What do you do with five NFL draft picks in the 6th and 7th rounds? Ordinarily a team would trade that many picks because the players probably wouldn’t make it to the active roster. If you don’t trade them, you run the risk of drafting players knowing they probably won’t make it past game four of the preseason on your roster. The Jets are in a precarious situation though. All the websites label the compensatory picks as being a bounty given to the Jets, but considering three of them come in the 6th round and you can’t trade those picks, it forces the Jets to draft a lot of players in rounds 6 and 7.
If you can’t trade those picks, and you don’t want to draft players just to cut them (what would be the point of that?), these are five players that can find a home with the team despite being drafted on Day 3.
1. Dri Archer KR/PR/WR/RB Kent State. I put a lot of positions behind the guy’s name because he can do it all. He’s a diminutive running back at only 5’8 and 175 or so, but he just ran a 4.26 at the combine. He has a history as a great return man, and he had several big plays from all of the positions listed above. The Jets draft him in the 6th round and put an end to the revolving door at kick and punt returner for several years and watch him become the next Devin Hester or Josh Cribbs. He can also be used for five touches a game as a slot receiver or wing back if they want to get creative on offense.
2. Jeremy Gallon WR Michigan. Everyone says the Jets need help at wide receiver. The way to address this could be to add depth at the back of the draft. Gallon is another short guy at 5’8″ and 185 pounds, but he reminds me of Steve Smith (formerly of the Panthers). Gallon despite his stature boasts the 2nd highest single season receiving total last year with 1,373 receiving yards and 9 TD’s. Despite this he’s rated as a 6th or 7th round pick. Check how he did in big games : 8 catches 184 yards , 3 TD’s against 20th ranked Notre Dame or 9 catches 175 yards, and 1 TD against 12 ranked Ohio State. He has 4.45 to 4.5 speed and the Jets would be wise to draft him in either the 6th or 7th round.
3. Pat O’Donnell P Miami . Pat O’Donnell has increased his punting averages and touchbacks throughout his career at Miami. The Jets have gone through 3 punters in the past three years (Steve Weatherford, Ryan Quigley, Robert Malone). Rather than continue the revolving door, the team could draft the 6’5″ 220 pound punter with the big leg who kicked for 47.13 yards per punt. That average is better than all three noted above. He has such a booming leg that Miami elected to use him as the kickoff man rather than the kicker. 7th round would be a great time and you can forget about punters for 10 years.
4. Michael Sam DE/OLB Missouri. Sam’s draft stock seems to have declined after posting a 4.9 in the 40 and 17 bench reps. He improved his timed speed to a 4.7 and 19 bench reps and tipped the scales at 6’2″ and 263 pounds. The Jets consistently use the back of the depth chart for guys like Garrett McIntyre and Troy Davis at linebacker to play special teams and give guys a breather. How about drafting Sam in the 6th round? He has a connection to NY through last years DROY Sheldon Richardson, to make his transition to the pro’s easier. He also collected 11.5 sacks in the SEC last year. He can be used as a stand-up edge rusher on passing situations and help boost that pass rush with a late round pick.
5. Colt Lyerla TE Oregon. This is before the biggest risk, biggest reward pick. Lyerla is 6’5″ 245 pounds, and ran a 4.61, and as low as a 4.45 40. He was used all over the field for Oregon, and has been compared to everyone from Jimmy Graham to Gronkowski. He is big, he’s fast, he’s athletic but he has drug/attitude problems which took him from a top 60 pick to a 6th or 7th round type of guy. His yards per catch are around 16 which for a tight end are ridiculous. If a team with strong leadership, and good locker room presence can stay on him, he might be able to be the steal of the entire draft. While Eric Ebron is athletic, the Jets may have to go cornerback in round 1, and a way to add some depth could be Lyerla in round 6 or 7.
There are a number of other guys that I like that missed the cut, but these players represent a very good chance to be drafted, stick on the team, and find a niche that can see them on the field as special teams, third down options, or even starters at their positions. These five players represent all of that with the Jets’ five draft picks in rounds 6 and 7.