Draft recap: A complete analysis

April, 29, 2012
4/29/12
12:13
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Over a three-day period, the Jets drafted eight players -- four offense, four defense. Quick thoughts on their biggest draft haul since 2006:

1. Rex Ryan shouldn't have anointed DE Quinton Coples and WR Stephen Hill as starters -- not yet, anyway. Coples, their first-round pick, arrives with the reputation of being and hot-and-cold player, lacking intensity at times. What good does it do to reward a player like that before he steps on the field? Make him earn it. Plus, it wasn't a good way to treat incumbent LDE Mike DeVito, a solid starter and respected veteran.

2. This was a boom-or-bust draft for the Jets. Ultimately, it'll be defined by Coples and Hill, a couple of extraordinary athletes who, for different reasons, didn't produce in their final college years. If the Jets' scouts are right, if these two players reach their ceilings, they will have two blue-chip talents. If not, the draft will be a bust. Mike Tannenbaum, Ryan & Co. went for broke, all or nothing, in this critical draft.

3. I will say this: They definitely improved their team speed at wide receiver (Hill), defensive end (Coples), inside linebacker (Demario Davis) and safety (Josh Bush). That was a must because, let's face it, the Jets were a slow team last season. They still have speed issues in the backfield and at outside linebacker.

4. You got the feeling that special teams coach Mike Westhoff had a lot of say in the draft. Davis, Bush, Allen and perhaps WR Jordan White should be core special teamers. This draft was like a retirement gift to Westhoff, who is planning to leave for the sunset after the 2012 season.

5. Two needs that didn't get addressed -- right tackle and outside linebacker. TannyRex did their best to sell the current personnel, claiming RT Wayne Hunter and OLB Bryan Thomas (coming off Achilles-tendon surgery) are capable of holding down their respective forts. Ryan actually said he expects Hunter "will have a big year for us," hinting that Tony Sparano's system will suit him better than the Brian Schottenheimer system. He'd better be right because there's no way they can endure another season with sub-par play at right tackle.

6. Sparano must have been one happy dude. The Jets drafted a 241-pound running back in the sixth round (Terrence Ganaway) and a 340-pound guard (Robert T. Griffin) on the very next pick. Ground and Pound, baby. By the way, Ganaway and Griffin were teammates at Baylor.

7. ESPN analyst Bill Polian, the former Colts GM, made an interesting comment on the air Saturday. He noted that Hill, Ganaway and Griffin all came from option offenses in college, suggesting the Jets did that to suit running QB Tim Tebow. Not surprisingly, TannyRex wouldn't admit to that. Tannenbaum said it was "a coincidence."

8. Realistically, how many of these picks will have roles this season on offense and defense? Obviously, Coples and Hill will see significant action. Beyond them, though, there are no guarantees. Maybe Davis, because he can run, can work his way into a sub package on passing downs. If Bush can cover, he could be a dime back. Maybe Allen can be used as a situational blitzer, a la Drew Coleman, 2010.

9. Here's a positive: The Jets didn't draft anyone with major, off-the-field issues -- at least none that we know of.

10. With Hill targeted for a significant role, there's really no need to re-sign Braylon Edwards. With two new safeties, the Jets seem willing to move on from Jim Leonhard.

11. Ryan said Coples reminds him of Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce. Hill was compared, athletically, to Calvin Johnson. And Ryan said Davis reminds him of a young Bart Scott. Ellis/Pryce, MegaTron and Scott -- that's a hell of a draft.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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