Draft Watch: Andrew Garda reflects on the 2014 Senior Bowl and the Jets

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl

Our friend, PFWA writer and fellow Jets fan Andrew Garda was on-hand for the Reese’s Senior Bowl festivities this past week and shared some of his impressions of the players he saw while in Mobile, Alabama.  If you enjoy this piece, be sure to see all the pieces he did last week for CSS Sports.


Now that I’ve had a few days to process the notes from last week, it’s time to put another year of Mobile in perspective.

Of course, the reality is that Senior Bowl week is merely one part of a process for any prospect. The Combine, Pro Days, individual team visits and of course above all else, game tape, are all part of the equation when figuring out whether or not a prospect is worth a team’s draft pick.

There are a lot of advantages to attending for both players and teams though, and more than a few players took advantage of the circumstances last week.

Here are some players to watch out for over the next few months.

Dee FordDee Ford, Defensive End, Auburn

It’s the sort of thing which may make Jets fans sad the team already has more than enough defensive ends (if there is such a thing for a Rex Ryan team). But do you know what the Jets do need?

Outside linebackers.

As I wrote for CSSSports.com last weekend, Dee Ford had a tremendous week, capped by an MVP-worthy performance in Saturday’s game.

I also mentioned in it that he could be a fit at outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. The Jets could use the help in theirs. Quinton Coples is still a work in progress, Calvin Pace is coming to the end of his career and the Jets really could use the depth anyway.

The problem is that the Jets can’t spend an early round pick on a defensive player again. Amazing as his ability to move past blockers and pressure the quarterback is, the Jets need targets for Geno Smith.

Still, if the Jets were to add a receiver or a tight end (or both) in free agency, Ford could become someone fans will want to keep an eye on.

NCAA Football: Senior BowlCrockett Gilmore, Tight End, Colorado State

Gilmore was added to the Senior Bowl late but he did a great job in a short time, including catching five passes for 61yards and a touchdown in the game on Saturday.

While he’s not an elite tight end, Gilmore has the size and general athleticism to excel if given time to develop. The Jets only have one pick in the first round, so if they grab a receiver in the first, they’ll need to get a tight end later.

Gilmore has some nice upside as a mid-to-late round pick.

Jordan MatthewsJordan Matthews, Wide Receiver, Vanderbilt

Jordan Matthews is another player I wrote about for CSSSPorts.com who might be attractive to the Jets. Expectations were high for Matthews coming into the week, but he was rather hit and miss.

While he showed tremendous hands and a willingness to fight for the ball while using his length and size to overpower defenders, he lacks the burst to create separation on deeper routes. If he can’t muscle his way past a defender at the line, he won’t be able to do it on longer routes.

That’s fine though, as long as the Jets utilize him as the red zone threat and chain mover his skills make him. Think of the Jets version of Anquan Boldin.

NCAA Football: California at UCLAShaquelle Evans, Wide Receiver, UCLA

Evans is a bit inconsistent catching the ball, but he’s very smart and knows the game (Matt Waldman of The Rookie Scouting Portfolio has a great interview piece in which he talks to receivers about the position and Evans is impressive).  He has good mix of size (6’1″ and 204 pounds) and quickness for the NFL and received great coaching from Bruins wide receivers coach Eric Yarber, himself a former NFL wide out.

Most people have a late round  grade on Evans but he could be a very nice value pick with upside for a Jets team in need of as many weapons as it can get its hands on.

NCAA Football: Senior BowlMike Davis, Wide Receiver, Texas

Like most of the receivers in Mobile, Mike Davis had some issues holding onto the ball. Some of that blame is the lousy quarterback play by virtually everyone on his squad though, and Davis overall looked pretty good in most drills.

Despite some drops, Davis showed good hands overall throughout the week and is a very good route runner. He’s also a very good return man, something the Jets could use if they don’t keep Josh Cribbs around.

Davis is a third or fourth round guy right now and certainly worth the price.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-North PracticeCharles Sims, Running Back, West Virginia

While no running back will go in the first this year (and perhaps for years to come) due to the devaluation of the position, that doesn’t mean there aren’t very good running backs in the class.

