Nov 21, 2015; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (38) reacts during the game against the Baylor Bears at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
In this 2016 NFL Mock Draft, the New York Jets address their overall pass rush, grab a top offensive lineman and also find some hidden gems that will have an immediate impact come next season.
The Jets have six selections in this year’s draft and two of those picks are seventh-rounders. They gave up their fifth-round pick in the Ryan Clady trade a week ago and their sixth-round pick in exchange for Ryan Fitzpatrick last offseason.
Now, those moves were of course tremendous and have helped/will help the team mightily. The only issue is that no fifth or sixth-round pick will bore Jets fans quite a bit on the third day. In the first four rounds, general manager Mike Maccagnan needs to come through and land players who can make an impact right away.
Guys who get buried on the bench or do not fit the scheme will crumble when they step on the field, so New York cannot afford to stash any players they take early on. Luckily, this year’s class is very deep with plenty of talent for many franchises to build their future.
With few needs to fill, the Jets are in solid shape. This makes the best player available approach a possibility for the second year in a row. The one difference is that they are not picking as high as they did in 2015.
At sixth overall, Maccagnan was going to take whichever top-five player fell in his lap. At No. 20, a handful of players ranked high on your board can fall to you. Assuming the talks with Ryan Fitzpatrick continue, Gang Green should have a fairly straight-forward draft this year.
Next: Round 1: Outside Linebacker
Aug 30, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (38) tackles Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) during the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Round 1 (20th overall) – Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
The Big 12 is a conference that is notorious for high-scoring affairs. However, despite the poor defense, there still is a decent number of talented players on that side of the ball. Emmanuel Ogbah is certainly one of them. With 22.5 sacks in his final two seasons, the 22-year-old brings a lot of potential to the table as one of the best edge rushers in the class.
Strengths: At 6’4, 275 pounds, Ogbah has the frame to play in the NFL. He is extremely physical and disruptive no matter what side he lines up on. He is comfortable and reliable in coverage as well which is rare from a true DE/OLB.
Weaknesses: Ogbah is simply raw. He needs to improve finesse and spin moves that he can use as different ways to get after the quarterback. He will need more than just his power at the next level.
Overall: This is a guy that makes a lot of sense for the Jets. He is a lot like Jason Pierre-Paul when he first entered the league. The one difference is that JPP plays in a 4-3 defense unlike Ogbah who played in more of a 3-4 system at Oklahoma State. Ogbah plays a majority of his snaps standing up opposed to in a stance, so Todd Bowles‘ scheme could be the perfect fit for him.
Next: Round 2: Offensive Tackle
Feb 26, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Ronnnie Stanley (42) squares off on a blocking drill against Indiana Hoosiers Jason Spriggs during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Round 2 (51st overall) – Jason Spriggs, Indiana
Spriggs is one of the under-the-radar offensive linemen in this year’s class. Laremy Tunsil, Ronnie Stanley, Jack Conklin and Taylor Decker have taken up most of the spotlight. Spriggs is a guy who can actually be taken in round one if a team is that desperate at tackle. The only reason I have him falling to New York is because round two is where every team usually grabs a skill position player.
Strengths: There is so much to like about Spriggs. He can run block, pass block and he has tremendous balance/footwork. His quickness allows him to beat edge rushers on the outside and the fact that he is 6’6, 305 pounds does not hurt his stock either.
Weaknesses: It may take some time for Spriggs to adjust to the strength of defensive linemen and linebackers in the NFL. As a result, impact blocking could be an issue and he may struggle early on at preventing the pocket from closing up.
Overall: Spriggs has what it takes to be a starting lineman in the NFL. If the Jets were to select him, he can immediately compete at right tackle with the likes of Breno Giacomini and Brent Qvale. New York’s stellar front-seven is also the perfect unit to get him used to the physicality at the next level.
Next: Round 3: Outside Linebacker
Sep 5, 2015; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Jordan Jenkins (59) rushes the passer against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Round 3 (83rd overall) – Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
Jenkins is an athletic player who you can trust and insert into your pass rushing rotation right off the bat. As a 6’3, 260 pound senior, experience and build are two big characteristics that come with the Bulldog. Whether it is the first, second or third round, any defensive player out of the SEC should be highly regarded. Jenkins falls into that boat.
