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Posted 24 Jan 2014NFL draft redux : Reprojecting the first round of the 2013 draft
The NFL's 2013 season is just one game shy of being complete, but Super Bowl Sunday is still more than a week away (and no, we're not counting the All-Star farce that is the Pro Bowl). That gives us the perfect vantage point to look back one last time at the first round of April's draft, and consider what would change if we knew then what we know now ?
A few reminders about our annual re-draft of the first round: Rookie season production always carries significant weight in this hypothetical exercise, more so than projection or potential. But it's not everything. If there were first-rounders who underachieved this season, they might still make our re-draft, perhaps just not in the same spot they originally went.
In the span of time, plenty of the picks that were made in 2013 might prove to have been for the best. But as always, using a current version of hindsight, we tried to link up teams with players who would have been useful due to the specific circumstances of the 2013 season. We also again kept the first-round order as it unfolded on the first night of the draft, rather than adding the complicating layer of un-doing trades.
I shouldn't have to say this by now, but don't forget: Your results may vary ...
1. Kansas City Chiefs
(Original pick: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan)
Re-do pick : Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Fisher looked lost at right tackle early in the season and really didn't start playing with much consistency and command of his position until the final weeks of the schedule. But Richardson was a disruptive and productive force from Day 1 for the Jets, and he excelled at stuffing the run, while also proving he could regularly find his way into the backfield (15.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 33 quarterback pressures). Richardson, who got my vote for the league's Defensive Rookie of the Year, even turned into a useful Jumbo fullback late in the year and scored a pair of goal-line situation touchdowns.
Read More: http://sportsillustr.../#ixzz2rGtGBHNL
Posted 22 Jan 2014During 2013’s offseason, the New York Jets of course had a major roster overhaul. In the process, they lost fan favorite and budding star tight end Dustin Keller; he signed a one-year contract with AFC East rival Miami Dolphins. Keller sadly suffered a horrible preseason leg injury that derailed his promising career, and it remains unclear if he will return to Miami next season. The emergence of Charles Clay might make tight end depth less critical, which potentially leaves Keller looking for a new home.
His former team currently faces uncertainty with their depth chart. In theory, Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow offer a dangerous combination. Injuries and suspensions denied an extended look. As I stated recently, keeping both would be a smart move, however, Winslow’s latest incident could change thinking. Having someone so erratic disrupts team chemistry. Cumberland’s touchdown numbers are trending up, so Gang Green would be wise to bring him back. If that doesn’t occur though, Keller should be pursued.
During 2011, his numbers included 65 receptions and five touchdowns; blocking was also a decent part of his game. Operating from the West Coast offense serves pass catching tight ends well by opening chances down the middle. Even if Cumberland comes back, they could use another presence. Zach Sudfeld made plays at time, but I don’t know if he can be counted on. Health is an issue when discussing Keller’s future though. Speculation continues as to whether the talented player can ever compete again. There is no harm in at least making a phone call and working him out, assuming he hits the free agent market.
Posted 11 Dec 2013ROOKIE dept. ~ ~ ~
NY Jets rookie Brian Winters struggles on offensive line
Winters is performing poorly enough that some on the outside are wondering if the Jets ought to make a change at least while the playoffs are still possible, turning back to Vlad Ducasse.
Brian Winters had a rough game against the Raiders and has been one of several rookies to have had a hard time this season for the Jets.
Despite what Rex Ryan might say publicly, his rookies as a group have failed to meet expectations. Geno Smith has struggled mightily in many of his games. Dee Milliner has been benched three times for poor performance. But right alongside them has been Brian Winters, who has not been an adequate left guard since taking over the starting job from Vlad Ducasse in Week 5.
Although Smith and Milliner’s problems are far more in the public eye, Winters is performing poorly enough that some on the outside are wondering if the Jets ought to make a change at least while the playoffs are still possible. While the best alternative isn’t pretty — turning back to the underwhelming Ducasse — Winters’ issues are dramatic enough that it could be considered. But despite Winters’ rough transition into the starting lineup, at least two of his linemates feel it would be counter-productive to make a change now, especially since such a move would also affect D’Brickashaw Ferguson, the Jets’ best offensive lineman.
“That doesn’t do nothing for us,” Willie Colon told the Daily News. “At the same time it’s bigger than (Winters and) Vlad: it’s Brick. Brick has to work with them; he’s just now trying to build a rapport with Brian. To have that flip-flop at this time doesn’t help anybody.”