Most analysts have given Sims had a third round grade so far, but it wouldn’t shock me if that changed and he crawled up boards.

Sims showed tremendous vision, cutting ability and very good speed in practice. He also caught the ball well out of the backfield and if he struggled a tad at times in pass protection, he showed enough to predict he can improve in that area.

While not a critical need, the Jets could use another back given the injury history Chris Ivory has and the up and down efforts of Bilal Powell (who is still a favorite of mine).

Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and fresh off another trip to the Senior Bowl. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at FootballGuys.com and the NFL writer at CheeseheadTV.com. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.




139 comments
psi1
psi1

Is there some rule that states the "Jets can't use an early round pick on a defensive player"? I see this as just another inane meme from the media and some fans. If Dee Ford is the best player on the board at 17 or when they are drafting in Round 2, then pick the guy. Obviously the team's free agent signing will heavily dictate draft strategy. If done right, it should allow them to draft the BPA most of the time. A player with the pass rushing ability Ford showed at the SB is just fine by me at 1 or 2.

Joan Israel
Joan Israel

I get a kick out of all these college player assessments that emanate from the free agent reports, senior and other bowl games, etc. I saw one that said the 'He's a sixth or seventh round pick, and the Jets would be wise to take him' to fill some need. Oh, yeah, a winner no doubt. If the Jets had 1,000 draft choices, it wouldn't be enough to pick all the players that these 'experts' think the Jets can't pass up. Day after day of this stuff is laughable, and not particularly illuminating.


Remember: the Jets have about a dozen draft picks in 2014, no more. And probably about a half-dozen will survive until opening day.


Jim Israel

harold
harold

this is a mock from Walter Football in 4th Round

New York Jets: JuWuan James, OT, Tennessee
Austin Howard has played better of late, but he's a free agent. If he's not retained, New York will need a new right tackle.

It is a possible outcome.  So I guess Walter Football is pushing that we want to get rid of Howard angle as well.

"Can't we all just get along"   Rodney King

I couldn't have said it better myself.

a57se
a57se

Apparently Miami is going to try and get something for J. Martin in a trade. The Jets have a pretty classy group of Offensive Linemen, I wonder if we would offer a 6th or 7th round pick for him? He has two years to go on his rookie deal and could play RT.........
Martin and Brick would probably get along really well.....they are both very well educated.

a57se
a57se

All these new ads and videos starting up when you come to this site is really detracting from the quality of the Blog.....I guess that isn't important to SNY despite their protestations that they are trying to improve peoples' experience.

a57se
a57se

Glad to see Sims getting some love though he didn't get much action in the Game itself.......

I'd love to see the Jets get him in the third.....


a57se
a57se

@jake100 

I can understand where Sapp is coming from but he always ran his mouth pretty well too.


Brendan
Brendan

@jake100 Genuinely surprised by this. I guess Richardson didn't kiss the ring or something, because the comparisons are pretty damn fair. Smallish, lightning-quick DL? Yeah, absolutely no comparison there! 


(never mind the fact that BH blew Sapp's rookie season out of the water)

a57se
a57se

@Joan Israel 

I guess you are not into the scouting process or the process leading up to the draft....

a57se
a57se

@harold 

The latest Draftek Mock has a similar scenario except with a 3rd round OT for us!


a57se
a57se

@harold 

That is what Mock drafts do, they explore the possibilities. Nothing wrong with that.....

Brendan
Brendan

@harold Quick, you haven't posted about the RT in 30 seconds, HURRY CREATE A SITUATION FOR JONATHAN MARTIN TO REPLACE AUSTIN HOWARD. We wouldn't want the brain trust at Walter Football to beat you to it!

harold
harold

He has been below average from what I have seen.  He has some upside.  But not likely they would trade him to us.  Even more unlikely we would want him.

