The NY Jets are in need of a pass rusher, but in the 2016 NFL Draft, selecting Jaylon Smith might not make sense with the defense they’re deploying next season.
General manager Mike Maccagnan will have to make a tough decision in what he wants to do with the Jets and their 1st Round draft pick. Some experts believe he will either draft another quarterback or defensive player. The one name that many experts believe the Jets will draft is Jaylon Smith out of Notre Dame as he is a very good outside linebacker. The experts believe he would fit perfectly in the 3-4 defense the Jets use to help them become even more dangerous than what they are already.
Smith had lead the fighting Irish the past two seasons in tackles, and this season he won the Dick Butkus Award for the best linebacker in college football which is a huge honor. I think ESPN’s analyst Mel Kiper Jr. and his prediction is incorrect that the Jets will draft him. I think they should address the offensive side of the football because the offensive line needs to become younger and quicker.
They already have enough talent on the defensive side of the football in the grand scheme of things. The biggest question I have is how productive will he be because he is coming off a very serious knee injury he suffered in the Fiesta Bowl this year. Many players have suffered the same injury that were heading into the draft, and ended up not being the same player.
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Jadeveon Clowney is a perfect example, because he was a top talent of college that has not produced to be the player he was projected to be.
He has not played a full season in his early NFL career. They have a bright future with one of the players on the team already when they drafted Lorenzo Mauldin out of Louisville University. He was a late-round draft pick that the Jets weren’t sure of but they believe they hit the jackpot because he produced a lot for the team this season.
I wouldn’t try to mess Mauldin’s confidence because he has the potential to have a bright future on the Jets. He had a very productive year with one forced fumble, four quarterback sacks and 17 tackles in the playing time he got. The Jets also have veteran Calvin Pace who they should not replace because he is one of the leaders on defense.
Smith is a very good football player as he has had an incredible career at Notre Dame but the only question is will he able to be as productive in the NFL as he was in college? He has a weakness that needs to be worked on which is he lacks the elite size at that position since he comes in at 240 pounds and he is 6-foot-3 inches.
With this being a big weakness in my opinion, he needs to work on his abilities to get to the quarterback and he will be having problems getting past the elite offensive linemen of the NFL. I looked at Mauldin and Smith and I see some comparisons because of how explosive they are as they almost have the same weakness in getting to the quarterback. I just think Mauldin has an advantage because of his length in size and he has a better idea of head coach Todd Bowles‘ defensive scheme.
Sep 19, 2015; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Jaylon Smith (9) recovers a fumble during the second half at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame defeats Georgia Tech 30-22. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
His numbers also are very impressive from last season when he played all 13 games and totaled 115 tackles, nine for loss, five passes defended and two forced fumbles. These are incredible numbers to have but will he be able to do this again coming off a ACL and LCL knee injury?
When football players are coming back from serious injuries like the one Smith has their mindset usually changes in them being afraid to do what they normally do. I am sure he will be an incredible player but I think he needs to be a backup to any team this season until he’s ready. He will need to develop his game even more because he still has a lot to learn before becoming a consistent defender.
Overall, Smith isn’t someone I think the Jets should draft this year because of some weaknesses he has in his game. They have plenty of other areas they need to address before thinking about getting another outside linebacker. I think the Jets should focus on getting younger offensive lineman, an edge rusher and another tight end.
The Jets should focus on those areas because the players they have in those positions are getting older and will need to find people who are able to step in with no problem. As a fan or analyst you still will question how productive Smith will be coming off a serious knee injury. Many players in the league who suffered major injuries haven’t come back the same and usually struggle.
It will be interesting how Bowles and Maccagnan address the team through this year’s draft. There is plenty of talent in the draft that can help the Jets continue to take steps in the right direction and continue being contenders in 2016.