Winters, who is currently rated 72nd of 76 guards across the league by ProFootballFocus.com, surrendered two quarterback hits and one hurry against the Raiders on Sunday. But worse than that was his blocking in the run game: all three negative runs the Jets had last Sunday were directly tied to Winters getting beat. But still, his teammates stand by him.
“I don’t think that’s obviously the answer, to makes moves, changes,” Ferguson said.
“That’s something maybe later down the road you can entertain again, but right now Brian’s our guy,” Colon added. “You’ve got to stay with him.”
Ducasse said he hasn’t been told his role will change in the coming weeks.
Winters played tackle in college, but transitioned to guard as a Jet. It’s a move Colon can relate to, after having made the same transition during his pro career.
“A lot of it’s spacing,” Colon said. “Knowing where your help’s at. Knowing how to react to things.”
“He knows that a lot of his mishaps are his own doing and a lot of it’s mechanical issues,” Colon added. “It’s his first time playing left guard in the NFL, and you know it takes time, time to grow, time to develop. It’s just a matter of staying patient.”
David Harris misses tackling Raiders QB Matt McGloin during Sunday's game.
Mark Bonifacio/New York Daily News
David Harris misses tackling Raiders QB Matt McGloin during Sunday's game.
MAKES THE GRADE
David Harris likely won’t forget about how badly he was juked on Sunday. It was a bad missed tackle against any runner, but it was far worse because the ball carrier who eluded him was Raiders QB Matt McGloin. The quarterback ended up running for 20 yards on the fourth-quarter play.
It was surprising, too, because Harris has rebounded nicely this season after disappointing a year ago. And he’s receiving high praise from his linebackers coach, Brian VanGorder.
“The assignment grades that he gets are as high as I’ve ever had for a linebacker,” VanGorder said. “So he’s really been outstanding.”
VanGorder has previously coached for the Falcons, Jaguars and Auburn Tigers. He hands out a plus or minus assignment and technique grade for each play.
“I think he’s a very realistic professional, so him recognizing that his play a year ago wasn’t up to his standards and expectations, based on who he is, you were going to get a positive response,” VanGorder said.
* * *
X’s AND O’s
Rex Ryan’s explanation for why Ed Reed played less on Sunday was because he knew it was going to be a “physical” game. Translation: Reed’s greatest deficiency is tackling, and when Terrelle Pryor came in the game, the Jets needed someone who would hit.
Who else but Ryan? With the Jets at 6-7, Ryan’s job security is certainly in question, but it’s plenty possible that Woody Johnson and John Idzik have already made up their minds one way or the other regardless of how the next three games turn out.
Muhammad Wilkerson had a surprisingly weak game against the Raiders. It probably isn’t cause for concern — even the best have off days — but he didn’t look like the Pro Bowler he’s been for most of the rest of the season.
Posted 8 Nov 2013Salas, Sudfeld and Nelson!
"Hah? Who is that? Is that a law firm?" 'No! They are the names of new players on the NY Jets."
"But, where did they come from?" "I do not know, but it seems Idzik and the Jets are Belichicking!"
"What? What is Belichicking?" "Belichicking is when you have injuries and instead of coming up with excuses, you pick up guys that step in and help you win."
"Oh, I get it. The Jets never really had that. In the past, when guys got hurt, we sort of hung it up like in 1999, when Vinny Testaverde went down in the first game and our season was over!" "Exactly!"
Well Jets fans, so far we have to like what we see. Holmes is out, no problem. Winslow is suspended, no problem! Jeff Cumberland has a concussion, no problem. Kerley's elbow is dislocated, no problem. Sanchez is out, no problem. Actually we say, "best thing that happened to Rex! lol
Idzik and the scouting team seem to find guys and plug them in and win! Finally, it seems we have a smart, football guy leading the Jets. Oh, and guess what? As a by-product, Rex may have saved his job. It also looks like Marty Mornhinweg is perfect to nurture and bring up Geno Smith. I like about 90% of his play calling. That's a big increase from the 20% I liked about Sparano's and the 40% I liked from Schottenheimer!
Last Sunday, the Jets beat the 6-1, first place New Orleans Saints. After a rough Jets start going down 14 -6, the NY Jets adjusted on both sides of the ball and took over the game. Although the final score was 26-20, it really wasn't that close as the Jets had a 9 point lead for most of the second half.
The defense put pressure on Drew Brees and the offensive lines opened up some big holes for Chris Ivory to run through. It's what Parcells always states, you win the game in the trenches. The Jets defensive and offensive lines both dominated most of the game. This is one of the elite teams in the NFL the Jets beat. Geno managed the game very well and didn't commit any turnovers while the Saints had two.
