New York Jets draft wrap-up

May, 10, 2014
May 10
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A wrap-up of the New York Jets' draft. Click here for a full list of Jets draftees.

[+] EnlargeCalvin Pryor
AP Photo/Tomasso DeRosaThe Jets' scouts believe safety Calvin Pryor has enough athleticism and range to hold up in coverage.
Best move: Safety Calvin Pryor in the first round was a solid move. It came as a mild surprise because of their previous philosophy at the position. Rex Ryan always treated his safeties as interchangeable parts, saving the big money for the cornerbacks. Now they are trying to copycat the champion Seattle Seahawks, recognizing the importance of safeties in the current NFL. Let's face it, the Jets' safeties were mediocre at best last season, so they needed a playmaker. Pryor isn't a ballhawk, but he's a hard-hitting enforcer who will bring attitude to the secondary, the weak link on defense. He was a good value at No. 18 overall. They could have used a cornerback in Round 1, but their scouts believe Pryor has enough athleticism and range to hold up in pass coverage. Pryor will be a Week 1 starter, mark it down.

Riskiest move: Third-round cornerback Dex McDougle missed the final nine games last season because of shoulder surgery. So, yes, he qualifies as a risk. Cornerback is the last place they needed another durability question; remember, they signed the injury-prone Dimitri Patterson in free agency -- and he's a likely starter. With McDougle, the Jets are making a projection based on his junior tape -- but it's not like he lit up in the ACC in 2012. He displayed ball skills in the first three games of '13 (three picks), but the competition was highly suspect. At 5-foot-10, he'll have trouble matching up against the big receivers. The Jets' scouts were giddy after watching his pro day (he ran the 40 in 4.43 seconds), but great pro days don't always translate to the field. McDougle doesn't solve the concerns at cornerback.

Most surprising move: We'll call this most surprising nonmove. The Jets went into the draft with 12 picks and came out with 12 players -- not a single trade, reinforcing John Idzik's reputation as a conservative general manager. Naturally, he was satisfied with the outcome, but this was curious draft management. The Jets squandered a rare opportunity. They could have used the extra ammunition to jump other teams, allowing them to cherry-pick players they really wanted. They tried to trade up in the second round for wide receiver Marqise Lee, but they couldn't get a deal done. Right now, their draft haul includes a handful of small-school players and undersized talents for their respective positions. You can't help but wonder if they could have done better. Of course, their passive approach will be forgotten if it turns into a watershed draft for the Jets.

File it away: The wild card is second-round tight end Jace Amaro. He was the most prolific pass-catching tight end in college football, but were his gaudy statistics (106 catches for 1,352 yards in 2013) the product of Texas Tech's pass-happy offense? It will be fascinating to see it play out because, if the Jets are right about him, they will have a legitimate threat at a position that has been a black hole in their passing attack. No one is expecting him to be the next Jimmy Graham, but if he can be a poor man's Graham, the Jets' passing game -- ranked 31st last season -- will be dramatically improved. It might take time, though. Amaro faces a potentially difficult transition into a pro-style offense. He's not a blocker, so it will be up to coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to scheme up ways to feature his strengths.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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