" Class of '12 : Assessing the Jets' draft " ~ ~ ~
Class of '12: Assessing the Jets' draft
A bye-week evaluation of the Jets' draft class, including an update on the five players chosen after the Jets' pick for all you second-guessers out there :
16. DE Quinton Coples -- He got off to a slow start, but his playing time has increased in recent weeks. He has received more action than any other Jets rookie. He has two sacks and five tackles-for-loss.
What might have been : 17. CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Bengals; 18. OLB Melvin Ingram, Chargers; 19. DE Shea McClellin, Bears; 20. WR Kendall Wright, Titans; 21. DE Chandler Jones, Patriots.
Skinny : The Jets needed an edge rusher in the worst way, and they passed on a good one. Jones has six sacks, three forced fumbles and could win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
11. WR Stephen Hill -- He has experienced extreme highs and lows. Hill has four drops and he's as raw as sushi, still learning how to run pass routes. He has 14 catches, a 14.0 yard-per-catch average and 3 TDs.
What might have been: 12. OL Jeff Allen, Chiefs; 13. WR Alshon Jeffery, Bears; 14. LB Mychal Kendricks, Eagles; 15. LB Bobby Wagner, Seahawks; 16. S Tavon Wilson, Patriots.
Skinny: The only player that matters here, for the purpose of comparison, is Jeffery, whose stats are almost identical to those of Hill -- 14 catches, 13.1 average, 2 TDs.
14. LB DeMario Davis -- He has played the last two games for the injured Bart Scott. Davis brings a different dimension to the linebacking corps. He's more of a sideline-to-sideline player, as opposed to a downhill linebacker. He has 15 tackles.
What might have been: 15. TE Michael Egnew, Dolphins; 16. S Brandon Hardin, Bears; 17. DB Jamell Fleming, Cards; 18. DE Tyrone Crawford, Cowboys; 19. DT Mike Martin, Titans.
Skinny: No one jumps off the page here. Martin has two sacks in a reserve role; Fleming has started two games.
17. S Josh Bush -- He has been a solid contributor on special teams, but Bush -- a sleeper pick -- has yet to make any mark on defense. He has only two tackles in very limited action.
What might have been: 18. LB Danny Trevathan, Broncos; 19. DT Chris Bilukidi, Raiders; 20. S Markelle Martin, Titans; 21. RB Dan Herron, Bengals; 22. S Charles Mitchell, Falcons.
Skinny: No one has distinguished himself. Trevathan and Martin have small roles.
32., 33. RB Terrance Ganaway, OT Robert Griffin -- The Jets went 0-for-2 here, as neither player made the team. That's a surprise, because GM Mike Tannenbaum hates to cut draft picks.
What might have been: 34. LB Emmanuel Acho, Browns; 35. DT Billy Winn, Browns; 36. WR LaVon Brazill, Colts; 37. P Brad Nortman, Panthers; 1. (Seventh round) G Justin Anderson, Colts.
Skinny: The Browns found a nice player in Winn, who has started eight games and has one sack. You're doing well anytime you can find an immediate contributor this late in the draft.
35. S Antonio Allen, 37. WR Jordan White -- Allen was the Jets' best late-round pick in this draft. He was a key contributor on defense in the win over the Colts, covering the tight end. He has one sack and has the potential to be productive on special teams. White is on the practice squad.
What might have been: 36. QB B.J. Coleman, Packers; 38. DB Trevin Wade, Browns; 39. DB Terrence Frederick, Steelers; 40. TE Brad Smelley, Browns; 41. G Kelvin Beachum, Steelers.
Skinny: Any second-guessing this late in the draft would be irresponsible. The Jets are happy with Allen, and none of these other players have contributed.
Summary: The Jets found three starting-type players with Coples, Hill and Davis. By next year, all three should be regulars. Any draft that produces three starters has to be considered solid. But all three still need a lot of development, especially Hill, so it's hard to predict the upside of the draft. The Jets will hear years of criticism if Jones continues to shine and Coples turns out to be just a regular guy.
The first half of the NFL season is in the books, which means this is a good time for reflections.All four AFC East teams were happy with their rookie draft classes in April. But is that still the case after seeing them for eight games in November?
Here is our midseason report card for AFC East rookies :
Buffalo Bills (3-5)
Notable draft picks: CB Stephon Gilmore, LT Cordy Glenn, WR T.J. Graham
Analysis: Buffalo got pretty good production early from its top two picks: Gilmore and Glenn. Both were immediately starters but Glenn suffered an injury that slowed him down. Gilmore is learning on the job but is having a solid rookie season. He leads Buffalo with 11 pass defenses. The Bills havenít gotten much else from this rookie class. Still, filling the premium positions of cornerback and left tackle for the long-term raises the grade.
Miami Dolphins (4-4)
Notable draft picks: QB Ryan Tannehill, RT Jonathan Martin, DE Olivier Vernon, RB Lamar Miller
Analysis: Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland had another stellar draft class, and itís a major reason Miami is in contention. He landed a franchise quarterback in Tannehill, which are always bonus points. Martin has started every game at right tackle and is holding his own. He will only improve. Vernon has been a terror on special teams and off the bench. He already has 2.5 sacks, two blocked field goals and a punt block recovered for a touchdown. Miller is the third running back but has contributed in spot duty. He averages 5.5 yards per carry. You canít ask for more from a rookie class.
New England Patriots (5-3)
Notable draft picks: DE Chandler Jones, LB Dont'a Hightower, DB Tavon Wilson, DB Alfonzo Dennard
Analysis: Jones is a home run for New England. He has six sacks already this season and has brought a much-needed pass rush to the Patriotsí defense. Hightower was a physical presence early in the season but has battled through injury. Wilson and Dennard have been pleasant surprises. New Englandís secondary has struggled mightily, which has opened up some opportunities for both rookies to get playing time and make a contribution. Wilson and Denard have combined for five interceptions.
~ ~ New York Jets (3-5)
Notable draft picks: DE Quinton Coples, WR Stephen Hill, LB DeMario Davis
Thoughts : Coples has 15 tackles and two sacks. He has the physical tools but hasnít made the immediate impact the Jets expected. Hill continues to be a raw prospect. Heís made some nice plays but also suffered a lot of drops. Davis is getting increased playing time with veteran Bart Scott (toe) injured. Bush has been a nice contributor on special teams, but continues to sit behind veteran safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell on defense.