September 1, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Clemson Tigers offensive tackle Shaq Anthony (76) and offensive linesman Brandon Thomas (63) celebrate beating the Auburn Tigers while wearing the "Old Leather Helmet" at the Georgia Dome. Clemson won 26-19. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Thomas: Potential Draftee For the New York Jets?

Brandon Thomas, who was ranked as the third best guard prospect in this year’s draft (and a 2nd round type of player) tore his ACL on a workout with the Saints a short while ago. His draft stock has now plummeted faster than Enron in 2001. When a player has a top 50-60 type of talent, and gets injured, where do you place him in a draft? Do you not draft him because it’s a waste of a draft pick? Do you draft him based on where he would have been drafted anyway?

There have been cases with running backs like Willis McGahee that the Bills drafted even though he was injured, and last year with Marcus Lattimore of the 49ers. My guess is that Brandon Thomas will still be drafted, but as to what round I can’t speculate.

How this turns out to be Thomas’ loss, could ultimately be the New York Jets’ gain. Thomas is a talented guard, and the Jets have Willie Colon and Brian Winters as starters. Colon is coming off injury, and Winters is average at best. Thomas could be an upgrade over both of those guys. Here’s where it gets good.

The Jets have 12 draft picks.  One extra through trade, and four compensatory picks. The compensatory picks cannot be traded, so the Jets have to draft someone. You can’t realistically expect a team to draft 12 players and all of them, or even half of them be on the opening day roster when you have that many picks. The good thing about a guy like Brandon Thomas is that the Jets can spend a 4th rounder, of which they have three, and tag Thomas with it.

The 4th round could be a bit high for a guy that won’t play a down of football this year, but until recently teams routinely drafted quarterbacks in the first round and sat them for a year or two to learn the ropes. It could be in the Jets best interest to draft a guard that is potentially better than the two starters they currently have, while also never having to count that drafted player on this year’s roster. They can draft, injured reserve him, and stash him as a starter for 2015 without batting an eye.

Although I feel bad for any player that injures himself just prior to the draft, this could help the Jets on so many levels for talent development, and building a strong roster in the future. I’m absolutely sure that 31 other teams in the NFL have the same idea, but they don’t have 12 draft picks to play with and make it happen.

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  • Paul Newbold

    If he’s around in the later rounds ok. I think they have to go OL in the mid rounds anyway (Colon has a year left maybe) but can’t afford to gamble, since the draftee will most likely be in line to start the following year. Gambling that he’ll be healthy for 2015 isn’t a good idea if you expect him to take over for Colon. DRaft an OL in the fourth, and IF he’s still around after that point…take a shot with later round pick.

  • RONBO19

    I think if he’s there with the last of our 4th round picks he would be well worth the pick.The guy has 2nd round talent and ACL’s are common injuries that pose no long range problems. Another guy i like is Oklahoma corner back Aaron Colvin who I would love to grab in round 6 with one of our three picks there.Corner’s are a little riskier as they rely on their change of direction skills so much that the recovery time may take a little longer.Fortunately his injury was at the Sr.Bowl so he’s already ahead of the game as he should be good to go in late November or early December this year.Both of these guys will likely be I.R’d season so it would be like getting two extra 2nd round picks for next season.