2013 NFL Draft: Should the New York Jets Draft a Guard at No. 9 Overall?

Andrew Kaufman@akaufman23Senior Analyst IApril 7, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 23: Chance Warmack of Alabama participates in an offensive line drill during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 23, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

ESPN's Todd McShay has posted an update to his most recent mock draft, and he has the New York Jets going in a different first-round direction than recent projections.

With Barkevious Mingo off the board at No. 9, McShay projects that the Jets will select offensive guard Jonathan Cooper with their first-round pick. In Cooper and Chance Warmack, the 2013 draft class features two guards who are widely deemed worthy of top-10 selections, a rarity for any draft year.

So should the Jets, who have a huge need at guard after losing starters Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson to free agency, draft one of these two prospects, or are they better off take a more conventional route?


Pro: A safe pick that fulfills an offensive need

The Jets have a lot of needs on offense, so it makes some sense for Gang Green to prioritize that side of the ball in the early rounds. Add in the argument that good teams are built from the inside out, and drafting an offensive lineman early starts to make a lot of sense.

Guards are unconventional first-round selections, but there aren't any quarterbacks or wide receivers who are really worth the No. 9 overall selection this year. Furthermore, the available guards are much safer choices than a player like Cordarrelle Patterson. 

If the Jets are really intent on drafting an offensive player at No. 9 overall, and they aren't sold on Geno Smith, then guard may be the wise choice.


Con: The Jets need to focus on premium positions

The Jets have a clear need at offensive guard, but they have similar needs at several other positions. Given the circumstances, Gang Green needs to focus on higher-impact players in the first round.

In 2012, David DeCastro was considered a "sure thing" pick at guard, similar to Cooper and Warmack. Despite being projected as a dominant run-blocker, he was selected No. 24 overall by Pittsburgh due to the lower value of guards compared to several other positions.

If the Jets can get an elite outside linebacker, defensive tackle or cornerback with their No. 9 pick, they should select one of those players even if the need at guard is slightly greater.


Conclusion: The Jets have better options at other positions

If the draft were less flush with outside linebackers and defensive tackles, it would be easier to justify an unconventional move like taking a guard in the top 10. But the Jets will almost certainly have attractive options at these positions.

Gang Green absolutely does need reinforcements on its offensive line, and this should be a priority throughout the draft (including if New York acquires additional early picks in a Darrelle Revis trade). But the No. 9 pick is simply too high to spend on a guard given the Jets' other needs.

Trading down is another option for the Jets, given the plethora of available options to them at their current needs. But even then, a linebacker might be the best pick.