Adding Colt Lyerla in the later rounds would be a good gamble for the Jets to take

Colt Lyerla: Why the New York Jets should Draft the TE

Jan. 3, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA: Oregon Ducks tight end Colt Lyerla (15) against the Kansas State Wildcats during the 2013 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Oregon defeated Kansas State 35-17. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Based on talent alone, Colt Lyerla would be a first round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Arguably, Lyerla is the most talented tight end in the entire NFL Draft. In just two seasons as an Oregon Duck, Lyerla scored eleven touchdowns, with 565 yards on thirty four career receptions. Unfortunately, Lyerla left the team after two games of the 2013 season.

Just three weeks into the 2013 season, Colt Lyerla quit the Oregon Ducks football team, in a move that stunned the nation. Just days later, Lyerla was arrested for unlawful possession of cocaine. Before the 2013 season, Lyerla would have most likely been either a first round pick, or a second round pick. But after he was arrested,his draft stock took a huge blow.

Aside from his cocaine arrest, it was noted that Lyerla was in trouble with the law in the past, having his drivers licenses removed in 2013, after four driving tickets in the past 24 months. Lyerla also had his fair share of controversial tweets ( he has since deleted his account). While Lyerla is a tremendous talent, he also carries a lot of baggage that NFL teams will have to accept.

When Lyerla is on the field, he is a dominant player. He has great speed for a tight end, who runs great routes, and possesses great hands. Strictly based on his play, Lyerla has drawn comparisons to Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski, which is very high praise for a college athlete. A very valuable aspect of his game that is not talked about enough is his ability to block. The Jets have been in need for a pass catching tight end for years, and also can use a blocking tight end. In Lyerla, they can get both.

In a way, Lyerla reminds me of Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict before the draft. While I feel Lyerla is even more of a red flag, both are similar in terms that based on talent alone, they would be first round picks, but Burfict wound up going undrafted. Today, Burfict is arguably the Bengals best defensive player, and has turned his life around.

One thing to note about Lyerla is that he has always been considered highly competitive, and always had the will to win. Those are traits for a player that can certainly not be taught. It should also be noted that since his arrest, Lyerla has been out of the spotlight, and seems to have turned his life around. At the NFL combine, Lyerla opened up about his time in jail, and his cocaine arrest. Lyerla said ” I can’t really say too much about that, but it is something I deeply, deeply regret and it is a mistake I’ll have to live with the rest of my life”. When asked about his time in jail, Lyerla said ” That was huge for me. It gave me a lot of time to self-reflect and realize that’s a place I never want to be again.”.

Recently, Lyerla has moved away from home, and has stayed out of trouble since. When asked about his future in the NFL, Lyerla said ” I put myself in a position where my back’s against the wall, to the point that if I do not do everything perfect and the right way, I won’t be able to play football, let alone be successful in any shape or form.” From that quote alone, it seems like a guy who really wants to forget his past, and move on. While he obviously needs to back those words up, Lyerla is a guy I hope the Jets draft in the later rounds.

Lucky for the Jets, the team has 12 picks in this years draft. Drafting a guy like Lyerla in the 6-7th round may turn out to be a complete steal, if Lyerla stays out of trouble of course. If Lyerla unfortunately gets in trouble again, missing on one player out of 12 is not a huge deal. I feel the gain out ways the risk in terms of the Jets and Lyerla. While that may not be the same for other teams with fewer picks, the Jets are in a position to take a chance.

If Lyerla is drafted by the Jets and can stay out of trouble, the Jets found themselves a tremendous talent.

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Tags: Colt Lyerla New York Jets Oregon Ducks

  • Paul Newbold

    Huge gamble!! Yes, they could give this kid a chance in the late rounds or maybe as a UDFA, but eventually the NFL has to stop looking the other way. To give a young athlete NFL type money when you alredy know he has a drug problem, is just irresponsible. The league might as well just hand him a kilo and tell him everything is ok, as long a he plays well! Mr. Idzik has stated that any potential Jet, would be scrutinized, character being a top priority….in a case like this we’ll find out how much truth is really in that statement.

    • Floyd Toucanet

      Do you know how many people in the United States use “illegal drugs”? A LOT. Do you know how many college students use drugs? ALMOST ALL OF THEM.

      • Paul Newbold

        So, since almost all college students use illegal drugs, society should condone it? Since you claim almost all college students use illegal drugs…then the entire draft class are drug addicts? Condoning illegal drug use, and providing enough cash to fuel a lifetime addiction is not the way I’d like to see the NFL behave. Maybe you think watching a hopped up heroin addict trying to catch a football is entertaining…I don’t…they usually die trying! Good Grief….you’re logic is screwed!

        • John

          Paul, I understand where you’re coming from but I personally don’t feel the NFL would be condoning drug use by giving this man a chance. He has been to counseling and has since expressed regret about his past behavior. Other men have turned their lives around in the NFL. Granted, some have also proven to bring disgrace and shame on themselves and the league. Still, just about every human being on this planet has needed some amount of grace and patience on the part of others to live their lives successfully. Indeed, even from a spiritual perspective, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Still, God bestowed some grace on all mankind as the scripture later said, “By grace are ye saved through faith…” Bottom line is no one is perfect and most if not all of us need “extra chances” in life. Colt is related to me, although, not closely related, and I know he has worked through adversity most of his life. If he broke through other barriers, I have confidence that he can rise above his current circumstances and succeed. He’s physically tough, and he’s endowed with tremendous athleticism. I’d love to see this young man turn his life around, and I think it would be a credit to the NFL if it would give this man an “extra chance.”

          • Paul Newbold

            Nobody drafted the kid, speaks volumes. If they want to give him a try out fine. The kid is an athletic freak. My response was more of a retort to the mantra “everyone else uses drugs”. Just because occasionally someone jumps from the Brooklyn Bridge, does that mean we all should give it a try occasionally? Flawed logic.

          • John

            Well first of all, I don’t see a single comment in this thread that suggests we should all try something just because so many others done so. What I interpret from the idea that so many others in college have tried drugs was the fact that a college atmosphere sometimes provides enormous temptations that entice many young impressionable students. Given the fact that many people can succumb to such enticing moments perhaps organizations can and should try to reach out and help individuals who have fallen. I believe Floyd was simply suggesting to you that we should not be so hasty in writing people off without giving them another chance to rebuild their lives. Now as far as your quote that “nobody drafted the kid, speaks volumes” is concerned, I have to point out that every year there are players that go undrafted who eventually prove to be more effective than the majority of those that were drafted. That said, I’m sure Colt knows his odds of making a go in the NFL are really going to be tough due to his irresponsible behavior. Still, I’d like to see the guy turn his life around and I hope you would feel the same.