New York Jets: 2014 NFL Draft

Jets' brass evaluates draft picks

May, 13, 2014
Leftover "sound" bites from draft weekend, with general manager John Idzik, Rex Ryan and senior director of college scouting Terry Bradway discussing some of the New York Jets' second- and third-day draft picks:

Idzik on whether second-round tight end Jace Amaro can block well enough to be used in-line or flexed out as a receiver: "I think we can do both, really. He hadn’t been in-line as much. He did do a little bit of that at (Texas) Tech. He certainly has the size and he has the will, too. You see him get after it as a blocker. I think he has the size and now it’s just a matter of getting a (few) more reps at doing it. We’re not concerned that way.

Ryan on third-round cornerback Dex McDougle: "When we watched him, we saw a guy that we think has versatility, can play outside, can play inside as a nickel possibly. Obviously, we like his cover skills. But we think he’s a complete corner. We think he can tackle. We know he can tackle. He’s aggressive. He’ll challenge you at the line of scrimmage. He’s got good ball skills. And, obviously, we feel good he can run. But (he’s) a very aggressive player as well. And the thing that I thought was impressive."

Bradway on fourth-round wide receiver Jalen Saunders, listed at 5-foot-9, 175 pounds: "I think he’s played both inside and outside. You’re right, he is smaller in stature, but he’s as tough as they come. You go watch him play ... no fear. He’s blocking bigger guys. He’s breaking some tackles. He’s a dynamic playmaker with a ball in his hands, too. He brings that return element. It was really an attractive pick for us."

Ryan on sixth-round cornerback Brandon Dixon: "He’s coming from a small school (Northwest Missouri State). So I get that, that there’ll be some developing there. But at his school, wow, it was zero coverage or cover-1. So, he’s got the guts, I’ll tell you that. He’s played it. The measurables, he’s got size, he’s got speed, and the thing that I was impressed with when you saw all the scouts’ grades and the coaches’, it was competitiveness. This young man is a competitor, and I think that’s what he’s going to bring. How quick he learns the system and all that, we’ll have to determine that at a different time. But I love the competitiveness and obviously his God-given size-speed combination is rare."

Ryan on fifth-round linebacker Jeremiah George, only 5-11, 234 pounds: "I like having the flexibility of playing a 'Mike' linebacker or a 'Will' linebacker. ... So here, he fits a role. We’ll try to teach him both. We’ll flip both those guys. That’s what you want to have, that kind of flexibility. We love the fact that he’s a run-hit guy, loves to play. He’s got great passion for the game. You mentioned the production. We saw all that. We really like him. ... Sometimes (size) can be overrated. Zach Thomas was one of the best linebackers in the league and he was much smaller in a 3-4."

Idzik on whether linebacker Trevor Reilly's age (26) dropped him to the seventh round: "That may be a factor. The bottom line is, what do you think of him as a player and a person? Again, he fit that way for us."

Did Jets drop ball at wide receiver?

May, 12, 2014
One of the lingering questions involving the New York Jets is whether they adequately addressed their wide-receiver need in the draft.

Amid the endless pre-draft hype, they were linked to big-name prospects such as Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks and Marqise Lee. They went hard after receivers on the third day, selecting three wideouts, but it's never a sure thing when you're relying on middle- and late-round picks. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay agrees, claiming the Jets' draft strategy underscores their belief that Eric Decker -- the No. 2 receiver with the Denver Broncos -- will be their top dog for the foreseeable future.

"Outside of (the three picks), I don’t think they were really able to solve their problem at wide receiver," McShay said Monday on a media conference call. "You have to believe Eric Decker is your No. 1 if you’re going to spend that money" -- meaning the five-year, $36.25 million contract.

The Jets drafted Jalen Saunders (fourth round), Shaq Evans (fourth) and Quincy Enunwa (sixth), but their key draft pick is tight end Jace Amaro (second). McShay described Amaro as a "big wide receiver" who needs to make an immediate impact. To me, he's the key to the draft.

"Ultimately, you need Amaro to come in and contribute, and you need more from Stephen Hill and you need Eric Decker to play the way he was paid," McShay said. "Hopefully, between Saunders, Evans and Enunwa, if you hit on one of those guys, you'll fill out the depth a little bit."

