2013 NFL Draft: Revis trade positions Jets to fill gaping holes
The 2013 draft lacks 'can't-miss' talent, but the New York Jets are in position to get strong value with the No. 9 and No. 13 overall picks.
With cornerback Darrelle Revis finally traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New York Jets now have the No. 9 and No. 13 overall picks in the first round of a 2013 NFL Draft that most analysts believe lacks "can't-miss" talent at the top.
Depending on your view of this class -- and how the opening hour plays out -- the Jets are either in a great position to scoop up two quality prospects who fall into their laps, or they dealt away one of the league's best defensive players to acquire a second pick in an underwhelming top half of the first round.
No matter what side of the fence you fall on, there's no debating the Jets have as many glaring holes to fill as almost any team in the league. They had already lost both starting safeties via free agency, are in need of reliable playmakers at wide receiver and need to address an aging offensive line and deficient pass rush. They have Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson, but the depth at cornerback is sagging now as well.
And that's just for starters.
The Jets already owned the No. 9 overall pick, likely too low to grab West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith (although NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Rob Rang disagrees in his latest mock draft) and too high to gamble on one of the top wide receivers in this class. There is a good group of defensive prospects likely to be available with that spot -- BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and outside linebackers Barkevious Mingo of LSU and Georgia's Jarvis Jones all make sense for the Jets and would be good value picks at that spot.
They managed just 30 sacks last season, so Mingo or Jones may make the most sense. Mingo is raw but has a high ceiling; Jones is a proven commodity who also has a neck injury that might lead some teams to take him off their boards entirely.
With the No. 13 pick, the Jets will now be in better position to add a difference maker on offense as well. It brings wide receivers Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee) and Tavon Austin (West Virginia) into the picture for a team that is uncertain what to expect out of 2012 rookie Stephen Hill and needs to support whoever the quarterback is in Week 1 with more firepower downfield. Santonio Holmes returns, but is coming off a major injury, and Jeremy Kerley is a complementary piece.
While the Jets are now armed with pair of top-13 picks, don't expect them to package the selections to jump higher into the top 10. General managers around the league have admitted they don't know how the top five will shake out, much less the top 10. The Jets can sit at No. 9 and No. 13 and pick up two quality prospects -- and one big gamble in the top five isn't going to fix a roster in dire need of upgrades on both sides of the ball.
Two other names to keep an eye on are guards Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper. Warmack, from Alabama, is considered by many analysts to be the best overall prospect in this draft regardless of position. But guards rarely go in the top 10, and there is some question as to which schemes Warmack will be the best fit in. Cooper is rated higher by some scouts. Both could go in the top 10. Or maybe one. Or perhaps neither.
That's how fluid the top 10 is this year. The Jets could sit pat and potentially have their pick of the two after losing left guard Matt Slauson in free agency and showing no interest in re-signing right guard Brandon Moore.
The Jets also lost running back Shonn Greene via free agency and are in serious need of an upgrade from Bilal Powell, Mike Goodson and Joe McKnight, but this draft doesn't boast a running back worthy of a pick anywhere near the top 13 -- there might not be one selected in the first round altogether.
The Jets will be panned on many levels for this deal -- their inability to retain arguably the league's premier shutdown corner in a league setting passing records on a yearly basis and acquiring a first-round pick in a draft generally considered weak at the top. The glass-half-full perspective is they have many holes to fill and while this draft lacks marquee talent at the top, it is a deep draft in many respects that could return a pair of longtime playmakers on both sides of the ball.
The final grade on this deal won't be known for 2-3 years, after we see how Revis' knee heels and the impact he has for Tampa Bay, and how well the talent new Jets general manager John Idzik pans out in comparison.
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