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New York Jets Off the Clock: Second-Round Pick Safety Marcus Maye, Florida Gators
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9 May 2017 01:59 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Florida Gators safety Marcus Maye. (Image Source: Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Jets had nine picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, with six coming on Day 3. As we take the Jets “Off the Clock,” we’ll break down all nine of their draft picks, continuing with their second-round selection:

Round 2; Pick 7 (39th Overall): S Marcus Maye, Florida

Measurables: Checking in at 6’0” Maye is a little short compared to other safety prospects, but he helps make up for it with very long arms (32 ½”), which had the Gator at the 78th percentile among safeties at the NFL Scouting Combine and 83rd percentile for all defensive backs. He was unable to perform in Indianapolis but did run at Florida’s pro day. According to NFL.com’s Gil Brandt, Maye had a “solid workout,” which included a 4.50 40-yard dash, 33 ½” vertical, 9’10” broad jump, a 4.25 short shuttle, and a 7.10 three-cone. For comparison purposes, his 40-time and vertical were better than that of first-rounder Jamal Adams, but Maye’s short shuttle, three cone, and broad jump fell short.

Skill Set: An instinctive player, Maye is similar to Adams in that he’s been a leader on the field. Between the two, the Jets figure to have one of the better organized secondaries. Instincts and quick recognition skills allow Maye to play faster than his measurables would indicate. His strength is playing the run and he excels when creeping into the box. A hard hitter who is also a reliable tackler. That’s not to say Maye doesn’t have cover skills, because he does. Fluid in coverage he can make up ground on the back end, as well as run with tight ends.

New York Jets Off the Clock: Off Needs | Def Needs | Jamal Adams |

Value: It depends on who you ask, but most had Maye with a second-round grade, so the Jets didn’t get great value, nor did they reach. Some believed the Florida product was more likely to go later in the second round, while others like ESPN’s Todd McShay had him going 38th overall.

Need: The Jets had a poor pass defense last season, one which gave up too many big plays and touchdowns. A unit that often did not line up properly and looked out of position. If actions speak louder than words, the draft selections of Adams and then Maye in the first two rounds, followed by the team declining to pick up the fifth-year option for former first-round pick Calvin Pryor and the release of Marcus Gilchrist, tells you all you need to know about what the organization thought of their starting safeties from last season.

Mogollon’s Pick: When the draft process began I never believed that Florida State’s Dalvin Cook would last into the second round and I would not have been able to pass up on such a talented back, who was arguably the best runner in college football over the past two seasons.

Who Else Did They Pass Up? No one was surprised that New York double dipped on defensive backs but no one expected another safety on Day 2, especially with cornerback the more pressing need once Jamal Adams was drafted. Washington’s Sidney Jones (No. 43) was considered a potential top-15 pick before he was injured, while two of Maye’s college teammates, Quincy Wilson (No. 46) and Teez Tabor (No. 53), didn’t last much longer. Tight end was another position of need with smaller school prospects Gerald Everett (No. 44) of South Alabama and Ashland’s Adam Shaheen (No. 45) going in back-to-back picks shortly after New York was off the clock.

NFL Draft Off the Clock: Picks 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, 13-16, 17-20, 21-24, 25-28, 29-32

The Fit: A safety who is both scheme versatile and can play either free or strong is an excellent fit for a defense led by Todd Bowles. New York’s headman likes to use three safeties on the field at the same time, an alignment that was very successful when he was defensive coordinator at Arizona. He also prefers his safeties to be interchangeable. So maybe backing up the selection of Adams with Maye shouldn’t have been as unexpected as it appeared. Clearly, New York wanted to focus on football players who were instinctive, leaders, and smart as they rebuild their defense.

2017 Outlook & Beyond: Because of his instincts and high football IQ, Maye is considered to be very NFL ready compared to other prospects in this class, someone who can take on a starting role early in his career. Marcus Gilchrist is gone and Calvin Pryor’s days are numbered so it would be safe to assume that the hierarchy is rooting for Maye to win a starting job at some point in his rookie campaign. If not this season, New York clearly has the intention of making Maye a starter by next season at the latest. Bowles has talked about competition at the position, as well as the possibility of starting two rookie safeties. Adams and Maye, once SEC rivals, are already excited about playing together to make a formidable safety tandem.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.

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