Malty by nature
Malty by nature

@a57se You and I have been talking up Sims for a couple months now so I agree, its nice to see  some pub for him, but I get the feeling after his strong senior bowl week hes going to creep up in to the late 2nd, early 3rd range.

Bytor
Bytor

@a57se I'm down with Sims. I like the fit and if he's there in the 3rd with our second pick of the round I'd pounce. RB's may be devalued but they are still so important to our scheme. A pick like this could be one of those little things that make a big difference in production on offense. I like some scheme versatility. If we play a stout front, you pound less with Ivory and use a guy like this all over the field.

MarshRandy
MarshRandy

@a57se I would be all in on drafting an RB with one of our first four picks 

harold
harold

This pretty pathetic from Sapp.  I always liked him but this certainly doesn't cast him in a good light. 

a57se
a57se

@jaygo@Joan Israel 

Sheldon Richardson was ranked in the top 15 last year and top three at his position with Lotulelei and Floyd.

Richardson was the no. 7 overall prospect according to Walter Football

No. 11 according to bucky Brooks at NFL.COM

No. 4 according to Sporting News and the TOP D Linemen 

You will find the further away from the draft you look, the lower he was ranked but 15th is the lowest I could find.


Joan Israel
Joan Israel

@a57se@Joan Israel 

To me, it's a big bore. The only scouts that mean anything to me are the ones who work for the Jets, and WHOM they like. The other assessments? They're like 'space junk' -- they pass by me in a nano-second and I remember none of them,.


Jim Israel

harold
harold

I thought you were talking about the one I posted.  But drafttek has had us taking an OT in almost every mock I have seen.

harold
harold

@MarcusArmstrong

I read him and I am perplexed by some of his picks.  But I just posted him because it shows that it is something to be considered and while maybe not the most likely scenario is one with merit.

harold
harold

I already posted about J. Martin.  I cannot envision scenario where he is a Jet.

Lastly don't expect to post very often about th RT situation again unless it is an active discussion.  Just found it interesting that on his updated mock draft from today he had that tidbit.  that's all

Hope everything is going well for you so far today. 

a57se
a57se

@jake100@a57se 

My browser keeps slowing down and sometimes it locks up. 

Posting is also becoming more difficult........sometimes I hit post comment and just get that little time out signal in the bottom right corner and the comment never posts!

a57se
a57se

@Malty by nature@a57se 

I wouldn't be surprised.......but RB's are being devalued so it is really hard to anticipate where they will go in the draft.

a57se
a57se

@Bytor

Most definitely a difference maker in our scheme. A RB who is a threat in the passing game helps free up other guys. Nobody worried about Ivory getting the ball when he was in there and Powell wasn't much of a threat either.

Marcus Armstrong
Marcus Armstrong

@MarshRandy @a57se I'm fine with a return specialist type guy, but I'd really hate to waste a pick like that. There's no correlation between draft grade and production for RBs.

Brendan
Brendan

@MarshRandy I'd be fine taking one if that's what the draft board dictated, but I wouldn't go out of my way to draft one. Ivory/Powell/Goodson/Griffin is a good RB depth, you probably only need one other body in there. 

a57se
a57se

@harold 

It makes sense from the perspective of comparing a rookie to an All Time great player.....let him play a few years and show that it is sustainable before we go anointing him the next Sapp......

Sapp comes off as mean spirited the way he went about making his point......

harold
harold

Or so we thought

Brendan
Brendan

@harold I've been a fan of his since I was playing youth ball, but yeah...that's not really his personality. He's the jovial fat dude, not the guy needling people who look up to him. 

harold
harold

Again I like Sapp but he lost some credibilty with me with those remarks.

Brendan
Brendan

@harold I just don't see the point in how he answered it. He could have just laughed it off and said something about how he's got to keep it up if he wants to be mentioned with the greats, but acting like it's invalid because of his skill or anything like that? C'mon bruh, Richardson had a better rookie year than Sapp had, how can he just dismiss him like that? 

a57se
a57se

@harold 

If you look at Sapps stats, he only had more tackles than Richardson put up his rookie season 2 times!

