The Jets next selected Antone Exum of Virginia Tech with their 4th round compensatory pick (137) because Rex loves corners and this is a true value pick to find Exum available here. A concern about recovery from an ACL injury in January of 2013 leaves him here. Exum can be a chess piece moved all around by Ryan and Thurman because he has experience at corner and safety. Has good size at 6’0″ and 213 pounds. Exum has press man experience as well as two years of free safety work to fall back on. The diehards that come on Day 3 of the draft give their approval here.
The Jets traded down from 154 in the 5th round to 162 and picked up pick 237 in the 7th round as a result. Ryan Groy of Wisconsin slipped through the cracks and was still available then. Groy plays left guard mostly but has experience at center and even a couple of games at left tackle. Definitely a backup with starter’s potential.
Into the 6th round at pick 195 the Jets draft a running back going with Mississippi State’s LaDarius Perkins. Perkins is built like a bowling ball at 5’7″ and 195 pounds. He has 4.46 speed and had over 1,500 all-purpose yards as a senior. He cuts well, accelerates well and has breakaway speed when he gets to the next level. He can catch the ball out of the backfield and block as well. Good value in the 6th round.
Pick 210 floored many Jets fans when John Idzik selected Colt Lyerla, the tight end out of Oregon. After all the talk about character and fitting into the “Play Like a Jet” mold, Idzik drafts a player who is extremely talented but has major character red flags, such as an arrest for cocaine possession and multiple suspensions from the school. Still a lot of experts believe he can be an offensive weapon that can break a defense down the seam. A pairing of Amaro and Lyerla would be scary for opponents and Cumberland would still be on the roster as insurance.
The following pick the Jets selected Jeremy Gallon of Michigan. Gallon led the Wolverines in receiving the past two years despite inconsistent quarterback play. He plays much taller than his 5’7″ frame and has the single-game Big Ten record for receiving yards with 369 against Indiana in 2013 as well as the Michigan single-season receiving record (besting Braylon Edwards) with 1,373. Gallon is a better player than his measurables indicate and one that just finds a way to succeed.
The last of the compensatory picks is pick 213. Vinnie Sunseri of Alabama is a safety who can drop in the box and support the run as well as having good hands and excellent football IQ. He also called the signals for the Alabama defense and has value as a special teamer.
The 7th round begins with the Jets own pick at 233. Rex gets his pick and the Jets draft Tajh Boyd, QB out of Clemson. Boyd is mobile, has won a lot of games at Clemson but is also not very accurate and has had a nightmare of an offseason with poor performances. Once considered a possibility of a 1st round pick last year he is now here in the 7th just waiting for a chance. It’s a good value plus Rex has seen him play more than any other college quarterback and likes him. Good developmental quarterback.
Lastly at pick 237 the Jets take a flyer on defensive end Michael Sam of Missouri. Sam will be heralded because of his announcement that he will be the first openly gay player in the NFL. Football-wise, it is odd to see the SEC Co-defensive player of the year available in the 7th round but here he is. Sam had 11.5 sacks last year and finished the plays that were flushed to him. He would project to OLB with the Jets but although he has a high motor, his speed and quickness around the edge. Some teams will stay away because the player will always generate extra attention and could be a distraction in year 1 if the media gets out of control. He also will have to assimilate into the locker room where there still are some prejudices but here he has a friend in Sheldon Richardson and that would make his transition easier.
So there you have it. 12 picks are in the book with the focus on offense with a QB, an RB, 2 WRs, 2 TEs and a OL. Defensively, they got the best corner in the draft and another corner that can can play safety. They also addressed OLB for the 1st time in awhile, as well as some special teamers that will have a chance to develop into future starters. They took some chances with Lyerla and Sam that will test the locker room but on paper they are an improved team today.
We’ll see how the real draft turns out in less than 2 weeks. I, for one, am getting antsy waiting for the Draft. Can’t wait.