The first pick I have no problem with. Dee Milliner is the best cover corner in the draft, and can start at corner, despite this being a knee-jerk reaction to the Revis trade. The pick at #13 for Sheldon Richardson is the one that has me confused, and trying to make sense of the logic behind it. Not that there is anything wrong with the player himself, but what does it mean? Here’s what I see.
First off, because of first round picks in the past 3 drafts devoted to defensive lineman, can I assume this is now a predominantly 4 man base front? My guess would be Coples and Wilkerson at end, and Garay, and Kenrick Ellis at tackle. Sheldon Richardson would rotate or start at tackle, and also spend a little time at end? I can’t see the reasoning for drafting another DT/DE type of player. Or does this mean Coples will be expected to be a stand up linebacker? Also if they use a 4 man front, it changes the dynamic of the players behind them. David Harris would flourish, but Antwan Barnes and Calvin Pace are not speed rushing, tackling machines. They are far better as 3-4 outside linebackers, than 4-3 tackle accumulators. What is the new defense aimed at? My expectation is a Giants-style attacking front 4, opposed to a Jets blitzing attack. But where are the pieces behind the front 4?
Secondly, because of Sheldon, my draft board is screwed up. All bets are off. The top 3 passers in Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, and Ryan Nassib are all available in round 2. Do the Jets draft one, trade the pick for more picks to a QB needy team, or go in a different direction? I think they can still use a guard unless they are comfortable with Vlad Ducasse starting. This leaves Larry Warford, and maybe a handful of other guys available. Or do they get a second round receiver like Robert Woods or Marcus Wheaton? I don’t see the holes being filled this year with upgrades,which is my biggest concern. It looks more like the approach to take the best player regardless of need. What is needed currently is guard, free safety, tight end, etc. One player to look out for in my mind now would be Khaseem Greene the outside linebacker from Rutgers who was an absolute tackling machine for years. If a guy like him gets drafted as a definite weak side linebacker, then I’ll know the 4-3 is here to stay.
Lastly, what does this mean for Rex Ryan? I think the receivers if Edwards is resigned will be stable with Holmes, Edwards, Hill, and Kerley. However, if a starting caliber guard and free safety are not drafted, will Rex be a lame duck coach after the season? Is this a team being crafted for a replacement coach in 2014? That’s a bit of a reach, but just a question that lingers. A lot of questions following the Sheldon Richardson pick, but hopefully answers will come by draft’s end.