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DRAFT TALK: Grading A Rollercoaster
By Doug Cantor
Jets Draft Expert
May 1st, 2007
Quality, not quantity was the Jets draft motto in 2007.
Quality, not quantity was the Jets draft motto in 2007.
What an exciting weekend for Jets fans. After watching last year’s draft class and seeing the integral role they played in getting this team to the playoffs, there’s no doubt that Jet fans all over were on the edge of their seats to see who we’d land this year.

Everyone knows what happened, fans were taken on a rollercoaster ride for the first two rounds, you know the trades and you know the players we drafted. So let’s get down to business and analyze the trades and the prospects.

First and foremost, what needs to be recognized is that contrary to a few claims in several media outlets, the Jets in no way overpaid in either of these trades. The meat of both of these trades were the first day picks, so we’ll focus on those as after the 5th round, picks held little value in a draft that contained a small amount to be excited about on the second day.

In the first round, they gave up a late 2nd rounder to move up 11 slots from the late first into the mid first. By the draft value chart (which I’ve never been a fan of, however it can certainly be justified that it’s a useful guide), that is more than fair value, and even looking at the trade objectively that is fair compensation to move up that much in the first round.

Further, the same can be said of the second trade up. By the chart and by objectively evaluating the trade, giving up a late third round pick to move up 16 slots from the late second into the mid second is fair value. The Jets did not overpay in either of these trades. And what also needs to be recognized is what would have been left on the board at the end of the second round and the end of the third round. There isn’t anyone on the board after the 59th pick (which would have been the Jets first pick in the second round) who one could look at and say, “Wow, I can’t believe we missed out on the opportunity to pick him due to our trades.” Sure, there are some intriguing prospects, but no one that would have been worth the Jets passing up on getting two players as highly graded as Harris and Revis.

Now to the players:

Darrelle Revis, CB, Pitt – What a great pick, and here’s why; had the Jets stayed at 25, with Ross off the board, they would have had a shot at Anthony Spencer at DE out of Pursue, Joe Staley at OT out of Central Michigan, Ben Grubbs or Justin Blalock at G from Auburn and Texas, and even Greg Olsen at TE from Miami. The kicker is that in comparing these 5 players to Revis, their grades as prospects aren’t even close. Not only does Revis carry a significantly higher grade, but he fills a much bigger need than Spencer, Staley, or Olsen would fill. In regards to Grubbs and Blalock, Revis’ grade makes him worth passing up on the opportunity to land either of these prospects.

Further, at that point in the first round, Revis was hands down the best available player on the board. Thus, not only did the Jets draft the best available player (BAP) on the board, but it coincided with a position of need. And when an elite prospect is on the board, which is the BAP and also is a major need for your roster, then you’ve just landed yourself a piece of draft gold.

Expect Revis to return punts right off the bat. Anyone who would rather he not due to his value at corner simply hasn’t seen this kid at his best on special teams. Simply put, he’s a flat out stud. He lets his blocks develop like a seasoned veteran and is able to hit them with text book technique and burst. He’s the first home run threat this franchise has had on punts since Santana Moss, and having him return punts worked out pretty well at the time.

At the corner position, expect to see Revis in a ton of basic coverage packages. It’s hard to say whether he’ll see a lot of action in zone coverage as he’s struggled here and there in the past, but it’s nothing that isn’t correctable without experience.

The bottom line is the Jets landed the best cornerback in this draft and a prospect who in this writer’s opinion was a top ten prospect. “Excellent addition” can’t even begin to describe what Revis could possibly bring to the defense here. Between Rhodes, Dyson, and now Revis, it’s very possible that the Jets could have one of the best secondaries in the league within 2 years.

David Harris, MLB, Michigan – Another fantastic pickup. I literally threw my arms up and screamed at the TV in a fit of joy when the Jets traded up to land Harris. A Mangini player in every sense of the word, Harris brings a new sense of leadership and toughness to the defense that this franchise hasn’t had in a while. He’s deceptively fast with a 4.57 40 time at the combine, and could be exactly what the doctor ordered for the run defense as that is Harris’ strongest game aspect.

The real question on the table now is what this means for Vilma. Harris was the leader of the best defense in the nation last year; he made all the line calls and rallied the troops when the team was in desperate need of it. Not only that, but he did a fantastic job. Will Vilma remain the captain of the defense after this year? Or will Harris take over eventually? It’s certainly in his nature and should make for some great competition at the MLB position come training camp. If there’s one thing that Mangini covets, it’s competition at every position, and there’s no doubt that Vilma is in need of a swift kick in the rear in terms of adjusting to the 3-4.