McShay believes the Jets got good value with their first two picks, safety Calvin Pryor and Amaro, but he wonders if they reached for need in the third round, taking cornerback Dex McDougle. No matter how team officials try to spin it, this was a "need" draft for the Jets. It's the kind of strategy that results in reaches, which end up being bad picks.

"Could they have gone wide receiver there? Yeah, sure, there were some better players at wide receiver available (in the third round), but they’re still trying to fill in that secondary and get the right guys there," McShay said.

McShay offered a few other takeaways on the Jets' draft. He sees Pryor as a great fit in Rex Ryan's defense, but he wonders if he'll have to dial back his aggressive ways to conform to the new safety rules.

"I know some Jets fans were frustrated they went with (him) at 18, but he was just a really good value and he fits what they want," McShay said. "They want a guy who’s going to set a tone physically, who’s tough. He's got enough range to cover the deep third and the deep middle of the field. He’s never going to be a matchup safety, but he can cover in zone, he’s capable of playing in the box and he’s going to fill the alley hard. I mean, he knocked some guys out. He’s probably going to wind up with some fines in the league, and he may have to adjust his mentality a little bit, but he’s a perfect Rex Ryan-type football player."

The criticism of Amaro is he's a below average blocker. Doesn't matter, according to McShay.

"He can block a little bit, but ultimately all they did was draft a big wide receiver they can flex out and put in the slot, even split out wide at times and try to create some mismatches," he said. "I really like that pick for the Jets."

McShay's take on the next three picks:

McDougle: "I like his tape. He has durability issues, but I thought he was one of the under-rated players in this draft. When you studied what he did in 2012 and his first couple of games this season, he’s got a lot of potential. They obviously love drafting defensive backs."

Saunders: "He’s quick. He’s a good slot receiver, he makes plays and he create after the catch."

Evans: "We had him in that fourth/fifth-round range. He doesn’t have explosive burst. He’s not going to stretch the field much vertically, but he has good hands and I thought he had a really good performance at the Senior Bowl. He’s got a chance to stick maybe as the No. 4 or No. 5."

New York Jets draft wrap-up

May, 10, 2014
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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.

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The pick: Trevor Reilly, outside linebacker, Utah

My take: It took until the seventh round, but the Jets finally addressed their need at outside linebacker. Reilly has all the right measureables to be a 3-4 outside 'backer in Rex Ryan's base defense. He's 6-foot-5, 245 pounds and produced on the college level -- 8.5 sacks, 16 tackles-for-loss and 100 tackles last season.

So you're wondering, why did he last until the seventh round? Two reasons: Reilly is 26, having served a Mormon mission in Sweden. He also has knee issues. He underwent a knee scope that sidelined him for the all-star games, reportedly on the same right knee that required major surgery in 2012. So there you have it. He plays hard, but doesn't have the kind of explosion you want in an edge rusher.

Long-term project: The Jets are OK this season at outside linebacker, with Quinton Coples and Calvin Pace as starters and with Antwan Barnes coming off the bench in pass-rush situations -- assuming his surgically repaired knee is OK. Pace, 33, signed a two-year contract, but he's really year-to-year at this stage of his career. If Reilly beats the injury bug, he could be the heir apparent if he can ... you know, play at this level.

Jets take Tajh Boyd in 6th

May, 10, 2014

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The pick: Tajh Boyd, quarterback, Clemson

My take: The Jets' interest in Boyd was one of the worst-kept secrets in the draft. They did extensive work on Boyd, starting at the Senior Bowl. It also didn't hurt that Rex Ryan's son, Seth, is a wide receiver at Clemson. Obviously, they had inside intel on Boyd, one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in the draft. He was a three-year starter on one of the biggest stages in college football, throwing at least 30 touchdowns in all three seasons. He's a winner (37-8 as a starter) and a good leader, but there are major questions. He's short (a shade under 6-foot-1) and his throwing mechanics are inconsistent, including a low release point. He's not as efficient inside the pocket as you'd like, but he passed for more than 11,000 yards in college. So why not? This made this selection with a compensatory choice.

