Pondering The Draft Plan

The New York Jets have filled or patched some of their positions of need like cornerback, wide receiver, strong safety, and offensive guard. While they have made some great and important acquisitions over the past week, the Jets still have four main holes they need to fill.

All the defense needs is an outside linebacker and a free safety. The offense, however, is needy at the quarterback and right offensive tackle positions. The Jets have just five picks in the upcoming NFL draft, so they won’t be able to fix the rest of the team with rookies. Above all other positions of need, the Jets desperately need a quarterback in case Geno Smith is not the answer, however, they can complete their defense through the draft as well.

  1. Vic Beasely (Clemson), OLB

With the signings of Buster Skrine, Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Marcus Gilchrist, the Jets greatly improved their secondary. There is no way they can have nearly as bad of a pass defense as they did last year with this new group. Unfortunately, not even the best defensive backs can keep their man under the blanket for too long, so a pass rush is required.

Offenses already know they won’t be able to rush against the Jets, but they will need to learn the hard way that it won’t be an easy task to pass on them either. While the Jets were tied for the sixth most sacks laid upon opposing quarterbacks last season, drafting Vic Beasley will make the Jets’ defense way scarier.

With a great secondary keeping receivers in check, the front seven will have more time to rush the quarterback, and the quick-off-the-snap Vic Beasley will take full advantage of this extra time. He can line up opposite of Quiton Coples or Calvin Pace and wreak havoc in opposing backfields as they will have their hands full with the Sons of Anarchy.

  1. Gerod Holliman (Louisville), FS

While the Jets improved their secondary a great amount this offseason, to complete it, they will need a great safety. Enter Gerod Holliman, the young man who broke the NCAA record for most interceptions in a single season in his sophomore year, then declared for the draft. The only “knock” on him is that he didn’t have any production in his freshman season. He was stuck behind the versatile, hard-hitting Calvin “Louisville Slugger” Pryor on Louisville’s depth chart.

Pryor was a first-round pick by the New York Jets- of course he will be above a freshman on the depth chart. If the Jets draft Holliman, they will have a true ball hawk anchoring the secondary, DARING quarterbacks to throw the ball in his general vicinity. He will make offenses second-guess their every move.

Think about it.

The Jets have an elite cornerback corpse and a very good strong safety in Antonio Allen. What are they missing? A ball-hawking free safety. Nobody will be open, and when they appear to be, Holliman will step right in and snag the ball right out of the air. He is projected to be an early second round pick, so the Jets must capitalize on the opportunity if they get one.

  1. Marcus Mariota (Oregon), QB

The Jets traded for Ryan Fitzpatrick, the 32-year old who has never won more than six games in one season at any point in his career. The Jets acquired several stars on the wrong side of 30 years old this offseason, and they did it to win now. Reportedly, they expect Fitzpatrick to beat Geno Smith out for the starting job. This makes no sense, as Geno Smith gives the Jets a way better chance at making the playoffs than the aged Harvard alumni.

While Mariota is not as good as Jameis Winston, he has no ceiling, and is freakishly athletic. He will have a large learning curve, of course, as he did not play in a pro-style system as an Oregon Duck. Because of this, he might not win the starting job in his first year. Geno Smith also had to make a large scheme adjustment and look where his production has gone down the drain.

Mariota might just be the dangerous, double-threat quarterback the Jets need and could pull a Robert Griffin III and rock the league as a rookie. After all, opposing defenses haven’t dealt with Mariota before and he is very different from Geno Smith in that he is an elite scrambling quarterback. The only thing that might keep Mariota from receiving the Jets #1 jersey (given to the Jets’ first round pick) is the retiring of Tennessee Titans’ quarterback, Jake Locker.

While he was constantly injured, he was by far the Titans’ best quarterback. They already said they wouldn’t draft a quarterback this year, but that was before Locker retired. They are now left with Zach Mettenberger and Charlie Whitehurst as their top two signal callers.

Whitehurst was terrible last season, losing the interim starting job to a turnover-prone rookie. Analysts are split on Mettenberger and whether or not the Titans should draft a quarterback this year. He definitely deserves a spot on the roster, but he is not ready to lead an NFL offense.

In LSU, he was passing to superstar wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. They made him as productive as he was. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers look like they will be drafting Jameis Winston, out of Florida State University, with the first pick in the 2015 NFL draft, so Mariota will be the only top-ten pick worthy quarterback left on the board when the Titans are on the clock at the second position in the draft.

Should they take Mariota, the Jets should draft Vic Beasley if he is still available. If they pass on Mariota, the Jets have themselves a huge decision to make, between Mariota and Beasley, and they should decide to draft Marcus Mariota in that situation, as they will never make the playoffs, let alone with the Super Bowl with Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the offense.

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