Media criticism of professional sports teams in New York will always be greater than most cities. This is simply due to the multitude of mass media organizations that exist in the area. The team that has received the most attention is arguably the Jets. This fact in its own right is outstanding considering the Giants have recently won two Superbowls and that the Yankees, the most successful sports franchise, share the same town.
Where the Jets lack in on-field accolades, they compensate four times over in controversies. With the boisterous and self-proclaimed prognosticator head-coach, Rex Ryan brought a lot of attention to the team. His players followed suit, as The New York Jets became notorious for trash-talking. While this was tolerable and entertaining while the team was successful, it quickly became an “old act” as the team began performing poorly.
This of course caused the Jets to transition from the “media darlings” to public enemy number one. From the butt-fumble topping Sportscenter’s not top plays to Rex Ryan’s “tattoo” and his foot fetish. While this criticism is warranted, I believe that it has skewed coverage of the postives of the organization. For instance, Muhammad Wilkerson had a borderline Pro-bowl season, but received little recognition. Quinton Coples had a good end to the season and Antonio Cromartie established himself as a number one CB. This past draft class (2013) has been criticized and in my eyes, unduly.
With the 9th pick in the draft the Jets selected the top rated defensive back in Dee Milliner. Players that they had been linked to were already taken, i.e. Dion Jordan (unlikely to drop to them anyway), Tavon Austin, Barkevious Mingo, and Ezekiel Ansah. With Revis gone, DB was a need, although not the most pressing. Instead of reaching for a QB or another position, the Jets selected a player that gave them the greatest value at their pick.
The main criticism of this pick was essentially that the Jets traded a hall-of-fame talent for an unproven player at the same level. While at face value there is an obvious drop off in talent, the Jets simply could not afford paying Revis 16 million a year. Especially coming off a serious injury and considering the current QB is essentially dead weight and being paid very highly, as well as other contracts to be signed, they had no choice.
With the 13th pick they selected Sheldon Richardson, a DT from Missouri. He is said to have great gap penetrating skills as he posses quick twitch speed and hand movement. This pick has been criticized as the Jets have two young first rounders and a second pick invested in their d-line.
Considering the Jets play mostly 3-4, this pick does not make much sense. Prior to the draft, a big need was a OLB that could rush the passer. This pick is explained by a few things. First, Rex has openly admitted to wanting to use more 4-3 fronts. Secondly, Quinton Coples, towards the end of the last season, was playing a “rush line backer”. This is where a linebacker lines up with his hand on the ground and pursues the QB. Over the four final games, he had 3.5 sacks.
Geno Smith, though to be the top rated QB in the draft,was taken in the second round by the team. Obviously,the the QB position is in a state of flux with Sanchez struggling and the presence of Tim Tebow. While I would have preferred the Jets to wait until next year’s draft class, Geno Smith was a good value pick at this position.
While being criticized for his understanding of defenses, he does posses the physical skills necessary to be a starter in the NFL. This pick makes good sense to me if you let Geno sit on the bench and perfect his play, while sheltering him from being abused on and off the field. Perhaps you throw Sanchez out there, David Garrad, or, for the love of God, Tim Tebow.
The fourth round pick was traded for Chris Ivory, an often injured, but highly talented, hard nosed running back of the New Orleans Saints. Considering they have Bilal Powell and recently signed Mike Goodson, the Jets now have a competent set of RBs.
Now what goes with a good running back core? Full backs and offensive lineman. That is what the Jets spent their remaining picks on. With two of their starts gone, the Jets had a serious need in this position.
Brian Winters is expected to be a 2013 starter while former DT, WIlliam Campbell and OL Oday Aboushi are expected to be “prospects”.
However, they do posses skills necessary to be,at the least, solid organizational depth. With their final pick, they selected Tommy Bohanon, a FB who can double as a tight end type, essential to the Morty Mornhinweg system.
This Jets draft was not about the 2013 Jets needs, but rather gaining depth in a push for the future. Under new leadership, I look for the Jets to acquire talent and steadily improve.