Posted by Jack Tumen
The 2014 draft was the most important one the Jets have had in recent memory. Tied with San Fran for a league-high 12 picks and the most the franchise has had since ’98, the second draft of the John Idzik era needed to be a slam dunk for the team to continue ascending in the coming seasons. When it was all said and done, I can’t say it went how I thought it would, but then again when does it ever with the Jets?
First things first; Calvin Pryor. When the Jets went on the clock, I couldn’t believe the plethora of talent that was on the board; players like Johnny Manziel, Darqueze Dennard and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix sitting there for the taking. Heck, I was so giddy I didn’t even think about Pryor; I was sold the pick was gonna be Dennard or Cooks. But when Goodell announced the choice, I was like “hell yes.”
Throughout the entire Rex Ryan era, the Jets haven’t had a franchise safety. Rex has done a great job of disguising the need by getting the most out of his corners, but I’ve always thought the Jets D would be over-the-top sick if they could just get a permanent body to hold down the back side; I was fed up with these one year stop-gap signings. They haven’t had a franchise safety since Kerry Rhodes (another Louisville guy I might add.)
Pryor is the epitome of a Rex Ryan safety; he’s the hardest hitting, most physical son-of-a-bitch I’ve seen in quite some time. Although there’s still the need at corner and wideout, I’m more happy than I thought I would be with this pick, especially for the value; I expected him to be gone by the time the Jets picked at 18. It’s a pick that shows the cooperation that Rex and Idzik are having which bodes well for the franchise as a whole.
In round 2, the Jets went offense in a big way, selecting Texas Tech tight end, Jace Amaro. At the time, I naturally found myself wanting Allen Robinson; but I’m not complaining. This pick covers the tight end and receiver need in one; Amaro will be the Jets’ version of Jimmy Graham, if you will. They’ll flex him out wide and use him to stretch the field and spread out defenders. Geno Smith will love having him around and I think this pick is a huge piece for his development as a quarterback. The Jets have never had a weapon like Amaro before.
This next pick left me with my head in my hands. Dexter McDougle? What? Who? Idzik, c’mon man. I hate to bash the kid, but for the value and the players that were on the board, this wasn’t the right move. I know we have yet to see him take the field and I hope he can prove me wrong, but this was one of those picks where you immediately leave the television, get in your car to grab another 6 pack, all the while repeating “Dexter McDougle” out loud.
Finally the Jets decide to wake up and take back-to-back wideouts, Jalen Saunders and Shaq Evans. First things first; the Jets have a guy named Shaq. I like the Evans pick more than I like the Saunders pick. Evans has pretty good size and has the tools to develop into a steady number two over time. Saunders is a bit undersized; and although explosive as a punt returner and shifty in the slot, this pick immediately endangers Jeremy Kerley’s future on the team…which I don’t like. Kerley is the man. He’s a real nice slot guy and I’d hate to see him go. However, this almost certainly pushes Stephen Hill out the door. Let’s not even bring that one up right now.
Dakota Dozier. Nice pick. Jets got good value here. He’ll replace Colon next year and (hopefully) be the man at guard for a decade. I think Jeremiah George is one of those ‘backers who can use his elite instincts to overcome what he lacks in size to eventually contribute in run support. Brandon Dixon? Sure. Don’t know a thing about him but he’s a big corner so let’s see what he’s got. Ik Enemkpali? How do you pronounce that? What about Quincy Enunwa? He was ‘aight in college but he’ll earn his stripes on special teams. Also that 26 year old Trevor Reilly they took in the 7th. I hear good things about him as a pass rusher but who knows what he’ll do in camp.
But dude…Tajh Boyd. I really dig this pick a lot, especially so late in the draft. Once upon a time Tajh was a first round pick, then I don’t know what happened. All I know is that the Jets have him now and he’ll finally boot Matt Simms from the team. I love his physical stature and his ability to take off and run. Vick will be a good quarterback for him to learn from. I look forward to Tajh being Geno’s backup in a year or two…or maybe he could eventua-…nahhh.
I have one major qualm about this draft. With 12 picks, the Jets had SO much capital to make a few trades and move up to grab some top-tier talent at positions of need. They didn’t. That’s so Idzik. Major missed opportunity in my opinion. The Jets don’t need 12 picks; only half of them will probably make the team! I’d rather have five quality players than twelve rookies, half of which are no more than camp bodies.
One trend that I did like, however, was the fact that they selected five team captains on the third day. That’s a major character push. I’m all about it. Locker room culture hasn’t been the Jets’ strong suit since T-Rich was on the team but I’m glad to see the front office pushing back in that direction.
Overall, there are good pieces here but the Jets could have gotten more out of this draft. I think that Pryor and Amaro were slam dunks and will have a large impact on the field, but it’s only human nature to think about the what if’s.