At end of the day, we can hammer away at our keyboards, scream at our TVs, read the comments at the end of op-eds ‘til our eyes are red and sob over a bowl of Team Cheerios until we've turned 2% into skim, but we have no idea how these picks will pan out until years down the road. Regardless, I feel the perception that the Jets have just botched their first two picks (in typical Jets fashion) is unfounded.
"But the Jets’ strength is their defense—why are they drafting 2 defensive players in the first round?!"
-- a Jets fan who hoped the first two picks of this draft would make everything right in their life.
Because those were the best players available according to their draft board. This offseason the Jets defense lost (or let go of, whichever way you want to look at it) Darrelle Revis, Mike Devito, Sione Pouha, Bryan Thomas, and Bart Scott (Scott could still come back on a lesser deal after the draft). Either way, that’s a lot of starters no longer with the team. These two picks keep the strength of the team, well, the strength. It ensures that a good defense will be in place once they are able to address the offense in a responsible, effective manner.
Further, at the end of the first round just 3 skill position offensive guys were taken: Tavon Austin, who went right before the Jets’ pick at #9, Cordarelle Patterson who went #29th (would have been awful value at #13) and Tyler Eiffert, the only guy you could argue was worth the #13 pick. However, it’s not as if Eiffert was scooped right up as soon as the Jets passed on him. The Panthers, Raiders and Steelers each could have used a guy like Eiffert but each opted to draft defensively as well. It wasn’t until 8 picks later that Eiffert was taken by the Bengals. It’s also been
Lastly, the fact that Geno Smith and Ryan Nassib are still in play shows what a wild reach it would have been to pick either of them at #13. Many analysts feel the Bills #16 of E.J. Manuel was a reach.
Bottom line: The Jets have the 7th pick in the 2nd round, the 10th pick in the 3rd, and the vast majority of WR, RB, TE and OL talent is still there to be had.
"But Sheldon Richardson doesn’t even fit into their scheme! The Jets are so %&$#ing stupid, LOL!"
-- everybody else, delighting in every Jets misstep since the beginning of time.
I know that on paper the Jets are a 3-4, but when you watch the games you can see that a signature of Rex Ryan's style is the hybrid nature of his front 7 on any given play. You've got DT's moving around, standing up, coming from different directions and doing whatever they can to keep the OL guessing.
Both Richardson and Coples are versatile. They mostly play with their hand in the dirt but on numerous occasions they've also come off the line standing up. Towards the end of last season Coples was playing far more as an edge rusher than a DT. There has even been talk that the Jets will use Coples as an OLB at some point next season, which is not farfetched as his original projection as a prospect was DE/OLB.
And what about Richardson's skill set? This guy is a fierce interior pass rusher, which is an absolute commodity in this league. If you watch his highlight reel you'll see a 295 lb man-boy running way faster than physics would normally allow. Other highly rated DTs such as Star Lotulelei and Shariff Floyd are great prospects but do not have the pass-rushing ability of Richardson.
Bottom line: The combination of Richardson, Coples and Wilkerson have the potential to be one of the best, youngest and most versatile defensive lines in all of football just a season or two down the road. This would be a line that has the ability to push the pocket without additional blitzers— which is exactly what gets under Tom Brady’s skin (see: knee injury in 2008, Jets upset over Pats in ’10, and the Giants Super Bowl victories. It’s not the blitz that gets Brady, it’s pressure from d-linemen).
"But they could have atleast addressed a more immediate need on the defense, like safety or outside linebacker! --- overwhelmed fan who is just yelling things at this point
It would make more sense for a rebuilding team to go for the best players available instead of trying to patch up holes in a house that's lacking a sturdy foundation. BPA, baby.
And now I'm all out of breath. As I wrote in the opening, we won't truly know how smart these picks were until the games are played. I should probably rest up for tonight in preparation of the Jets' inevitable selection of Geno Smith, Manti Te'o, the Honey Badger and a project place kicker from Croatia. Should be fun!