Heading into the third and final day of the 2014 NFL draft, the New York Jets possessed a league-high nine draft picks, and boy, did they make the most of them. Today, the Jets drafted five players on the offensive side of the ball and four defensive players (Overall, the Jets drafted 6 for each side of the ball), and they may have come up with some of the steals of the draft. The Jets’ draft picks consisted of three 4th-round picks, one 5th-round pick, four 6th-round picks, and one 7th-round pick, with four of those picks coming as compensation for lost free agents last season (those picks were un-tradable). From their first selection, the 104th pick, through their last draft choice, the 233rd pick, the team ultimately had a successful final day of the draft. Stay aboard the Jet train as I grade each of the Jets’ nine selections in rounds 4-7.
4th round, pick 4 (104th pick): Jalen Sanders, WR
Sanders, at 5’9″ and 165 lbs, is a ball of speedy muscle who will immediately benefit the Jets. Presuming he is healthy coming out of training camp, he will most likely assume the duties of kick and punt returner, and will put pressure on the opposition’s special teams units. In his final two years at Oklahoma, he returned 25 punts, with an average return gain of 15.4 yards per punt, and his only kick return went for 55 yards. On offense, he will compete for the job at slot-receiver, and if he gets the job, he will help stretch the defense, which will provide opening for Eric Decker and the rest of the receiving corps. This is a positive move for the Jets.
4th round, pick 15 (115th pick): Shaquelle Evans, WR
Evans, a physical specimen at 6’1” and 213 lbs, will be a project for the Jets over the next couple of years. At the beginning of his career, he will most likely be inserted in red-zone situations for his leaping ability. As his career progresses, with work from the coaching staff, he can blossom into a solid player in the NFL. The Jets could not pass up on someone with his athletic talents, and at UCLA, he was one of the most dependable receivers on the roster. With work on his route-running and footwork, Evans can be very effective for the Jets.
4th round: pick 37 (137th pick): Dakota Dozier, G
Dozier, a jack-of-all trades offensive lineman, played every position on the line at Furman college in a successful four-year career. He has been dubbed a “pancake machine,” and for now at least, he will be the utility man on the offensive line, filling in if an injury occurs. He has the ideal body for a lineman at 6’4” and 313 lbs, and with time, he can be an above-average offensive lineman for the Jets at the tackle or guard position. As a 4th round pick, he may very well be one of the steals of the draft.
5th round, pick 14, (154th pick): Jeremiah George, LB
The Jets simply could not pass up on George, who had a storied career at Iowa State, winning consensus All-Big 12 first-team honors and his team’s MVP award. At 5’11’’ and 234 lbs, George is ideal for the Jets at LB, although he may not see much action in his first season. With some tutelage and grooming from defense-minded coach Rex Ryan, George can blossom into a starting linebacker for the Jets in 2 or 3 years. This pick is more of a long-term pick for the Jets, and may benefit them in the future.
6th round, pick 19 (195th pick): Brandon Dixon
The Jets needed a cornerback, and they bit for Dixon in the 6th round. He has the physical attributes to succeed in the league, but questions still remain about his skills, which are fair considering he came out of a D-II college in Northwest Missouri State. He was effective alongside his brother at Northwest Missouri State, but of course, there is a big-competition difference between division 2 and the NFL. He comes with the right athletic attributes, but it doesn’t seem like he will pan out in the NFL.
6th round, pick 33 (209th pick): Quincy Enunwa
Enunwa has the physical attributes to succeed in the NFL, with long arms and nimble feet. At the draft combine, he ran a 4.45 40-yard-dash, which can only bode well for the Jets. It is unclear where he will fit in on the depth chart at this point, but adding athleticism can only be a plus for the Jets. He will compete with Shaq Evans for playing time, and this competition will help him to improve. At this point in the draft, if a player doesn’t succeed, it is not a big deal, but Enunwa looks to have the work ethic and athleticism to make it in the NFL.
6th round, pick 34 (210th pick): Ik Enemkpali, DE
Coming into the draft, the Jets needed an end rusher, and they got one here with Enemkpali. At Louisiana Tech, he earned All-Conference USA first-team honors and the team’s Willie Roaf Lineman of the Year Award, both prestigious awards. He will see immediate playing time with a Jets team that is not deep at the end position. Expect him to have an impact on the Jets’ defense, and once again, the Jets may have gotten another steal, this time in the 6th round.
6th round, pick 37 (213th pick): Tajh Boyd, QB
This pick by the Jets was the culmination of months of interest on the Jets’ part. They scouted him, and hoped and prayed he would still be available by the end of the 6th round. Boyd is a physical specimen who will most likely run the wildcat, and he has the potential to be Cam Newton-esque, or at worst, Terrelle Pryor-like. He has to work on his pocket passing and accuracy, which can be tough fix at this point in a quarterback’s career. Boyd is an intriguing prospect, who Rex Ryan sees as a project who will eventually compete with incumbent Geno Smith for the starting job.
7th round, pick 18 ( 233rd pick): Trevor Reilly, LB
As a Jets fan and a human being, I hope Reilly makes the Jets roster at the end of training camp. He has a daughter with cancer, and he fought off ACL problems in college in order to get a shot at the NFL. At the inside LB position, Reilly will be competing with the many other linebackers on the Jets’ roster, and it will be an uphill battle for him. Hopefully, inspired by his daughter’s struggle, Reilly can prevail and make roster come the end of summer, which would be a feel-good story everyone would appreciate.
For the Jets, the overriding theme in this draft was speed. All of the drafted players, including 313 lb offensive tackle Dakota Dozier, are fleet of foot, and this could represent a systematic shift for Rex Ryan and the rest of the coaching staff. This ‘Day 3’ haul by the Jets was one of the best in the league, and overall, the Jets look like one of the early winners of the 2014 NFL draft.