE at LOS – Can also cover a WR out of the slot – Davis is one of the hardest workers in the draft and a great kid – Contributed on all special teams throughout his career – Has already graduated college and was on the academic honor roll throughout his time at Arkansas State.

Weaknesses: One of the biggest questions with Davis is where he is going to play at the next level – He was given a lot of freedom to make plays, so he will be reigned in a little bit in the pros – Technique can be improved, but has gotten better – Man coverage ability can always improve, as well as instincts while in zone coverage – Small school label, so not as well known as other players

Overall, Davis is one of the most explosive and well rounded defensive players in this year’s draft. He comes from a smaller school, where not many people saw him play. Davis is always around the ball and plays with such power and intensity that there is no doubt in my mind he will make in in the NFL. He will be a fit with just about every team in the league regardless of the type of defense they run. Look for Davis to come off the board in round three and looking back on it in five years that could be the steal of the draft.

He’s fast and a good tackler, somewhat of a question in coverage, but that can obviously develop. Down the road this might be viewed as a great value pick. I’m not too sure of everything about this guy, but just be thankful we didn’t draft a 7th round prospect WR like the Bills or a punter like the Jaguars.

He does look a bit small, but that’s not the worst thing in the world. He’s actually taller than Melvin Ingram.

Here are a few of the sparse highlight videos, due to his playing at Arkansas State:

Versus Northern Illinois

Pick 6 versus nationally ranked Iowa

A few plays of him are on this highlight reel

After trading up for Stephen Hill and trading for Tim Tebow, the Jets were left with just one regular pick and four compensatory picks in the last 4 rounds: three sixth rounders (187, 202, 203) and two seventh rounders (242, 244). These picks all have the potential to at the very least contribute on special teams this season for the Jets. Here are some quick notes on each player:

187.) FS/SS Josh Bush, Wake Forest

Bush is a versatile safety coming out of Wake Forest. He’s pretty versatile – he even started games at corner in his Wake career, but he will definitely play safety in the NFL. He projects better in coverage than as a hitter, though he will make consistent tackles. Bush ran a 4.51 40-yard dash, which is some very nice speed for a safety. He can cover slot receivers and tight ends and also can fit on specials teams. This is most likely why the Jets selected him – versatility.

Bush led Wake Forest in interceptions in 2011 with 6.  He is slightly injury prone and needs to improve his tackling a little bit to become a consistent NFL starter. He is somewhat of a project but is speedy, and this projects well for the Jets who definitely need safety help.

Here are a couple of highlight videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFpcQQm7WaU: In coverage during his freshman year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzHYl1OXfSk: Josh Bush rapping (actually, don’t watch this. It’s horrible.)

Pick Grade: B-

202.) RB Terrance Ganaway, Baylor

The 4 RBs on the Jets roster were now drafted in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 (Greene, McKnight, Powell, and Ganaway respectively). Ganaway was very good at Baylor, especially on the goal line. When there were 3 or 4 yards left Ganaway would usually get the job done. This is most likely why Rex & company drafted him: with LT leaving the Jets need someone at the goal line. Ganaway is a Shonn Greene-type runner, and will break tackles occasionally. He is definitely not the fastest running back, but he’s tough. He was projected to go higher than he was taken, so it was a nice value pick by the Jets.

Ganaway last season had almost 1600 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. A comparison has been made between Ganaway and LeGarrette Blount of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Ganaway is very similar to him, except Ganaway is better at catching the ball. This bodes well for the Jets; if Bilal Powell isn’t working out as a 3rd running back, the Jets can potentially try out Ganaway. Ganaway may also get a few goal line carries.

Here are a few highlights of Ganaway:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qO7pobuutNg: Ganaway vs Missouri – fast forward to 1:36 for his best run

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=re56U9PQubc: Quick highlight video

Pick Grade: B+

203.) G/T Robert Griffin, Baylor

ZOMG GUYS WE GOT ROBERT GRIFFIN FROM BAYLOR WHAT A STEAL!!!!!!!!!!

On a serious note, the much lesser-known Robert T. Griffin of Baylor is a very versatile player. He played at RT and RG in college and can most likely also play center in times of emergency. Think of him as a Rob Turner replacement.