It was a very good win and a sign that the Jets art maturing and have good coaches on both sides of the ball. And, lets not forget Mr. Nick Folk! He is having an unbelievable year.
However, a big disappointment is Stephen Hill! This should be his time to shine. He said he wants to be the primary receiver this year. Well, with Holmes, Kerley, Winslow, Cumberland all out of last Sunday's game, he was nowhere to be found! Instead it was the law firm of Salas, Sudfeld and Nelson making plays! It's so disappointing he hasn't stepped up!
Let's get some rest and beat up on Buffalo next. The Jets have a chance to win 10 games and make the playoffs. I will have to eat my words, but that is OK, it will not be the first time! Go JETS!
Posted 12 Oct 2013Wilkerson can be Jets' next Revis
-- Muhammad Wilkerson was tending to something in his locker, paying no attention to what was happening behind him. When he turned around, the hulking defensive end was surprised to see about 10 media types, hovering.
"Whoa, what’s all of this?" he asked Wednesday in the New York Jets’ locker room.
This, Mo, is what happens when you’re a big man on the New York football stage.
Wilkerson is coming off one of his best games as a pro, a dominating Monday night performance that had ESPN analyst Jon Gruden gushing like a groupie. If America didn’t know about Wilkerson before then, it does now.
I think he's right there with the top defensive linemen in this league right now that aren't named J.J. Watt.
” -- Rex Ryan on Mo Wilkerson Quite simply, Wilkerson has a chance to be the franchise’s next Darrelle Revis, sans the player-management acrimony. He’s a homegrown star, not an import, ascending to the upper tier of his position.
"I think he’s right there with the top defensive linemen in this league right now that aren’t named J.J. Watt," said Rex Ryan, praising Wilkerson with the effusiveness he once reserved for Revis.
Ryan talked up Revis so much in 2009 that his words, no doubt, were thrown back at management when the two sides went to the bargaining table in the summer of 2010 -- i.e. the long and nasty holdout. Ryan didn’t stop with the superlatives because, back in those days, he wasn’t shy about speaking his mind and he felt Revis was an all-timer.
In a few months, the Jets and Wilkerson will be talking contract. He has only one year remaining on his rookie deal, and the team almost certainly will try to lock him up next offseason with a long-term deal -- probably the first mega-contract of the John Idzik era. The franchise-tag amount this year for a defensive end is $11.2 million, so that should provide a basic idea of how much of a yearly average we’re talking about.
Wilkerson said he hasn’t given any thought to the pot of gold that awaits him. Not surprisingly, he said he doesn’t want to go anywhere.
"I’m from New Jersey and, just being here these three years, it’s been great for me," he said. "I’m happy here. I definitely plan on hopefully being a Jet for life."
New York Jets
Revis used to say the same thing, but it got complicated, as we all know. The Jets missed an opportunity to hammer out a long-term extension in 2010 and … well, there’s no point in retracing that chapter. Presumably, they learned a lesson and will take care of Wilkerson before there’s any tension.
He’s a monster, the kind of player who can anchor a defense for a decade. Wilkerson already has four sacks, one shy of last season’s total. Because he’s not exclusively an edge player -- he often lines up inside -- it’s not easy to pick up sacks. A double-digit total would be a ridiculous season.
"In my opinion, I’d say he’s the best [defensive lineman]," said linebacker Calvin Pace, the elder statesman of the defense.
Wilkerson was drafted 30th overall in 2011, so it wasn’t like he was a can’t-miss lottery pick. He went 19 spots after Watt, the Houston Texans stud. The Jets took some risk because Wilkerson didn’t play in a power conference. He attended Temple and left after his junior year.
"We just saw a guy we thought could be a truly dominant player," Ryan said.
At the time, Ryan compared him to former New England Patriots star Richard Seymour, a potential Hall of Famer. People snickered. On Wednesday, Ryan claimed, "He actually does some things better than Richard does."
The best thing about Wilkerson is there’s not an ounce of diva in him. If there were any more blue in his collar, he’d be playing in construction clothes. He stepped briefly out of character in an offseason interview, admitting he felt snubbed by not being selected to the Pro Bowl. That, he promised at the time, would motivate him.
Reminded of his Pro Bowl ambition, Wilkerson backed off.
"Some people say I’m going to make the Pro Bowl," he said, probably alluding to Gruden’s on-air hosanna. "I appreciate all the kind words, but at the end of the day, I have to play each game. Hopefully, we’ll see at the end of the year."
Pace said it best: "I don’t think he knows how good he is."
The Jets know. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll get it right this time and make sure he sticks around for a long time.
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