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The Jets and Giants are now on the clock….

April 19, 2010

 

The NFL Draft has gotten so big that it was moved to primetime this year and will commence for the first time ever on a Thursday.  The 2010 draft class has been pegged as the deepest ever, and both the Jets and Giants enter the free-for-all with areas of need.  The Jets will look to improve their defense, particularly the pass-rushing department as well as secondary depth and the Giants will look to build up the line-backing unit as well as depth for the secondary and offensive line.   

I have mapped out the top five players on each team’s radar, as well as three others to look out for.  Nevertheless, predicting who will do what has grown increasingly difficult as there are more trades and maneuvers than ever before. 

1. Jared Odrick (DT, Penn State)

Projected Draft Position- Late first round

One of the Jets main needs is a pass-rusher, and Odrick could provide that at either the DT position or even as a DE in the 3-4 system.  At Penn State, Odrick registered 24.5 tackles for a loss and 14.5 sacks in 46 career games.  According to scouts, Odrick is most useful on passing downs because at 290 pounds he is slightly undersized to require double-teams against the run.  However, he has the speed to beat opposing lineman for sacks and showed his burst with a 4.98 40-yard dash time at the Combine.  Odrick would best fit along side a massive Defensive Tackle, which the Jets have in Kris Jenkins. 

2. Devin McCourty (CB, Rutgers)

Projected Draft Position- Late first, early second

The Jets have shown a clear indication to adapt their team to fit with the pass-happy NFL.  They traded for Holmes on offense, signed LT who can catch passes out of the backfield, and on defense traded for Antonio Cromartie and signed Brodney Pool. Rex Ryan can never have enough corner backs and Devin McCourtey is a physical corner who loves to play bump-and-run coverage which is exactly what Rex Ryan and Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine seek in a defensive back.  McCourty could also help Gang Green on special teams, where he blocked seven kicks in his last three years of college and also averaged 25.4 yards on kickoff returns. 

3. Taylor Mays (FS, Southern California)

Projected Draft Position- Mid to Late first round

With the departure of Kerry Rhodes, the Jets could look for his long-term replacement.  Brodney Pool is slated to take over for “Hollywood” but there are question marks concerning Pool’s battle with concussions.  The 6’3 safety Taylor Mays is one of the most decorated players in this draft, as he was a two-time All-American playing for Pete Carroll.  Mays is also one of the best pure athletes in the draft  and possesses incredible range and tremendous cover skills.  His flaws, according to scouts, consist of struggling with making tackles in the open-field and the propensity to get burned by the play-action and pump-fakes. 

4. Everson Griffen (DE, Southern California)

Projected Draft Position- Mid to late first round

Mr. T is no stranger to trading up in the draft, and if Griffen slips he could move up and grab him.  Everson has good size and speed and is both agile and explosive.  He has great initial quickness which will allow him to rush the Quarterback in the NFL and at times be dominant.  According to many scouts, his major flaw is lack of consistency where he doesn’t always play with the same intensity from down to down.  Nonetheless, Griffen is an elite athlete and would prove the Jets with a pass-rusher they so desperately need.  Tannenbaum may have to trade up to grab him, but it could be worth it. 

5. Jerry Hughes (DE/LB, TCU)

Projected Draft Position- Mid to late first round

Hughes could also entice the Jets to move up, as the explosive end/linebacker has been shooting up draft boards.  Hughes is being compared to Terrell Suggs as he is best in the open field and possesses great range and tackling ability.  The TCU product is a perfect fit for a 3-4 defense as he contains an unmatched ability to get to the Quarterback.  The only knack on him is a tendency to play out of postion and his pass rushing moves aren’t the best so he must rely on sheer speed and power. 

Other Players to look out for:  Sean Weatherspoon (LB, Missouri), Sergio Kindle (OLB, Texas) and Golden Tate (WR, Notre Dame). 

1. Rolando McClain (LB, Alabama)

Projected Draft Position- Mid first round

The player who has been pegged as Antonio Pierce’s replacement would be a great get for the G-Men.  McClain does not have many flaws, and is just an explosive play-maker who delivers devastating hits.  The linebacker has perfect tackling technique and showed his leadership abilities while leading Alabama to a national championship.  The one negative associated with McClain is his apparent inability to play outside, but that won’t prevent the 260 pounder from making an immediate impact at the next level. 

2. Sean Weatherspoon (LB, Missouri)

Projected Draft Position- Mid to late first round

If the Giants are not able to nab McClain, they could trade down and grab this outside linebacker out of Missouri.  Weatherspoon does everything well, with the ability to rush the passer, defend against the run, and drop back into pass coverage.  He is not the fastest player, but you won’t find any other linebacker that is as versatile in this draft.  Weatherspoon would also provide value on special teams, as well as in the lockeroom where he is thought of as a defensive captain of the future. 

3. Mike Iupati (G, Idaho)

Projected Draft Position- Mid to late first round

The G-Men used to have one of the league’s best offensive lines, but age and injuries have caught up to the front 5.  Reese could look to provide depth to one of the most important areas of a football team, and Iupati is one of the best guards in the draft.  Standing at 6’6 and close to 330 pounds, he is quick off the blocks and a force in pass protection according to the people at the Combine.  In order to be an impact player at the next level, he needs to work on his balance and lower his technique to prevent pass rushers from beating him low.  If drafted, he would likely replace Rich Seubert on the offensive line. 

4. Joe Haden (CB, Florida)

Projected Draft Position- Early first round

Another area of concern has to be the secondary, especially the corner position where Webster and Ross struggled last season.  Aaron Ross is coming off an injury, so depth needs to be addressed.  Joe Haden possesses great speed, and all the skills to be a shutdown corner in the NFL.  He is likely to go around 7-12, so the Giants may have to trade up. The only concern would be his lack of size at 5’10, 190 pounds but that shouldn’t stop him from making an immediate impact early in his career.  Any questions about his height and weight are cancelled out by his quickness and fearlessness when making a tackle. 

5. Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, South Florida)

Projected Draft Position- Mid First Round

With Osi remaining a question-mark to be part of the Giants plan in 2010, defensive end could be an area to address in the draft.  The South Florida product has shot up draft boards and could even go top 10.  At 6-6 and 260 pounds, Pierre-Paul has the size and strength to battle and beat just about anybody.   He is viewed as somewhat of a project, however, due to poor tackling technique at times.  I personally saw him play a few times last season, and this guy impressed me as just a pure pass rusher similar to Javon Kearse. 

Other players to look out for:  CJ Spiller (RB, Clemson), Anthony Davis (OT, Rutgers) and Dan Williams (DT, Tennessee)

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