2014 NFL Draft: Looking at the New York Jets’ First Round Options
By Charlie DiSturco
Photo Credit: Geoff Burke – USA Today Sports
The New York Jets have dropped their third straight game after losing to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, as their playoff hopes are quickly diminishing.
Sitting at 5-7, the Jets have struggled mightily after entering their Bye in Week 10, as they went from a team who defeated the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints, to a team who struggles with the passing game and are inconsistent in their run game.
With Geno Smith at quarterback, the Jets have a slight chance of making the playoffs, but his 26 turnovers point in the opposite direction.
Their sights may have turned to the 2014 NFL Draft, as the team has proven its inconsistency and incapability to score in the past three weeks. They are currently the 11th pick in the draft, but when the season ends, they may be looking at a top 10 draft pick.
There are a variety of options for the Jets in the first round, as they are struggling at multiple positions. Their first need is a wide receiver, but if a quarterback or possibly a top linebacker is available, they may go for a quarterback in the later rounds.
Option 1: Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson – The Jets need a wide receiver who they can rely on to help them develop their passing game. Right now, the Jets have an abysmal offense and the root of that problem is the wide receivers. The Jets wide outs have dropped pass after pass and have struggled when the team enters the red zone (or even to get into opponent’s territory). Sammy Watkins is a quick wide receiver that can beat cornerbacks down the field. He can also run routes well and get open for Smith with ease. Watkins has 85 receptions this year, totaling 1,237 yards and 10 touchdowns. His versatility will help him thrive in the Jets offense, especially if he becomes the team’s number one option.
Option 2: Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M – In many mock drafts, the Jets are projected to take a wide receiver. The team needs that number one option that Smith can rely on all game. In 2013, the Jets wide outs have just two games where they amassed over 100 yards and there has been one receiving touchdown in the past five games. Mike Evans can slide right into the role as the number one receiver, as his reliability for Texas A&M’s quarterback Johnny Manziel contributed to the quarterback winning the Heisman as a freshman. This year, Evans has amassed 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Jets are desperate for a wide receiver and Evans seems like the second best available.
Option 3: Anthony Barr – OLB – UCLA – Coach Rex Ryan and the Jets love to stack their defense and in the past year, their defensive line has developed into one of the best in the NFL. However, their pass defense has struggled, as they are the 27th ranked defense against wide receivers. With the addition of Anthony Barr, the Jets could have a solid pass defense and could get to the quarterback often. New York has sacked the quarterback two or less times in seven of their 12 games. Barr can get to the quarterback fast and force the quarterback to make bad decisions leading to a turnover or a sack.
Option 4: Brett Hundley – QB – UCLA – With Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota announcing he will return for his junior year, Brett Hundley’s draft stock has increased. Hundley is one of the most NFL-ready quarterbacks and with Smith having a dreadful rookie year, the Jets may look for another quarterback to lead their offense. Hundley is a smooth pocket passer, but he also has the athleticism to run away from the blitz and gain positive yardage. Hundley has led UCLA to a 9-3 record, as he has thrown for 2,845 yards with 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also has 150 rushes for 587 yards and nine touchdowns. His versatility makes him a threat for any defense, as they will have trouble containing the UCLA product.
The Jets have multiple positions that need some changes and in the NFL Draft this may be their chance. The running backs are not rated that high, but they could snag Oregon back De’Anthony Thomas in the second or third round. If they pass on Hundley, there are multiple quarterbacks that will be available in the second round including AJ McCarron and Sean Mannion