The New York Jets haven't been completely absent from the free-agency frenzy, making a few moves to add potential starters to the roster. That being said, most of the players they signed were brought in on one-year deals and all of them come with injury concerns.
So there are plenty of long-term questions remaining around the Jets.
As with any team in transition, the Jets need to hit on as many draft picks as possible to help get the team out of the basement, and quickly.
Who do experts have their eye on as potential fits for the Jets in the 2013 NFL draft?
Let's take a little trip around the web and see who the prominent draft experts believe could be suiting up for Gang Green next year.
Selection: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
Guys who measure in at 6'5", 271 lbs. are not supposed to run a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash. They aren't supposed to broad jump 118".
But Ziggy Ansah is a special kind of athlete.
The BYU product is a raw, athletic specimen. He's able to move in space and make plays off the edge in a way that makes projecting him to a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker the easy move.
Much like Aldon Smith coming out of Missouri, Ansah is more athlete than football player right now, but that athletic ability is enough to propel his draft stock up the board.
Ansah needs work, and as much as any player in this year's class, his boom-or-bust level is high. But Jets fans can rest easy that Rex Ryan and company will be able to carve out a spot for this athletic beast.
Reaction: The Jets had an opportunity to draft a highly athletic outside linebacker in the first round in 2012, when South Carolina outside linebacker Melvin Ingram inexplicably fell into their lap. They went with a 5-technique defensive end in UNC's Quinton Coples instead.
If Miller has it right, the Jets will be going after an even more athletic outside linebacker this year, with the freakish Ansah being the choice—and with obvious reason. Ansah announced himself during the combine as a prospect every Jets fan should know about, finishing in the top 10 in the 40-yard dash (4.63), the vertical jump (34.5 inches) and the broad jump (118 inches).
By now, you're well aware of the Jets' myriad releases this offseason, outside linebackers Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas among them. The two combined for 5.5 sacks in 2012, so the Jets would be looking for answers at the position even if both were still on the roster.
Ansah may or may not provide an immediate answer at that spot, but, dripping with raw athleticism, he's exactly the kind of prospect most coaches would love to mentor into a star.
Selection: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
I have no problem with Mingo as a top-10 pick. His lack of sack production is being overemphasized, as he often faced extra attention from double-teams. In multiple games I saw on tape, he was limited in a gap-discipline game plan to limit mobile quarterbacks.
Yes, he needs to get bigger and stronger to hold up better against the run. He also needs to improve his speed-to-power rush, but he is an explosive pass-rusher already, and his motor is always running. He is athletic enough to occasionally drop into coverage, but he will get paid to get after the QB. That's exactly what the Jets need on defense.
Reaction: McShay is exactly right in saying that the Jets need an athletic presence on the edge. And while having a linebacker who's adept at dropping into coverage would be helpful, it won't be entirely necessary since the Jets will often blitz their edge defenders.
He is compared by some to Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin for his sheer speed. Though Mingo is a bit longer in frame than Irvin, Mingo's burst and explosiveness are similar, as well as a lack of overall strength that could pose problems against the run (although that wasn't always the case in college).
NFL.com has Mingo as their eighth-best prospect in the entire class. ESPN ranks him 11th, and CBS Sports has him as their 15th-best prospect. In short, Mingo going to the Jets at No. 9 wouldn't be a surprise considering the team's need and his talent level relative to other prospects.
Ansah and Dion Jordan are both off the board in McShay's mock, and the only other feasible choices at this spot left on the board would be UNC guard Jonathan Cooper, Alabama guard Chance Warmack or Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones.
With that in mind, Mingo is the best choice.
Selection: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Improving the pass rush is a priority for the Jets. If Jones checks out medically, he's the most polished edge-rusher in the draft. I wouldn't be shocked if the Jets decided to look at a receiver in this spot.
Reaction: The production is not a concern with Jarvis Jones, who put up 44 tackles for loss and 28 sacks over the past two years to lead the nation in both categories. The Jets would kill for that kind of disruption and backfield penetration, and he projects as a fit in a 3-4 defense, as well.
He was undoubtedly one of the most explosive players on Georgia's defense. But how long will that explosiveness last? He was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which could be a red flag with regard to drafting him in the first round. It was part of the reason why San Diego Chargers tackle Marcus McNeill ended his career at the age of 28. It was also part of the reason why New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski fell to the second round in 2010.
Public opinion has him as a mid-first round talent. NFL.com, CBS Sports and ESPN have rankings for Jones ranging from the 12th- to the 17th-best prospect in the draft, so Jones may be a slight reach here.
Selection: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
The Jets need a lot of help in several areas, mostly on offense, including the quarterback position. But the Jets have struggled to put pressure on the opponents' backfield and Ansah provides position versatility to line up all over the defensive front-seven.
Reaction: Not much to review here, since Matt Miller already gave us an opportunity to look at Ansah.
Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan is off the board in this mock, as well, and the closer we get to the draft, it appears less and less likely he'll be available for the Jets, no matter how badly they want him (and no matter how well he fits).
The only players still on the board in Brugler's mock that would make sense are Cooper, Warmack and Jarvis Jones. That makes Ansah the best choice, from this perspective.
Selection: Bjoern Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State
In 2012 the Jets struggled to get pressure on the quarterback, especially from the outside. Despite playing primarily down as a defensive end, Werner is a good enough athlete to be a productive outside linebacker in the Jets 34 defense.
Reaction: Opinions of Werner are wide ranging. CBS Sports has him as their sixth-best overall player. NFL.com has him in the 20s. ESPN has him as a mid-first round pick. Lande has him ranked as the eighth-best player in the draft, so from his perspective, this is a great need-meets-value pick.
Over the past two years, Werner ranked ninth in the nation in sacks with 20 and 18th in tackles for loss with 29, spearheading a Seminoles defense that ranked first in the ACC both years.
Werner would be a better fit as a 4-3 defensive end than as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but that doesn't rule him out as a possible Jets selection. Defensive line coach Karl Dunbar ran a 4-3 defense with the Minnesota Vikings, and the Jets employed some 4-3 looks in 2012 as well.
Mingo, Ansah and Jordan are all already off the board by the No. 9 pick in this mock, which eliminates many of the "best fit" prospects at defensive end.
One thing is clear from these mock drafts: there will be plenty of options for the Jets at No. 9 with regards to addressing their need at outside linebacker and in the edge pass-rush game. Will they make the move this year that they didn't make last year? Only time will tell.
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