The New York Jets traded down 5 times over the span of this year’s NFL Draft and turned their 7 picks into 10 (10th pick is the Cowboys 5th rounder in 2018). They stockpiled young talent and were willing to trade away from some big names in order to get some more picks. Finally, the Jets started addressing their roster down to the 53rd man instead of the first 22. Lets meet the 2017 draft class:
Round 1, Pick 6: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Dreams do come true. Many people think that Jamal Adams is the best player in this draft class not named Myles Garrett. After a couple surprising selections made before the Jets’ pick, Jamal Adams fell right into their lap, similar to Leonard Williams a couple years ago. Some safeties excel in coverage, others excel in making plays around the line of scrimmage. Adams can do both.
^ That’s an INT while covering now Washington Redskin TE Jeremy Sprinkle, who has 6 inches and 30 pounds on him. Jamal Adams will make an immediate impact on the Jets defense and has a true alpha-dog mentality. He’ll be fun to watch for years to come.
NFL Comparison: Darren Woodson – yes, he’s that good.
Round 2, Pick 7: Marcus Maye, S, Florida
The Jets made a surprising pick with their second safety in as many picks in Marcus Maye. With RB Dalvin Cook still on the board, the Jets showed that they are confident in the Bilal Powell/Matt Forte duo in the backfield and that their secondary needed the most attention (true). He’s much better in the box as a downhill runner than he is in coverage, so he could fit pretty well next to Adams.
Here he is in coverage against now Bills WR Zay Jones:
NFL Comparison: Glover Quin
*Some people might say that Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are the new Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. That’d be something special.
Round 3, Pick 15: ArDarius Stewart, WR, Alabama
This was another surprising pick due to the log jam that the Jets call their receiving core. With Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall and Quinton Patton set to compete for snaps this season, an early round pick on another young WR was interesting. Perhaps this is a sign that Eric Decker may be headed out the door.
Stewart wasn’t blessed with the best QB/scheme at Alabama, so his stats don’t tell the whole story of how good he may actually be. Nick Saban ran a run-heavy offense the past couple years and as far as intangibles go, their QBs have been less than stellar. Most of Stewart’s touches were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, so he had to rely on his speed and athleticism to create some YAC. Also, playing second fiddle to OJ Howard in Alabama’s passing game diminished his production.
Here is an example of the kind of plays that were drawn up for Stewart in college:
#13 Auburn had 8 men in the box and Stewart was still able to turn the corner and take the jet sweep for a gain of 17. The Jets started to run similar plays with Robby Anderson last year, so maybe Stewart will be a good fit.
NFL Comparison: Poor man’s Jarvis Landry; Chris Hogan.
Round 4, Pick 35: Chad Hansen, WR, California
I was surprised with the ArDarius Stewart selection, and I was twice as surprised with the Chad Hansen selection, especially with Michigan TE Jake Butt still on the board. Hansen is actually very similar to Stewart, but he has the college stats to back it up. Paired with now Giants QB Davis Webb, Hansen had 92 receptions for 1,249 yards and 11 TDs. We’ll find out in time if Webb made Hansen look good, if Hansen made Webb look good, or if they are just both good a la Derek Carr and Davante Adams at Fresno State in 2014.
Hansen is deceptively fast (no, not because he’s white) because he runs effortlessly.
It looks like he’s jogging for 60 yards but he’s somehow pulling away from 6 defenders step by step. He can go up and get some balls, too. Obviously just has to get his other foot down in bounds at the next level.
NFL Comparison: Allen Hurns
Round 5, Pick 6: Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson
The Jets needed a pass catching TE like I need air to breathe. I had Leggett as the 5th best TE in this draft class that is very deep in that position. However, with injuries to a couple of the top TE’s available, part of Leggett’s best ability is his availability. He’s a 6’6″ MONSTER who set records at Clemson for receptions, yards, and TDs for a TE. Of course, he had Deshaun Watson passing him the ball and was the #2 option behind 7th overall pick and now Charger Mike Williams, so there is a chance that his college numbers are a little inflated.
A couple knocks against Leggett are that he isn’t the best blocker and that his motor isn’t always running full speed. Here is the good, during Clemson’s last minute comeback in the national championship:
And here is the bad, as Leggett’s missed block led to a sack in a crucial point of the same national championship game:
He’ll have to work on his blocking, but Jordan Leggett will be an immediate impact player for the Jets. They completed 18 total passes to TEs last season, which by far was the worst in the NFL. He’s an experienced Tight End who can make big plays wherever he is lined up against whoever is lined up against him.
NFL Comparison: Delanie Walker
Round 5, Pick 38: Dylan Donahue, DE/OLB, West Georgia
Donahue played D-Line for Division 2 West Georgia, and dominated there. However, he is 25 years old, undersized, and changing positions in the NFL. He’s kind of a wild card, but somebody in the Jets organization must have liked him if they took him in the 5th round. I’d guess that he takes a special teams role as he learns his new position and will make some appearances on 3rd downs. He broke school and conference records for sacks at West Georgia, but the jump from D-II to the NFL is very steep.
NFL Comparison: Josh Martin
Round 6, Pick 4: Elijah McGuire, RB, UL-Lafayette
Despite battling injuries, McGuire ran for 4,312 yards in 4 years at ULL. He is also very good in the passing game and has some experience returning punts. As Powell and Forte get older, McGuire can become a 3rd down pass-catching back in the future if he can stay healthy. This guy is 5’10” and can make these kinds of plays:
NFL Comparison: Shane Vereen
Round 6, Pick 13: Jeremy Clark, CB, Michigan
Jeremy Clark is a 6’3″ defensive back out of Michigan coming off of an ACL tear. He’s a developmental prospect that said he is 75% healthy currently. This was a good pick because he has shown potential at Michigan while playing all defensive back positions. He is now the tallest defensive back on the team and his size and length allows him to make plays like this easier than most.
NFL Comparison: LaDarius Gunter
Round 6, Pick 20: Derrick Jones, CB, Ole Miss
Jones is an athletic freak that converted from WR to CB last year at Ole Miss. He’s another tall corner at 6’2″ that is considered as raw as they get at the position. He has a lot of work to do, but could be seen early in the season as a gunner on special teams. His athleticism and potential that comes with it must have the Jets front office salivating:
NFL Comparison: Tony Lippett
All in all, I’d give the Jets a solid B for this draft. They addressed a couple huge team needs but completely ignored others while making a couple questionable decisions along the way. Of course, I’m basing that off of some college tape and combine results. The jump from college to the NFL is extreme and some players that seem like they have star potential end up getting lost in the process. You never know how good the players that you draft are until they’re out there on the field, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get excited for them.
At least 5 of these guys could make an immediate impact on the team. Training camp is only about 2 1/2 months away.