The NY Jets will be selecting at No. 20 in the 2016 NFL Draft. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has them selecting linebacker Reggie Ragland but that would be a huge mistake based on his other selections.
When Kiper first mock draft was released, he had the Chicago Bears taking Ragland and the Jets selecting Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith. The reason he had Smith falling to the Jets was due to the injury he suffered in the Fiesta Bowl. He essentially swapped the picks by the Jets and the Bears.
The Jets have several needs to fill coming up in free agency and the draft. They will need an inside linebacker after if they let David Harris and Demario Davis go. They also need to bolster the offensive line to replace D’Brickashaw Ferguson and possibly fill needs on the right side. They also need an edge pass rusher to compliment Muhammad Wilkerson because they only totaled 39 sacks in 2015.
Here’s what Kiper has to say about the Ragland pick:
20. New York JetsRagland, LB, AlabamaLast year, the Jets took the best player available in Round 1 when they nabbed Leonard Williams at No. 6 overall, and Ragland certainly qualifies as a BPA if he’s still around at No. 20. A monster against the run, Ragland plays faster than he’ll run at the combine because of great instincts. Draft him with the expectation you can start him in Week 1.
Based on the surrounding picks, I do agree with Kiper on some key factors, like Williams last year, Ragland will be the best player available (BPA). Ragland is also a run stuffer, and he’s a plugin-and-play first rounder who can start in Week 1.
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However, he’s going to have to show he’s more than a run stuffer at the 2016 NFL Combine.
Also, based on the previous picks, the needs can’t be filled in the first round, however Walter Football has the Jets taking Michigan State tackle Jack Conklin, and that would be great if he were to fall to them. Here is what the site had to say about Conklin:
The Jets will have to find a long-term answer at left tackle soon, given that D’Brickashaw Ferguson will be 33 at some point during the 2016 campaign. In the meantime, an upgrade at right tackle would be welcome, as Breno Giacomini struggled last year.
Like Kiper, I don’t like taking running backs in the first round (especially in today’s NFL). With that said, I wouldn’t be averse to the Jets taking Ezekiel Elliot at 20.
The most intriguing pick left in Kiper’s mock draft is Phillip “Scooby” Wright, III. Wright lost most of his 2015 season due to an unfortunate foot injury. He played in the New Mexico Bowl and played well.
His draft positioning will be based on teams’ hopes that we can see what we saw in 2014. That was a season in which he recorded 15 sacks and 31 tackles for loss. Also, according to ESPN Stats & Info, it was the first time since 2003 an FBS player had recorded 150 or more tackles and 10 or more sacks in one season.
The free agency period will give us a bigger clue as to where the Jets may be planning to go in the draft. The free agents at the inside linebacker position are young and have some depth to them. Recently cut James Laurinaitis is probably on the Jets’ radar to fill the voids that could be left at inside linebacker.
All told, Ragland is not a first round talent, because of his limitations in the passing game, especially not for the Jets at No. 20 when they’re on the clock. They have several needs to address that can’t be completely addressed by free agency and Ragland won’t fulfill them.