Four's a crowd: This probably isn't a happy day in the Matt Simms household. After making nice strides last season as a developmental quarterback, Simms will now have to battle Boyd for the No. 3 job, behind Geno Smith and Michael Vick. The Boyd pick was so John Idzik; he preaches competition and he subscribes to the theory that you can't have too many quarterbacks. Boyd doesn't have No. 1 potential, according to scouts, but if he takes to David Lee's coaching, he could emerge as a competent backup in the future.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The pick: IK Enemkpali, defensive end, Louisiana Tech

My take: This is a fascinating pick on a number of levels. Enemkpali (pronounced: IN-em-PALL-ee) is an undersized defensive end at 6-foot-1, 261 pounds -- not an ideal scheme fit in Rex Ryan's 3-4 base defense. Another undersized defensive end -- Michael Sam, the co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year -- still was on the board when the Jets made this selection with a compensatory choice in the sixth round.

Enemkpali wasn't terribly productive in college (17.5 sacks in four years) and he didn't run well at the scouting combine (5.01 seconds in the 40). Evidently, the Jets liked something about him.

Situational player: Enemkpali is a 'tweener -- too small to be an every-down lineman in the Jets' base front and not fast enough to be an outside linebacker. He will be a situational pass-rusher, and there's nothing wrong with that as long as the player produces in that role. Obviously, he will have to earn a role on special teams as well. It's not usual for a team to take a developmental player this late in the draft, but they usually gamble with a player who has exceptional size-speed numbers that will allow him to make the jump. Enemkpali has neither.

Jets take Quincy Enunwa in 6th

May, 10, 2014

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The pick: Quincy Enunwa, wide receiver, Nebraska

My take: This makes three wide receivers on the third day of the draft. Enunwa (pronounced: uh-NOON-wuh) has terrific size at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, ideal for a West Coast offense. He's solidly built and has long arms (32¾ inches). His production in college was modest, although he scored 12 touchdowns last season. That includes a 99-yarder against Georgia. He set career highs with 51 receptions and 753 yards, finishing his career with only 115 catches. Enunwa ran the 40 in the mid-4.4s at his pro day. Like most of the Jets' picks, he's known for strong character. He was a 2013 team captain and a leader in the community.

Sending a message: You can bet there are uneasy feelings in the homes of Clyde Gates, David Nelson, Greg Salas and maybe even Stephen Hill -- the veteran receivers not named Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley on the Jets' roster. By drafting three wideouts, the front office has sent a clear message. This hardly comes as a surprise. At the league meetings in March, Rex Ryan all but guaranteed they'd select multiple receivers.

Jets take Brandon Dixon in 6th

May, 10, 2014

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The pick: Brandon Dixon, cornerback, Northwest Missouri State

My take: The New York Jets doubled down on their cornerback need, selecting the unheralded Dixon with the first of four picks in the sixth round. He will join third-round selection Dex McDougle as the Jets attempt to rebuild the cornerback position in the post-Cromartie/Revis era.

Dixon attracted attention at the scouting combine, where he ran the 40 in 4.41 seconds -- fifth-fastest among cornerbacks. There's no doubt about his vertical speed, but he has tight hips and struggles against sharp-breaking routes. He described himself as a press-man corner who likes to be aggressive at the line of scrimmage.

At 5-11½, 203 pounds, Dixon has good size for the position. He began his career at Joliet Junior college before transferring to Division II Northwest Missouri State, where he made 36 tackles and one interception last season. He posted better numbers in 2012 -- five interceptions. He requires extra reps to process information, according to Scouts Inc. Clearly, he'll have to carve a niche on special teams.

Best player available? The Jets are like most teams in that they preach the best-available-player philosophy, but isn't it curious how the BAP has married with their biggest needs? They've drafted two cornerbacks and two wide receivers. Of course, when you enter the draft with 12 selections, you can afford to stockpile at specific positions. Currently, the Jets have 12 corners on the roster. John Idzik is smling. Maybe you've heard, he loves competition.

