Jan 2, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Dede Westbrook (11) tries to pull away from Auburn Tigers defensive back Stephen Roberts (14) in the third quarter of the 2017 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets are in dire need of talent as they have a great opportunity to find those hidden gems in the rough heading into the 2017 NFL Draft. Here are the top four under the radar players that can make a difference in the future.
The 2017 NFL Draft is almost upon us as the New York Jets need a lot of help at many positions across the team. Luckily for them, they have a good amount of draft picks but at the end of it all, it’s those unknown players to the masses that could end up being a steal once all is said and done.
The middle to late rounds of this year’s draft is what truly matter most. General manager Mike Maccagnan has a knack for finding talent so he’ll have an opportunity to find players that fit the vision of a bright future. Playmakers that overachieve and bring a lot of leadership to the table will be key for rebuilding the Jets back to being contenders again.
We all know about the big names in this year’s draft, we’ve all heard of the guys who are supposed to go in the top 10 of the first round. As always, however, there is always talent to be found outside the first round.
Let’s take a look at the top four under the radar players that can step right in and take care of business for the Jets.
Next: 4. A running back ready to make some noise
Nov 12, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns running back D’Onta Foreman (33) carries the ball against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the third quarter at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. The Mountaineers won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
4. Running Back D’onta Foreman, Texas
Remember when the Jets used to pride themselves on “ground and pound” football? Well, if you want to get back to those ways, then D’onta Foreman is your guy.
He is very hard to tackle with his enormous build. Among all running backs in power 5 conferences, you know who led college football in rushing yards last season? It wasn’t Leonard Fournette, it wasn’t Dalvin Cook, it wasn’t Christian Mccaffrey, it was Foreman.
This year’s draft class is loaded with good running backs but Foreman isn’t the first running back that comes to mind when you think of this draft class. Make no mistake about it, however, he will be a good football player that produces every single time he’s on the gridiron.
Foreman reminds me of Chris Ivory. I’m sure most if not all Jets fans remember him. They have a similar power-running style and the Jets need to add more youth to their running back corps.
Next: 3. An explosive wide receiver
3. Wide Receiver Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma
This guy is a stud. It’s shocking that he’s projected to be just a 4th round pick by most analysts.
He’s a very good route runner as he’s also very explosive after the catch. Despite his limited size, he has shown the ability to go up and make contested catches.
Westbrook was the best wide receiver in all of college football last season. Did you know that he was in the Heisman trophy voting, as well? This is the kind of player that would thrive on the Jets and make everyone around him better.
Next: 2. A cornerback that can shut down receivers
Mar 5, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan defensive back Jourdan Lewis speaks to the media during the 2017 combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
2. Cornerback Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
Linebacker Jabrill Peppers got a lot of the attention at Michigan, but you could make a legit case that Jourdan Lewis was the best football player on that team.
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Over his past two years at Michigan, he allowed just a passer rating of 47 on passes thrown his way. That is very impressive.
His limited height (5’10”) is a concern. However, Chris Harris Jr. for the Denver Broncos is widely considered one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and is the same size as Lewis.
The Jets secondary was awful last season as this draft is loaded with good defensive backs. It’s a situation the Jets should take advantage of and take him in this year’s draft.
Next: 1. A Center that brings quality depth and familiarity
Mar 2, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Baylor offensive lineman Kyle Fuller speaks to the media during the 2017 combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
1. Center Kyle Fuller, Baylor
With the release of long-time center Nick Mangold, the center position is now a question mark for the Jets. However, this is not considered a good draft for offensive linemen.
Center Kyle Fuller isn’t supposed to get drafted until around the 5th round but he has excellent size length and hands.
It wouldn’t be a crazy idea for the Jets to take a chance on Fuller late in the draft. You never know what could happen but it’s important to bring in extra options at center since it could be an area of need as the season progresses.
Fuller used to be the center for quarterback Bryce Petty at Baylor. Should Petty earn the starting job of the Jets this upcoming season, it would bring a familiar face on offense to continue his development.