Jets, fans face dilemma as 2014 NFL Draft looms
“With the 18th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select…”
The rest of that sentence will be finished on Thursday, May 8 at the NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Despite a glaring need to compliment newly acquired wide receiver Eric Decker, in all likelihood the Jets will take a cornerback with their first-round draft choice.
With this draft being touted as one of the deepest in terms of available wide receivers, it may be beneficial for the Jets to make their sixth consecutive defensive player taken in the first-round.
From 2010 until the beginning of 2012, the Jets had one of the best cornerback duos in the league with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, both of whom are no longer on the team.
The most tenured Jets cornerback is Kyle Wilson, who has struggled since entering the league in 2010.
The No. 1 cornerback on the roster is currently Dee Milliner, who struggled mightily throughout the course of the season. He was benched three times during games for his poor performances. He turned it on at the end of the season, earning AFC Defensive Rookie of the Month for December and AFC Defensive Player of the Week after two interceptions in the last game of the year against Miami.
A full offseason may benefit Milliner, who was hampered during last offseason after shoulder surgery forced him to miss most of the offseason.
Taking a cornerback will not give the Jets the same duo as Revis and Cromartie, but it will significantly help head coach Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme, which relies heavily on cornerback play.
Should he be available with the 18th pick, Darqueze Dennard could be a great fit for the Jets defense because of his pressing abilities.
This draft is filled with potential at wide receiver, with the only standout being Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, who the Jets have no chance at drafting unless they trade up to get him.
Wide receivers the Jets could and should target are LSU’s Odell Beckham, Jr., USC’s Marqise Lee or Oregon State’s Brandon Cooks.
If none of the four players mention above are available when the Jets are on the clock, I think the team has to look at other players in other positions such as tight end Eric Ebron, who has been compared to San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis.
With the offseason additions of quarterback Michael Vick and running back Chris Johnson through free agency make drafting a player in those positions in the first round less likely.
It may make the most sense to take a wide receiver or a cornerback, but these are the same Jets who passed on Hall of Famer Warren Sapp for tight end Kyle Brady in the 1995 NFL Draft.
Jets fans are never fond of the team’s selections, as some leave fans with nothing to do but “boo” and question every selection made by the team.
Richardson, the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, is primed to have another big year for Gang Green.
Milliner’s struggles last season have been well documented, but if he can perform in 2014 as he did in the tail end of last season, he can have a wealth of success next season.
Coples came on strong last season and is an exciting edge rusher to watch.
Wilkerson has been and will be the anchor of the Jets defensive line.
What will the Jets do with their 18th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft come May 8?
With any luck, it won’t leave Jets fans yelling “Same old Jets!”
T.J. Brennan is a senior journalism major from Long Island, N.Y. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.