Will The Jets Regret The 2013 Draft?
In 2012, the New York Jets ranked 28th out of 32 teams in total offense. They ranked 30th in total passing yards and 24th in rushing yards per attempt. They were 29th in passing TDs and third worst in turnover percentage. Pick any statistic that measures offensive efficiency and the Jets were brutally inefficient. So, are they any better entering 2013?
Coming into the 2013 draft, the Jets had two picks in the top 13 (after trading Darrelle Revis) to address those offensive issues. Instead they chose to draft two defensive players, cornerback Dee Milliner and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson. Richardson has looked good so far, but Milliner has seemed tentative and overmatched. Of course, it's still early, and Milliner was considered the best cornerback available. He could end up being a fine player who helps fill the void left by Revis's departure.
The problem though remains, how is this team going to move the ball and score? Geno Smith was a great value pick, since he eventually fell to the 2nd round after being projected as a high first rounder. But, he does not appear ready yet, and his arm strength and shot put release leave much to be desired.
Conventional wisdom holds that teams should always draft the best player available regardless of need. I disagree with this wisdom, at least in this instance. Sometimes the need is so great, it can't be ignored. The Jets will now enter the 2013 season with more questions than an episode of Jeopardy. Who is their quarterback? Will Chris Ivory be the upgrade they are looking for at running back, and can he handle being an every-down back? Is Santonio Holmes healthy and can he be the receiver he once was? Can Stephen Hill live up to his potential or is he a bust? Is journeyman Jeff Cumberland and his 32 career receptions really their choice at tight end? That doesn't sound like a great plan, unless the plan is to lead the league in punts.
Another obvious question here is, who do I think the Jets should have drafted with one of those two first round picks. Two words: DeAndre Hopkins. The former Clemson wideout was coming off an unbelievable season (82 receptions, 1,400+ yards and 18 TDS!). The Houston Texans took him with the 27th pick. The Jets could have traded down, gained an additional pick or player and still obtained, arguably, the best pure wide receiver in the draft (sorry, Tavon Austin).
For those wondering, in his first preseason game, Hopkins caught 4 passes for 52 yards and this highlight reel touchdown. He has since suffered a concussion, but should be ready for Week 1.
Admittedly, this is classic Monday morning quarterbacking. It could be several years before we know if the Jets made the right picks. But, where's the fun in that, right?