This is the ninth of a team-by-team series, analyzing five prospects that each team should consider in the 2013 NFL Draft.
It seems longer, but the Jets are just two seasons removed from back-to-back appearances in the AFC Championship Game. Fast forward to the present, and Rex Ryan is still the head coach and Mark Sanchez the starting quarterback. But as the Jets prepare for the 2013 NFL Draft, there will be some new faces in the draft war room.
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Coming off a disastrous 6-10 season, changes had to be made and Mike Tannenbaum was fired as general manager. He was replaced by John Idzik, who is known around the league as more of a “salary cap” executive. Idzik arrived in New York after six seasons as vice president of football administration with the Seattle Seahawks, where he was able to learn from John Schneider, who has become one of the better general managers around the league.
With an aging roster and several holes on both sides of the ball, Idzik and Ryan will have their hands full to not only address needs but also draft quality talent. And with Sanchez coming off a poor 2012 season, the big question is: will the Jets look to draft a quarterback early to push him for playing time?
“I think everyone, Mark included, recognizes that he, our offense and our team as a whole has to perform better than we did in 2012,” Idzik said last month at the scouting combine. “We are going to do everything to increase the competition so that he plays better. We have a new offensive coordinator, we have a new quarterbacks coach, staff changes that I think will be healthy for Mark.”
The biggest reason against the Jets selecting a quarterback is the number of other needs they have to address through the draft. New York needs to get weapons around Sanchez to help him be successful, including a wide receiver and tight end. The Jets also need to add another pass rusher and cornerback to the fold, especially if Darrelle Revis is traded, which seems likely.
While Ryan will still have a loud voice in the war room, Idzik will bring a fresh, new approach to the Jets' direction on draft weekend.
New York Jets 2013 draft picks: 9, 39, 72, 106, 141, 178, 215
Primary needs: WR, OLB, CB, OG
General manager: John Idzik, first season
Five draft picks that clicked:
-- DT Muhammad Wilkerson, 30th overall, 2011
-- CB Darrelle Revis, 14th overall, 2007
-- ILB David Harris, 47th overall, 2007
-- OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, 4th overall, 2006
-- C Nick Mangold, 29th overall, 2006
Five players who should be on the New York Jets' draft radar:
Player, school (overall rating, position rating)
OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU (12, 1)
Throughout the Rex Ryan regime, the Jets have been missing an impact pass rusher off the edge. Adding Mingo would add an immediate shot of adrenaline to New York's 3-4 scheme. He doesn't have an impressive resume, with only 15 starts and very average production (4.5 sacks in 2012). But he wasn't always used properly at LSU, and he performs much better in space and when asked to pin his ears back and attack the pocket. Mingo has very good get-off quickness and explosive play speed. It's just a matter of time until he gets to the pocket. He is still rough around the edges, but his athletic skill set puts him in the top-10 discussion.
QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas (58, 5)
While this quarterback class lacks elite talent at the top, there will be several quality options in the second round. Tyler Wilson is one of them. A productive SEC passer, he has the arm confidence and toughness for the NFL, leaving Arkansas with 28 school records. Wilson is far from flawless with streaky ball placement and inconsistent mechanics. But no one hangs tougher in the pocket, and he shows the traits of a future starting NFL quarterback. While Sanchez seems to be “the guy” for now, adding some competition to push him appears to be a priority on draft weekend.
WR Stedman Bailey, West Virginia (108, 14)
While the Jets are hoping Stephen Hill takes a huge step forward in 2013, another weapon on the outside will only help whoever is under center. Bailey is a savvy pass catcher and veteran route runner, tracking the deep ball and making it look easy. He isn't overly explosive but shows the jitterbug moves after the catch to be dangerous in one-on-one situations. Bailey isn't flashy but was ultra productive at the collegiate level and will be a reliable option in the NFL, something the Jets could use.
RB Stepfan Taylor, Stanford (102, 7)
As the Jets move on from Shonn Greene, they have a handful of players who will handle the running back duties in 2013. But look for them to add another option in the draft. Taylor increased his production in college each season and gets the most out of every run, never cheating himself or leaving production on the field. He lacks elite speed and won't be overly elusive in the NFL, but he makes sharp cuts and always seems to get more yards than he should. Although he won't impress athletically, Taylor is a reliable and determined runner who can contribute running, catching and blocking.
CB Steve Williams, California (190, 23)
It appears the Jets will unload Darrelle Revis if they find the right package of draft picks, likely pushing Kyle Wilson into a starting role. If that's the case, New York will need to add a cornerback in the draft to help with depth. Williams has the skills to win the nickel cornerback job as a rookie. He started every game the past two seasons with good production. Williams won't get much bigger, but he challenges wide receivers and doesn't back down with improved awareness. He would be good value in the mid-rounds.