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The pick: Jeremiah George, linebacker, Iowa State

My take: This was a classic "need" pick -- and a bit of a reach in the fifth round. The Jets are perilously thin at inside linebacker, so they opted for the undersized, but highly productive George (5-11, 231 pounds). He's a run-and-hit player who will contribute immediately on special teams, which need an infusion of young blood. In terms of his future on defense, George's size could prevent him from being an every-down player in Rex Ryan's scheme. He and Nick Bellore should be the primary backups behind Demario Davis and David Harris, who enters the final year of his contract.

You can't quibble about George's college résumé, though. He led the Big 12 last season with 133 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He has excellent instincts and good range. His intangibles are off the charts; he was a team captain and has an upbeat personality. The Jets like players from Iowa State; their director of college scouting, Jeff Bauer, is an alum.

Gambling Jets: Say this for the Jets: They're not afraid to take chances on players who fall short of prototypical size. They did it in the fourth round, selecting smurf receiver Jalen Saunders (5-9) in the fourth round and grabbing the diminutive George in the fifth. Chances are, they'll never become starting players in the NFL, but it shows the Jets are drafting with an emphasis on special teams. Their coverage units suffered last season because it lacked top athletes. They have a new special teams coordinator, Thomas McGaughey, and they're giving him some new toys to incorporate into his master plan.

Jets take Dakota Dozier in 4th

May, 10, 2014

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The pick: Dakota Dozier, guard, Furman.

My take: Dozier becomes the first "big" in this year's draft class. He was a four-year starter at left tackle, but he projects to guard in the NFL. He has guard measurements -- 6-3½, 313 pounds. If you recall, the Jets made a similar selection last year, taking tackle Brian Winters in the third round and converting him to guard. It was an epic struggle, underscoring that position switches aren't always seamless transitions.

Dozier was moved to guard for the East-West Shrine Game, and he reportedly had no problems at all. He's known for his ability to get to the second level, an important attribute in the Jets' blocking scheme. He produced 133 key blocks/knockdowns and 17 touchdown-resulting blocks, according to the Furman stats. Dozier's nickname is "Bull." What else did you expect? He was chosen 137th overall, with a compensatory pick.

Stockpiling the big fellas: Dozier is a depth/developmental pick, just as Oday Aboushi and William Campbell were last season. If the scouting department is right about these players, the Jets will have good, young depth on the offensive line. Right guard Willie Colon, 31, is on a one-year contract, so there probably will be an opening at his position in 2015, perhaps sooner. The jury is still out on Winters at left guard, so that young depth could become critical for the Jets. Chances are, Dozier will start out at left guard, playing behind Winters.

Jets take Shaq Evans in 4th

May, 10, 2014

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The pick: Shaq Evans, wide receiver, UCLA.

My take: Do you think the Jets are sending a message to Stephen Hill or what? They drafted back-to-back wide receivers with Evans and Jalen Saunders, creating a crowded depth chart. As GM John Idzik likes to say, it'll create good competition.

Evans enjoyed a solid, if not stellar college career, starting out at Notre Dame. He transferred because he wasn't happy with his playing time and he wanted to be closer to his home, Inglewood, Calif. He caught 47 passes for 709 yards last season (a 15.1 average) and nine touchdowns. At 6-foot-1, 213 pounds, he has good size for the position. Evans was a vertical threat at UCLA, recording eight scoring receptions of at least 20 yards. He doesn't have great speed (a 4.51 in the 40), so he might have trouble separating on the NFL level. He'll have to contribute on special teams, but he doesn't have much experience as a returner.

Four! The Jets must consider the fourth round the sweet spot for wide receivers. The question is, is it too much too late? ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said Evans never will be more than a No. 4 receiver. Of course, a lot of people said that about Jerricho Cotchery in 2004, and he's had a nice career.

Jets take Jalen Saunders in 4th

May, 10, 2014

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The pick: Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma

My take: The Jets finally jumped into what experts have called the deepest wide-receiver pool in recent history, taking one of the smallest players in the draft. Saunders is a shade under 5-foot-9 and weighs 175 pounds -- yes, really. Obviously, he projects as a slot receiver. Why take a slot receiver when they have Jeremy Kerley on the roster? Kerley is entering the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent, so Saunders provides Kerley insurance. Saunders' greatest value might be as a punt returner. He averaged 15.4 yards on punt returns last season, including two touchdowns.