Sapps best season was his 6th where he had 43 tackles and 16.5 sacks

Sapps next best season was his third where he had 47 tackles and 10.5 sacks.

Those were the only two seasons where he put up more tackles than Sheldons' 42......


 

harold
harold

@Brendan

It purely looked liked a man who can't believe his career has ended.

Brendan
Brendan

@jake100 Agreed. He's already an elite run stuffer, he's a solid, if unspectacular, pass rusher. As he gains experience and fixes his technique, his ability/relentless motor combo will be an absolute nightmare for DL's. 


Sapp is one of those "I'M THE BEST!" types of people, even now, so I guess it's foolish to expect that to change. 

a57se
a57se

@harold 

Their new one is out today.

You can tell by their team needs matrix why they have us picking an OT.

You can adjust those team needs with their simulator and get very different results vs. the same basic picks of the other teams. I did it and actually liked most of the picks except for Stephen Morris in the 6th......


harold
harold

Actually 4th round.

harold
harold

This is a mock for the 4th round.

a57se
a57se

@Ron Alexander@harold 

In this case it was a 3rd round pick........I would imagine the Draft Hall might go up in Flames if the Jets were to pick an OT at 18......

Ron Alexander
Ron Alexander

@harold Luv ya baby but no frigg'n way do we pick a RT in rd 1! The value at that spot is too low to go there unless there is no one we like at a more  pressing spot like WR,TE,OLB,S,CB ect. 

Brendan
Brendan

@harold Here's where I point out that using one of the most off-base sources for Jets pre-draft stuff is probably not the best guy to reference to back up your point. 


We've shared more than a few laughs over Walter's Jet prognosis for the past few offseasons. It's very apparent he watches none of the actual games the team plays and instead kind of relies on the media (who we know is full of it) for their portrayal of team needs. 

harold
harold

@Disgruntled Jets Fan

It is good to hear that.  Hopefully we continue to have good discussions focused on Jets talk.

harold
harold

@Brendan

I did some debating in Jr High, High school, and College.  So the blog is an outlet.  Present your points and may the best man or woman win.

Brendan
Brendan

@harold You put thought into your posts, which is all I ask. And you're not thin-skinned, so disagreements don't spiral out of control. 


I just think your focus on finding the right replacement for Howard is wasted energy, but to each their own. 

harold
harold

I just wanted to lighten the mood.  We agre more often than not but when we do it is fierce.  Until the next battle be well good sir!

Brendan
Brendan

@harold It is, the sun's shining, the Rangers are going to clobber the Islanders tonight and I have a nice big sandwich to work my way through. I hope you're well, sir!

a57se
a57se

@Marcus Armstrong

I am more concerned with fits for MM's offense than I am correlations between draft grades and production.

MarshRandy
MarshRandy

@Brendan wow he put up some serious production this year too. I'm on board with that

Brendan
Brendan

@MarshRandy FCS school, but since Fordham is FCS and were good this year I got really into watching those games. West dances a little too much, but he also had poor blocking a lot of the time and had to turn a negative run into a big play. 


If he lasts until the 4th round I'd pick him. 

harold
harold

A RB for us in rounds 4-7 based on the way scouts have them rated. 

I agree with Brendan, I just don't think we need RB badly enough to spend an early pick on one

Brendan
Brendan

@MarshRandy 


For the record, I want T-Train Terrance West from Towson as an late-round every-down back from a small school. 


I also think people overstate the transparency of Ivory being in the game, he ended up being a good pass blocker, enabling him to be out there on more 3rd downs. 

a57se
a57se

@MarshRandy@Brendan 

I agree about the playcalling. Ivory and Powell are also not very good in pass pro or catching the ball out of the backfield.  Sims is a really good fir for MM's offense. his ceiling is probably a Matt Forte type guy.

MarshRandy
MarshRandy

@Brendan yea for sure. But it'd be nice to get an every down guy. I like our committee but it's pretty transparent what the playcalling is gonna be if Ivory is out there