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Draft Day 2, and Seven More Takeaways

Posted May 2, 2015

Thoughts on Devin Smith's Hand(s), Lorenzo Mauldin's Drive, and Mike Maccagnan's Draft So Far

Similar to Thursday night, we bring you this morning seven takeaways from Friday night and day two of the Jets' 2015 draft. We'll provide three takeaways on WR Devin Smith, three more on LB Lorenzo Mauldin, and one final thought from GM Mike Maccagnan that will take us into Round 4 and the final day of drafting beginning at noon ET today.


DEVIN SMITH

1. Give That Man a Hand

One criticism of Smith's game is that his hands aren't yet as reliable as you'd like. But Maccagnan felt his hands "were good" during our scouting sessions. And you'll feel the same after taking one more look via youtube at the Ohio State WR's "Catch of the Year" against Miami of Ohio on opening day 2012.

In effect, Smith did a Beckham before Odell Beckham Jr. did last November for the Giants against the Cowboys on Monday Night Football — unbelievable one-handed grab in the end zone. Other than the size of the respective stages, the catches were quite similar and quite awe-inspiring.


2. What's in a Number?

Mike Mac was impressed with one statistic compiled by Smith last year — his 28.2 yards/catch. The GM is also aware of its shortcomings.

"It's still 33 balls and I believe he had 43 or 47 targets. For the productivity aspect, that was kind of rare," he said. "I think he had 12 touchdowns on those 33 catches. It's against good competition. So to us, at the end of the day, you take players who in a perfect world you'd like maybe a little more production. But the production he had was kind of impactful."

How impressive is that average? Smith led all FBS receivers by a wide margin with it last year. In fact, it's the best yards/catch since 2011. One guess which qualifying receiver led the nation with a larger average ... it was Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill, also a Jets second-rounder, at 29.3 in '11.

Just keep this in mind. Smith had about twice as many catches as Hill in his FBS-leading year. And for his Ohio State career Devin had an amazing 20.7 average on 121 catches, and his 30 TDs give him that neat average of one TD every 4.0 receptions.


3. Homebody

Smith has a deep appreciation for his roots. He said the best part of hearing his name announced as the fifth pick of Round 2 early Friday evening, "was having my family there. When I got the call and when they called my name, I didn't know what to do besides just hug my family. That was the best part of the whole night, just having my family right there with me."

And he's got Ohio sports in his blood. His hometown is legendary football hotbed Massillon, OH. At Washington HS, he had 24 TD catches, second-best in school history, and on the cinders was a state long jump champion and a state qualifier in the high jump and on the 4x200 relay team. He also starred in basketball.

Smith had received scholarship offers from Michigan and Notre Dame among other Midwest colleges, but when Ohio State came calling, he signed on the dotted line.

Good thing Ohio's in the Eastern time zone along with Florham Park, NJ.


LORENZO MAULDIN

4. The 40 Re-examined

Todd Bowles was asked about Mauldin's so-so 4.85-second 40 time at the combine, and the head coach gave a new riff on that age-old topic of how important really is the 40?

"Lorenzo's a good football player," Bowles began. "He has balance. He plays fast. Forty time sometimes can be overrated. There are 4.3 guys who can't play and there are 4.8 guys who can. Play speed is most important. You've got to get guys who know how to play. Some guys who have good hand placement and technique and know how to play, they can play more like a 4.7 guy, a 4.65 guy than a 4.8 guy.

"And Lorenzo's not going to be out on an island running track meets."


5. Chip on His Shoulder

Mauldin's emotions, noted in our news story on the selection late Friday, came out even more so during the last question asked of him on his conference call with Jets reporters.

"Now that I have a chance to show an NFL team what I've got, I’m going to show them what I've got and I’m going to show them more than what I’ve got," he said. "I’m ready. I’m ready to do this. I’m going to shut up all the critics, I’m going to shut up everybody that ever doubted me. I’m going to do what I've got to do to get where I need to be in the NFL and beyond.

"This is my chance. This is my chance to show everybody. This is my chance to show everybody that I can do what I do and I’m going to do it beyond what I can."

Good thing Lorenzo is relocating from U of L to North Jersey. There's an inspirational Broadway play in that soliloquy.


6. Injury Prone? Not Quite

In a related item, one of the critiques of him was a bit of an injury history — a hamstring issue last year, shoulder surgery two years ago.

But do we really count the moped incident? After all, he was struck by a vehicle while riding his moped to an August morning workout in 2013. Despite some unspecified injuries, he made all 13 starts and posted his career high of 9.5 sacks. Talk about drive.


MIKE MACCAGNAN

7. Two Down, One to Go

Maccagnan is two-thirds of the way through his first draft sitting in the GM's chair. Or is it really three-eighths of the way, since with the picks acquired from the Texans in the Round 3 trade, there are five selections to go today.

How does he feel "his" draft has gone so far?

"Time will tell," he said at the end of Round 3 late Friday. "I think every draft is tricky. Some drafts have more talent, some drafts have less talent. ... I'm happy with it so far. We have a lot more work to do [today], and hopefully finish up strong. At the end of the day, it's like everything else. You're really just trying to maximize your return."



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