Strengths: Some of his best traits include his ability to rush the passer with both power and finesse moves as well as his consistent run defense. His 4.71 40-yard dash is also not bad for a guy who sits at 260 lbs.
Weaknesses: The one glaring weakness is his coverage skills. He predominately played outside linebacker in Georgia’s 3-4 system and sometimes on the line in 4-3 looks. Outside linebackers in 3-4 NFL defenses rush the quarterback for the most part, but coverage is the other part of their job.
Overall: If the Jets were to grab Jenkins in round three, it would be a bit of a reach. Although, he is a guy that can rotate in on passing downs and really help New York’s pass rush that disappointed in 2015. Quinton Coples was cut mid-season while Lorenzo Mauldin and Trevor Reilly were still ripe. Jenkins would fit in nicely with the young unit.
Next: Round 4: Safety
Nov 28, 2015; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Maryland Terrapins defensive back Sean Davis (21) tackles Rutgers Scarlet Knights wide receiver Janarion Grant (1) during the second half at High Points Solutions Stadium. Maryland defeated Rutgers 46-41. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Round 4 (118th overall) – Sean Davis, Maryland
Davis is a versatile play-maker that any defense can appreciate and make great use of. Racking up 102 tackles in his first season as a starter at Maryland was a huge accomplishment that he was able to build off of. He started his final two years at free safety while playing a bit at cornerback as well. The Big 10 is another pass-happy conference, so Davis’ transition into the NFL could end up being smooth.
Strengths: Davis has a big vertical (37.5 in.) and he is quite fast for a safety (4.44). He can hit hard when he plays up in the box and he can make plays on the ball when it is thrown his way. He failed to intercept a pass last season, but he did lead his team with eight break ups.
Weaknesses: At times, Davis does look lost in both man and zone coverage. More often than not, he keeps his eye on the quarterback on deep balls instead of where his man is. With that being said, he should play more safety than corner at the next level.
Overall: The Terrapin has the chance to be a steal on day four of the draft. He would make plenty of sense for the Jets who can use a play-making safety behind Marcus Gilchrist who unexpectedly played a ton of snaps in his first year with the team. He was an important player for Gang Green in 2015, although a guy like Davis could come in and relieve pressure off of the veteran by rotating in at times.
Next: Round 7: Tight End
Sep 26, 2015; Greenville, NC, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies tight end Ryan Malleck (88) looks on before the game against the East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The East Carolina Pirates defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies 35-28. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Round 7 (244th overall) – Ryan Malleck, Virginia Tech
Malleck was a reliable player for the Hokies during the three seasons he played in the program. He racked up 62 catches for 658 yards and two touchdowns over his time in Blacksburg. His experience with an ACC team will certainly help him make the jump to the NFL.
Strengths: Blocking is where Malleck makes his impact on the field. He can push the pile with power in the run game and hold the edge on pass plays on a consistent basis.
Weaknesses: Malleck is not the most athletic tight end which means he will need to work on his hands to become a better pass catcher. Adjusting his body to the ball is another concern, however that comes along with his lack of athleticism.
Overall: The Jets cut Jeff Cumberland and could use a replacement despite offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s minimal use of the position. Even though Jace Amaro is coming off of a season-ending injury, Malleck would add insurance to the unit that needs depth and more blockers. Not to mention, he is a New Jersey native.
Next: Round 7: Offensive Guard
Sep 19, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Jordan Walsh (65) and offensive lineman Austin Blythe (63) block Pittsburgh Panthers defensive lineman Darryl Render (91) and linebacker Matt Galambos (47) during their game at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Round 7 (256th overall) – Jordan Walsh, Iowa
It is simply a Big 10 offensive linemen frenzy in this year’s class. There are numerous prospects from the conference with a great chance of being selected and Walsh is definitely one of them. He is a bit undersized at 6’2, but his weight (310 pounds) makes up for it.
Strengths: Walsh is always under control and prepared for contact on the interior. He rarely loses one-on-one battles making him a guard you could plug in for just a play or two if the starter needs a break.
Weaknesses: While he gives you effort every play, Walsh is not particularly strong. As a guard in the NFL, defensive tackles can run you over with ease if you are not physical enough. He will without a doubt have to bulk up.
Overall: This is a guy the Jets can stash behind James Carpenter and Brian Winters to secure depth at the position. Dakota Dozier and Jarvis Harrison are the only true guards behind them on the roster, therefore one more would not be the end of the world.