After analyzing the draft needs of all 32 teams, PFT will review how well each team addressed those needs. Up next: The New York Jets.
What they needed: Quarterback, pass rusher, wide receiver, tight end, safety, offensive line
Who they got:
Round 1: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama; Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Round 2: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Round 3: Brian Winters, G, Kent State
Round 5: Oday Aboushi, OL, Virginia
Round 6: William Campbell, G, Michigan
Round 7: Tommy Bohanon, FB, Wake Forest
Where they hit: Nick Saban won’t like that I’m writing this, but Milliner fills the hole (on paper, anyway) opened by the trade of Darrelle Revis. Winters, Aboushi and Campbell definitely help an offensive line that badly needed younger bodies to increase the talent level and competition for jobs during offseason work. Bohanon fills the need for a player who could conceivably be called “T-Bo” if and when the Jets finally say goodbye to Tim Tebow.
The mess the Jets have made at quarterback obscures it a bit, but it was worth the shot on Smith at the 39th pick. He may not wind up being the long-term answer for the Jets, but acquiring him allows the Jets to move on from Mark Sanchez and that’s a win for the team right now. It’s easier to let Smith learn from the bench if David Garrard is the guy taking snaps than it would be if Sanchez were getting booed off the field every week, if only because it sells the idea that there are no quick fixes for a team that needs a total overhaul.
Where they missed: Where are the pass rushers? Richardson is a good player and Rex Ryan will put him to good use, but there’s still no one who scares you coming off the edge. Maybe Quinton Coples gets more time in that role with Richardson on board, but it wasn’t an area they addressed directly.
Where are the receivers? Another reason to resist starting Smith would be the total absence of new offensive weapons added over the three days of the draft. The Jets had their eyes on Tavon Austin, but no one else tempted them once he went to St. Louis and the receiver situation with the Jets is still an ugly one. No safety either, as the Jets left several of their biggest needs unattended.
Impact rookies: Milliner will be expected to start from day one, which means he’s got to take as much time as he needs to be fully healthy after surgery to repair a torn labrum. He won’t be Revis, but the Jets will be strong at corner all the same if he’s ready for the NFL. Richardson is going to play a lot, although his exact role will be defined once the Jets start working as a team. Winters will probably challenge Stephen Peterman for a starting spot at guard. He and Aboushi can also play right tackle, where Austin Howard is hardly irreplaceable.
Long-term prospects: With Ryan’s future beyond this year up in the air, it’s hard to know what to make of the Smith pick. Is he going to have to learn two offenses in two seasons while playing under a coach who doesn’t want him? Or does picking a quarterback who most believe needs some time and the two defensive pieces in the first round signal a desire to stick with Ryan beyond this season? The other picks are guys who can work under any system, more or less, but the quarterback will certainly be impacted one way or another. And the quarterback will ultimately decide how things look in the long term for all involved.