With the 2016 draft in the rear view mirror, the rosters start to become final. How did the Jets do? Draft grades are made based on need and best player available.
Round 1 Pick 20 – Darron Lee- LB Ohio State Grade: A-
A speedy linebacker who also had the top broad jump at the 2016 combine, Lee is an athletic linebacker who seems to have a knack for finding the ball. Size is a said to be an issue, but the linebacker position is transitioning to a more athletic position than ever before with the emergence of athletic ability from the tight end position throughout the NFL. Someone has to cover Gronk right? Lee has the ability to find his way into the backfield and create pressure on the quarterback as well as chasing down ball carriers regardless of their position. Lee provides an instant boost to pass coverage in the middle of the field as well.
Round 2 Pick 51 – Christian Hackenberg – QB Penn State Grade D+
Not a fan of this pick at all. Hackenberg does have good size, isn’t afraid to take a hit, and is extremely durable. His arm strength is also admirable. Problem here is twofold. For one, he is extremely inaccurate. Take out his completions behind the line of scrimmage and he owns a sorry 51.5% completion rate. That number won’t cut it in today’s NFL. Second, the Jets already have a project QB in Bryce Petty, who seems to be the forgotten guy when you examine this move. Drafting a second project QB when there is a need to build the offensive line up just seems careless.
Round 3 Pick 83 – Jordan Jenkins – OLB Georgia Grade: A
Jenkins didn’t receive the spotlight in Georgia due to the success of Leonard Floyd, but Jenkins was the guy doing the dirty work. Jenkins, not Floyd, was actually named the defensive MVP for the Bulldogs in 2015. For the speed and pass rushing ability the Jets drafted for in their first round pick Darron Lee, Jenkins is a good compliment to that as he is a run stuffing machine. His smarts and awareness will help him become successful in the NFL, as this could be David Harris’s successor. This is a great pick late in the third to provide depth to a linebacker core that had a need to get younger and deeper.
Round 4 Pick 118 – Juston Burris – CB NC State Grade: C+
The Jets again failed to address the need for offensive and defensive line depth. With Andrew Billings still on the board, the front office decided instead to add depth to the defensive backfield by drafting Burris. The grade is lowered due to the need to fill more pressing needs, but Burris isn’t a slouch. He is strong, being one of the top performances in the bench press for a DB at the combine. A developmental player with good size, he only allowed a 34.1 % completion rate when opposing quarterback threw against him, and only allowed one touchdown in 44 targets. With Darrelle Revis aging, he could look to slide into the starting rotation in the future.
Round 5 Pick 158 – Brandon Shell – OT South Carolina Grade: C+
The Jets pull a trade off with the Washington Redskins to move into the 5th round to address the need for depth on the o-line. Shell is the great nephew of Hall of Fame member Art Shell. Slated to be a back up and eventually progress to a starter, he is slow out of his stance and has mediocre footwork at best. When engaged he has great size and long arms to do a great job of keeping defenders out of the backfield, and shows patience in picking up linebacker blitzes. Suited to play on the right side, Mike Maccagnan must have seen something in this guy, as giving up a fourth round pick next year to obtain him may have been a reach.
Round 7 Pick 235 – Lac Edwards – P Sam Houston State Grade: B
The seventh round is where you draft your punter. The Jets averaged 36.2 net yards per punt last season which was second worst in the league. So this was a need that needed to be addressed with Ryan Quigley leaving for Philadelphia. Edwards was discovered kicking in a park in Australia. He participated in Rugby, Aussie Rules Football, Track, and Cricket in Ballarat University before coming to the United States in 2013. He was a full time starter for Sam Houston State in his senior averaging 44.1 yards per punt. The impressive stat is that he had 28 punts as compared to only five touchbacks. Solid chance he punts for the Jets for at least next four years.
Round 7 Pick 241 – Charone Peake WR – Clemson Grade: B+
Love the potential of this pick. Peake was considered one of the best prospects in the nation coming out of high school. He has good size and deep speed, but injury and playing behind some big names (Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, and Martavis Bryant). He ran a 4.37 40 at the combine. He also has kick return experience that could be beneficial to the team as well. One of the highest ceilings for the talent left in the draft.
Overall Grade: B: Overall a good draft by the Jets but like any B, you can go home with your head held high, but you always know you could have possibly done better…