In the first round of the NFL draft, the New York Jets finally solved one of several lingering issues on their team by drafting safety Calvin Pryor. The former Louisville star was coveted by both Head Coach Rex Ryan and General Manager John Idzik. While most anticipated the Jets addressing either their cornerback or wide receiver needs in the first round, the Jets still hold a staggering 11 draft picks going into day two, including the 17th pick of the second round. There remains a heavy amount of talent available, particularly at receiver, and the Jets have a chance to fill a few more holes in their roster with quality talent.
Marqise Lee, the productive wide receiver from USC, was expected to be a first round choice. There could be lingering concerns about his durability, or an unknown medical issue, but Lee is a talented player who should be off the board soon. The Jets could wait to see if he falls, or use their plethora of picks to try and move up to fill the spot opposite newly signed Eric Decker. Lee could start right away, or play as the third receiver behind Decker and Jeremy Kerley. He would really help to solve what was perhaps the Jets’ biggest non-quarterback issue of the last several years, and has even implied he would like to play in New York.
It is no sure thing the Jets will go receiver in the second round, but if they do and Lee is scooped up before they choose, there are several other strong choices available. Jordan Matthews, a physically gifted pass-catcher with big hands and great size, may be available. Some may even have him rated above Lee on their draft boards. There is also the shorter, but speedy, Bruce Ellington, the cousin of Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington. Either would represent great second round value.
They could also go back to the defensive well. Their defense has been the strength of the team ever since Ryan took over, partly due to his influence and partly because the talent they have brought in has been on that side of the ball. Including Pryor, the Jets’ past six first round picks have been on defense. That strategy has yielded great results as far as acquiring starting caliber players, but the team’s defensive backfield still needs help. Look for the team to bring in another corner (or even two) with one of their picks on day two or three. Lamarcus Joyner or Stanley Jean-Baptiste could fit the bill.
Idzik and Ryan are so tight-lipped about their draft board that it truly is possible they go off the wall with a pick. If Derek Carr falls all the way to number 49 overall the Jets may be tempted to draft him just based on value alone. The same could be said of defensive end Stephon Tuitt, a late first round talent who is still available. With their defensive line depth, and the addition of Michael Vick at quarterback, the Jets would not necessarily be filling their most pressing needs, but adding the best available talent is never a bad idea.
Commentary by Brian Moore