On day two of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Jets drafted a tight end that flew over defenders for record-breaking numbers and a cornerback who "flew under the radar" due to a serious shoulder injury. And when it was over, general manager John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan declared themselves pleased.
"It was a long but very productive and great day for the Jets," said John Idzik of the drafting of TE Jace Amaro in Round 2 and CB Dexter McDougle in Round 3. "We're very excited to add those two players to our team."
Ryan, setting aside Amaro for a second and adding Thursday night's day one drafting of S Calvin Pryor, proclaimed that his pride-and-joy unit will be just fine.
"We played great defense before this," Ryan said. "And then when you look at it, the two young men we added, I think our chances are even better. We're going to play great defense here. That's what we do."
Both Amaro and McDougle were both very impressive in some key areas but had questions in others, which explains why perhaps Amaro slipped out of the first round, where he wanted to be drafted, while McDougle rose to the third from a day three position on many personnel experts draft boards.
Idzik had the kind of observations you'd expect of a tight end who put together a monster season for Texas Tech — 106 catches, 1,352 yards and seven TDs.
"Jace, we feel like he's a size tight end that was flanked out and used down the field, ran all kinds of routes, good hands," the GM said. "A very productive player."
But what about blocking? Senior college scouting director Terry Bradway and college scouting director Jeff Bauer both said it wasn't as invisible as some folks seemed to think.
"If you watch him on the perimeter block, he's really a good blocker," Bradway said. "He knocks guys on their butt and off the field, too, as a blocker on the perimeter. It's a little different than in-line, I know that, but he's got the want-to to do it and the size."
"He'll move people and he put people on their backs, especially in the secondary," Bauer said. "But those plays when he's inside, he gets movement and he competes. As a pass receiver, he took a lot of hits. He caught the ball a lot, and he's hit a lot in crossing routes and he held up well. So as far as tight ends go, he's a big guy that's strong."
McDougle, the Maryland corner, had a different issue — that September shoulder mishap that required surgery and KO'd him not only for the Terps' final nine games but also for the NFL Combine workouts, which he attended but did not participate in.
"We felt like Dexter flew under the radar to a certain extent," Idzik said. "But we saw plenty of his play and certainly the three games leading into this season, and it didn't dissuade us at all. It really encouraged us, in fact."
McDougle was primed for a big senior season, coming up with his second and third picks and a return TD in that Game 3 against UConn before his injury.
"When we watched him," Ryan said, "we saw a guy that we think has versatility, can play outside, can play inside as a nickel possibly. Obviously we like his cover skills, but we think he's a complete corner. We think he can tackle — we know he can tackle. He's aggressive, he'll challenge you at the line of scrimmage, he's got good ball skills, and obviously we feel good. He can run, but very aggressive player as well.
Ryan detailed one impressive chapter in McDougle's rehab story — the fact that the Maryland coach named a team award after McDougle and presented him with it.
"Dex is a tremendous person," said Rex. "He loved his team, he wanted to support them in every way he possibly could. We think he fits that Jet profile. We think he's a great teammate and look forward to seeing what he can do here."