Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA;Leonard Williams
(Southern California) poses for a photo with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the number sixth overall pick to the New York Jets in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Now that the 2015 NFL Draft is officially in the books, how did the New York Jets do? With six draft picks by the Jets, they’ve so far had one heck of an offseason. This year’s final roster will have significant upgrades on their offense, defensive secondary and yes, even at quarterback.
When it came to their draft class however, the Jets made some big moves and left looking like winners. They were able to land the top defensive player in the entire draft, add an offensive weapon into their wide receiving corps and also add depth to their defensive and offensive lines respectively.
Let’s see what kind of grades the Jets have earned in my book from their final decisions on drafting players in this year’s draft.
Next: Round 1: DE Leonard Williams, No. 6
Oct 18, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive end Leonard Williams (94) against the Colorado Buffaloes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Round 1: DE Leonard Williams, No. 6
The Jets were lucky to have defensive end Leonard Williams fall right into their hands with the No. 6 overall pick in the draft. Projected to be the top defensive lineman in the entire draft, Williams will be another centerpiece on on their defense for years to come.
At 6’5″ and 300 pounds, Williams brings speed, intensity and such a superb skill-set, he will wreak havoc within the AFC East the moment he’s unleashed. He has a keen defensive ability to get to the quarterback with ease and precision.
In his collegiate career at USC, Williams contributed 218 tackles, 21.0 sacks and two interceptions to his credit. This was an absolute monster of a pick for the Jets which will bode well in their hopes of rebounding nicely come next season.
Draft Grade: A+
Next: Round 2: WR Devin Smith, No. 37
Dec 6, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Devin Smith (9) celebrates catching a pass in the end zone for a touchdown against the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big Ten football championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Round 2: WR Devin Smith, No. 37
It’s been quite some time that the Jets scored a real deep receiving threat via the draft. In the 2nd Round, the Jets were able to draft wide receiver Devin Smith who specializes in hauling in touchdowns literally out of nowhere thanks to his incredible speed.
At 6’0″ and 196 pounds, the Jets have found a young receiving target that can turn on his motor and run for daylight. Once the football is in his hands, he truly is a sight to watch when seeing just how fast he can really be, especially when streaking into the end-zone.
In his collegiate career at Ohio State, Smith contributed 2,503 yards on 121 receptions for 30 touchdowns. With some experience on special teams as well in kickoff and punt returning duties, Smith could truly be one heck of a contributing member for the Jets in a variety of different ways.
Draft Grade: A
Next: Round 3: OLB Lorenzo Mauldin, No. 82
Oct 18, 2014; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin (94) sacks North Carolina State Wolfpack quarterback Jacoby Brissett (12) during the second half of play at Papa John
Round 3: OLB Lorenzo Mauldin, No. 82
Looking to add some speed and tenacity to their linebacker corps, the Jets drafted outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin. At 6’4″ and 259 pounds, Mauldin is a workaholic that will go the distance on each and every single play he’s a part of. His toughness and mental fortitude will be a nice presence to have on the Jets’ defense.
At his collegiate career at Louisville, Mauldin contributed 113 tackles and 20.5 sacks which means he won’t stop until he gets to the ball carrier. Since the Jets are looking at a future replacement for Calvin Pace, Mauldin would typically fit that role on the team nicely and then some.
The Jets could have very well found their hidden gem in this year’s draft in Mauldin who was filled with emotion when he was drafted by the Jets due to everything he’s been through in his life. Now he will repay them back for taking a chance on him by putting it all on the football field. Keep an eye on him come next season.
Draft Grade: B+
Next: Round 4: QB Bryce Petty, No. 103
Jan 21, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; North squad quarterback Bryce Petty of Baylor (14) drops back to pass during North squad Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Round 4: QB Bryce Petty, No. 103
Could the Jets have found their future franchise quarterback? Well, not just yet. In the 4th Round the Jets boldly drafted quarterback Bryce Petty with their No. 103 pick. Petty is an overachieving kind of quarterback that puts it all on the line when he’s under center.
He has a ton of potential but will face a steep learning curve as he transitions into the NFL. At 6’3 and 230 pounds, Petty can make any throw that is required of him but due to all his time spent in a spread offense, he will have to adjust to a pro-style offense which will take a few years to master.
Considering that at Baylor he threw for 8,195 yards, 62 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions, Petty could be molded into quite the starting quarterback for the Jets over time. His potential is huge if he can take his talents even further in the NFL with the right coaching and development.
Draft Grade: B+
Next: Round 5: OG Jarvis Harrison, No. 152
Aug 31, 2013; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive linesman Jarvis Harrison (51) watches the game against theRice
Owls during the second quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Round 5: OG Jarvis Harrison, No. 152
Bolstering their offensive line, the Jets selected offensive guard Jarvis Harrison in the 5th Round of the draft. At 6’4″ and 330 pounds, Harrison has very good quickness in adjusting his role if need be depending on what is happening in the battle of the trenches.
This move makes sense from a depth point of view as Harrison is far from being a reliable starting offensive guard at this point in time. He has a good upside though which means he will learn from the mentors and veterans around him to hone his craft.
Over time, he has the skill-set to develop into a starting guard but he will need constant coaching and training to reach his true potential. He has what it takes to get there, as long as he is willing to put in the work even though he won’t see any starting time anytime soon.
Draft Grade: C+
Next: Round 7: DT Deon Simon, No. 223
Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of the stage before the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Round 7: DT Deon Simon, No. 223
With their final pick in this year’s draft, the Jets added another depth signing but this time for their defensive line. Drafting Deon Simon out of Northwestern State will bring another work-in-progress kind of athlete that could have potential down the road.
At 6’4″ and 321 pounds, Simon does well against the run but struggles when it comes to pass protection. The Jets will need to mold him into being a consistent interior defensive lineman if they hope he turns out for the better over the next year or two.
Overall, Simon has some good strength but needs to work on his speed and ability to be consistent when his opportunities come to contribute.
Draft Grade: C-