Sunday, June 15, 2014

The 5 Most Likely Jets To Improve In 2014

     The New York Jets actually have a pretty young Roster. During John Idziks brief career as the Jets GM, he has made an emphasis on building the team throught the Draft and bargin hunting in Free Agency. In this article I will discuss the 5 players I expect to make significant upgrades in stats and play on the field. Before I discuss those players, let me first share some honorable mentions.
     Players like C Nick Mangold and LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson are already considered among the best at their positions. DE Muhammad Wilkerson should be in that same class, but has been snubbed in recent years for any post season awards and accolades. Mo is entering his 4th Season so is not quite the seasoned Vet like Nick and Brick and still has room to improve. With 10.5 sacks last year any improvement he does have may not be as big a jump as the players I will talk about in a moment.
     WR Jeremy Kerley is in a similar boat as Wilkerson. He isn't as dominant at his position, but he is above average and all with no other threat on Offense to allow him to take advantage in soft coverage or mismatches. This should change this year, but Kerleys ceiling isn't as high as Wilkersons. His numbers should go up with other weapons on Offense that will demand more attention from opposing Defenders, but his jump won't be as significant.
     G Brian Winters was thrown into the deep end of the pool last season due to penalties by starter Vladimir Ducasse and asked to tread water. Unfortunately, he couldn't, but he didn't exactly go completely under either. He will improve over last year, but again it won't be as much as the players to come, so without further ado and in no particular order I give you my top 5 Jets to improve in the 2014-2015 NFL Season.

     Like Winters, QB Geno Smith was thrown in the deep end thanks to a season ending injury to Mark Sanchez. Smith had his ups and downs and just when it seemed as if he was going to drown, he not only treaded water, but for the last month of the regular season he seamed to swim in the Jets Offense. He finished his Rookie Season with 3,046 passing yards, 12 TDs with 21 INTs, 366 rushing yards and 6 TDs, but also had 3 fumbles. Last year he was a Rookie QB learning the position, a new Offensive System and had limited weapons to bail him out. He enters the 2014 Off Season with a year of familiarity, a mentor in Michael Vick who's playing style Geno imitated to great success, newer weapons in his arsenal including Free Agent WRs Eric Decker and Jacoby Ford, RB Chris Johnson and Rookie TE Jace Amaro who will be a match up NIGHTMARE to go along with a few Rookie WRs. Expect Geno to grow, bring his turnovers down and be a threat in the passing game that the Jets haven't had in the Rex Ryan era.

     Hill was Drafted and it was widely known that he was a project from the beginning, but in his first two Seasons he has been placed on Season Ending Injured Reserve. It's hard to work on improving if your constantly healing from injury and not with your Coaches and Teammates. In his first 2 years with the Jets Hill has only combined for 594 yards and 4 TDs and already have some calling him a bust. However, Hill suffered, like Kerley,  from having no other weapons around him and after being praised by Coaches last Off-Season having to deal with Rookie Geno Smith. This year both Players are going to need each other. Hill has worked out to improve physically to stave off injury which resulted in growing 1.5 inches taller which just illustrates that he is a young player still growing. I think that Hill will be among the most improved players in all of the N F L. He is now 6'5 and sporting 4.30 speed and in a pivotal year I think he will rise to the challenge and amass 850+ yards and 7 TDs.

     While Geno Smith had an up and down year, Dee Milliner had a down year and was benched THREE times until Veteran Ed Reed joined the Jets and personally showed Milliner how to be a Pro, and study film. This mentorship lead to Milliner winning Defensive Rookie Of The Month for the last leg of the Season and earning 3 INTs while shutting down Clevelands Josh Gordon and Miamis Mike Wallace. Many don't know if Milliner will continue to struggle, or if the final month of the season is an indication of the player that he will be. Rex Ryan though believes that Milliner will be among the top CBs and since he knows more about Defense than anyone your going to read or hear give their opinion on the matter I would side with the New York Jets Head Coach. If Milliner can stay healthy, look for him to be a shut down Corner.

