Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in May's draft.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
No. 1 Team Need: Cornerback
The Jets whiffed on Vontae Davis, Darrelle Revis, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in free agency, leaving 2013 first-round disappointment Dee Milliner and underwhelming slot corner Kyle Wilson as Rex Ryan's projected starters. That won't work for a defense that emphasizes press-man coverage on the perimeter. As this year's wide receiver class is brimming with talent and depth, GM John Idzik may have to seriously consider using his first-round pick at corner for the second straight year.
First day option: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State - Rex likes to use press. Dennard wins in press. It really is a great match. No corner is as physical with receivers within five yards or downfield as Dennard. There were questions about his play speed, which still might be valid after running a low 4.50 forty, but Dennard forces receivers to play at his pace. He does tend to hand fight beyond five yards since there was no illegal contact at the college level. I would much rather have a corner that is too physical rather than one that prefers to keep their distance.
Second day possibility: Phillip Gaines, Rice - I stay away from these buzz words, but Gaines truly is a “riser” after missing the school’s largest game of the season against Texas A&M. I liked what I saw out of Gaines in press situations when preparing for the East-West Shrine, and he only continued his positive climb with a stellar workout. Gaines does get tangled up in his own footwork, but Rex could really work with his foundation.
Third day flier: Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida - Another defensive back that is more athlete than corner, despite his poor measurements at the Combine. Purifoy generated lots of buzz prior to the season, but he really is not worthy of more than a fifth-round pick at this point. He does have press experience, however, he does not defend the deeper portions of the field well.
No. 2 Team Need: Wide Receiver
The Jets landed a high-end No. 2 receiver in Eric Decker during free agency, and now need a young prospect capable of developing into a No. 1. Holdover Jeremy Kerley is a solid slot guy, but David Nelson is best suited to a fourth wideout role and 2012 second-round pick Stephen Hill looks like a bust. It's possible the Jets could give Hill one more shot at a prominent role, and use a high pick on a tight end. Either way, Michael Vick and Geno Smith need another pass catcher.
First day option: Odell Beckham Jr., LSU - There is no doubt in my mind that Beckham Jr. is the third ranked receiver in this class, but it would not shock me if he ultimately ended up the best of the group. He was used as a deep threat at LSU, making his home 9+ yards downfield. Beckham Jr. has the skills to win in this area since he combines speed with explosive movements and strong hands to fight for passes at the catch point. His game can expand in an offense at the NFL level.
Second day possibility: Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt - Don’t assume this is a second-round pick, either, as Matthews might be available in the third-round. That is not really a disservice to the Commodore, instead it is difficult to project when the run on receivers will take place. Matthews is quite good at maximizing operable space against off coverage and exhibited strong hands in specific situations. He flashed YAC ability as well, but many long gains were the product of excellent screen blocks. Matthews wastes very little movement and time, however.
Third day flier: Matt Hazel, Coastal Carolina - Many FCS products are seen as athletic upside picks. That is not really the case with Hazel, as he already displays a very technically sound game. He consistently hand catches everything in his vicinity and creates separation with animated movements.
No. 3 Team Need: Guard
C Nick Mangold and LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson are the Jets' only truly bankable O-Line assets. New RT Breno Giacomini is arguably a downgrade from outgoing Austin Howard, while both guard jobs are up for grabs after 2013 third-round pick Brian Winters got pushed around as a rookie. Experiencing an underwhelming free agent market, RG Willie Colon settled for a one-year, $2 million deal to return. Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg runs a power-blocking scheme to complement his West Coast passing attack. He needs more push in the trenches.
First day option: Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA - The odds on favorite to be the first pure guard off the board, Su’a-Filo has a nasty mentality on the field, going out of his way to find players wearing a different jersey and engage with them. He was forced to play a lot of tackle during his time at UCLA, but Su’a-Filo looked most natural in tight quarters on the inside. This might be a bit early, but we witnessed an early run on guards last year.
Second day possibility: Gabe Jackson, Miss State - Jackson is a massive 6’3/333 pounds, but I would stop before calling him a power drive blocker. Instead, Jackson tends to use his huge frame to sustain and box out blockers. Good aiming points and strong hands allow him to keep a grip and control the defensive lineman.
Third day flier: Blake Treadwell, Michigan State - Treadwell was not invited to the Combine, which is a shame since I prefer him over some OL who attended. He obviously is not overly powerful or athletic, but Treadwell finds contact through his hands and delivers a jolt to gain a positional advantage. Those active hands allow him to mirror pass rushers as well.
Jets 2014 Draft Picks (12)
First Round (No. 18)
Second Round (No. 49)
Third Round (No. 80)
Fourth Round (No. 104)
Fourth Round (No. 115)
Fourth Round (No. 137 - Compensatory)
Fifth Round (No. 154)
Sixth Round (No. 195)
Sixth Round (No. 209 - Compensatory)
Sixth Round (No. 210 - Compensatory)
Sixth Round (No. 213 - Compensatory)
Seventh Round (No. 233)
Jets Current First-Team Offense
QB: Michael Vick
RB: Chris Ivory
WR: Eric Decker
WR: David Nelson
WR: Jeremy Kerley
TE: Jeff Cumberland
LT: D'Brickashaw Ferguson
LG: Brian Winters
C: Nick Mangold
RG: Willie Colon
RT: Breno Giacomini
Jets Current First-Team Defense
LE: Sheldon Richardson
RE: Muhammad Wilkerson
NT: Damon Harrison
ILB: David Harris
ILB: Demario Davis
OLB: Quinton Coples
OLB: Calvin Pace
RCB: Kyle Wilson
LCB: Dee Milliner
FS: Antonio Allen
SS: Dawan Landry