FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A few last-minute thoughts and observations as we settle into our ESPNNewYork.com draft bunker here at the New York Jets' facility:
1. Who will the Jets pick at 18?: I've been saying wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for more than a week, but he has become a "hot" player, with some buzz about him going in the top 10. I'd be surprised if he goes that high, frankly. I still think there's a small chance he slips to the Jets. Chances are, they'd have to trade up to get him and I don't think it would be a smart move to trade draft picks for a receiver in a receiver-rich draft. If they don't get Beckham, I believe cornerback enters the picture. Personally, I believe it's their No. 1 need. Darqueze Dennard and Kyle Fuller would be the best scheme fits in Rex Ryan's defense, although Justin Gilbert would be enticing because of his playmaking ability. As for the other receivers, the Jets like Brandin Cooks and Marqise Lee, but there are questions about whether they could develop into legitimate No. 1 receivers. I think the feeling is they could find a comparable receiver in the second round. Bottom line: Put me down for Dennard if Beckham is gone.
2. Johnny Football: Johnny Manziel has dominated the draft-day conversation. Come to think of it, hasn't he dominated it for the past four months? It's a couple of hours before the draft and no one has any idea where he could get picked. There's some speculation about him slipping into the 20s. If that happens, it would create plenty of drama at Radio City: Would the Jets take him at 18? Their quarterback situation is hardly settled, but I think it would be a stunner if they picked Manziel, especially after the way they've been talking up Geno Smith. How would they handle a Manziel-Smith-Michael Vick situation? If they were to select Manziel, the first question to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg would be, "So, Marty, does this impede the development of Geno?" That, of course, is a reference to his recent comment about gearing the entire offseason to make sure nothing stunts Smith's progress. But, like I said, I don't think they'd pull the trigger on Manziel. It basically would mean the end of Smith.
3. Surprises: We'll give you a name to watch and a position to watch. The name is Jason Verrett, a cornerback from TCU. He hasn't been linked to the Jets in any pre-draft speculation, but he might be the most complete corner in the draft. Problem is, he's only 5-foot-9 1/2, 190 pounds. Can a 5-9 cornerback survive against all the huge wide receivers in the NFL? It's a good question. I know this: The Jets' area scout in Texas -- the guy who did a lot of work on Verrett -- is former cornerback Aaron Glenn, whose lack of height (5-9) didn't hurt him in a 15-year career. The position to watch is safety. Traditionally, Ryan doesn't put a high value on safeties, but let's be real: The Dawan Landry-Antonio Allen tandem isn't getting it done. If Ha Ha Clinton-Dix slips to 18, he could be the surprise choice for the Jets. Calvin Pryor is another highly-rated safety, but he's more of a box safety than a coverage safety -- and they need a ballhawk.