I tend to think 40-yard dash times are overemphasized at a lot of positions, even "speed positions" (Kerley, and slot receivers in general, are good cases). But this Wall Street Journal article paints a compelling picture that the Jets are one of the slowest teams in the NFL, and that their draft picks aren't helping. To wit: Not one of the Jets 2011 picks finished in the top half at their position in the forty.
The club's draft class was the only one in the NFL over the past five years that lacked a single player who finished in the top half of his position's 40-yard-dash. Even if not by design, the picks were part of an offseason in which the Jets got slower as a team whereas the rest of the NFL—taking advantage of league rules that benefit wide-open offenses—got faster.
The retrospective is interesting when considering how the 2011 Jets often appeared to lack team speed.
Offensively, fans groaned and analysts noted the lack of explosion on the outside—a notion that made sense, given that the Jets finished last season with a league-low of three pass plays of 40 yards or more (They were also one of just six NFL teams to finish the year without a run of 40 yards or more).
The lack of big-play production, in some ways, likely stemmed from the team's free-agency moves. New York opted against bringing back deep threat Braylon Edwards, who was 28, and instead signed Plaxico Burress, who'd gone nearly three years without playing a professional game and was about to turn 34. Additionally, the club pursued and would later sign 37-year-old wideout Derrick Mason, a move that prompted 29-year-old Jerricho Cotchery to ask the Jets for his walking papers.
Burress was effective in the redzone, scoring eight touchdowns, but had little success in the middle of the field and is a longshot to return for a second season with the club; Mason was unproductive as the team's third receiver and was traded to Houston after Week 5. He's since announced his retirement.
Even on the defensive side of the ball, where the Jets were solid and ranked fifth in total yards, New York had glaring issues when it came to speed.
Maybe I'm overreacting, but I've been scared straight into drafting speed with every pick. For instance, I've been huge on getting George Iloka in the second or third to cover TEs, but now his 4.66 scares the crap out of me.
BTW, long-time lurker, first time poster.