<
>

No Jets to watch, but catch potential future Jets in CFP title game

With the first weekend of the NFL postseason in the books, we turn our attention to the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday night -- Alabama versus Clemson.

For New York Jets' fans, it's all about the draft because for the fifth straight year ... well, you know. With help from ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., we present a viewer's guide for the frustrated/anxious Jets fan.

Focusing on the Jets' primary needs, we cherry-picked a handful of players from Kiper's CFP title preview. It should be noted the top three names on his list -- A'Shawn Robinson (Alabama), Shaq Lawson (Clemson) and Jarran Reed (Alabama) -- are defensive linemen. Just a hunch, but we're going to assume the Jets won't draft another defensive lineman, although a nose tackle can't be ruled out if Damon Harrison leaves via free agency.

With that in mind, we'll list the top players at other positions, along with Kiper's comments. From a Jets' perspective, the two most intriguing players are on Alabama -- edge rusher Tim Williams and Heisman Trophy-winning running back Derrick Henry.

Enjoy the game.

Top tier (first-round prospects, potentially early)

Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson: He can really cover, but he also gets exposed and needs to button down the fundamentals. He also has a knack for getting under the skin of the opposition.

Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama: He's not overly athletic, but his instincts get him to the ball fast and he's a killer against the run. He has improved in coverage. Could fall to Round 2, but he's ready to start.

Williams, OLB, Alabama: His draft status is uncertain, as he could certainly use the seasoning, but it's hard to see him falling past Round 1 just on potential. Guy can rush the passer.

Next tier (second- and third-round prospects)

Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson: Has flown a little under the radar thanks to Alexander, but he's not far behind, and the length (6-1) helps.

Henry, RB, Alabama: Devastating on the second level, the question is whether Henry can make defenders miss and get his legs going at the next level.

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama: Has never quite lived up to the promise of his freshman season (and prep career), but there's a ton of natural ability.

Reuben Foster, OLB, Alabama: I suspect he'll be back at Alabama next year, which would be the right call.

Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson: Should come back and raise his profile. A tantalizing prospect if he continues to develop