BY RICH CIMINI
NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock, speaking today on a conference call with reporters, believes the Jets will pick a rush linebacker or a defensive lineman with the 29th overall pick. The first possibility he mentioned was Penn State DE/DT Jared Odrick, whom he said should go anywhere between 22 and 29.
Odrick (6-5, 304), the Big Ten defensive player of the year, is attractive to the Jets because of his versatility. He can be a '5-technique,' a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme, and slide inside on passing downs when they go to a four-man line.
Mayock, one of the sharpest draft guys in the business, also mentioned Texas OLB Sergio Kindle (6-3, 250) as a candidate for the Jets. Kindle is a hybrid player, having played a lot of OLB and DE in college. He recorded only six sacks last season, but he became the first player in history to be nominated as a finalist for the Butkus Award (best LB) and Hendricks Award (best DL) in the same year. Kindle has some off-the-field questons, but, hey, the Jets aren't afraid to take chances, as we know.
I mentioned TCU pass rusher Jerry Hughes to Mayock, and he raved about him. Mayock believes Hughes is a late-1 value, adding, "I like him a lot ... He's explosive, he's tough and he's got a motor that doesn't stop. He's one of the players they'd have to consider."
The big question with Hughes, Mayock pointed out, is his size. He's a shade under 6-2, 255 pounds, lacking bulk and strength to anchor against the run. But this dude can get after the quarterback (11 1/2 sacks last season) and he'd be able to contribute immediately as a nickel rusher.
The Jets' pick could hinge on the outcome of the Jason Taylor saga. If they don't land him, they will need to address the pass-rushing situation early in the draft.