Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comLast weekend, the Jets drafted six players on offense and six on defense. Will they all make the team? What might their role for the Jets be in 2014? What about in future years? Here’s our thoughts on the Jets 2014 class on offense.
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech, 6-5, 265 (2nd Round No. 49 overall)
His 2014 Role: Amaro was compared by the likes of NFL Films Greg Cosell to Jason Witten – one of the league’s best classic tight ends. While there are questions about Amaro’s lack of technique as a blocker and the gaudy stats he was able to amass in a spread system, Amaro is a massive target with a huge catch radius who can use his quickness and good route-running on underneath routes. With Eric Decker and the receivers working the outside, Amaro could see a major impact on the Jets passing game in the middle of the field and in the red zone.
… And Beyond: The fact that the Jets drafted Amaro in the second round is a good indication that they see him as their starting tight end for years to come. John Idzik wanted to add a tight end last year in the draft and the right situation finally came along. Amaro has already shown skill in college as a downfield blocker and the more he can refine that part of his game the sooner he will become a three down tight end for the Jets. While there are concerns about his abilities after the catch, Marty Mornhinweg will be able to scheme plays for him in that regard, but is much less a concern with an excellent slot receiver like Jeremy Kerley also on the roster.
Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma, 5-9, 165 (4th Round No. 104 overall)
His 2014 Role: Saunders is the most unique receiver on the roster. Mike Mayock called him one of his favorite receivers due to his toughness. While he’ll be a mainstay on the special teams return unit, don’t be might surprised to see him pick up a package in the offense for the purpose of utilizing him downfield. Remember that Geno is one of the league’s best deep passing quarterbacks already … Saunders could be primed to help out in that regard.
… And Beyond: Since OC Marty Mornhinweg arrived the Jets have tried to create an offense with which he can work; one piece is the DeSean Jackson role. Last year it was Tavon Austin in the draft, then it was 2014 free agent feelers on Andrew Hawkins and then DeSean Jackson once he was on the trade block. Jackson was Mornhinweg’s deep threat in Philly, but Jackson was never credited for the aggression and physicality he could bring to the role. Saunders has both the burst and the grit to fill a similar role, though to a lesser extent.
Shaquelle Evans, WR, UCLA, 6-1, 213 (4th Round No. 115)
His 2014 Role: Underrated speed, great ball skills and physical? Sounds like a solid possession-type receiver with some added elusiveness. Don’t be surprised if Evans can make a case for playing the second receiver spot, but expect him to wind up around fourth or fifth on the depth chart. There’s no question that his game might be the most NFL ready of the receivers the Jets picked up, but his contributions might get lost in the shuffle with Amaro, Decker, Kerley and the rest.
… And Beyond: Evans will need to practice his explosiveness, but he could become an offensive contributor for the Jets for years to come.
Dakota Dozier, OG, Furman, 6-4, 313 (6th Round No. 137 overall)
His 2014 Role: Dozier played against lower level competition but has the athleticism to play in the NFL. That said, he’ll need time to adjust to the NFL. Dozier will be moving from tackle to guard and will need to get used to the level of competition he’ll be up against in the NFL.
… And Beyond: Many draftniks foresee Dozier becoming one of the league’s better offensive linemen if given the time. Expect him to push for a starting role at guard if not in 2014 then by 2015.
Quincy Enunwa, WR, Nebraska, 6-2, 225 (6th Round No. 209 overall)
His 2014 Role: Enunwa has a good size and speed, but might be challenged by the total number of receivers the Jets will have competing for spots in training camp. Enunwa had a breakout season as a senior but his main competition for a roster spot might be Evans.
… And Beyond: I could see Enunwa becoming more comfortable with the Jets in time, but getting onto the 2014 roster must be his first priority.
Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson, 6-1, 222, (6th Round No. 213 overall)
His 2014 Role: Once touted as a top prospect, it became clear that it was Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant that helped make the Clemson offense go. Picking Boyd might have been largely due to Rex Ryan’s influence; Ryan had told Boyd he would do what he could to get him drafted. That said, Boyd might be a compelling option for the Jets to consider as a backup. Matt Simms had a shot at playing in 2013 and while he carved up bad training camp secondaries, couldn’t do the same against regular season competition. Look for Boyd to battle with Simms for the third spot.
… And Beyond: Let’s assume Geno Smith wins the starting job and plays well all year. If Boyd can demonstrate his ability to pick up the Jets offense he could get a shot at becoming the number two quarterback in a year’s time.