by Tommy Lawlor – http://www.ScoutsNotebook.com
New York Jets
1 – DL Muhammad Wilkerson – 6’4, 315 – Temple
3 – DL Kenrick Ellis – 6’5, 346 – Hampton
4 – RB Bilal Powell – 5’10, 207 – Louisville
5 – WR Jeremy Kerley – 5’10, 189 – TCU
7 – QB Greg McElroy – 6’2, 220 – Alabama
7 – WR Scotty McKnight – 5’11, 182 – Colorado
The Jets needed help on the D-line and they didn’t mess around. They took Muhammad Wilkerson from Temple in the 1st round. He should be an excellent player for them. Wilkerson is ideal for the 3-4. Temple used him at both DE and DT. They played both 3-4 and 4-3. He’s got the size to be a good run defender, but is also athletic enough to be a pass rusher. The 3-4 functions best when the DEs can rush the passer effectively. They don’t need a ton of sacks, but must get pressure. Over the last 2 years Wilkerson racked up 16 sacks. He knows how to get to the QB.
Wilkerson can play DT when the Jets go to a 4-man front. He could also see time at NT if needed. He doesn’t have the ideal build for that, but is willing to do the dirty work up front. I thought the Jets got very good value in getting Wilkerson with pick 30. There was some speculation prior to the draft that he could go in the Top 20. Wilkerson left Temple after his Junior year and that may have lowered his value (all the way to 30). Had teams studied him all year and then seen him at the Senior Bowl, I doubt Wilkerson lasts to pick 30. It is hard to find big guys that run well and can get to the QB.
The Jets didn’t have a 2nd round pick. In the 3rd round they added another DL. This time they went for a really big guy. They took Kenrick Ellis, all 6’5, 346 of him. Real interesting player. Ellis began his career at South Carolina. He was booted for failing multiple drug tests. He then ended up at Hampton. Ellis played well for them, but still had some off-field issues. He’s now in the middle of a legal situation stemming from an incident in Virginia. The Jets took a chance and we’ll see how that works out. As far as on the field, Ellis has the potential to be the long term answer at NT. He is huge. He is strong and powerful. Ellis also is nimble. He’s got a lot of potential because of his size/athleticism combo. Not many big guys move like he does. I don’t blame the Jets for taking a chance on him at all. Could become a stud NT. Has to mature on and off the field.
The Jets next went for Louisville RB Bilal Powell. Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan know their team is built on running and defense. They never pass on a RB they like and obviously Powell fit that description. He basically came out of nowhere to finish 11th in the nation in rushing as a Senior. Powell was a workhorse runner for the Cardinals in 2010, but also proved to be a playmaker. He has good speed and broke some long runs over the year. He averaged more than 6 yards per carry. Powell could be a good complement to Shonn Greene. Powell isn’t as physical, but is faster. Powell’s tough enough to be a starting back and run 20-25 times in a game, but can also be productive with just 10 carries. Good fit.
In the 5th round NY chose TCU’s Jeremy Kerley. He is a good WR and very good RS. If the Jets lose Brad Smith, Kerley could help fill the void as a RS and slot receiver. Kerley really impressed me. Good player. The thing that hurt his value was pure speed. Kerley is more quick than fast (cliche, but true). He was very productive in college. Caught 120 career passes. Posted big numbers as PR and KOR. Also ran for 306 yards and 8 TDs. His versatility had to be a big selling point. Smith is the Wildcat QB for the Jets. Kerley could possibly handle that role in the future. He’ll never be a starting WR in the NFL, but could be excellent in the slot. Knows how to get open. Tough. Smart. Good fit, value.
Sticking with offense, the Jets next took QB Greg McElroy. He led ‘Bama to a national title in 2009 and had a good career for the Crimson Tide. McElroy isn’t a skilled passer, but he is a good fit for the run-heavy, ball control offense that the Jets run. McElroy is smart. Natural leader. Very hard worker. He’ll have to do the little things right to carve out a career. McElroy isn’t one of those gifted QBs who will bounce around for years due to his potential. He’s got to show he’s good enough to make it. He dealt with Nick Saban as a coach and should have the thick skin to handle NFL coaching. He doesn’t have to be Joe Namath or Richard Todd. Just be better than Brodie Croyle.
Finally, the Jets took another offensive player, WR Scotty McKnight of Colorado. He and Mark Sanchez grew up together. They remain friends. Sanchez had to impact this decision. McKnight has some talent, but isn’t a guy that immediately makes you think NFL when you watch him play. Lacks ideal size or athletic ability. He was very productive at CU. Career numbers: 219-2588-22. Like Kerley, more quick than fast. Doesn’t have the same kind of RS skills. McKnight does have good hands. Real good college player. Must show he’s got NFL ability.