Thursday, April 25, 2013
Jets: On their radar at 9, 13
By Rich Cimini
Draft day. Finally.
This is the most unpredictable draft in recent memory. By now, the first few picks usually are locked in, but we don't even know the No. 1 overall, as the Chiefs have done a nice job of hiding their intentions. The Jets, selecting ninth and 13th, could go in several different directions. One of those directions is trading down; I could easily see them moving down from 13.
To make it easier, we'll break down the possible picks into categories:
TOP TALENTS WHO COULD TUMBLE TO NINE
Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon: One personnel executive told me Jordan is one of the top three or four players in the draft, but there's an outside chance he could slip. In his mock draft, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has the Jets picking Jordan at No. 9. Rex Ryan would be a happy man.
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama: He was considered a top-five talent after blazing a sub-4.4 40 at the combine, but he underwent shoulder surgery last month -- his fifth surgery. He has spent more time in the operating room than the cast of "Grey's Anatomy," but the dude can play. He told me he can be just as good as Darrelle Revis. Doesn't lack for confidence, does he?
THE SPEED FREAKS
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia: He'd supply more electricity than LIPA. He, too, ran a sub-4.4 at the combine, and the Jets are making a concerted effort to improve the team speed. Austin, who visited with the Jets recently, said Ryan told him they have "a plan" for him. Hmm. Only 5-foot-8, he'd need a special package of plays. The Eagles (No. 4) and Bills (No. 8) also are interested.
Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU: He could be the Jets' first legitimate speed rusher since John Abraham. (Sorry, I don't count Aaron Maybin.) Mingo's 10-yard split is 1.57 seconds, which shows his explosiveness. Three concerns: He's only 237 pounds, he's never played linebacker and he produced only 4.5 sacks last season.
SAFE PICKS THAT FILL A NEED
Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina: I was told the Jets really like Cooper, who could step in from Day 1 and probably stick around for 10 years. But on Wednesday, Cooper revealed he's had no contact with the Jets during the pre-draft process. Smokescreen? GM John Idzik, it should be noted, attended the UNC pro day.
Chance Warmack, G, Alabama: Unlike Cooper, Warmack took a pre-draft visit to the Jets and spent time with coaches on the white board, doing the X's-and-O's thing. If they plan to utilize a power-running scheme, Warmack is a better choice than Cooper.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame: The Jets haven't picked a tight end since Dustin Keller in 2008, and now they need a replacement for Keller. Eifert is a 6-foot-5 target with a high ceiling. If the Patriots can collect tight ends, why not the Jets?
THE WILD CARDS
Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas: Mentions of his name have been getting louder in recent days. Obviously, the Jets have a huge need, but at 13? Most would consider that a bit of a reach, but he could be the guy in a trade-down scenario. If they force a safety pick, I'd take LSU S Eric Reid, a fast-rising talent who could end up with the Giants at No. 19.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia: He was a quarterback-sacking machine, but he ran a slow 40 (4.92) and has a mild case of spinal stenonsis. There are also questions about his work ethic. One scout described him as "lazy and selfish."
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: The Jets like Smith, they really do, but enough to pick at nine or 13? I don't think so. If they pick Smith, or any other quarterback in the first round, Mark Sanchez is finished.
LATER: My seven-round Jets mock draft.