Last weekend, we had one of the most exciting and unpredictable NFL Drafts ever. It was the first year that I can remember where no QBs went in the top 10. Other than at QB, it was a pretty deep draft and teams for the most part drafted well. It went so well, that lots of fans, experts and bloggers just don’t know who to criticize and who to complement. Over the next week, I’m going to break down the most Overrated and Underrated Draft hauls by franchise (according to general consensus from fans and writers from NFL.com). Today, I’ll start with the New York Jets, the team that everyone’s including their own fans and media outlets love to hate. Are they really worthy of the hate after this draft though? I don’t think so.
Jets fans didn’t seem to be too happy about this draft and I understand why. We used our first round picks on a CB and DT, positions that by far are the least glaring on the defense. We then used our second rounder on Geno Smith, who for some reason, lots of people are down on there in the 2nd. I think these picks actually helped give the Jets one of the better draft hauls in the NFL.
I think everyone can understand the Jets getting Dee Milliner. Although we have 2 startable CBs in Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson, Milliner was one of 5 elite prospects in this draft and not many were expecting him to fall out of the top 5. This was a best player available situation that is great long term value when you consider that this is Cromartie’s last season in his 20s. Dee Milliner was the Joe Haden/Patrick Peterson/Morris Claiborne of this draft; an elite, well coached SEC DB that can come in, play right away and is a steal at #9.
Next, the Jets took Sheldon Richardson, a 310 pound defensive tackle who was projected to fit well into a 4-3 defense. The only problem? The Jets run a 3-4 under Rex Ryan. Not only that but there was a 3-4 defensive tackle who was said to be a top 5 prospect on the board in Star Lotulelei. Sheldon Richardson is also a great athlete and solidfies this defensive line for years to come. The whole move makes me wonder if Rex is pondering a move to the 4-3, he now has Coples, Wilkerson, Ellis and Richardson to head a great defensive front 4. Another fact to consider is that the Jets signed 5 D lineman (4 DTs) and only 1 linebacker as undrafted free agents. Perhaps they’re trying to build depth in the 4-3? Seriously, where are the pass rushing linebackers? If this is the case and the Jets move to the 4-3, this was a spectacular first round for them.
Ever since Nolan Nawrocki released that borderline slanderous report on Geno Smith, his stock plummeted from a top 10 pick to eventually a 2nd rounder. We must remember that this guy said similar stuff about Cam Newton. While this doesn’t mean he’s wrong again, it shows that he definitely isn’t always 100% right. A trap a lot of us fall into is comparing Geno Smith to Luck or RG3, when instead we should’ve compared him to the less talked about but still franchise worthy QB of last year in Ryan Tannehill. Ryan Tannehill had a good season in Miami and seems to finally be the answer the Dolphins have been looking for at QB. His senior year of college he went 7-6 with the Texas A&M Aggies, usually being unable to win the game in the 2nd half. Ryan Tannehill threw for 3744 yards, 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Geno Smith’s West Virginia team transitioned from the crumbling cupcake Big East conference to the Big 12 and played all the defenses Tannehill did this season. The adjustment to the new conference itself should give Geno a little bit of room for slack because switching conferences is an adjustment, just ask Nebraska or Missouri. Still Geno was able to lead West Virginia, probably a less talented overall team than Tannehill’s Aggies to the same 7-6 record, except Geno’s numbers were way greater, he threw for 4198 yards, 42 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. That’s a significantly better season than the Dolphins’ #8 overall pick in 2012 (this is coming from a die hard Aggie alumni) AND The Jets got Geno in round 2, after adding 2 very solid pieces to their defense.
The Jets finished their draft picking up blockers for whoever starts at QB (my money is on Geno who will now have a 2nd round chip on his shoulder). Brian Winters should be a starter at guard next season and Oday Aboushi was an absolute steal in round 5. At 6’5, 308 Aboushi’s showcased his dominance at tackle on both the right and left sides of UVA’s offensive line. Put him in competition and rotation with Austin Howard and the Jets all of the sudden have their most promising offensive line since waiving Alan Faneca.
With a rookie QB that will actually have a real competition with Mark Sanchez, more time to throw, Santonio Holmes coming back and a year of development under Stephen Hill’s belt (who everyone forgot physically outperformed all of the other WRs in his class’ combine). The Jets should have a way better pass game than people think and really upgraded their offense in the draft.