With the Senior Bowl in full swing and the NFL scouting combine and draft quickly approaching lets breakdown Mel Kiper’s mock draft and the possibilities the New York Jets can consider moving forward this off season. In his first mock draft of the year, released January 16th Mel Kiper has the Jets taking LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo.
What? Another defensive lineman? Yep, that’s right, Mel Kiper believes that Rex Ryan, coach of the New York Jets will not address the offensive woes and select yet another defensive lineman in the 2013 NFL Draft. The 6 foot 5 inch 245 pound product from LSU hasn’t had the college career that you would associate with a number nine pick, but his athleticism and speed has scouts impressed. Mingo, or KeKe as he’s often referred is a tall and lean defensive end, who’s build and athleticism are better suited to a stand up edge rushing linebacker than an every down defensive lineman. While its widely accepted Mingo wasn’t used in a way that played to his strengths during his college career, his explosiveness and length are a rare combination that is only seen in a select few players in the NFL. He plays with surprising strength for his thin build, and has the moves to beat lineman after they engage, often finding himself in the backfield with one on one opportunities for a big stop behind the line of scrimmage.
So how does this play into the Jets needs going forward? While Barkevious Mingo has rare athleticism and speed, he’s not an every down defensive lineman. With the emergence of Muhammad Wilkerson as a pro bowl caliber player, and Quinton Coples showing promise do the Jet’s really need another DL/LB hybrid when there are other areas of need? The New York Jets had the second ranked pass defense in the league in 2012, even with the loss of Darrelle Revis and not even a hint of a pass rush. Mingo would instantly improve the pass defense as his pass rushing skills will certainly cause headaches for opponents and open up more one on one opportunities for the talented playmakers on the interior line.
But is this the best option for the Jets? Mingo is far from an every down player and it’s likely he may never be one. The Jets have real need on the offensive side of the football, and the run defense, particularly linebacker play was awful throughout the season. With no playmakers on the outside the Jets struggled to throw the ball, as much a product of Mark Sanchez’s regression as the lack of talent. There are real needs that need to be addressed, and I believe wide receiver, offensive guard and linebacker are three of them that should be acknowledged before picking another defensive lineman, talented or not.
Below are some players that the Jets could pick in the number 9 spot to fill other areas of need.
Chance Warmack – OG Alabama
If the Jets take a chance on Warmack in the upcoming draft it could pay dividends well into the future. An elite talent that played in the SEC Warmack has dominant size at 320lbs and the strength to blow defenders off the line of scrimmage. At the moment Mel Kiper has him being taken with the 7th pick by the Arizona Cardinals, but the Cards are notoriously unpredictable when it comes to draft day, and paying a guard #7 money isn’t a common practice. He does tend to come high out of his stance, and can be caught out of position if he loses leverage to a shorter, quicker defender. The addition of Warmack would instantly bolster the Jets offensive line, helping this unit return to the dominance it had just a few years ago.
Bottom Line – A top talent who will be a solid, yet quiet contributor for the better part of a decade.
Manti Te’o – LB Notre Dame
Manti Te’o was a big time player throughout his college career at Notre Dame, and I’m talking strictly on the playing field. Te’o is a smart player who can stuff the run and bang heads with lineman and fullbacks on an every down basis. Manti plays impressively in pass coverage, with good instincts and the ability to play the ball in the air. Mel Kiper has Buffalo taking Manti with the 8th pick in the draft, directly in front of the New York Jets. Although the recent situation in his personnel life and perceived lack of speed may allow him to fall passed that spot and directly into the hands of Rex Ryan and the Jets. His 40 yard dash time at the upcoming combine will likely have the biggest impact on the draft position of Te’o in 2013.
Bottom Line – An immediate upgrade to the run defense. Must be accounted for in blocking schemes and plays the pass better than expected. Manti Te’o Will be a solid contributor in the league for many years to come.
Cordarelle Patterson – Wide Receiver Tennessee
The Tennessee Volunteers receiver Cordarelle Patterson is slated to be picked number twelve by the Miami Dolphins, after the Jets pick at number nine. At 6 foot 3 inches tall Patterson is a big target with solid hands and better than expected route running ability. Tennessee was once Wide Receiver U, and Patterson could live up to that expectation. While is speed is thought to be less than elite, a good performance in the 40 yard dash at the combine could boost his draft stock and lead to being selected by the Jets with the ninth pick. He would be an immediate upgrade over anyone besides Santonio Holmes.
Bottom Line – A slightly less physical, slightly quicker Anquan Boldin type receiver. Ready to play and contribute now, but may never exceed being a number two receiver.