Saunders is an interesting prospect because of his background. He began his career at Fresno State, playing with QB Derek Carr. He recorded a 1,065-yard season in 2011, but transferred to Oklahoma. He caught 61 passes for 729 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Saunders has good speed (ran the 40 in 4.44 at the combine), and that's a good thing because, at his size, he has to run away from as many people as possible. This pick was acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Darrelle Revis trade.

Change-of-pace receiver: Saunders could get lost in the Jets' receiver room, which includes Eric Decker (6-3), Stephen Hill (6-4) and David Nelson (6-5). Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has proven he can integrate small receivers into his offense. He did it with DeSean Jackson in Philadelphia, and his leading receiver last season was Kerley.

W2W4: A quarterback on Day 3?

May, 10, 2014
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Prepare for a hectic Saturday with the New York Jets:

Picks: The Jets own a league-high nine selections, including three in the opening round -- the fourth (104, 115 and 137). The first pick came from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Darrelle Revis trade. Remember that? They also have one in the fifth round (154), four in the sixth (195, 209, 210, 213) and one in the seventh (233). Four of the nine are compensatory picks, which can't be traded.

Outlook: It won't be a dull day, that's for sure. There are so many intriguing storylines for the Jets. Could they draft a quarterback? Yes, it's possible. They did a lot of scouting work on a few of the remaining quarterbacks. Maybe they will get around to drafting a much-needed wide receiver. It's one of the deepest receiver drafts in history, and the Jets have yet to take one. They also haven't selected any of the big fellas, meaning offensive linemen or pass rushers. Another possibility is defensive end Michael Sam, who will be the story of Day 3. Not surprisingly, he's still on the board. Sam, the first openly gay NFL prospect, isn't a great scheme fit for the Jets, so the chances would seem unlikely.

Potential targets: The fourth round is prime quarterback territory. The top names for the Jets are Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech), Aaron Murray (Georgia), Tom Savage (Pitt) and Zach Mettenberger (LSU), who has a big-time arm but comes with injury and character questions. The team is intrigued by Thomas, who has a rifle for an arm (albeit erratic) and plenty of athletic upside. Later on, Tajh Boyd (Clemson) is a distinct possibility. The Jets have met several times with Boyd throughout the scouting process. AJ McCarron (Alabama) still is available, but there wasn't any pre-draft buzz connecting him to the Jets. At wide receiver, there are a couple of interesting players, Martavis Bryant (Clemson) and Bruce Ellington (South Carolina).

Trades: With nine picks, you'd have to think potential trades are a possibility. John Idzik's next in-draft trade (for picks) will be his first. Ever.

Jets explored trade-up for Marqise Lee

May, 10, 2014
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Is John Idzik ever going to make a trade? Well, he tried Friday night, attempting to move up in the second round.

The New York Jets' general manager acknowledged that he placed calls, but he declined to reveal the object of his desire. A league source confirmed it was wide receiver Marqise Lee. The NFL Network reported they tried to move up 11 spots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 38 overall). The Bucs balked, perhaps thinking the Jets were interested in the player they ended up selecting, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Lee didn't last much longer; he was picked 39th by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jets stayed put and chose tight end Jace Amaro at 49, meaning they will go into the third day of the draft with a league-high nine selections. It seems rather pointless to have a 12-player draft, considering it's unlikely they'd all make the roster. Idzik should use the extra picks as bargaining chips, packaging them to land his top targets. Idzik hinted that he could do some dealing on the final day.

"It's nice going in with ammunition," he said. "That way, we can maneauver."

Another year, another shoulder: For the second straight year, the Jets drafted a cornerback coming off shoulder surgery. Last year is was Dee Milliner, who didn't have his operation until March and missed the entire offseason. This time, they used a third-round pick on Dex McDougle, who underwent his surgery last September. He was injured in Maryland's third game.

McDougle said "everything is healed up," expressing optimism that he'll be available for all offseason activities. He's been cleared by doctors, according to Idzik, who didn't provide any specifics other than that. There are questions about McDougle's durability. In 2010, he needed surgery to repair a broken collarbone, the result of a scooter accident.

