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Sports

NY Jets NFL Draft Watch: Potential Day 2 Targets at Wide Receiver, Cornerback & Tight End

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NY Jets NFL Draft Watch: Potential Day 2 Targets at Wide Receiver, Cornerback & Tight End

2014-05-09 09:34:11

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a load for defensive backs to handle. (Image Source: James Snook/USA TODAY Sports)

In a passing league, the New York Jets struggled to both throw the football and stop the other team from airing it out on them. Their passing offense was second to last in the entire NFL and they were just 22nd in pass defense, a ranking that must have been embarrassing to head coach Rex Ryan. The club went into the 2014 NFL Draft with immediate openings at wide receiver, tight end, cornerback and safety, positions where a rookie could step in, start and make an immediate impact.

On Thursday night, general manager John Idzik used the No. 18 pick to draft former Louisville safety Calvin Pryor. The hard hitter will fit in nicely with what Ryan likes to do using his safeties as attacking players near the line of scrimmage. But before Ryan can get on the job to getting the Jets back into the playoffs, Idzik has more work to do tonight on Day 2 of the draft.

The Jets own the No. 49 overall pick in the second round and their third round choice is 80th overall. With nine picks on Day 3, including three selections in the fourth round, it’s possible they could move up on Day 2 to get a specific player they may covet.

Adding a safety is a nice start, but cornerback is an even bigger need. The Jets must draft a cornerback and select a pass catcher on Day 2, ideally a wide receiver.

1. Cornerback: With Darqueze Dennard, Kyle Fuller, Justin Gilbert, Bradley Roby and Jason Verrett all going in the first round as expected, Idzik has missed out on the top tier of covermen in this class. That doesn’t mean there isn’t talent still on the board.

The next tier of corner prospects includes Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska), Lamarcus Joyner (Florida State), Keith McGill (Utah), Phillip Gaines (Rice) and Pierre Desir (Lindenwood). With the trend towards bigger DBs, the 6’3” Jean-Baptiste seemed to be gaining momentum leading up to the draft. But his 4.63 speed makes me question his ability to play on an island. McGill, who is also 6’3”, but runs a 4.51 40 with a quicker shuttle time might be a more likely target of the Jets. In addition, New York had McGill in for a pre-draft visit. A guy I really love is Joyner, but I’m not sure if Ryan is open to adding a 5’8” cornerback. Joyner is extremely instinctive and has drawn comparisons to Tyrann Mathieu because of his ability to move around the field and make plays. He’s a chess piece.

2. Wide Receiver: You have to believe if Odell Beckham Jr. were on the board the Jets would have called his name at No. 18. He wasn’t and Idzik went defense. I’m fine with that. They passed on potential targets Brandin Cooks (No. 20 to New Orleans) and Marqise Lee (who is still undrafted). The good news is the depth at wide out is impressive.

With Lee still available—he was in for a team visit and OC Marty Mornhinweg was at his pro day—you wonder if the Jets might be tempted to trade up for the former Man of Troy. His stock has slipped because of his lack of straight-line speed, but he flashed the ability to stretch the field at USC and was a playmaker in the open field. Other potential Day 2 options that the Jets had in for pre-draft visits are Jarvis Landry (LSU), Paul Richardson (Colorado) and John Brown (Pittsburgh State). Richardson is a burner, while Landry has been touted as the draft’s best route runner.

Who else could they target? I love fast riser Cody Latimer (Indiana), who brings a tremendous size/speed combo, with the potential to be a No. 1 wide out down the road. Clemson product Martavis Bryant is long with amazing speed for his size. Bryant’s ability to stretch the field would complement Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley very well. South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington is a competitive playmaker, while Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt) has great size and massive hands. Former Penn State Nittany Lion Allen Robinson has superb hands and no one is better at high-pointing the football. Another man with great size and speed with starter potential is Donte Moncrief out of Ole Miss, who seems to be getting overlooked in this process.

3. Tight End: Unless they were going to trade up into the top 10 for Eric Ebron the Jets were unlikely to draft a tight end in the first round. But he was the only tight end to go on Thursday night so there is plenty of top talent at the position to chose from heading into Day 2. The question is will either Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Washington) or Jace Amaro (Texas Tech) still be there when it’s New York’s turn to pick at No. 49.

Many prefer Amaro but he’s basically a wide receiver in a tight end’s body. I favor Seferian-Jenkins, who has great athletic ability as a pass catcher, but can also help improve the Jets running game. I don’t believe Amaro’s upside (he’s not Jimmy Graham or Vernon Davis) is enough to trump a two-way threat like ASJ.

Two more options tonight are Iowa man C.J. Fiedorowicz and Notre Dame product Troy Niklas. It’s very possible that only four tight ends will go on Day 2. Niklas is a beast along the line of scrimmage and an elite blocker with great length. Coming from Iowa, you know Fiedorowicz is experienced playing in the trenches with his hand on the ground. They may not be explosive but they are both underrated receivers and will be starting tight ends in the NFL sooner rather than later.

Related Links:

NY Jets NFL Draft Watch: So Many Needs, So Many Picks

NY Jets NFL Draft Watch: Gang Green’s Ideal Draft Would Look Like…

NY Jets NFL Draft Watch Teams Needs: Safety First?

NY Jets Draft Watch Teams Needs: It’s Time To Get Rex Ryan a Cover Corner

NY Jets Draft Watch Teams Needs: Austin Seferian-Jenkins Top Two-Way Tight End

NY Jets Draft Watch Teams Needs: Wide Receiver is a Top Priority

NY Jets Draft Watch Teams Needs: Where Do the Jets Pull the Trigger on a QB?

NFL Draft: The New York Jets Are On The Clock

NY Jets Draft Watch: Is Eastern Illinois Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a Target?

NY Jets Draft Watch: WR Benjamin & TE Seferian-Jenkins Visit; QB Boyd Works Out

NY Jets Schedule: Six-Game Stretch From Week 2 to Week 7 is Make or Break

NY Jets Draft Watch: Iowa Tight End C.J. Fiedorowicz

NY Jets Draft Watch LSU Pro Day Edition: Loston, Turner, Hill & Others

NY Jets Draft Watch LSU Pro Day Edition: Beckham Jr., Landry & Mettenberger

NY Jets Draft Watch: If Not Chris Johnson, Marion Grice Could be a Day 3 Option

NY Jets Draft Watch: Texas Tech Tight End Jace Amaro

NY Jets Draft Watch: Four Compensatory Picks Gives John Idzik Added Ammo

New York Jets Free Agent Watch: Team Needs Checklist on Defense

New York Jets Free Agent Watch: Team Needs Checklist on Offense

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. 

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