2014 NFL Draft: Jets have 12 picks -- and 3,500 players to choose from

What will Rex Ryan and John Idzik do at the draft? With 12 picks, they have options. (USATSI)
What will Rex Ryan and John Idzik do at the draft? With 12 picks, they have options. (USATSI)

More NFL offseason: Mock Drafts | Prospect Rankings | Pro days | Top free agents

What do you get with one of the deepest talent pools in memory combined with the 2014 NFL Draft being pushed back two weeks to May 8-10?

If you work for the New York Jets, a lot of nights away from home.

In his pre-draft press conference Wednesday, general manager John Idzik outlined the hard numbers that have gone into forming the Jets' draft board:

  • 120 college games
  • 115 pro day visits
  • 575 school visits
  • 263 reports from different schools
  • 1,372 individual prospect write-ups
  • 635 prospect interviews
  • More than 3,500 player evaluations

As Idzik quipped, "So if you were on a roster at a school, you were probably getting written up."

And that doesn't event account for some of the fall school visits. Still want to be a regional scout?

"So as you can tell, there is quite a lot entailed in this, and we're just touching on it here," said Idzik. "But with that, we feel like we're prepared, and we're confident, and we're excited about next week, with a great opportunity to improve our football team."

The Jets currently have 12 total picks, beginning with the 18th overall pick. They will be able to address a number of areas in such a deep draft, but enter with specific needs at cornerback, wide receiver and safety.

"I think this is a good draft for a lot of positions," said Jets senior director of college scouting Terry Bradway. "I think we probably have more draftable players on our board than we've had in a few years.  With 12 picks, I think that's going to be pretty good.  I would say overall I like the depth at (cornerback) as well as others."

Like many teams, the Jets will group players in their respective positions and look to trade up or down if they see opportunities arising during the draft. One of the primary difficulties, especially on the third day of the draft, is evaluating prospects from different systems and even different levels - how do you break "ties" in evaluations between players from FBS schools and those from Division II?

"There are so many factors," said director of college scouting Jeff Bauer. "I mean, trying to decide if he's a product of the system, and like Terry said, what kind of person he is, the work ethic. And usually you think the guys that work hard and are good character guys, it's going to be easier to translate to how well they pick up football, how smart they are.

"That's all a factor.  But sometimes everything's perfect with a guy and for some reason it doesn't click for him.  You look back, and no one's ever going to be a 100 percent in this business.  We've all made mistakes and aim to get better and better.  But there is not a perfect formula. It's tough.  Sometimes you go, 'Why did this guy not make it?'"

One of the plusses for the Jets this time around is continuity with much of the staff going through the entire draft process together after Idzik was hired to replace Mike Tannenbaum last offseason.

"Simple things like setting up our pre-draft visits, our local day, it was the first time through last year.  Well, this year we had somewhat of a template.  That's going to be massaged to a certain degree, but much less so this year.  So, yeah, there is a higher comfort level this year."


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