Archive for April, 2011

April 30, 2011

The Jets Should Draft These Guys in Rounds 4-7

Sam Acho, OLB from Texas

I am very pleasantly surprised to see that Kenrich Ellis fell to the Jets at pick 94.  By most accounts, he has first round talent but character concerns really hurt his stock.  Ellis visited with the Jets back on April 12th so we can only hope that Jets scouting and coaching staffs were able to accurately assess that Ellis’ character concerns are not warranted.

With the Jets 126th pick, the Jets Should Select…

Outside Linebacker from Texas, Sam Acho

I was planning on suggesting that the Jets take Sione Fua (DT/NT from Stanford) with this pick.  However, Carolina selected Fua with their 97th pick (compensatory selection for losing Julius Peppers) and the Jets were able to fill their NT need with Ellis.  Now that the defensive line is shored-up, looking at the talent available and the needs the Jets have, I think the Jets should trade up and select Sam Acho.  I was surprised to see Acho slip into the 4th round but he surely won’t be around long.  I would like to see the Jets trade up to either Cincinnati’s 101st  pick, Cleveland’s 102nd pick or Arizona’s 103rd pick.  While I generally do not like the idea of trading future year’s picks, in this case I would try and trade this year’s and next year’s 4th round picks in exchange for moving up in the round.  The Jets have a real need at OLB and, in my opinion, there is a huge drop off from Sam Acho to the remaining OLB’s.  If you look at the value chart that teams use when making trades, to move up and preserve all of next year’s picks, we would need to trade all of our remaining picks this year.  While having about 3 picks in a year has been the norm for the Jets of late, I would rather trade next year’s 4th round pick and keep our fifth, sixth and seventh round picks.

With the Jets 161th pick, the Jets Should Select…

Quarterback from Virginia Tech, Tyrod Taylor

How’s this for an unconventional pick?  Our back-up QB situation is murky at best.  Brunell turns 41 in September and retirement has got to be a strong possibility.  Clemens has struggled to lead the offense when given the opportunity (week 14 at Tampa Bay in 2009).

With the number of free agents the Jets have, they’re not going to be able to sign them all.  Three free agents are WR’s and it looks like there’s a good chance that Brad Smith may not be back.  If we are not able to sign him, he will truly be missed and the Jets will need to find someone to lead their Seminole/Wildcat offense.  I look to this pick to help fill two holes – one as a back-up QB and the other as the Seminole/Wildcat QB.  Tyrod Taylor is an exceptional athlete that makes plays with both his arm and his legs.  I’m not saying he’s Michael Vick but there’s a lot more than just the uniform that is reminiscent of him.  While Taylor has been adamant that he wants to remain a QB in the NFL (his senior year, he had an excellent 24-5 TD-Int ratio), many scouts have projected him as a RB or WR.  Normally a back-up QB is little more than an insurance policy if your starter goes down.  With Tyrod Taylor, the Jets could get production from their back-up by having him run the Seminole/Wildcat offense.  As much as teams needed to game-plan against Brad Smith’s throwing ability, they’d need to be even more cautious of Taylor’s throwing threat.

I also like the idea of having a running QB as a back-up.  In the unfortunate instance when a starter does go down, its helpful if your backup doesn’t need to rely solely on his arm.  Obviously the back-up hasn’t been getting the reps in practice with the first team offense and to expect him to come in and perform at a level similar to the starter is not realistic.  However, when you think back to some successful back-up situations in the past, such as when Ray Lucas came in for an injured Vinny Testaverde, the QB was able to move the chains with his legs when he needed to.

With the Jets 194th pick, the Jets Should Select…

Wide Receiver from Mount Union, Cecil Shorts III

I think he will likely be the best WR on the board by the time the Jets pick.  He can line-up on either the outside or in the slot.  Also, of our four current WR’s, they are all either 27 or 28 years old.  Considering that WR’s usually take a few years to develop, even if we are able to resign Edwards or Holmes, now would be a good time to add a WR.

With the Jets 208th pick, the Jets Should Select…

The best available OL.

By the time you get to the late 7th round, it’s even more of a crap shoot trying to predict who will be on the board .  I think OL is one of the positions where you are more likely to find late round talent (such as Matt Slauson in the 6th round in 2009).

Needs still unmet:

A FS that can cover big TE’s.

An ILB that can rotate in to support Harris and Scott.

April 29, 2011

With the 94th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Jets Should Select…

(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Inside Linebacker from Oregon State, Casey Matthews.

In reviewing many scouting reports on Matthews, the consensus is that he is just an average athlete with marginal quickness.  However, his football acumen is off the charts.  His is very aggressive and, by all accounts, is extremely hard working.  We’ve heard over and over from many different players and experts that, at the NFL level, football is 90% mental.  Yet time and time again, we see teams draft primarily on pure athleticism.  The NFL is littered with busts that wowed us at the Combine and late rounders that proved everyone wrong.  I’m a firm believer that you can’t manage what you don’t measure.  It’s very easy to measure a player’s physical attributes but that is only part of the picture.  A player’s “intangibles” are also of great import.  By definition, it’s impossible to quantify a player’s intangibles.  Consequently, predicting NFL success is not an exact science.  The best we can do is look deeper into intangibles and make our best judgment.

Consider this, according to NCAA statistics, only about 0.09% of high school senior football players will be drafted by the NFL.  With that in mind, it is remarkable to think of the odds of two people in the same family making the NFL.  However, as of the 2010 season, the Hall of Fame has 335 documented sets of brothers who’ve played professional football and 187 sets of fathers and sons.  In the first round of this year’s draft, 3 of the arguably 32 best players entering the NFL are either the son or brother of a player – that is about 9.4%!  Casey Matthews’ family blood lines are well documented (grandfather, father, uncle, cousin, brother).  While I’m not advocating for nepotism in the NFL, I think the fact that Matthew’s family has had such success should be taken into account.

There will of course be some natural comparisons made to his brother, Clay.  Casey was actually much more highly touted than than Clay as they came out of High School.  Clay was a walk-on at USC while Casey, despite being undersized, was a 3-star recruit with scholarships from numerous Pac-10 and ACC schools.  As a true freshman, Casey played in all 11 games.  He finished his senior year as Oregon States’ leading tackler and was the co-recipient of the Ducks’ Most Outstanding Player award.

While the Jets need at ILB has not gotten a lot of press as a major area of need, I think it is.  That said, in the unlikely event that players like Sam Acho (OLB from Texas) or Kendrick Ellis (NT from Hampton) slip and are still on the board when the Jets pick, the Jets should should fill those needs.  Two of my favorite current Jet players are Bart Scott and David Harris.  I think they are one of the best pairs of ILB’s in the league and don’t receive the respect they deserve.  However, when you look at the depth chart, we have very little behind them.  Bart Scott will be 31 (or older) by the opening kick-off of this season.  He faded toward the end of last season – over the last 5 games (including payoffs) he averaged just 2.6 tackles per game.  Scott is the heart of the Jets defense and I think the Jets need to help him out by creating a rotation that can keep him fresh.  I’m confident that Bart has some quality years left.  As we learned in Hard Knocks, he is Rex’s surrogate on the field and vitally important to our defense.  We need to make sure he stays on the field and the best way to do that is to keep him fresh.

Next up:  I’ll discuss my suggested selections for the remaining rounds – including a very unconventional idea for the 5th round pick.