New York Jets Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville – Round 1
There were a number of NFL teams that were surprised to see Pryor as the first safety drafted. Green Bay Packers safety HaHa Clinton-Dix was viewed as the top free safety to defend passing attacks, while Pryor was considered to be the better run-defense safety. Pryor is a physical thumper who will routinely knock a wide receiver into next week. However, in the passing-driven NFL, Pryor could end up racking a lot of fines and suspensions; along with incurring injuries himself.

Pryor was a play-maker for Louisville in 2013 as a hard-hitting safety who had a habit of creating turnovers. The junior amassed 75 tackles, three interceptions, four passes broken up and two forced fumbles on the season. Pryor notched 100 tackles and five forced fumbles in 2012.

Pryor (5-11, 210) could struggle with speed receivers in the NFL, and while he has the athleticism to cover tight ends, he could have issues with taller tight ends making receptions over him. I think Pryor is a safe bet to be a quality starter as a pro, but he may not be an elite safety in terms of pass coverage or serving as a deep center fielder.

Most Likely To Bust

Dexter McDougle, CB, Maryland – Round 3
The Jets have lost their best cornerback in back-to-back offseasons with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie leaving town. Drafting Dee Milliner in 2013 filled one spot, but New York needed more talent and depth at corner. Taking the position in the 2014 NFL Draft was understandable, but there were better prospects available.

After making a good selection in tight end Jace Amaro in the second round, the pick of Maryland cornerback Dexter McDougle in the next round was very questionable. He has major durability issues and probably could have been had well into the third day of the 2014 NFL Draft.

McDougle (5-10, 196) is very fast, but he is also undersized to the point that he may not be able to line up on the outside in the NFL. Thus, if McDougle pans out, he could be a nickel. Considering his durability issues and his size, it wouldn’t be surprising if he doesn’t pan out for the Jets.

Potential Boom Pick

Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech – Round 2
There were a number of teams hoping to land Amaro in the second round, and the Jets were wise to take him. New York badly needed to improve its passing game and landing a receiving tight end of Amaro’s caliber was a best case scenario for the organization’s second-round pick. He should immediately improve the Jets’ passing attack.

Amaro was awesome for the Red Raiders in 2013. The junior recorded 106 receptions for 1,352 yards with seven touchdowns. He had huge days against a number of Big XII teams, including Iowa State (9-143), West Virginia (9-136), Oklahoma (8-119) and Oklahoma State (15-174). Amaro (6-5, 265) has to improve his blocking, but he has the size and strength to develop into a complete tight end.

The Jets passing attack got better with the selection of Amaro and the signing of Eric Decker. New York still lacks a true No. 1 receiver, so Amaro could see a ton of targets because he is one of the team’s only mismatch options. He is too quick for most linebackers and too big for safeties to cover effectively. The Jets have struggled to draft impact players on offense, but Amaro could be the catalyst to change that.

Future Depth Player

Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – Round 7
It wouldn’t surprise me if Boyd ends up playing as a rookie. Michael Vick is declining athletically while struggling with turnovers and injuries. I believe New York will quickly see that Vick was a wasted signing. Geno Smith may not have the makeup mentally to succeed in the NFL and could be a better fit as a backup. With the running styles of Vick and Smith, injuries or ineffective play could force the Jets to insert Boyd into the lineup.

Boyd’s issues with accuracy and ball placement caused him to slide to the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft, but he has a powerful arm that can burn defenses downfield. Boyd also is a good runner who is very tough. He actually served as Clemson’s short-yardage back as a senior. In 2013, Boyd completed 69 percent of his passes for 3,851 yards with 34 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He picked up 634 yards (400 net) and 10 touchdowns on the ground.

Boyd is known as a hard-working, accountable, solid teammate with leadership skills. Vick and Smith have developed the reputations for being none of those things. While Boyd may never prove to be a starter in the NFL, his skill set and intangibles should make him a good backup for New York.

Walt’s 2014 NFL Draft Grades:

18. Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville: B Grade
This is a solid pick for the Jets. I’m not sure if many expected this, given the need for receivers and corners, but I had Calvin Pryor to New York in my mock because he was such a perfect fit for Rex Ryan’s defense. Jet fans will love Pryor’s hard hitting, and I’m sure they’ll be relieved that the huge need at safety has been filled. The Jets won’t be signing Ed Reed during the middle of this upcoming season, that’s for sure.

49. Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech: A Grade
This is a great pick. It just makes so much sense. Jace Amaro could have gone much earlier than this, so he obviously fits the range. He also fills a huge need because the Jets didn’t have anything at tight end. Geno Smith needs a safety valve to help him develop, and Amaro should be a great weapon for him.

80. Dexter McDougle, CB, Maryland: D Grade
I thought something Mel Kiper said was very telling: “Great job by Rex Ryan finding a player no one else liked.” If no one else liked Dexter McDougle, why pick him so early? I actually had the Jets picking McDougle in my mock draft – at Pick No. 233! New York could have chosen the Maryland product much later and found another, better player here.

104. Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma: C Grade
The Jets needed a receiver very badly, so this pick makes at least some sense. The thing is that there were better receivers available. Jalen Saunders was viewed as a Round 5-6 prospect, so New York is reaching once again.

115. Shaq Evans, WR, UCLA: C- Grade
Oh, Jets… Another receiver reach. Shaq Evans was a consensus Round 6-7 prospect, so it’s becoming clear that New York’s front office doesn’t understand how value works in the draft. The team has done nothing to make me change my mind about having them draft first next year (see my 2015 NFL Mock Draft here).

137. Dakota Dozier, G, Furman: B Grade
It’s nice to see the Jets not reaching for a change. Dakota Dozier was projected as a fourth-round prospect, and he happens to fill a need with guard being so thin. I haven’t said this much about New York’s selections, but this is a solid move.

154. Jeremiah George, ILB, Iowa State: D Grade
Remember when I said that the Jets don’t understand how value works in the NFL Draft? This is yet another example. Jeremiah George was not a draftable prospect, and there were so many better inside linebackers available like Shayne Skov and Yawin Smallwood. Inside linebacker was a need, but this is a mega reach.

195. Brandon Dixon, CB, NW Missouri State: C+ Grade
The Jets can’t reach very much in the middle of the sixth round. I had Brandon Dixon as a Round 7-UDFA player, so this spot is fine. Another cornerback makes sense though.

209. Quincy Enunwa, WR, Nebraska: C Grade
Another reciever reach? Why not? On the bright side, this doesn’t matter as much because we’re at the end of the sixth round. It’s just a shame that the Jets haven’t really improved their receiving corps.

210. IK Enemkpali, DE, Louisana Tech: B Grade
It’s a bit surprising that the Jets hadn’t drafted an edge rusher yet. The position should have been addressed earlier. Ik Enemkpali fits the range at the bottom of the sixth round, so it’s nice to see New York not reach.

213. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson: A Grade
Remember when Tajh Boyd was viewed as a potential first-round prospect? Good times. I love this pick. Boyd’s stock dropped over the past year, but he should still have been chosen in Rounds 3-4. The Jets are desperate for a franchise quarterback, so perhaps Boyd can develop into one. He might be better than Geno Smith right now.

233. Trevor Reilly, DE/OLB, Utah: A+ Grade
The Jets have made some hideous reaches in this draft. This pick is the complete opposite. I have no idea how Trevor Reilly lasted this late, but he’s one of the top players available. He could eventually start for the Jets at outside linebacker.

2014 NFL Draft Team Grade: C- . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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