Draft Grades – New York Jets
I’m going to be looking at the fantasy repercussions of the 2013 Draft and giving out a few grades and rankings. The grades mostly focus on fantasy-relevant positions, but I’ll also be examining overall positional value and strategy. It goes without saying that there’s an informational gap between what the teams have at their disposal and what I have. On the other hand, the great thing about being an outsider is that the informational gap often runs the other direction as well.
No. 1 New York Jets Grade: A+
New GM John Idzik has been bashed as a salary cap expert who lacks a scouting background. Maybe that’s what gave him the edge here. Most are panning the Revis trade, which just goes to show how deeply memes can penetrate. Consider, for example, if Revis had been a free agent signed by Daniel Snyder and Washington. They would have been lampooned for trying to “win the offseason,” and no small amount of ink would have been spilled explaining that elite organizations like Pittsburgh and Baltimore build through the draft. In this situation, Tampa has to give out the big contract – and even without guarantees, it is very big – and also have to throw in a first round pick for a player recovering from serious injury.
The Jets weren’t in position to pay Revis anyway, so getting a first round pick was a coup. Drafting Dee Milliner potentially allows Rex Ryan to still field a tandem of shutdown corners if the Alabama DB is as good as many think. They come back and get Sheldon Richardson at another position of need. While lower profile than Lotulelei and Floyd, many scouts felt Richardson offered the most flexibility and ability to penetrate.
Of course, the biggest win occurred at pick 39 where they landed their quarterback of the future. I’ve argued in favor of Geno Smith for months. Now obviously Smith could fail, but it isn’t every day you get to draft a player with exciting arm strength, athleticism, and a 42-6 TD/INT ratio. While many scouts supposedly preferred Ryan Nassib – and the Bills clearly liked E.J. Manuel – the RotoViz writing community was unanimously in favor of Geno Smith as the top dynasty QB. Landing in New York shouldn’t change that opinion.
The inevitable comparisons between Smith and the Luck/RG3 duo seemed to paralyze desultory organizations like Jacksonville and Oakland. Drafting Smith in the second round means the Jets get all of the potential upside with Smith and little of the downside. Unlike the Mark Sanchez fiasco, it will be much easier to get away from a second round mistake. And unless Smith is an instant star, the Jets will be so bad this season their shot at Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel won’t be compromised.
It’s also worth pointing out that the Jets aren’t nearly as bad at the skill positions as most are saying. Sure, Santonio Holmes is a malcontent, but he’s also the best small receiver in the NFL when he wants to play. Jeremy Kerley was very impressive last season on a per route basis, and that was in the league’s most dysfunctional offense. Those raving about Cordarrelle Patterson’s athleticism should consider that Stephen Hill is a far superior size/speed specimen and garnered a far bigger percentage of his college team’s receiving market share. While some at RotoViz are skeptical of Hill’s future potential, he becomes a breakout candidate in Marty Mornhinweg’s upgraded offense.
Idzik followed up his astute draft maneuvers by stealing the Saints’ best running back. If the Jets tailor their offense to Smith’s capabilities, this team could move the ball.
* As fans often – and occasionally justifiably – believe writers are biased for or against certain teams, it’s worth noting that I’m not a Jets fan. If you don’t believe me, check out The Case Against Mark Sanchez, an article written nearly two years ago and before the, ahem, infamous extension.