Nov 21, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Braxton Miller (5) runs with the ball against the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
The NY Jets will have some key spots to fill in the 2016 NFL Draft. Their top three running backs are all free agents and need an edge rusher in addition to a pass catching tight end.
Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles had a great draft last year and are looking to replicate similar results this time around. In this year’s draft, they have another golden opportunity to enhance their team to build upon their success of 2015.
When it comes to the draft, some like to just take the best player available while others like to take the best player at a position of need. The Jets are at the point where they can do the latter.
Here’s a complete mock draft heading into this year’s draft in which the Jets end up addressing many needs across the team while adding top talent that are ready to contribute immediately upon arrival. At the current time of this writing, the Jets only have six draft picks. So, they will have to attack their main needs early for everything to fall into place.
Next: 1st Round: Defensive End/Linebacker
Nov 28, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs the ball against Michigan State Spartans defensive end Shilique Calhoun (89) during the second half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
1st Round: Defensive end Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
Calhoun has shown big improvement from his 2014 to 2015 seasons. He has shown his ability to play the run and the pass (both as a rusher and defender).
From an edge rushing perspective, he gives the Jets exactly what they need. He had 10.5 sacks this season and he added 14.5 tackles for a loss with three passes defended.
His versatility is also a welcomed site for the Jets. He can play 4-3 end or 3-4 outside linebacker.
Next: 2nd Round: Tight End
November 28, 2015; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal tight end Austin Hooper (18) runs in for a touchdown against Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the second half at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
2nd Round: Tight End Austin Hooper, Stanford
The Jets need a pass catching tight end. With that said, Hooper is a solid dual threat tight end and the Jets could use his skill-set to great success on offense.
The Stanford Cardinals run a lot of multiple tight end sets, for both the run and pass games. Hooper has proven to be a good blocker and an equally good pass catcher.
He had multiple pass catching weapons, but despite the few catches he had six touchdowns. This shows he can be a viable red zone threat, something the Jets need come next season.
Next: 3rd Round: Running Back
Nov 7, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back C.J. Prosise (20) runs the ball past Pittsburgh Panthers defensive lineman Ejuan Price (5) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
3rd Round: Running back C.J. Procise, Notre Dame
Procise began his Notre Dame career as a wide receiver. He had 62 receptions for 896 yards in three seasons at Notre Dame, which makes him a viable option to replace Bilal Powell.
An injury allowed Prosise to break out as a runner this season. He had 6.6 yards per carry and 11 touchdowns this season in 10 games.
Behind the Jets’ offensive line, Prosise can run wild in the NFL. He will be a great asset on third down and he showed he can also be an every down back as well.
Next: 4th Round: Wide Receiver
Jan 1, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Braxton Miller (1) makes a catch as Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Marshon Lattimore (2) defends during the first half in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
4th Round: Braxton Miller
Miller has shown his move to wide receiver wasn’t just a team move as it proved he can play receiver with the best of them.
We also knew about his running ability from his time as a quarterback. He had 26 receptions and 42 carries for 601 yards and a touchdown. He could be quite the threat on special teams as a dynamic kickoff/punt returner.
That doesn’t light the scoreboard, but it was his first season in transition. His speed and athleticism could be used nicely in an area of need for the Jets not only on special teams but for quality depth in their wide receiver corps.
Next: 5th Round: Center
Dec 31, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide tackle Ryan Kelly (70) protects quarterback Jake Coker (14) against the Michigan State Spartans in the third quarter in the 2015 CFP semifinal at the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
5th Round: Ryan Kelly
Kelly needs to bulk up to play in the NFL. He’s 6’5 but 297 lbs., which is undersized for an NFL center.
He led the way for Derrick Henry however and helped him win the Heisman while setting a single-season SEC rushing record.
He will sit behind Nick Mangold, which will help. If he can add just a bit more weight and learn some pass blocking, he will become a good center and possible replacement down the road for the Jets.
Next: 7th Round: Linebacker
Sep 19, 2015; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Matt Johns (15) throws the ball in front of William & Mary Tribe linebacker Luke Rhodes (50) during the second half at Scott Stadium. The Cavaliers won 35-29. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
7th Round: Luke Rhodes
At this point, the Jets have filled most of their team needs. Now they need depth and special teams help by drafting a quality linebacker.
Rhodes played at FCS William & Mary. So, his numbers may be a little low but his work ethic and intensity separate him from the rest.
He had 20 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in his four year career. He will be a good addition that’s desperately needed on special teams.