This is the ninth and final story in Real Football Services' offseason series. Today: Wrapping up the Jets' draft.
The Jets have taken a decent beating for their work on the 2012 NFL draft over the last few days. Mel Kiper gave them a C. Pete Prisco at CBSSports.com graded them out at a C-minus. His CBSSportsLine crony, Rob Rang, also gave the Jets a C for their efforts.
But there are two sides to every story, right? Our scouts actually liked a lot of what the Green & White did on draft weekend. Below is a look at their thoughts on how each of the newest Jets can be a fit in NJ.
1. DE Quinton Coples, North Carolina (No. 16 overall)
Coples gives the Jets a 3-4 DE who can actually rush the passer. Usually in a three-man front the DEs take up space and do a lot of two-gapping while the OLBs take on the role of pass rushers. But Coples' skill set will help Rex Ryan and company limit the need to blitz. That's a good thing because the fact is opposing offenses have begun to figure out some of New York's blitz schemes, and the constant pressure just isn't as effective against good QBs.
Coples showed at the Senior Bowl that he can beat tackles 1-on-1, and eventually offensive coordinators will need to help the tackle with a chip block or even slide protections, which will start to open things up for those edge rushers.
Coples has Julius Peppers-like ability. Some of our scouts also compare him to Richard Seymour and Haloti Ngata, players with some length and versatility who aren't your typical two-gap DEs. And Coples will likely be moved around and used in a manner similar to those players in New England and Baltimore.
Those are some pretty heady comparisons, but the skills and natural talent have always been there for Coples. The questions have been about his motor, but that sort of thing is right in Rex's wheelhouse, and we think he will motivate this young man and get him to produce. The Jets may have actually stolen a player here.
2. WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech (No. 43)
Though some will talk about his lack of knowledge of the NFL route tree or the fact that he is not a very polished receiver at this point, Hill does bring some tangible benefits to the table. At 6'4", 215, he's physically imposing like Plaxico Burress, but faster. Some have scoffed at the idea that he can take the top off a defense, but safeties will have to respect his speed, which is a good thing for a team that is trying to get back to the ground-and-pound game that was so successful for them prior to last season.
Fans should also remember that Santonio Holmes is still on the roster. His ability to catch and run is critical to this passing attack, and if Hill can pull a safety out of the box, that will help Holmes immensely, giving him room to make plays after the catch.
In addition to size and speed, Hill is an excellent blocker who is more than willing to mix it up in the run game, which is a real bonus for what the Jets want to do offensively. The Green & White may have found their replacement for Plax.
3. ILB Demario Davis, Arkansas State (No. 77)
Davis is an explosive player with a great get-off and burst at the snap, but he is very raw and doesn't play very fast because he doesn't see the game well yet. Coming out of a smaller school like Arkansas State doesn't help his perception among fans, either. With that being said, Davis should be a special-teams demon to start and could find his way into the nickel package or as a situational pass rusher who can get to the QB. His off-the-charts explosiveness makes him a project worth working with.
6A. S Josh Bush, Wake Forest (No. 187)
Smart and instinctive, Bush will probably contribute as a special-teamer and backup safety in year one.
6B. RB Terrance Ganaway, Baylor (No. 202)
This was an intriguing pick in our mind. Having a player with Ganaway's production (2,592 rush yards, 34 TDs in 50 games) fall to the Jets in the sixth round was a real fortunate turn of events. Plus, he has great size (240 pounds), is a tough inside runner who is quick to the hole, and is explosive in the open field.
The added bonus is that with Tim Tebow in the fold, expect the Jets to run a lot of shotgun, Wildcat and option sets as part of the offense, which is the type of system Ganaway has lived in the last four years. We think he could eventually push Shonn Green for his starting spot.
6C. T Robert T. Griffin, Baylor (No. 203)
Griffin possesses excellent size and strength at 6'6", 335. But his technique and ability level are not there yet. He may struggle to make the team, but could be a good candidate for the practice squad if he performs well in camp.
7A. S Antonio Allen, South Carolina (No. 242)
"This guy," says Pat Kirwan, SiriusXM Radio host and CBSSports.com writer, "may be the biggest steal of the entire draft."
Allen can start for the Jets this year. He had an outstanding week at the Senior Bowl and was on our board with a second-round grade. He's big and physical and a very good hitter. But though he's listed officially as a SS, he has better range than advertised and excellent ball skills. He also strips the ball well, as evidenced by his six forced fumbles over the last two years. Our feeling is that he not only answers the loss of Brodney Pool but he could beat out Eric Smith before too long.
7B. WR Jordan White, Western Michigan (No. 244)
White still has some developing to do and is a practice-squad candidate at this early date.
The Jets did well. Within the year, we wouldn't be surprised to see four members of this year's draft class (Coples, Hill, Ganaway and Allen) starting or pushing for considerable playing time.
However, the Jets still have two big problems to solve. First, they need a starting RT. Our focus would be to sign a veteran free agent RT. Max Starks, Vernon Carey and Barry Richardson are all available as of now and could beat out Wayne Hunter in a camp competition. All three are better run blockers than pass protectors at this point in their careers, and Starks is coming off a knee injury. But if healthy, any of the three could compete for that spot and be an upgrade to an O-line that struggled mightily at times in 2011.
The team also needs a second TE. Visanthe Shiancoe is available, and there are a few teams that will be sniffing around him in the next couple days. The combination of Shiancoe and Dustin Keller would give the Jets some two-TE sets that will actually scare people. Our guess is that the Jets have their eye on a couple of teams who drafted a TE and may be looking to free up or trade away a veteran at the position. San Diego could be a candidate.