- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Jets have picked a defensive player with their last three first-round draft choices. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper suspects they'll do it again this year with the ninth overall pick.
"I still think the front seven on the defensive side is the way to go," Kiper said Wednesday on a media conference call.
Obvious follow-up question: The Jets had one of the worst offenses last season, so why would they draft defense? The reason is, the draft is top-heavy with defensive linemen and linebackers, with no offensive skill players worthy of a top-10 pick, according to many pundits.
Kiper, who believes the Jets have "so many needs," identified three possibilities for the Jets at nine -- Oregon DE/OLB Dion Jordan, LSU DE Barkevious Mingo and Georgia LB Alec Ogletree.
"(Jordan) could be the ideal edge rusher as a 3-4 outside linebacker," Kiper said. "He can be a combo guy; you can use him up and down. He had a great finish two years ago, when he had six sacks late in the year. He wasn’t as dominant this year, but he was the guy you had to identify and handle. But he has enormous upside and potential."
Kiper said Mingo is in a "similar category" as Jordan because his production tailed off last season, adding, "He didn't play as dominant football this year as he did last year, but he's got an awful lot of ability." Kiper called Ogletree a versatile playmaker whose stock is rising.
"It’s going to be hard to pass one of those linebacker-types up," he said.
Here's the issue: All three players are questionable scheme fits for the Jets. In his 3-4 scheme, Rex Ryan prefers the defensive ends to be 290-plus pounds and he likes his outside linebackers in the 255-to-265 range. At 6-foot-6, 243 pounds, Jordan is built like a basketball player. Mingo is 6-foot-4, 240 pounds and Ogletree is 6-foot-3, 234 pounds.
The Jets also are in the market for a quarterback. No quarterback is worthy of the ninth pick, according to Kiper and many draft experts. Kiper mentioned three late-round possibilities for the Jets -- Zak Dysert (Miami, Ohio), Sean Renfree (Duke) and Brad Sorensen (Southern Utah).