     After one year as a Pro and winning Defensive Rookie of the Year, Sheldon Richardson was named #94 in the NFLs top 100 players. If you were to ask him though, that WASN'T high enough. After coming into the league Richardson has had Jets fans full attention. He talks a big game, but once the pads come on he backs up every word. He earned 42 total tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble in his Rookie Season and was rated amongst the best against the run. The ceiling truly is high for this player who has stated publicly that he wants to be greater than Warren Sapp. Richardson is an integral part of the Jets Defensive Line and if he is able to make the same improvements in his game as fellow Defensive Lineman, Muhammad Wilkerson made early in his young career, then look for the Jets to have the Fiercest D-Line in the League, and for Sheldon to brag all about it.

     Last year after the Jets Drafted Sheldon Richardson 13th overall, many pundits questioned the move, because Quinton Coples was just Drafted at the same position 16th overall the year before. What was later revealed was that during Coples Draft workouts with the Jets, Rex Ryan put him through Outside Linebacker drills. With the addition of Richardson, Coples was moved to the OLB position for the first time in his career. He suffered an ankle injury during the Pre-Season and missed plenty of reps during Training Camp and a few reporters began to call him a bust. As the Season went on and his health returned a few opposing QBs called him a beast.  Anyone who has watched the tape of the New Orleans game can bare witness to what Rex saw in Coples when he Drafted him. In his first year in the position Coples had 24 total tackles, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble which gives him 46 tackles, and 10 sacks in his two years as a pro. With a full Off Season learning and growing into the position and a 15 lbs weight loss look for Coples to MATCH his career numbers in 2014. Maybe not in total tackles, but in Sacks. A position switch takes time, but Coples has the athletic ability to stand up and the improved play from Wilkerson, and Richardson will suck in the attention to the inside which will give Coples plenty of chances to wreak havoc rushing from the Outside.
     So there you have my picks for top 5 improved Jets Players this year. Agree or disagree, but leave a comment on who you think will jump this year and why, and always GO JETS!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

My 2014 New York Jets Mock Draft.

     The New York Jets report for voluntary Off Season work at their facilities today, so what better way to celebrate the occasion than to create a Mock Draft of players I'd like to see join the organization. The Jets enter this years Draft with 12 Picks. This was due to a plan GM John Idzik set into motion last year during his first year running the Jets Free Agency. The Darrelle Revis trade gained the team an extra 4th Round selection and the savy decision to move on from some of their own players while adding players cut from other teams garnered the Jets 4 Compensatory Picks. A 4th and 3 6th Rounders. Expect the Jets to be big players in this upcoming Draft.
     For my Mock Draft I want to evaluate what the team already has and what they need. After a slow start to Free Agency had many Jets fans worried (my hand is raised) John Idzik made sure that the needs, although significant, aren't many. Entering Free Agency the Jets had a Dominant Defensive Line, starters and backups, and a solid RB Core. Every other group had varying holes. The Jets added Free Agent WRs Eric Decker, the highest rated Free Agent at his position, from the Broncos and speedy, but often injured Jacoby Ford from the Raiders.
     QB Michael Vick was added after he was released by the Eagles to COMPETE with QB Geno Smith. Vick will either be a solid backup that can step in if Geno struggles, or the starter to what the Jets hope is a more explosive Offense. That Offense became even more dynamic when the Titans released a player of their own and the Jets added him to the 6th Ranked Rushing Offense. RB Chris Johnson brings speed and a threat to take the ball 90 yards to the End Zone. With these moves QB, and RB join the Defensive Line as positions that are secure.
     With OG Willie Colon coming off a biceps tear and the expected struggles of Rookie LG Brian Winters the Jets will need to bolster the interior of their line sometime during the Draft. Antonio Cromartie was released and now the Jets need a Man to Man Cover Corner to play opposite Dee Milliner, who proved in the last month at least, that he was the best Corner in last years Draft. Calvin Pace may have had 10 Sacks last year, but at 33 he clearly isn't the long term answer and OLB has been a need for the Jets for the past decade or so. A weak Secondary could always be helped by a strong Pass Rush. The Jets added to the WR position, but they have a chance in this Draft to make a now "serviceable" position into one of strength. Many think that the Jets should and will select a WR early in this Draft. The Receiving Core also consists of TEs, which sorely needs improvement over just Jeff Cumberland and Zack Sudfelds, two undrafted players.  Lastly, the Jets Secondary also needs improvement in the Safety position. The Jets need a game changer roaming the middle of the field. Even if they bring back Ed Reed after the Draft they need a young stud that can develop into a Ball Hawk for the foreseeable future. So there you have it, WR, CB, OLB, TE, OG, and S are all positions that can be helped with a strong Draft this year.

