Draft picks: Darron Lee (No. 20 overall), Christian Hackenberg (No. 51 overall), Jordan Jenkins (No. 83 overall), Juston Burris (No. 118 overall), Brandon Shell (No. 158 overall), Lachlan Edwards (No. 235 overall), Charone Peake (No. 241 overall)
The New York Jets selected seven total players in this 2016 class who could potentially be a nice building block for this new regime, now in their second draft class. In this year’s draft the Jets were without a 5th round pick and 6th round pick. Their 5th round pick had gone to Denver in the Clady trade and the 6th went towards Houston’s trade for Fitzpatrick in the last off season. The Jets had traded back into the 5th round though, giving up a 4th in next year’s draft, knowing they will have compensatory picks for the loses in free agency. We will now break down each pick and how they fit in our roster.
With the Jets first round pick and the 20th overall, they chose linebacker from Ohio State Darron Lee. He is a hybrid type linebacker, only weighing in at 237 pounds who can cover the field, sideline to sideline. Lee is a breath of fresh air considering we watched Pace, Davis, Coples, and Richardson try to drop back into coverage from the linebacker position while simultaneously getting burned. Bowles looks toward Lee to be an inside linebacker, eventually playing on all downs. Right now, many believe he will be in the nickel package, still giving him substantial amount of playing time. I can see Lee playing around 70 % of the snaps on Bowles’s defense. Judging from Bowles’s days in Arizona, it is going to be exciting watching him maneuver Lee in different positions throughout the game. With time, Darron Lee can be one of the best linebackers in the NFL. It will take time develop, but he will have an immediate impact on this defense. His 40 time clocking in at 4.47 will bring much needed speed to the defense this year.
The Jets second round pick was Penn State’s Quarterback, Christian Hackenberg. After his freshman campaign under Bill O’Brien, people raved about him and called him 1st round talent. After Bill O’Brien left Penn State, it has been a steady down fall for Hackenberg. This pick might has caused great controversy, considering he was a 2nd round pick with 4th or 5th round talent. His completion percentage has dropped substantially from his freshman year. When James Franklin took over for O’Brien, you are able to see a total difference in Hackenberg. It doesn’t help that his offensive line was brutal last year. Hackenberg would just staring down the blitz rather than looking down field, and his footwork got lazy. It seems to me in shotgun is where he gets lazy the most. Hackenberg physically has the tools to be an NFL quarterback due to his great arm, good football IQ, and great frame. It is going to take a lot of time to strip him down to his roots and start completely over, NFL style. Maccagnan has spent a lot of time on this prospect and had even spent a year with O’Brien who knows Hackenberg best, so he must see something and want to work with it.
Jets took yet another linebacker with their 3rd pick out of Georgia, that being Jordan Jenkins. Originally, many thought he would be a 2nd round pick, and ended up falling to us in the 3rd. He has proved to create a good pass rush from the outside linebacker position, which was much needed this year and what the Jets actually lacked heavily last season. He will make an immediate impact on the Jet’s defense, I mean; the guy shows pro characteristics already with his great strength and hands, to fight off blocks. Addressing the linebacker spot was an absolute must in this off season and we have grabbed two good ones in this draft.
In the 4th round, Jets went with a defensive back out of North Carolina State, that being Juston Burris. He has been a starter since he was a red shirted freshman. He has been very reliable since he stepped on the field for the Wolfpack. Senior year he had 38 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 INT, 7 PBU and allowed just one touchdown in 44 targets. He has great size for a corner so he is another player that Bowles can get creative with. He is very physical, plays downhill and won’t shy away from contact. Burris is able to support the run very well, and could easily play in the box. He will have time to develop as well, being behind Revis, Skrine, and Williams on the depth chart. He will make an immediate impact on special teams this year.
We had traded back into the 5th round to take Brandon Shell, an offensive lineman out of South Carolina. Brandon is the great nephew of pro football Hall of Famer, Art Shell. His senior year, he stepped up and played left tackle consistently well for the Gamecocks. He has the perfect build for an offensive lineman in this league; 6’5, 324 lbs. with 35” arm length. His long arms will help him catch sudden inside pass rush moves and redirect edge speed past the pocket. He is also very reliable starting 48 games for South Carolina.
With one of our two 7th round picks we had drafted a punter Lachlan Edwards from Sam Houston State. We have lost too many field position battles with Quigley at the helm, and it was time to move on. He will compete for a spot against UDFA Tom Hackett, who has had an impressive college career. Edwards has a great knack for hang time which gives him an edge. His career has dropped 38.9 percent of his punts inside 20-yard line.
The last pick of our draft goes to Charone Peake drafted from Clemson. Peake has a great shot of making this roster considering where he was taken from. This could be a steal and many believed he could have been a 3rd or 4th round pick. His knee injuries in college may have been that red flag that pushed him into the 8th round. Peake looks the part of a WR1, and has the size, strength and speed to be a good NFL receiver. Peake also plays with consistent lean and acceleration into routes. His struggled with drops in his career could have led to his fall on draft boards as well.