2014 is in the rearview mirror. Well, for all but two teams it’s in the rearview mirror. It’s been over for the Jets for quite some time, we can agree on that.
Here in the post season, we often take time to look back at the season gone by. Well, ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. has done just that. We all know that he grades each team’s performance in the draft. Now, he has gone back and regraded the teams after the season (insider subscription required), and adjusted the grades based on the performance of the draft class.
Kiper was kind to the Jets last spring, giving the draft class a “B”. Take a look at what Kiper has to say now:
There is going to be a misconception about this dropped grade. Let me dispel that quickly, because I hear “struggled” when this player’s rookie year is described, pretty much all the time. The truth: Calvin Pryor was just fine as a rookie. He was better than a league-average safety, and in a league where safeties and corners look bad all the time as they adjust to the speed and technical ability of receivers, tight ends and backs running at them — remember Dee Milliner‘s rookie year, Jets fans? — Pryor wasn’t remotely bad. He just wasn’t a star, had his ups and downs in coverage, and assuming he improves, he can be a really good player. He wasn’t a bad pick. Jace Amaro caught 38 passes (tied for second on the team) and if he can ever find chemistry with whomever is at QB, can be a good one. Dexter McDougle got hurt, so that’s just bad luck.
Where this draft suffers is New York simply didn’t find even the hint of a playmaker at wide receiver when so many others did. They took Pryor when Brandin Cooks was available (excusable), McDougle instead of John Brown or Donte Moncrief, then both Jalen Saunders and Shaq Evans in front or Martavis Bryant. Heck yes, this is total hindsight, but that’s what an early re-grade is. I wrote then, “I thought the Jets did a nice job with my one question being whether they really added a player in the passing game that will scare defenses.” Amaro is a start, and a trade for Percy Harvin that came too late helped, but there was some bad luck and missed opportunities. There’s nothing really to be said yet for the many late lottery ticket picks they had. The fact that the team struggled so much doesn’t help, either.
New grade: C+
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We know that it is difficult to review a draft class after only one season. There is a learning curve to the NFL in a player’s rookie season. But, it is also hard to argue with downgrading the Jets draft class of 2014.
What do you guys think?