Jacob Bender, OT, Nicholls St – One of the top sleepers recognized going into draft weekend. I hate to keep sounding like a homer, but this is another fantastic pick for the Jets at this spot in the sixth round. Extremely athletic for a guy his size, (6’6, 316 lbs), Bender like the first two prospects is a Mangini player and also could be a pleasant surprise. With the RT position not solidified and some questions at guard, it’s very possible we could see a significant amount of playing time for Bender at some point in the season. He still has some developing to do, however with Ferguson and Mangold there to work with him, it could happen quicker than some would expect.

Chansi Stuckey, WR, Clemson – Not a fan of this one at all. What this front office established last season and into this year as well is obtaining young men ready to play right off the bat. Stuckey just doesn’t fit that mold, he’s got a ton of work to do and on top of that his basic stats don’t speak very well for himself. Short at only 5’10, he doesn’t make up for it in speed with a 40 time of 4.65 and also has had some durability issues.

The upside is Stuckey could be a valuable addition to the special teams unit and also has good hands, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in on some third down action at a few points throughout the season. However in the 7th round, where the talent is scarce, there were still a few prospects left that were better than Stuckey. I would have preferred someone like Tim Duckworth out of Auburn or Joe Newton out of Oregon St. Both went undrafted but were picked up immediately after as undrafted free agents.

Overall I’m grading out the Jets at a B+/A- for this draft. They did an absolutely outstanding job on the first day in recognizing what would be on the board had they stood still and acted on it. Also, one can count Thomas Jones as part of this draft haul as well, due to the fact that they acquired him by trading down in the second round. However, one can’t discount the fact that they were non-existent on the second day with one quality pick and one questionable pick. They threw away a 4th rounder on Kevan Barlow and missed out on the opportunity to draft one of several players on the board who would have been a stellar addition; such as Josh Beekman, Steve Breaston, or even Cameron Stephenson out of Rutgers. For those two aspects, they have to be graded down a few points, but it still doesn’t discount the fact that they landed 3 prospects with starter potential, 2 of which have Pro Bowl potential.

Grading out the rest of the conference:

New England - B- : and the only reason they’re not getting a C is because they pulled off a miracle with the Moss trade. They landed a player with a ton of potential in Meriweather, but he really has to keep his act together to come through on that potential. From a technical aspect Meriweather is certainly a first round talent, but this is a really questionable pick considering all the character concerns that have plagued the NFL over the past year. After Meriweather, there isn’t really anything to be excited about. Kareem Brown is a really weird pick for them and I was really surprised that they took Colorado State’s Clint Oldenburg over Jacob Bender considering Bender’s clearly the better prospect. Congrats to Central Connecticut’s Justice Hairston though, after struggling to find a place or playing time at Rutgers behind Ray Rice or Brian Leonard, Hairston transferred out, did a fantastic job for the Blue Devils and now gets a shot in the NFL. All that being said, Randy Moss for a fourth rounder is absolutely ridiculous, especially when you consider that the guy’s only 30 and being the physical freak that he is, most likely has at least another 4-5 years of stellar play in him if he has the drive.

Buffalo - A: Great draft. I really have to hand it to Levy and the Bills, they did a stellar job here. Though passing up on Quinn in the first clearly upset the Buffalo faithful in attendance, they landed a great player in Lynch who’s character concerns in my opinion have been overrated and blown out of proportion considering the circumstances of each of them. They were fortunate enough to have Posluszny drop to them in the second, and solidified the elimination of risk that came in putting too much stock in Losman by drafting Edwards, who very likely would have been graded out a lot higher had he not been hurt this past year. They landed a steal in the 6th round by drafting John Wendling, and make no mistake about it; guys like Wendling are proof positive that even in the 6th round potential starters are most certainly on the board.

Miami - D: Not a good way to start off a new era in Phins football. First they pass up on Brady Quinn, which then forced them to draft Beck in the 2nd round when they could have addressed other needs in the secondary with Chris Houston on the board or even solidified Zach Thomas’ successor by drafting David Harris. Instead, they reached for Ginn at 9, who was not the BAP on the board, and were forced to pick a QB in the 2nd as well. Further, the icing on the cake settled in the Monday after and word is Ginn still isn’t totally healed from his ankle injury. Satele was a good pick in the second round and will be a very good player but I’m surprised they left Sabby Piscatelli and a few other DB’s on the board at that spot, and the same can be said for Booker. Lorenzo Booker seems to me to be a reach for them in the 3rd round considering they’re in desperate need for some help in the secondary and there were a few great defensive backs available at that spot. They made a few good day two picks in Fields and Mauia (who’s a very intriguing player), but they in no way make up for how badly they botched up day one. All in all I’m shocked they didn’t pursue any defensive backs, especially considering there was some quality ones left on the board when they were picking in the early rounds.