In their latest mock, popular sports blog The Big Lead, run by Jets fan and former TJB Podcast guest Jason McIntyre, has the Jets making an interesting pick at #18 with the likes of Brandin Cooks, Calvin Pryor and Bradley Roby still on the board:
18. New York Jets – Marqise Lee, WR, USC. To be clear, I’m not a fan of this. But the chatter goes like this: Jets WR Vidal Hazelton played at USC. He’s been raving about Lee. OC Marty Mornhinweg sees Lee as a stretch-the-field DeSean Jackson, like in his Philly days. Idzik sees Lee as a value pick – had he been in the draft last year, he might have been a Top 5 pick based on an incredible sophomore year (116 catches, 1,721 yards and 14 TDs).
However, perhaps just as interesting is what he says about the Patriots’ pick:
29. New England – Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame. I should have just penciled in “trade” or “someone from Florida.” Rex Ryan supposedly loves Tuitt, who can play just about anywhere on the line in a 3-4 or 4-3, so it’ll chap his ass to have a rival get him. It doesn’t seem possible that Tuitt will fall to the Jets in the 2nd.
Bent, TheJetsBlog.comI’m not sure how strong the information McIntyre has is, or whether he’s just riffing off the conjecture of others, but Lee is certainly a candidate for the Jets to consider at 18 if he’s available. However, you can pretty much rule out the Hazelton stuff as a red herring. Hazelton – who spent last year on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury in camp – was an exclusive rights free agent to whom the Jets elected not to offer a contract, so he’s currently an unrestricted free agent. The Jets controlled his rights and could have retained him on a one-year minimum deal if they wanted to, so unless there’s an unexpected change of heart, he won’t be back and certainly isn’t with the team this week.
I’m not sure I’ve seen the Jets linked with Tuitt anywhere either, although maybe there’s a tenuous link with Brian VanGorder headed to Notre Dame as their new defensive coordinator and therefore perhaps in a position to share any intel he’s gleaned from his coaches or film studies with his old boss. It would certainly be unexpected for the Jets to spend a high pick on a defensive lineman, since their existing unit is young, deep and talented. However, maybe a versatile youngster could be a good pick for the medium-to-long term with Kenrick Ellis, Damon Harrison and Leger Douzable all having their contracts expire at the end of the season.