Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comIt wouldn’t be Monday following the NFL Draft if we didn’t compile a heaping helping of draft grades. While we think grading a draft at this point is a little bit premature, but gives you a sense of how the folks who live and die by the draft are grading our Jets.
ESPN: Mel Kiper
New York Jets: B
Top needs: WR, CB, TE, S
Summary: The Jets came into this draft committed to add playmakers to an offense that was hopelessly bereft of them in 2014. They did that, but also remembered who the head coach was and nailed a pretty good safety, a position that I considered a need coming in. Calvin Pryor should start at strong safety, and will quickly make his mark as a playmaker. They are different kinds of safeties, but I had Pryor rated ahead of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Jace Amaro is an obvious fit, and adds a reliable, big target to the passing game. Jalen Saunders offers some shiftiness and slot depth, and Shaq Evans is solid if not a burner. Dakota Dozier can become a starter, and if Dexter McDougle plays up to his potential he could be a steal at No. 80. He was down on some boards after getting hurt, but I’ve seen him a lot and can see why Rex likes him. Tajh Boyd is a nice little stowaway that far down on the board when you consider his arm. If you’re going to take a shot at QB late, go for the ceiling. I thought the Jets did a nice job with my one question being whether they really added a player in the passing game that will scare defenses. Hopefully Amaro becomes that guy.
ESPN: McShay’s Favorite Picks
New York Jets
Rd. 2 (49): Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Adding pass-catching weapons was a need for the Jets heading into the draft, and while someone from the trio of Jalen Saunders, Shaq Evans and Quincy Enunwa could emerge as a solid contributor, Amaro has the best chance to make an early impact. He doesn’t have elite speed but at 6-foot-5, 265 pounds he is a huge target who will provide the Jets starting QB (whether it’s Michael Vick or Geno Smith) a security blanket in the passing game.
AFC East: New York Jets
None of the AFC East teams really jumped out at me, but I’ll go with the Jets because in first-round safety Calvin Pryor (a big-hitting tone-setter in the secondary) and second-round tight end Jace Amaro (a safety valve for the Jets’ quarterbacks), they landed two likely starters, and, among their three wide receiver picks — fourth-rounder Jalen Saunders, fourth-rounder Shaq Evans and sixth-rounder Quincy Enunwa — they should have one emerge as a No. 3 or No. 4 wide receiver as a rookie. It wasn’t a stellar, or even particularly exciting, class, but the Jets should come away with some key contributors for 2014.
College Football 24/7 – NFL.com: Bryan Fischer
The skinny: After a great first two days, the Jets continued to add weapons for their quarterback on Day 3. Saunders is a tough kid who should also contribute a lot on special teams, and Evans is a speed player who can help in the slot. Dozier is raw, but he might be the best value of any of New York’s picks. George is undersized but could be a contributor all over the place. New York found some great players toward the end, with Boyd and Reilly both adding some good depth.
Rotoworld: Evan Silva
Overview: GM John Idzik‘s second-ever draft was a true meat-and-potatoes effort. Top pick Pryor is an extremely physical, energetic presence and a rich man’s T.J. Ward. Fans wanted Idzik to draft a small, speedy wideout, but Amaro is a superior team fit as a movement tight end with a huge catch radius (34-inch arms). 6-foot-3 Eric Deckerand 6-foot-5 Amaro will be Geno Smith‘s (or Michael Vick‘s) go-to guys. McDougle runs 4.47 and would’ve been a higher pick if not for a senior-year injury. Evans and Enunwa are big, physical possession receivers with red-zone chops. Dozier profiles as a future starting guard. George is an intriguing nickel ‘backer prospect and will contribute early on special teams. The picks I disliked were Saunders, whom I don’t expect will help beyond punt returns, and Reilly, a 26-year-old who beat up on 19-year-old Pac 12 offensive linemen for his production. Boyd’s stock dropped dramatically as a senior, but he has enough athleticism and arm strength to warrant the late-round flier. I don’t think the Jets will be competing for Super Bowls until they establish a quarterback solution, but I expect them to continue to be competitive every week. And I think their roster got much stronger with this draft.
MMQB: Chris Burke
Maybe the Jets can trade a receiver to Cleveland for a cornerback. New York at least attempted to fix its chasm at corner, even if Dexter McDougle was a Round 3 reach and Brandon Dixon faces an uphill battle to make the squad. Though the Jets added three receivers (Jalen Saunders, Shaq Evans, Quincy Enunwa), the biggest new threat in the passing game is TE Jace Amaro. Safety Calvin Pryor definitely fits the mold of a Rex Ryan defense, as does seventh-rounder Trevor Reilly.
CBS Sports: Pete Prisco
Best Pick: I liked the idea of taking physical safety Calvin Pryor in the first round. He will bring toughness to the secondary.
Questionable move: I know Jace Amaro is more of a receiving tight end, but taking him in the second round over some of the receivers available is a risk.
Third-day gem: Fourth-round receiver Jalen Saunders is small at 165 pounds, but he has the ability to be a really good slot receiver.
Analysis: I like Pryor and some of their third-day picks, but I just thought the Amaro pick was too soon and taking small corner Dexter McDougle in the third round was a bit high.
Shutdown Corner: Eric Edholm
Mocking the Draft: Matthew Fairburn
With 11 picks, the Jets should certainly hit on a few of these choices. That starts with Pryor and Amaro who are slam dunk choices. Pryor will set the tone on defense with his big hitting and coverage skills. Amaro is a good pass catching tight end who can attack the seam. Later in the draft, keep an eye on Dozier who will press for a starting guard spot early. Finding a few options at wide receiver was smart with an excess of picks. Reilly could factor in as a pass rusher and provided good value in the seventh round.
New York Jets: C- Grade
Goals Entering the 2014 NFL Draft: The Jets have the least-talented roster in the NFL. Excluding the defensive and offensive lines, every group on their roster is sub par at best. This is why I have them picking No. 1 in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft. New York will have to enjoy a masterful draft in order to avoid owning the NFL’s worst record in 2014. Unfortunately, it simply has too many holes to fill, so taking the best player available each time is probably the way to go.
2014 NFL Draft Accomplishments: It’s safe to say that the Jets did not take the best player on the board each time. The only occasion in which that may have been the case was in the second round when they snagged Jace Amaro. The Texas Tech tight end was in first-round consideration at one point, and he’ll give the starting quarterback a potent intermediate weapon. The first-round choice, Calvin Pryor, could have been picked a bit later, but he fits Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme very well.
The Jets’ downfall began at No. 80 when they chose seventh-round prospect Dexter McDougle. They could have obtained him much later. The same could be said for Jalen Saunders, Shaq Evans, Jeremiah George and other selections. In fact, the Jets did not obtain appropriate value with any of the receivers they took, meaning their quarterbacks won’t have any reliable wideouts to throw to besides Eric Decker.
It doesn’t appear as though the Jets understand the value aspect of the draft. They see players they like, and they take them, completely ignoring the fact that they can obtain better prospects at earlier picks all while still securing the players they covet much later.