1st Round: Odell Beckham Jr WR LSU
     Beckham has deceptive speed and under the radar hands. He will immediately help on Special Teams and be allowed to learn the game and develope into a #1 WR. With him in the fold the Jets now have a complete WR unit. A much improved unit over last year.
2nd Round: Austin Sefarin-Jenkins TE WASH
     In my Mock Draft I have the Jets trading their two 4th Rounders, 5th, 6th and 7th Round picks to add an extra early 2nd Round Pick. If it doesn't take this many selections to make this trade happen, then that's better, but a trade up to get more quality players is needed. Adding this big and talented TE to the mix is just what the Offense needs to be complete no matter who ends up winning the QB position. Put on tape and you will see why many people say that TEs are the QBs best friend. This guy has the ability to catch contested passes and run across the middle. He also has the size to develope into a solid blocker.
2nd Round: Kyle Van Noy OLB BYU
     Calvin Pace may have had a career year lady season, but the Jets need an infusion of young blood into their Linebacker Core. Kyle Van Noy, on a smaller scale, is suffering from the same criticism as Jadavean Clowney. Both players cooled it down in their last season of their collegiate careers. The nay sayers will question their motor and love for the game, but as long as they give their all once they are playing for the Jets, I could care less that they tried not to get hurt before they signed a multi million dollar contact. Kyle Van Noy should be a 1st Round selection. His speed and coverage skills will fit the Jets perfectly. Playing behind this Defensive Line allowed Calvin Pace to notch 10 sacks, so imagine what a pure speed rusher can do.
3rd Round: Ed Reynolds S Stanford
     If Ed Reynolds falls to the Jets it would be a steal that would allow the Jets to make significant changes to their Safety position. Reynolds could be the Ball Hawk the Jets haven't had since Kerry Rhodes, but Reynolds is also a solid tackler. This will allow Rex to move Antonio Allen to Stong Safety, which is his more natural position and allow Reynolds to split time with a Veteran while he learns the scheme.
4th Round: EJ Gaines CB MIZZ
     The Jets needed help to their Secondary, but that didn't necessarily mean they needed another first round selection. Adding a Pass Rushing OLB and a Ball Hawking FS will help the cornerbacks. Adding Gaines gives the Jets another CB to develop into a potential starter. He is a smart player that can hold up against bigger receivers. With Kyle Wilson nearing the end of his contact is smart for the Jets to add more players to the position even if they aren't going to be the long term starter. 6th Round: Colt Lyerla TE Oregon
     Another steal for the Jets due to Colt having character issues, but with Sefarin-Jenkins already added to the mix this is a gamble that the Jets would be wise to take. Lyerla is another player with 1st Round talent. He isn't the Blocker that Sefarin-Jenkins is, but he is a threat in the passing game. This will also add to the Jets Mantra of competition. The Jets now have a complete and deadly passing attack.
6th Round: Ryan Groy OG WISC
     This is basically for depth. A team can never have enough fattys in the trenches. The Jets selected two late round Offensive Linemen last year, and with all of the needs already filled its just about bringing in bodies to compete.
6th Round: Preston Brown ILB Louisville
     The last pick is a player they hope can help out on Special Teams. Giving the opposing Offense a long journey to the End Zone will help out the Defense and the team as a whole. This late in the Draft your not looking for starters, just role players. Brown will still be given a chance to help the team even if it doesn't mean playing in the base Defense.
So there you have my Mock Draft/State of the Jets. Leave your comments below on what you think and also what you would like done in this upcoming Draft if you were the GM. Is there a player you feel the Jets NEED to get, or a trade scenario you would like the team to make? Leave your comment or Draft Picks just for bragging rights if the players turn out to be good NFL Players or Jets.