Saturday, May 2, 2015

From Williams to Petty, Wild Draft for NY Jets

For a better part of the off-season Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan has made plenty of headlines with the bevy of moves he's transacted to change the face of the New York Jets. So far he is batting 1.000, at least in the eyes of Jets fans, and his hot streak didn't stop at the draft.

Maybe with a little bit of luck, or perhaps a result of the Titans decision to draft Marcus Mariota with the second pick, the Jets had the best defensive player in the draft fall to them at number six in USC defensive tackle Leonard Williams. No players was graded higher in the draft than Williams' who is said to have a combination of "length, athleticism and power," ( He was named USC's MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, and was First Team All Pac-12 in 2014. Last season, Williams amassed 80 tackles, had seven sacks and a pick (yes, a defensive tackle with an interception). He is a truly gifted athlete and fits into a crowed, but talented front four for the Jets.

The drafting of Williams might also spell trouble for Muhammad Wilkerson, who has been holding out in hopes of a new contract. Wilkerson is a free agent after this year, and wants a big contract. The Jets already gave out big money to get Darrelle Revis back in town, and eventually Sheldon Richardson will want a new deal too. In other words, someone is going to get left out. Wilkerson has been rumored in trades all week, but nothing was eminent.

For at least this year the Jets will have an unbelievable front with Wilkerson, Williams, Richardson and Damon Harrison, which is one of the best fronts in the league. Oh, and did I mention Revis Island and Antonio Cromartie are back in the Jets secondary too?

In the second round the Jets struck gold again, at least on paper, when the selected Devin Smith the wide receiver out of Ohio State. Smith is only 6'0" but he has the skills to be a good deep threat and underneath speedster that the Jets need to pair up with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Smith was a big offensive weapon for the Buckeyes the past few years. Think Jerhico Cotchery with this pick Jets fans.

In the third round, I felt the Jets dropped the ball a bit. They traded down with the Texans, receiving the 82nd pick and castaway receiver DeVeir Posey from Houston. With that pick the Jets selected linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin. Not saying that linebacker isn't important for the Jets, but offensive line and running back are much more pressing needs. Mauldin comes from a checkered childhood, but word is he overcame those issues to be a model citizen and hard worker. The Jets hope he develops into a solid edge rusher at linebacker, especially with Calvin Pace getting older by the minute.

Now for the pick that shook Geno Smith's shoes.

In the fourth round the Jets traded up with the Jaguars to select Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty. Petty has been talked about at times by scouts as the third best quarterback in this draft behind Mariota and Jamies Winston, however he slipped big time as Garrett Grayson and Sean Mannion saw their stocks increase in recent weeks. Petty is a developmental project. He is not ready to assume the starting job from Geno Smith right off the bat, if Smith even gives up the job.

Petty comes from the same spread offense that Robert Griffin III played in, and we all know about RGIII's struggles in the NFL. I find this a curious pick. 1) We don't know how Geno Smith will transition in Chan Gailey's offense. What if he plays well? Does this make Petty expendable? Does it make this pick a waste? 2) What happens if Petty plays and doesn't impress, are the Jets going into 2016 looking for another quarterback in the draft?

Very curious move here by the Jets, and a gamble. The Jets had other needs they needed to address sooner in this draft and didn't do it. Keep in mind no quarterback taken in the fourth or fifth round has started or won a Super Bowl. The last time the Jets selected a QB in the fourth round, it was Jeff Blake in 1992 -- yeah, nothing to go crazy about.

So expect fans to go nuts on the Bryce Petty bandwagon, hoping he takes the job and becomes their version of Tom Brady -- but let's wait and see how this plays out in training camp at the very least.

Draft Grade: B- The Jets hit two home runs on Williams and Smith, but their picks in the third and fourth round are head scratchers at best. They also selected a guard in the fifth round -- but they could have gotten some better O-linemen earlier in the draft.

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