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All 7 Members of Draft Class Find Homes on Final 53

Posted Sep 1, 2013

April’s draft seems like a distant memory as the summer’s end approaches. Training camp has come and gone, four preseason games have been played, and a roster of 90 has been trimmed to 53, including all seven players from first-year general manager John Idzik’s inaugural draft class. Let’s take a look at our Draft Class of ’13 to see what we have to look forward to for this season and beyond.

First-Rounders for the Defense

After trading away four-time Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis the week of the draft, the Jets had to somehow find a way to replace No. 24. Part of the solution: CB Dee Milliner out of Alabama with the ninth overall pick.

“Dee Milliner is never going to be Darrelle Revis,” head coach Rex Ryan said at the start of training camp. “He’s going to be Dee Milliner, and I think that’s going to be good enough.”

Our youngest player has had some growing pains. Following the win over the Jaguars, Ryan expressed disappointment with Milliner’s performance. The 21-year-old then sat out the final two preseason games with a sore calf.

Still, he was unanimously named a first-team All-American as a junior, and his physical athleticism is second to none. Barring injury, the 6’0”, 201-pounder will join two-time Pro Bowler Antonio Cromartie as one of our starting cornerbacks.

Milliner will be one of seven new starters on the defense this year, as will our second pick of the first round, DT Sheldon Richardson.

The 13th overall choice is set to start on a front that includes third-year DE Muhammad Wilkerson and either Kenrick Ellis or Damon Harrison at nose tackle.

The 6’3”, 294-pound Missouri product has made his presence known early and often this preseason, flying around the field and leading Green & White D-linemen with 12 tackles.

Off the field, Richardson is goofy, soft-spoken, and always laughing. Just last week, for example, he stood behind a reporter and did everything he could to break fellow rookie Ryan Spadola's concentration during an on-camera post-practice interview.

Try as he might, Spadola didn’t laugh. And if Richardson continues to play like he has so far, opposing offensive coordinators won’t be laughing, either.

Talk of the Town: QB Geno Smith

We spent our remaining five picks on the offensive side of the ball, starting with one of the more talked- about names of the draft, QB Geno Smith.

The second-rounder (39th overall) put up video-game numbers at West Virginia, including 42 touchdowns with just six interceptions and 71.2% accuracy as a senior.

With a strong arm and quick-burst speed, the 6’3”, 221-pound rookie has shown flashes of what could someday make him an elite NFL quarterback.

An ankle injury suffered in the preseason opener set Smith back. Although he toughed it out, Ryan described his four-interception training camp practice as “brutal,” and in his first NFL start against the Giants in Week 3, he passed for a touchdown and 199 yards but also threw three interceptions before halftime.

Smith has been competing with the incumbent fifth-year veteran Mark Sanchez, who suffered a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter against the Giants and has been listed as day-to-day. The starting quarterback competition remains ongoing.

Three for the Offensive Line

Having lost two starting O-linemen during the offseason, the Jets filled the gaps with their next three picks.

Brian Winters, who started 50 games as a tackle at Kent State, was selected in the third round as a guard.

The 6’4”, 320-pounder was originally competing for one of two starting guard spots with veteran newcomers Willie Colon and Stephen Peterman. But Peterman failed to make the team, and fourth-year veteran Vladimir Ducasse showed major improvement throughout camp. It’s now a two-man race between Winters and Ducasse to start at LG, with Colon settled in on the right side.

Winters sat out the first two preseason games with an ankle injury, but he made up for lost time in Week 3’s MetLife Bowl with 60 snaps on offense, more than any other player in the game.

The Jets traded their fourth-round selection to New Orleans for RB Chris Ivory before drafting T Oday Aboushi in the fifth round and G Will Campbell in the sixth.

Aboushi attended Virginia due in part to the legacy of now-teammate D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who was drafted fourth overall by the Green & White in 2006 while Oday was in high school.

The 6'5", 308-pounder fought back from his first game as a pro, when he was called for three of our 11 penalties during the preseason-opening loss to Detroit, with improvement the next three games and will now provide the Jets' tackle depth.

Joining Aboushi as one of nine offensive linemen on the 53-man active roster is Will Campbell, who spent his Michigan career as a defensive tackle. The Jets hope that the grass is greener on the other side of the line of scrimmage for the 6’4”, 311-pound rookie as he has worked at guard since he was drafted.

This Fullback Has Physicality

Last but not least: FB Tommy Bohanon.

The seventh-rounder out of Wake Forest entered training camp competing for the team’s fullback position with fifth-year veteran Lex Hilliard. The competition ended abruptly, however, as Hilliard suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during practice on Aug. 20, and Bohanon will enter the season as the primary fullback.

As a senior, the Demon Deacon showed impressive pass-catching ability with 23 receptions for 208 yards and five touchdowns. But his biggest strength might be, well, his strength. The 6’1”, 247-pounder lifted the 225-pound benchpress bar 36 times at the NFL Combine. No one else in the draft class topped that number.

“He’s a monster,” QB Mark Sanchez said of Bohanon after practice last week. “He's physical. He picked up the system fast and has no problem with contact. That's a good quality in a fullback."

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