"He's an aggressive player," Idzik said. "He forced the run with vigor. That's the type of player we like."

Rex Ryan called McDougle "a complete corner," saying he can play inside and outside. "He's aggressive," Ryan said. "He’ll challenge you at the line of scrimmage. He’s got good ball skills."

McDougle skipped the scouting combine because he still wasn't healthy, but he enjoyed a good pro day, running the 40 in 4.43 seconds and registering a 37-inch vertical jump.

Concerned? Not Rex: Ryan displayed a little of his old bravado when asked if he's concerned about the current cornerback situation.

"We’re going to play great defense here, that’s what we do," he said. "I’m absolutely confident that we’ll do it."

That great defense surrendered nearly 4,000 passing yards last season, the most by the franchise since 1986.

Fake plastic: Idzik said the team thoroughly investigated an incident that occurred in March, 2012, Amaro's second year at Texas Tech. He and a teammate were arrested for felony credit-card fraud for allegedly running up a $100 bar tab on a teammate's card. The charges were eventually dropped.

"We don’t wipe anything away," Idzik said. "We not only talk about it, but we drill down on those things. Again, it’s very important to learn the type of person that you’re bringing into the organization. We take that background research very seriously."

Fooled by Amaro's numbers? We'll see

May, 10, 2014
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Give the New York Jets credit for finally recognizing the importance of having a receiving threat at tight end. On Friday night, they used a second-round pick on Jace Amaro, who has modeled his game after Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham.

Yes, the position has evolved, and Amaro could be the next new-age tight end.

[+] EnlargeJace Amaro
Michael C. Johnson/USA TODAY SportsJace Amaro believes his numbers at Texas Tech can translate into the Jets' offense.
Or he could be a flop, a product of a Texas Tech system that generates video-game statistics for quarterbacks and pass-catchers. It's one of the most difficult aspects of scouting, looking past the inflated numbers and separating the future stars from the faux prospects. Naturally, the Jets say they got it right, but there are enough questions about Amaro that make you wonder.

Amaro doesn't have top-end speed (a less-than-stellar 4.74 in the 40) and some scouts say he can struggle to separate from defenders. There will be a significant transition period as he attempts to learn a pro-style offense. He acknowledged that Kliff Kingsbury's offense is "easy to understand. The plays are very simple." He said it may take a couple of weeks to learn Marty Mornhinweg's system. A couple of weeks? He doesn't know what he doesn't know.

"Obviously, now in college football with spread offenses, a lot of numbers are put up," said Terry Bradway, the Jets' senior director of college scouting. "But when you look at him, we like the way he runs routes and he catches the ball well. ... Anytime you're evaluating a college player, it's not apples to apples, but we have a pretty good feel for this player, watching him on tape."

At 6-5, 265 pounds, Amaro passes the look test. His 2013 numbers resemble career numbers -- 106 receptions for 1,352 yards, an FBS record for most receiving yards in a season for a tight end. Then again, the water boy could step into the Texas Tech offense and catch passes. In Kingsbury's up-tempo system, in which Amaro was deployed mostly in the slot, the Red Raiders averaged 55 passes per game.

All the Jets can do is trust their eyes and instincts. They believe he can be a big-time tight end, providing a new dimension in their refurbished offense. With Eric Decker on the outside, with Amaro working the middle seams and with Chris Johnson in the backfield, the Jets actually have legitimate balance. Young, athletic tight ends are starting to populate the landscape, changing the way offense is played. Finally, the Jets are hip to the trend.

"Believe me, those guys are hard to defend," coach Rex Ryan said.

Amaro was widely projected as a second-round pick, so it's not like the Jets reached. He was the third tight end off the board, behind Eric Ebron and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. None of them are accomplished blockers; they're basically wide receivers in tight end bodies. Amaro believes he should've been ranked up there with Ebron, who was picked 10th overall.

"Going into the draft ... I always felt like I was the best guy," he said. "I was the most versatile. I had the record for the most receiving yards for a tight end ever. I think that's something that needs to be put into a lot of play. I think we're similar, but he ended up being a top-10 pick and I didn't. The only thing I can do is show them why I should've been there."

The Jets hope he's right.