I decided against doing a traditional style mock draft, mostly because I don’t feel comfortable pretending to have any actual idea as to what many of the other 31 teams in the NFL plan on doing. For every team I feel confident about knowing their plans, there are admittedly just as many teams that I feel could go in any number of directions. Now having said that, I studied the options for the first 15 teams much more thoroughly than picks 17-32 and I think I have a pretty good feel for how those will play out, but again this is the NFL draft, notorious for being unpredictable, I’m not dumb enough to think I have any of this 100% figured out.
So instead of wildly speculating specific guesses for each team, I’ll just wildly speculate the odds on who the Jets take at 16. There is of course the possibility of the Jets trading up or trading down as well, but I’ll mention that when warranted.
40% Melvin Ingram (South Carolina) – Ingram is the heavy favorite to be the Jets pick in my opinion. It’s no secret the Jets want and need a pass rusher and the more I watched him on tape the more sure I was that he and the Jets defense would be a perfect marriage. His versatility and skill set is exactly what this defense needs to get back to being mentioned as the best defense in football. There is always the chance Ingram gets drafted before the Jets, Jacksonville, Seattle and Miami being the only teams that I think would draft him before the Jets.
I’m not sold that the Dolphins are sold on Ryan Tannehill and if they choose to draft defense, out of those three teams Miami would be the best fit, both the Seahawks and Jags would likely consider Ingram, but there are other players they likely have graded similarly that are better fits with their team. If Ingram is there at 16, I think the Jets should absolutely take him and they most likely will. I do not however expect them to trade up for Ingram, not unless it was a trade no further up than 11 or 12.
20% Michael Floyd (Notre Dame) – This would seem to be the most polarizing option from the list of players that has been discussed over the past couple of months. Is wide receiver really a big enough need to spend the 16th pick on? I say yes. Yes it is. Especially if it’s for a talent like Floyd who is the exact type of receiver the Jets need for the number two slot. But is it worth passing up a pass rusher they like when this draft is loaded with quality receiver talent? No, I don’t think so. Take the pass rusher you like, then come back and snag a Rueben Randle, A.J. Jenkins or Marvin Jones type in round two or three.
If Ingram is off the board and the Jets have Floyd as their highest rated player on board, then they should pull the trigger. When in doubt, take the best player available and having watched every Notre Dame game of Floyd’s career the Jets won’t have to do much to convince me that would be the case if they draft him. And as with Ingram a few weeks ago I thought there was little chance Floyd would make it to 16, but it seems like a much bigger possibility than a few weeks ago. Bills, Cardinals, Dolphins, Jags and even the Rams if Blackmon is gone could all seriously consider Floyd making it more likely he goes before Ingram, at least I think.
10% Courtney Upshaw (Alabama) – At the beginning of the draft process everyone thought Upshaw was the apple of Rex Ryan’s eye, now most think that was all a smokescreen. I tend to think the truth is somewhere in between. It’s possible the Jets embellished their love for Upshaw, but I have a hard time believing there is no interest. He might not be a dynamic pass rusher the Jets want, but he’s a hell of a football player and would be an excellent fit in this defense. Ultimately though I think there’s a good chance the Jets might want the lesser all around defender, but superior pass rusher and while I fully expect Upshaw to be available at 16 I think both Ingram and Floyd are the Jets preferred choices and I also think there’s a good chance they would take their highest rated pass rusher over Upshaw.
10% Other Pass Rusher – If Ingram and Floyd are gone, or maybe I’m just wrong and at 16 one of these pass rushers are rated higher on the Jets board than Ingram or Floyd, then look for them to either attempt to trade down or after that fails, settle for the best pass rusher available. There is absolutely no consensus among teams or scouts when ranking this year’s pass rushers, part of that is because it all depends on what scheme each player ends up in and part of it is that there aren’t any elite, can’t miss pass rushing prospects.
But names to keep an eye on as options at 16 are; Quenton Coples (UNC), Nick Perry (USC), Shea McClellin (Boise State), Chandler Jones (Syracuse). Of those players I think McClellin would easily be the best and safest pick for the Jets, but 16 might be a tad high to take him (if trading down to target him, you better make sure you’re picking before the Patriots and Packers). Vinny Curry (Marshall), Andre Branch (Clemson) and Bruce Irvin (West Virginia) are other possibilities, but now we’re really reaching. Although I do love Curry as a second round option and there are rumors circulating that one team picking in the first round has already told Irvin they will take him there, I highly doubt that team was the Jets as Irvin is strictly a pass rusher only.
8% Mark Barron – I wanted to give this a higher percentage because I’m convinced the Jets really like him, but I don’t think they like him enough to trade up to get him and I think it’s almost a certainty he is gone before they pick. The Bills, Seahawks, Cowboys and Eagles are all interested in Barron and the Chargers are reportedly smitten with the Alabama safety and are seriously considering trading up for him. Barron is going to be an excellent safety in this league, but he’s become a bit overrated because of the demand for safety and he is also more of a strong safety than a free safety and the Jets need a more traditional free safety more so than they need another strong safety to play free safety.
7% Riley Reiff – The Jets have made it clear they don’t plan on addressing the o-line early in this draft, or they’ve made it clear they want us to think that at least. I tend to believe they haven’t been planning on going o-line early, but if Ingram, Floyd, Barron and their other top rated pass rushers are gone, would they consider someone like Reiff if they can’t trade down? They should.
The main reason why I believe o-line isn’t a main target is I don’t think they like their options of what they thought would be available, but a couple weeks ago it seemed like Reiff wouldn’t be available. Reiff could step in day one and be a better right tackle than Wayne Hunter, so while I understand taking Ingram, Floyd or whatever pass rusher they love over Reiff, I think it would be a big mistake to completely dismiss Reiff as a possibility.
5% Trent Richardson – When the rumors of the Jets trying to trade up to three to get Richardson started yesterday I entertained the idea just for kicks, but I never thought it would be smart. The beauty of the rumor was the fact that as crazy as it sounded, it sounded just like something Ryan and Tannenbaum would actually do. Getting Richardson makes sense on so many levels and if he were to magically plummet to 16 then sure, draft him and address other needs later. But to esstentially trade the rest of your draft to get a running back in what is widely considered a make or break year for Tannenbaum, and some are even suggesting for Ryan, would be foolish as the Jets have too many holes elsewhere. As great as Richardson is, and believe me that’s freaking great, he doesn’t shore up the back end of the secondary or pressure quarterbacks and he still can’t run the ball and block at the same time.
If Richardson somehow slipped into the early teens, then the Jets might try and trade up for him, but that’s not happening and I’d be shocked if they trade up to three or four for him, but this is Tannenbaum and this is the Jets, as recent history has taught us, don’t ever rule anything out with this team. When Roger Goodell reads the Jets card, my guess is he will say the name Melvin Ingram. Maybe Floyd, but yeah I’m sticking with Ingram as the pick.
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