1 – DE Quinton Coples – 6-6, 285 – UNC
2 – WR Stephen Hill – 6-4, 215 – Georgia Tech
3 – LB Demario Davis – 6-2, 235 – Arkansas State
6 – S Josh Bush – 5-11, 208 – Wake Forest
6 – RB Terrance Ganaway – 5-11, 239 – Baylor
6 – OG Robert T. Griffin – 6-6, 335 – Baylor
7 – SS Antonio Allen – 6-1, 210 – South Carolina
7 – WR Jordan White – 6-0, 208 – Western Michigan
The Jets defense fell off a bit in 2011. They were 5th in yards allowed, but all the way down at 20th in points allowed. In 2010 they were 3rd and 6th in those categories.
Darrelle Revis remains an elite shutdown corner. David Harris is still a good ILB. There are some good pieces up front. The one area that was a major issue – rushing the passer. The Jets knew that and spent their 1st round pick on DE Quinton Coples.
There are some very mixed opinions on Coples, but the bottom line is that he’s big, fast, and talented. He lacks the explosive burst to be a dominant RDE in a 4-3, but playing DE in a 3-4 could be a great fit for him. Coples has the athletic ability to do that role well. He also has the size/strength/physicality to handle playing in the 3-4.
Coples had a good year in 2010, when he was primarily a DT. His play fell off in 2011. I don’t think this was due to his shift to RDE so much as a combination of Senioritis, losing his head coach, and losing his position coach. Coples was in a tough situation and responded poorly. That is a major concern since he’ll have some big challenges in the NFL and not all will work out as hoped.
The Jets were willing to roll the dice on him because finding 3-4 DEs that can rush the passer isn’t easy. Coples also has value in his versatility. Rex Ryan loves to be creative with his schemes. Coples can play 4-3 DE or DT. He can play 3-4 DE. It’s possible he could even get used as a rush LB in the 3-4 in certain looks. Coples gives Ryan a chess piece he can move around. Coples is already projected to start. He could give a boost to the Jets pass rush from day one.
Had the Jets not gone for a pass rusher in the 1st round, there was lots of talk about them going after a WR. They got very lucky when Stephen Hill dropped to them in the 2nd round. Many thought the Georgia Tech star would go in the 1st round after his sensational showing at the Combine.
Teams still had enough questions about Hill that he slid all the way down to pick 43. In some ways, going to the Jets might be the perfect situation for him. Hill had limited chances at GT due to their triple option running attack. He only caught 28 passes in 2011. On some teams he might have been expected to catch 60 to 70 passes right away. That won’t be the case in NY.
The Jets have been a running team under Rex Ryan. Tony Sparano is the new offensive coordinator, but he’s also a huge believer in running the ball. The bulk of passes will go to WR Santonio Holmes and TE Dustin Keller. Hill has time to adjust to the league and the pro passing game. In time he can develop into a #1 type of WR, but for now won’t have big pressure on him to deliver right away. Great value pick. Should be a good fit for the offense.
In the 3rd round, the Jets took Arkansas State LB Demario Davis. Back in December the thought of Davis going in the 3rd round would have seemed like a major stretch. He was a late add to the Senior Bowl in January, where he impressed scouts and coaches. Davis then went to the Combine and blew ‘em away. The only question then was if he would go in the 3rd or 4th.
Davis is a good fit for the Jets defense. David Harris is the run stuffer. Davis can be the athlete and more of a cover LB. Teams attacked the middle of the Jets defense with passes, knowing that Harris was not having a good year in coverage and that Bart Scott is starting to really slow down (he’ll be 32 in August). Davis has the athleticism and cover skills to be a good fit in this area, both in the short and long term. If Davis learns quickly he could push Scott for some snaps this year.
The next pick came way down in the 6th round. The Jets took S Josh Bush from Wake Forest. New York added LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell as short term answers, but they needed young players to develop. Bush had a very good Senior season for WFU (6 INTs) and could develop into a starting player. Bell is 34 and Landry has had injury issues for 2 straight years. Bush might have to get ready to play in a hurry. This wasn’t a good year for Safeties. Waiting til the late rounds and rolling the dice isn’t the worst option in the world.
Next up is RB Terrance Ganaway. He had a great year for Baylor. Ganaway has the size and build the Jets should love. He is very thick at 5-11, 239. That said, he’s not a true power runner. He will break some arm tackles, but isn’t a bulldozer. Ganaway loves to use his speed to break long runs. He was 21-200 with 5 TDs in the bowl game. He averaged 6 yards per carry as a Senior. I’m very interested to see if the coaches can get Ganaway to be more consistently physical. He could be a terrific situational runner if he’ll embrace the role. It will also be interesting to see how he does as a traditional RB and not working from the spread.
The Jets went for Ganaway’s teammate next, OG Robert T. Griffin. He offers big time size (6-6, 335) and fits the kind of physical offense that Tony Sparano wants to run, but Griffin has an uphill battle to make it in the NFL. He’s a phone booth guy…keep him in tight spaces and he’s fine. Have him try to block athletic guys that can move around and he’s quickly in trouble. The Jets need to be better at OG so adding a big guy to the mix isn’t a bad thing.
The Jets had a pair of 7th round picks and added very interesting players. They started by grabbing SS Antonio Allen from South Carolina. I was a big fan of Allen’s. I had him rated as a Top 100 guy. It shocked me to see him fall all the way to the 7th round. I can’t imagine that was purely a football situation. I have to think there was some other issue (medical red flag, positive drug test, once killed a man using only corn-on-the-cob holders, or some other odd thing). Allen was incredibly productive at South Carolina. He had a solid showing at the Senior Bowl. He isn’t a great cover Safety, but he is a very good box defender. I think the Jets got a major steal and it won’t surprise me if Allen turns out to be a starter in the future.
The final pick was WR Jordan White from WMU. He’s one of the rare 6-year college players. White had a lot of injuries in college. He still had a very good career and could be a solid role player in the NFL. White lacks the speed and athleticism to start and play outside, but he could be a good slot receiver. He runs good routes. He knows how to get open. I have some doubts as to whether White can consistently get open in the NFL, but he could turn out to be a good slot receiver. He isn’t going to come in and be a prima donna. He’ll do whatever is asked of him and bust his tail to make it in the league. That attitude is critical for guys at the bottom of the roster who are trying to secure a spot. White led the nation in receptions in 2011, but he knows that he’ll make the Jets based on what he does on STs. He can return punts and you know White will throw his body around while trying to cover kicks/punts.