Jan 21, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets new head coach Todd Bowles speaks during a press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com via USA TODAY Sports
With just one game left in the entire 2014 NFL season, it is time to start focusing on the offseason and the NFL Draft come late April- early May. While we still have a lot of time before the draft, it is never too early to speculate on who the Jets may, or should be targeting in the NFL Draft. Recently, I was able to catch up with fellow Jets fan and NFL video guy for Bleacher Report, Connor Rogers. I asked Connor five questions on the Jets and the draft.
Next: The Sixth Pick
Jan 21, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets new general manager Mike Maccagnan speaks during a press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com via USA TODAY Sports
1. The Jets have many needs they will be looking to fill in the draft and free agency, if you were the GM, which position would you look to address with the 6th pick?
CR– With the way the ‘top 10’ is shaping up, the Jets should most likely look to add an edge rusher or offensive lineman with the 6th overall pick. I expect Jameis Winston to be gone and the wide receiver class is deep enough where they do not need to take Cooper. Some key names to keep an eye on are: LSU OT La’el Collins, Pitt OT TJ Clemmings, Florida EDGE Dante Fowler, Nebraska EDGE Randy Gregory, Washington OLB Shaq Thompson, and Kentucky OLB Bud Dupree.
My thoughts– I definitely agree with Connor here. My preference for the Jets is to either booster the offensive line with a guy like Collins, or draft an edge pass rusher like Dante Fowler. In my opinion, both would be excellent picks at six.
Next: Mariota or Winston
Jan 1, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) during the post-game press conference after the 2015 Rose Bowl college football game at Rose Bowl. Oregon Ducks defeated Florida State Seminoles 59-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
2.Many people have QB’s Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota linked to the Jets. Who is a better fit for the Jets?
CR– Even with the off field baggage, Jameis Winston is the better fit for the simple reason that he is a marginally better player. He has all the tools to be a successful pro quarterback from arm talent to on-field IQ. If he can stay out of trouble off the field, he will have a lot of success in the NFL.
My thoughts– Personally, I am higher on Mariota, but I definitely get where Connor is coming from. The issue with Mariota is if the offense he played in at Oregon will be able to translate to success in the NFL. The main issue I have with Winston is his off the field issues. I worry about him in New York.
Next: Pass Rusher
Nov 22, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive lineman Dante Fowler Jr. (6) against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels during the first quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
3.Dante Fowler JR, Shane Ray, and Randy Gregory are three DE/OLB who may be available for the Jets at 6. Which of these players do you think is the best fit for the Jets and why?
CR-Dante Fowler would be the best fit due to his versatility and ability to blossom into a 3-down defender in the front seven. He can rush the passer off the edge but also excels rushing through the interior gaps, while holding his own against the run.
My thoughts– I agree with Connor 100% here. After watching Fowler play every week this past season, if he is on the board for the Jets at number, I think it will be very hard for them to pass him up. Fowler would thrive rushing off the edge, freeing up 1 on 1 opportunities for Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson. Randy Gregory is another guy who would be a nice fit for the Jets due to his ability to get after the passer.
Nov 22, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers running back James Conner (24) rushes the ball as Syracuse Orange safety Durell Eskridge (3) pursues during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 30-7. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Looking outside of the first round, who are three ” sleeper” prospects who the Jets should keep an eye on?
CR-. Three sleepers I’m a big fan of in this draft class Syracuse free safety Durell Eskridge (4th round grade), Minnesota running back David Cobb (3rd round grade), and Miami corner back Ladarius Gunter (No official grade from me yet). My original sleeps were Miami OH corner back Quinten Rollins and Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams, but they have blown up in the scouting community recently.
My thoughts– Some very interesting names listed by Connor here. For me, I only have one real sleeper at this point. That player is tight end Jesse James, formerly of Penn State. James is 6’7 255 and is a matchup nightmare for whoever is lined up opposite him defensively. James and second year tight end Jace Amaro would be two nice receiving tight ends for the Jets. James needs to improve his blocking to become a more complete tight end, but I can see him being a target for teams in the 3rd-4th round.
Next: Personal Choice
Nov 15, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson (8) runs against Florida State Seminoles during the first half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
5. Give me one player you are hoping the Jets draft.
CR– I would like to see the Jets land either Arizona State wide out Jaelen Strong or Miami running back Duke Johnson. Strong is a massive red zone target that also works the middle of the field extremely well. Johnson is an explosive runner with top notch receiving skills out of the backfield, something the Jets have lacked recently.
My thoughts– I agree with Connor when it comes to Strong and Johnson. Both would look very good in the Green and White. One player I hope to see the Jets land is UCLA LB Eric Kendricks. After watching Kendricks play, it is clear to see that he is a flat out play maker. The LB has great instincts, and has a greta first step. Kendrick is also a tackle machine, being the leader on his UCLA defense in college. If for some reason Kendricks slips out of the first round, I hope the Jets find a way to draft the young linebacker.
I would like to thank Connor Rogers for taking some time to answer these questions. With months to go before the draft, many things will change, but it is never too early to start looking at potential Jets.