Day one of the 2014 NFL Draft is now only one month away and today we'll take a closer look at a few players who would fit
perfectly with New York Jets who currently hold the 18th pick overall this year. The Jets still have plenty of holes to fill in this draft and they'll have a total of 12 picks to do so. Currently the Jets have yet to address crucial team needs such as; another wide receiver to play opposite of Eric Decker, a true starting tight end, and a starting cornerback to play opposite of Dee Milliner. Gang Green could use a receiver out of the backfield to compliment Chris Ivory's power style of run game, and some depth in areas such as outside linebacker, and offensive line, but those are areas which would likely be attended to in the later rounds while not in favor of the teams primary needs.
Now then; let's take a look at some of the potential home runs that the New York Jets can hit at 18 with a perfect fit.
Brandin Cooks, WR Oregon State.
The Jets already have been confirmed to have some pretty significant interest in the young speedster from the Pac 12 after scheduling to host him this April and being present at his pro day workout. Statistically Cooks' was the best wide receiver in all of college football in his senior season last year, and this was confirmed by his winning of the Biletnikoff Award after his season ended with 128 receptions for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns. Cooks was one of the fastest players in this year's NFL combine after topping out with a 4.33. He also is one of the more pure route runners of this year's draft class. The one knock on Cooks is his size; or lack thereof, after measuring in at 5'10 and short of 190 lbs. However, Cooks still has the necessarily skill set to excel on the inside, as well as the outside, and could be a dream for Marty Mornhinweg and Geno smith, assuming he's only being pushed. Think DeSean Jackson 2.0.
Darqueze Dennard, CB Michigan State.
While I am against drafting yet another rookie cornerback in this years draft, especially considering that some credible scouts and analysts believe that this is the best wide receiver draft class ever, it is highly likely that the Jets may grab one early due to their current situation. Their first two corners on the depth chart would likely be second year prospect Dee Milliner and veteran journeyman Dimitri Patterson. Dennard is the consensus second best corner in the draft behind Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert, but by a slim margin, and assuming Gilbert is off the board I'd imagine that Dennard would very well be in play here, although he too may be selected pre-18th. Dennard won the Jim Thorpe Award for best defensive back in college football after recording 4 interceptions and being named a unanimous first-team All-American. If the Jets would like to go the corner route again, perhaps they can strike gold with an improved Milliner and young hot shot prospect in Dennard.
Marqise Lee, WR USC.Marqise Lee makes a huge catch against California.
As I've said on numerous occasions; The Jets need play-makers like a Kardashian needs gold, so enter another wide receiver into the fold. Marqise Lee was the recipient of the Biletnikoff award--the same one that Brandin Cooks had won in the 2013 season--after racking up 1,721 receiving yards for 118 receptions and 14 touchdowns in 2012. This past season he was affected by injuries, a new quarterback, and multiple head coaching changes, which dropped his numbers severely but that does nothing to negate his natural talent and ability. Marqise Lee has number one receiver potential, and might be better than Eric Decker right now. Lee runs very solid routes and possesses great game speed, but has faced questions in regards to his hands. Nevertheless he would be an ideal part of a 1-2 punch with Decker because he can create separation with relative ease at the next level, and can turn a simple screen play into an 80 yard touchdown pass.
Jace Amaro, TE Texas Tech.
We'll go ahead and assume that Eric Ebron has been taken off the board at this point in the draft, but even if he was a case can be made for Amaro to be the better fit in some NFL systems. As good as Ebron has shown that he is athletically, Amaro has more of a proven resume from a production standpoint. Amaro put together what was statistically the greatest season ever for a collegiate tight end after recording 106 receptions for 1,352 yards in the Big 12 conference. Amaro did not have a great NFL combine, but that does not outweigh his years of game-film. Ebron undoubtedly seems to have the higher ceiling of the two, but in my estimation he's in more of the Vernon Davis mold whereas he'll take a few of years to fully develop and use his athletic gifts to their full potential. Amaro is a highly productive tight end who can come in instantly and contribute right away for a team needy at tight end such as the New York Jets. Although in my opinion 18 is a bit of a reach for him, so trading back would be an option if trading up for Ebron is not.
HaHa Clinton-Dix, S Alabama.HaHa Clinton-Dix intercepts a pass in the BCS National Championship game (2013).
Clinton-Dix may be the most talented safety in the NFL Draft, so with that being said there's a good shot that Clinton-Dix may not even be around at 18. But if he is, he actually fits perfectly in the New York Jets secondary. Dawan Landry is going into the final year of his contract, and isn't exactly a game changer back there. Antonio Allen has a world of potential but is still raw and likely has to earn his starting position back. Ed Reed is currently a free agent and could perhaps call it a career altogether.
Enter HaHa Clinton-Dix. The former All-American and first team All-SEC safety could be a playmaker for years to come, which the Jets desperately need in their secondary, and Clinton-Dix recorded 7 interceptions over the course of his final two seasons. Although he too has had a bit of an injury history, as well as a previous two game suspension at 'Bama, he fits what the Jets need in terms of a true playmaker that can help create turnovers in their depleted back-four.
Odell Beckham, WR LSU.
Arguably the current favorite to land at the 18 spot, Odell Beckham may have the best set of hands in the entire draft class. This is a well-polished route runner with great breakaway speed who can also make an impact on the return game, like the aforementioned Marqise Lee. Beckham may have benefited from having Jarvis Landry on the opposite side of him, however he has really cemented himself as one of the top 5 receivers in the draft according to many, and the Jets could get a guy who can create space, get out in the open field, and make his magic, which would be great for Geno Smith, Michael Vick, or whomever the quarterback is.