Griffin is huge at 6’6″ and 335 pounds. He could be a potential Brandon Moore replacement in the future and could possibly place pressure on Matt Slauson if Slauson struggles at the beginning of the year, though Caleb Schlauderaff is more likely to do that at the moment. Even if Griffin is a versatile backup, this could be a very good pick for the future. He needs a bit of polishing in the run game before he’s really ready to start though.

Obviously, trying to find highlight videos for Griffin leads to a lot of frustration and numerous RGIII tapes. He did look pretty good in the bowl game I watched (the only Baylor game I did see). He’s just not ready to do much of anything in the NFL yet, though he could potentially be forced to in a worst-case scenario.

Pick Grade: C

242.)  S Antonio Allen, South Carolina

Allen fell during the draft. He was projected by many as a 4th-round pick, so getting him with #242 is great for the Jets.  Allen was somewhat of a linebacker/safety in college, but projects as more of a SS in the NFL. The Jets have LaRon Landry and Eric Smith at this position right now, but if Landry gets his usual injury we may be seeing Allen sooner than we hope; I don’t believe Rex Ryan wants to see Smith starting again.

Allen is amazing against the run, absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, he is a pretty big liability in pass coverage right now; he will need to develop his pass coverage skills if he wants to ever start in the NFL. If anyone can help him with this, though, it’s Jets DB Coach Dennis Thurman. Allen is athletic and has the potential to eventually start for the Jets. That’s obviously the best case scenario. Allen can also potentially participate on special teams.

Allen had a really nice year at South Carolina, though, with 88 tackles, 3 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, and 3 fumble recoveries. He was a second-team All American.

Here are a few highlight videos of Allen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDrVWcj6NDY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFWJ0bSMGRQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOPyR-8T0Ic

Pick Grade: A-

244.) WR Jordan White, Western Michigan

While I personally thought the Jets should have gone in a different direction with this pick, Jordan White was probably management’s BPA, and with good reason too. White led the NCAA FBS with 140 receptions for 1911 yards and 17 touchdowns. It’s worth noting that while WMU plays a spread offense, they have produced some good NFL players (Greg Jennings, Jason Babin).  Drafting the leading NCAA receiver can’t hurt. He could potentially be a great #4 in the long run.

White was a consensus All-American last year. Though he was a 6th-year senior and is somewhat of an injury liability, he proved himself enough last year to take a flier on him. Long-term, he could probably make a decent slot receiver. The Jets already have Jeremy Kerley for that, as Kerley was great for the Jets last year. On the Jets, White can probably only be a #4 receiver. Then again, he was drafted with a late 7th round pick so there isn’t much harm done.

Here are a few highlights:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eDz-CTPar8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xvlB47z6Ek

Pick Grade: B

All-in-all, I liked the Jets draft enough this year and would give the Jets an overall B grade for the draft this year. I also think recent UDFA signing Ryan Steed will make a nice contribution this year if, of course, he makes the team. This class is very boom-or-bust, but if even one of Coples or Hill lives up to his full potential as a player, this draft could turn out very nicely for the Jets. If Hill pans out the way he potentially could, the Jets probably have their best receiver since Keyshawn Johnson or even Al Toon; he could even be much better than both of them.

This could be the draft that makes-or-breaks the Tanny & Rex administration. I think Coples will be a nice contributor, but I believe that Stephen Hill will be the best pick in this class. He could be a top-5 or 10 receiver in a few years.

Have a take?  A question?  Join the discussion in the YDKF Forums.

Comments

  1. Drew Zambetti says:

    Good stuff, dude.

    This was a great, complete draft for the Jets. Looking forward to seeing all of these guys in green and white.

  2. DJC says:

    I was really happy that they were able to grab Allen so late.
    I would have been a little happier if they took more offensive linemen, but this seems like a pretty good draft.

  3. Kate Upton says:

    Great draft and great writeup.

    THANKS!

  4. crazypaul says:

    vernon gholston clone..why pick a player that high in the draft with work ethic concerns,save that for the later rounds..BUST..like the stephen hill pick,gives tebow a target haha..rex have fun trying to polish this turd..

    • Piledriver says:

      Calling him a Vernon Gholston clone is an ignorant statement, considering Coples hasn’t taken a snap yet for the Jets. The work ethic concerns are overblown too. Coples did everything that was asked of him (including switching/learning new positions in the front 7 after Butch Davis was fired). You should probably watch a few games and research the topic a little more, before you flush your toilet make yourself look like an asshat.

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