Let’s take a look at the Jets (notable) draft picks from the past four years:
2011– *Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Bilal Powell, Jeremy Kerley
2012– Quinton Coples, Demario Davis, Antonio Allen
2013– Dee Milliner, **Sheldon Richardson, Geno Smith, Brian Winters, Tommy Bohanon
2014– Calvin Pryor, Jace Amaro, Dexter McDougle, Jalen Saunders, Shaq Evans
* = Pro Bowler
** = Defensive Rookie of the Year
Building through the draft from 2011-2014, the Jets now have:
- A revamped front seven
- A new starting quarterback and safety
- A new (projected) starting tight end
- Depth at the cornerback and wide receiver positions
To come away with Wilkerson, Richardson, Smith, Pryor, and Amaro alone, is impressive.
The Jets have done an excellent job with adding competition and more importantly — depth — something that the team has lacked in Rex Ryan’s tenure as head coach. And while depth’s always important, it’s crucial that a franchise hits on their top selections.
Although 2011-2012 was pre-Idzik, the leftovers from former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum were good ones. Tannenbaum may have caused the Jets to have serious cap issues, but he did hit big on drafting players like Wilkerson, Coples, Powell, Kerley, Davis, Allen, and who could forget back in 2007 — Darrelle Revis. All of the above (excluding Revis of course) are legitimate starters at their respected position.
Analyzing the recent (top) big name draftees
Muhammad Wilkerson: Mo’ Wilkerson is an absolute beast. His NFL peers named him one spot ahead of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Wilkerson is no. 43 on the NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2014.
Dee Milliner: Milliner struggled early in 2013, but managed to finish strong. With a bright future ahead of him, Milliner has the chance to become a top cornerback in this league. Perhaps even a shutdown corner, after witnessing him hold one of the game’s best – Josh Gordon – to six catches for 97 yards and 0 touchdowns. Milliner recorded five passes defended and an interception in his best game as a pro; as a Jet.
Sheldon Richardson: Coming off a Defensive Rookie of the Year performance in 2013, the sky is the limit for Richardson. No. 91 will give the Jets a legit run stopper and pass rusher, for a long time to come.
Geno Smith: The Jets drafted Smith in the second round of the 2013 draft. This will be considered a great value-pick if Smith steps up as the Jets franchise quarterback. Smith finished strong in 2013, but it’s his second year leap that could prove to be the most important of his young career.
Calvin Pryor: Pryor likes to talk a lot of trash on and off the field. With that being said, his play on the field will determine how good of a pick he really is. Selected 18th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, Pryor could end up being a steal. That’s also assuming the “Louisville Slugger” can consistently make game-changing hits — as long as they’re legal hits.