A Tale of Two Drafts: The 2013 New York Jets
A tradition as old as time. Just as the sun rises in the east, the Pamplonians run with the bulls, and sorority girls take the walk of shame, New York Jets fans boo their NFL Draft selections. It doesn't matter if the player is the best in years, fills a need, or is simply a steal, Jets fans never seem to be happy.
Some years, these boos have been justified, but more recently, it's simply become the standard despite many of the Jets picks actually working out quite well. With two picks in the first 15 and 4 in the top 75, the franchise had a chance under new general manager John Idzik to add some players that would allow the team to turn around their fortunes in a hurry. According to the fans in attendance, there isn't a chance of that, but are they right?
The truth of the matter is that this year's Jets draft will be assessed in two parts. With every pick but one, the Jets addressed needs and added players they assessed to be of high quality and high value.
And then there's Geno Smith.
I'll be the first to admit that when I heard the Jets were considering trading up in the second round to get this guy, I may have prayed to the football g-ds that this wouldn't happen. With tons of other needs and a mess already at the position, it seemed that adding a quarterback, especially one that many argued to be the top in the entire draft class, would only bring controversy, headlines, and headaches.
It's already true, as draft analysts and sports talking heads are treating this like the biggest story in the draft. Speculation is abound as to how things will shake out at the quarterback position in New York, with everybody and their mother seeming to have an opinion on the matter. Something tells me that if Smith goes anywhere else, we're not talking about the logjam at quarterback in New York City.
What's more unfortunate about this draft pick is that it placed all the focus of the Jets entire draft on it. For Idzik, this is especially concerning, as he will likely be judged solely on how Smith pans out despite doing an excellent job with the rest of the draft.
To truly rate the Jets weekend, put aside the true feelings for Smith and look at the body of work as a whole.
While some fans may spew negativity at this draft due to the lack of "play makers" added, it's easy to see that the first draft for Idzik should be viewed as a success. By the end of day two, the team added the best corner in the draft and Darrelle Revis' replacement, the best defensive tackle in the draft, and an offensive lineman with the versatility to play guard or tackle. With the losses of Mike Devito on the defensive line and Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore along the offensive line, all 3 of these picks fill a need and feature high quality players at those positions. So far, so good for Mr. Idzik.
Day 3 was more of the same, with two linemen drafted as well as a fullback. It appears that Idzik understands the most basic football mantra, that the game is won in the trenches, and all these picks seem to solidify that.
What about the "play makers?" How about adding the best running back available that already in the NFL averages over 5 yards per carry? The Jets did that too with the trade of a 4th rounder for Chris Ivory, formerly of the Saints. While it was rumored the Jets could get this guy for a 5th rounder, even a 4th rounder seems to be a fair price for a guy the Jets envision as an every down, 1000 yard back. Certainly it would have to be an upgrade over Shonn Greene, a man who was about as explosive as a daffodil.
So lets recap, the Jets bring in a couple of the top players at their positions on defense in round 1, add a bunch of much needed offensive linemen in the later rounds, add an incredibly talented running back with their 4th round pick, and all we can talk about is the quarterback?
Understanding that Smith will get the headlines, but Idzik's other picks were quite solid and Jets fans should be excited by the prospect of seeing these guys play. Hope the Jets can see this draft has potential to be a big success regardless of how Smith pans out, but I doubt it.
Storylines sell and regardless of whether Dee Milliner, Sheldon Richardson, Brian Winters, Chris Ivory, Oday Aboushi, William Campbell, and Tommy Bohanon are raging successes in the NFL, all eyes will be on Geno Smith.
For Jets fans, lets just hope those eyes can be averted for a couple of years.
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