After a circus-like first round filled with five on-the-clock trades, gas mask bong sabatoge videos and teams reaching for talent (yes we are looking at you Eli Apple); the NFL is geared up to tackle rounds two and three, starting at 7pm EST from Chicago, IL.
A number of talented first-round players slipped into the second, and with the Jets picking in the 20th spot, overall pick #51, they may just have a shot to land one of them. Here’s a look at some of the players we think should be on the radar for the Jets in Round 2.
**The number after each player analysis is their ESPN Scout’s Inc grade.
The biggest need at this point in the draft; recently they have neglected to draft early round lineman, resulting in an aging group with very very thin depth. They could change that this year and begin to build for the future.
Jason Spriggs, T, Indiana – This would be my top choice if he was still on the board. Spriggs is a stellar athlete who topped the OL group in nearly every combine stat. He would replace Breno Giacomini at RT and could eventually slide into the LT spot in the absence of Ryan Clady. (81).
Nick Martin, C/G, Notre Dame – Martin is a fierce competitor and an unquestioned leader, just like his older brother Zach a two-time pro bowl guard for the Cowboys. What I love most about Martin is his versatility, he could start at RG next year and be a talent upgrade from Brian Winters, eventually he would be the heir apparent to Nick Mangold who is 32 this year. (79).
Cody Whitehair, G/T, Kansas St. – Opinions are split on Whitehair, some have a first round grade, others think he is a Day 3 pick. I, personally, think he is a solid late second, early third round pick and would put him a notch behind Martin. He played LT at Kansas St. but is a bit undersized for an NFL tackle. He needs some grooming with his technique and size, which could make him a bit of a reach here, but if the Jets trade back and are looking for solid, versatile OL depth, Whitehair is a great choice. (79).
But wait! Didn’t we just draft a pass rusher last night with Ohio State’s Darron Lee? Well…. kinda. According to Head Coach Todd Bowles, Lee will be playing in Demario Davis’ old spot as the “Mo” linebacker. Lee is a three-down backer, not a pass rushing specialist, but he does have the versatility to play inside or outside (or slot corner or safety), and the speed to rush the passer. However, with the glutton of talent that fell down the big board last night, the Jets may be able to snag a first round quality edge rusher.
Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA – Once considered a top-5 pick, Jack slid last night due to some concerns about his knee. However, today Dr. James Andrews said Jack won’t require the microfracture surgery some had speculated upon. He likely will be gone by the time the Jets pick, but if he is there, trust that they will pull the trigger. (92).
Noah Spence, OLB, Eastern Kentucky – Spence was my first round pick for the Jets in our staff mock draft, his off the field issues have resulted in his slide, but he may just be the drafts best pure pass rusher. Would be a solid pick here if they’re comfortable with his past discretions. (80).
Emmanuel Ogbah, OLB, Oklahoma St. – Ogbah is an absolute stud, he has the size and speed to be a real terror in the Jets scheme. A very athletic player who knows how to get after the quarterback, in his 2015 season he notched at least one sack in all but two games. (80).
Even though it seems the Jets have an embarrassment of riches on the defensive line. We saw this offseason the departure of their top run stuffer NT Damon Harrison and the proof that you’ll never be able to keep all of these talented linemen, so a pipeline of talent is always a good idea. It just so happens that some of the draft’s top prospects have slipped down to the second round, maybe one will fall to the Jets. Once one of these lineman go, there will be a major run, so don’t hold your breath.
A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama – Robinson was considered by some to be one of the top overall players in the draft, however his consistency and passion for the game were always a question. He not only can manhandle the running game, he has great pass rush ability as well. (86).
Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama – Like his former teammate, Robinson, Reed probably won’t be on the board for long in the second round, but if he is there for the Jets they should take him immediately. He may be the best interior rush defender in the draft, however his pass rush needs a bit more work. (90).
Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi St. – Jones is a versatile player that Todd Bowles would have a lot of fun with. His size, speed and athleticism make him an attractive pick to many, and garnered him a first round grade, but there are questions about his dedication to football. If the Jets select him, I am confident that being around the studs in that DL group will invigorate his football passion. (89).
Andrew Billings, NT, Baylor – People see Billings as a two-down player, but that is exactly what Damon Harrison was, and when he was on the field for those two downs it was magical. Billings has a rare combination of size and burst at the nose tackle position, a combo that will surely take him off the board in round two. (83).
The days of Revis Island are winding down, the Robin to his Batman, Antonio Cromartie, is gone and Buster Skrine is best suited for the slot. We know how valuable cornerbacks are in Todd Bowles system, so drafting one of these two here would be a solid choice, if they’re both off the board, it is best not to reach because there is a talent drop.
Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor – Howard was my original second round selection in our mock draft because I love the way he plays, and I know Bowles will as well. He is a true man coverage corner with an incredible combination of size, instincts and athleticism. Howard had an underwhelming combine, which may have hurt his draft status, but teams have anywhere from a late first round to early third round grade on him. (76).
Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson – Alexander is a proven zone corner with some solid man coverage skills. His tape is a bit inconsistent and he lacks the prototypical size of an NFL corner, but he definitely has the instincts and confidence of a starting outside CB. He is coming off a hamstring injury and didn’t have a single interception in the past two years, but he is still a valuable pickup. (81).
Wide Receiver/Tight End
The Jets are in an interesting position when it comes to drafting a pass catcher. Chan Gailey’s system requires as many talented receivers as possible, but it also has proven to be effective without a prolific TE. They have one of the most productive receiving duos in the league in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, but after a disappointing rookie season for second round pick Devin Smith, they could always be looking to add more talent.
Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas – Henry is the most complete TE in this year’s thin class. In a league where the large, athletic tight ends are ripping defenses apart, Henry would be a very valuable pick. His hands are magnets and his ability to get down the field is great for a player of his size. (89).
Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State – Thomas is a Marshall-type possession receiver with the size and speed to dominate 2nd and 3rd string corners in the league. Adding another Ohio State wideout could prove to be exactly what the Jets need to complete their four receiver set. With the big bodied Thomas on the outside opposite Marshall, and Decker and Smith on the inside, defenses would have a hard time deciding who to cover. (86).
Sigh. It wouldn’t be a Jets draft article if we didn’t mention possible quarterbacks the Jets could take. Mike Maccagnan subscribes to the philosophy that you should draft a quarterback every year until you have your undisputed starter. After wisely passing on Memphis QB Paxton Lynch at pick 20, the Jets still are looking to bring someone else in, however, I still think the second round is a reach in this years unimpressive QB class.
Connor Cook, QB, Michigan St. – Cook has the size and athleticism to give him the potential of being a starting quarterback, he also has experience in a pro-style offense. However the big question is his leadership and character qualities. He wasn’t voted captain by his Michigan State teammates, he rejected an invite to the senior bowl, and teams haven’t been impressed with his football IQ. To me, he isn’t worth the pick. (84).
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State – Hackenberg is one of the more polarizing prospects in the draft, some people absolutely despise him, others think he’s the draft’s top QB. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle, but definitely more towards the latter. Hackenberg had his best production when he was in a pro-style offense at Penn St. when the scheme changed, his production suffered. He has a very high football IQ, and impressed combine scouts with his athleticism, but he still needs some work. If the Jets are to draft a quarterback this year, I think it should be Hackenberg, I would just rather be done in the third round. (81).