The NFL draft begins April 30. We did this exercise with the Jets last year. One of the many reasons GM John Idzik lost his job is because of his 2014 draft. Out of 12 picks, some didn’t make the team and others didn’t get on the field. New GM Mike Maccagnan will be running his 1st war room.
1st round (6) – Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon. Can’t go into a season optimistic about Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith at QB. Mariota has to be the guy. The 2016 QB class is thin, and the Jets won’t have the 1st pick to grab Christian Hackenberg. The Jets have small holes on the roster – safety, OLB, ILB, OL – but one gaping one: QB. I’ve held firm they shouldn’t trade up for Mariota, but I’m starting to re-think that eight days before the draft. Yes, the rookie could make the Jets a playoff team this season. No shot of the postseason with Fitzpatrick or Geno, despite the revamped defense. Other options: Fear? Pessimism? Brandon Schereff, OT, Iowa; Shane Ray, Edge, Missouri.
2nd round (37) – Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Edge, UCLA. Fringe 1st round guy. Check the USC tape. Bowles is a defensive guy, and Odighizuwa gets some run this year, then starts for Pace in 2016. Jets picked up the 5th year option on Coples, so he’ll likely be in their long-term plans. They’ll pay Snacks next year, then put a franchise tag on Mo Wilk and be set for the next few years on the pass rush. Other options: Eli Harold, Edge, Virginia; Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami.
3rd round (70) – Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M. Remember when he was a 1st round candidate? He’s coming off an injury, but the value here is terrific. Ogbudhi could be the heir apparent to Ferguson in a couple years, and help out on the right side in 2016 in preparation. Other options: Donovan Smith, OT, Penn State; Nate Orchard, Edge, Utah; Danielle Hunter, Edge, LSU.
4th round (101) – Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State. Ivory has one year left on his deal, and so do his backups (Bilal Powell & Steven Ridley). Langford feels like a sleeper, a quality back in a decent draft class. Other options Josh Shaw, S, USC; Gerold Holliman, S, Louisville, Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland, Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA; Buck Allen, RB, USC, Taiwan Jones, LB, Michigan State; Paul Dawson, LB, TCU.
**7th round (198) – Ibraheim Campbell, S, Northwestern. Likely to be drafted earlier. In a very thin safety class, Campbell is one of the better options. Jets could be looking for depth at thin positions in the 7th and among DBs, Jarrett, Allen and Walls are all FAs in 2016. Other options: Matt Jones, RB, Florida, Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State; Ramik Wilson, LB, Georgia.
7th round (199) – Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford. Great playmaker, probably goes earlier. Brandon Marshall is essentially on a 1-year deal, so at some point in the draft, the Jets will be looking at a WR. Other options: Geremy Davis, WR, UConn; Cody Riggs, CB, Notre Dame; Nigel King, WR, Kansas; Anthony Jefferson, S, UCLA.
** Many of the players listed vary from career backups to developmental players to possible undrafted free agents.