Dec 31, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Boise State Broncos defensive lineman Kamalei Correa (8) celebrates in the closing seconds of the game against the Arizona Wildcats in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl at Phoenix Stadium. The Broncos defeated the Wildcats 38-30. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Who will the New York Jets select in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft? There are numerous possibilities but make no mistake about it, depending on what players are available, they will more than likely go defense.
The Jets are trying to build a winner not only for the 2016 season, but for the future. The best way to build long-term sustained success is through the draft.
They haven’t had the best of luck drafting players in the second round as of late as they’re looking to flip the script. In a relatively deep draft class, there should be plenty of options for the Jets midway through the second round.
Without further ado, let’s break down the top five predictions for what direction the Jets will head in with their second round draft pick.
Next: 5. Jets invest in another quarterback
Nov 28, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) scrambles out of the pocket during the second half of a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
5. Jets invest in another quarterback
Spoiler alert, the Jets have issues at the quarterback position. This statement could be copied and pasted over and over again for the last several decades.
Despite the fact Jon Gruden would be baffled if Christian Hackenberg wasn’t a first round pick in this year’s draft, he could be on the Jets’ radar. Let’s assume he makes it to pick 51 and the Jets would be jumping for joy if that was the case.
You can see why Gruden feels so strongly about Hackenberg, he’s got great size (6’4) and a rocket arm, but the problem is throughout his career he has been wildly inconsistent. Which speaks to his 55% completion percentage over the last two seasons.
Hackenberg could immediately compete with Geno Smith and Bryce Petty for the starting role on this football team. More likely than not Smith would be able to beat out both quarterbacks, but the Jets need to continue to develop quarterbacks hoping one of them can develop into a franchise caliber guy. Hackenberg has that potential and if available in the second round, should be an easy choice to draft.
Next: 4. Jets go tight end
Feb 27, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks tight end Hunter Henry (8) squares off in a workout drill against Stanford Cardinal tight end Austin Hooper (10) during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
4. Jets go tight end
The Jets’ offseason workouts just began and players made their way into the facilities. With the Jets players returning, the Jets held a conference call to the media where Eric Decker revealed how the Jets’ offense could improve in 2016 via their official website:
“I think we have to kind of build off some of those things,” Decker said. “And also expand, as far as our weapons and spreading the football out, getting the ball in the tight ends’ hands, fixing some things in the running game that’ll make us a lot better football team. Because that’s really what you rely on, is your running game.”
Could improved tight end play be the key to opening up the field on offense? Well it certainly couldn’t hurt, no one on this Jets’ roster was able to attack the seams in the middle of the field last season.
A guy like a Hunter Henry or Nick Vannett (visited with the team) could very well be in the thought process in the middle of the second round for the Jets. Clearly the regime isn’t impressed with Jace Amaro (former second round pick) and if they had a viable replacement, could look to move on.
Next: 3. A Calvin Pace replacement in round two
Dec 23, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Boise State Broncos defensive lineman Kamalei Correa (8) celebrates after a sack against the Northern Illinois Huskies in the 2015 Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
3. A replacement for Calvin Pace
Kamalei Correa earned second-team All-Mountain West accolades in 2015, leading the Broncos with 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks on the season. The Jets are going out with the old and in with the new.
Those numbers were actually down from Correa’s sophomore year stats, when he was named first team All-Conference after leading the Mountain West with 12 sacks and finishing third with 19 tackles for loss. The Jets need pass rushing help and also someone to set the edge against opposing rushing attacks.
Correa is a guy that should be available with the 51st pick in the draft. He’s well built and can be a three down outside linebacker for the Jets.
Pair him with a young Lorenzo Mauldin and the Jets have a fearsome twosome that could make life a little bit harder on Tom Brady. The position is so important it appears twice on this list, the Jets would be lucky for either Correa or the following linebacker coming up to be available in the second round.
Next: 2. A Golden Domer provides a golden opportunity
Jan 30, 2016; Mobile, AL, USA; North squad offensive guard Nick Martin of Notre Dame (72) in the second quarter of the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
2. A Golden Domer provides a golden opportunity
The Jets desperately need to improve on their offensive line, not only in shear depth but could look to improve the starting rotation on the right side in Brian Winters and Breno Giacomini in particular. Offensive guard Nick Martin provides the versatility to play all five positions on the line at the next level.
Though Martin’s highest potential is inside at either guard positions or at center, he could be a hidden gem for the Jets to have. Nick Mangold is the last domino left of the old era still battling in the trenches.
In theory, having a second round pick that could not only fill a need with a body, but fill a need with a potential all-pro at the next level should be what the Jets try to accomplish here. It would help an immediate need and help the overall pass rush of the Jets get faster.
The Jets won’t likely address the position in round one unless they reach for a prospect or they trade up because the elite prospects will be just out of their range. Again, the Jets haven’t had luck in round two of the draft historically, but they’re looking to strike gold this year.
Next: 1. The mystery man of the draft
Jan 30, 2016; Mobile, AL, USA; North squad quarterback Carson Wentz of North Dakota State (11) throws a pass while under pressure from South squad defensive end Noah Spence of Eastern Kentucky (97) during first half of the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
1. The mystery man of the draft
Noah Spence, once considered a lock to be a first round pick, has seen his stock drop to the point where Bleacher Report has said that Spence is unlikely to hear his name called on the night of April 28th.
Spence’s bad decisions have become an unfortunate trending topic during his life, but he made a smart decision after his ill advised ones after his stint at Ohio State. Spence decided to transfer to Eastern Kentucky to get his degree and to prove to himself and scouts that he had matured.
His stats would say he made the correct decision racking up 22.5 tackles for loss, with 13.5 sacks and becoming an All-American in the process. At his size, Spence could play defensive end or linebacker in the NFL.
Will the second year regime of general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles be willing to take a chance on a prospect who could bring them one step closer to the NFL Playoffs? If Bowles believes he can help nurture Spence along with his personal development, the Jets could be getting the steal of this year’s draft.