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The New York Draft...PASS, FAIL OR PUSH?

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The 2013 NFL draft is complete, and all 32 teams have defined their future without completely knowing how. Teams use the NFL draft as a building block for their roster. It’s the best way to work toward a championship by obtaining good, if not dynamic talent at positions of need, all at an inexpensive price. That being said, let’s analyze what each of the three New York teams did, starting with the 8th Pick, the St Louis Rams Select??? What the…

That’s right… If you read the Final Breakdown, posted just hours before the draft started, I managed to get this one right almost perfectly. Everything I read, said as much smoke the Bills and Jets were blowing about former West Virginia WR Tavon Austin the St Louis Rams were not leaving this draft without him. They sent picks #16, 46, 78 and 222 in order to get Austin and the #71 pick, of which the Bills should have been thankful to get such a bounty. Think about this, Darrelle Revis got the Jets the #13 overall and a 3rd round pick next year, while a kid who has yet to play an NFL down, was able to haul a first round pick only 3 picks lower than what the Jets got for Revis, as well as a 2nd, a 3rd, and a 7th round pick in a draft class as an organization, you should already be prepared for. To me that’s amazing. I get the slot receiver in the NFL is a really sexy position and with guys like Wes Welker, Victor Cruz, and Danny Amendola getting new big contracts. (We all know Cruz is getting paid!), there should be a certain allure to giving your quarterback a guy who fits that mold. Sam Bradford should be thrilled. Austin will be an immediate upgrade along with college teammate Stedman Bailey to give the Rams some legitimate threats across the middle. Now, finally we can get to the Bills.

With the #16 pick in the 2013 NFL draft the Buffalo Bills select: Florida State QB E.J. Manuel.
Wait… what?? Not Geno Smith? Not Syracuse Alum Ryan Nassib? Not possible 1st rounder in 2012 USC Matt Barkley? No folks, the Bills seem to think that charisma can win you football games. If you listen to an interview with Manuel, you can’t help but fall in love with the kid. He seems to think and speak clearly and his smile will look great on a cereal box, but can he make a difference for the Bills this year? NO. The Bills took a major risk with this pick. First round picks should be players that fill a need. They got a player that down the line can make an impact, not an immediate one. If we made out grade based on just the first round the Bills would get a PUSH. Good thing we have a few more picks to look thru in a more succinct manner.

#41 – USC WR, Robert Woods – Matt Barkley’s most consistent target should be able to help spread the defense and give Buffalo their wish of using Stevie Johnson in the slot.
#46 – Oregon LB, Kiko Alonso – 81 tackles, 14 for a loss, and 4 INT his senior season at Oregon.
#78 – Texas WR, Marquise Goodwin – Raw receiver with incredible (4.27) 40 speed.
#105 – North Carolina State Safety, Duke Williams – a sure tackler with off field issues that drove him out of the 2nd round. The bills have said he will be on the field in Nickel packages from day 1.
#143 – Clemson Safety, Jonathan Meeks – A 6’ 209lbs “thumper” who fills a need at Strong Safety. DaNorris Searcy should be on notice.
#177 – FSU Kicker, Dustin Hopkins – Hopkins became the NCAA FBS All-time kick scorer with 459 points, and can also kick off, a great value pick in the 6th round.
#222 – Arkansas TE, Chris Gragg – caught 72 passes for 1, 003yards and 4 TD’s in 4 seasons.

PASS, FAIL OR PUSH? – PUSH – The Manuel pick is and overwhelming WHOA to what really isn’t a bad draft for the Bills. GM Buddy Nix got a lot of value late in the draft and as we said before helped his team with good talent at an inexpensive price. In three years, when we see E.J. Manuel either flourish or flop this grade will obviously change from a push.

Up next, with the #9th pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the N.Y. Jets (who probably should have traded one of their top two picks, but decided against it) select Alabama CB Dee Milliner. After trading away their multiple pro-bowl corner Darrelle Revis to Tampa only days before, Rex Ryan and his defensive mindset grabbed Milliner after both Detroit and Cleveland went in a different direction. Milliner was a unanimous 1st team All American in 2012. He finished his college career with 6 INT’s in 30 starts. His numbers are not outstanding, mainly because he had the Nnamdi Asomugha effect, where offenses knew better than to throw in his general direction. Milliner is not afraid to hit anybody, the problem with that is his injury history, including the torn labrum that kept him from fully participating at the NFL combine. Dee will compete with Antonio Cromartie for the CB1 job from day 1 of training camp.
The problem here will be the distractions. Milliner only 5 minutes after being drafted was asked what he thought of the sound of “Milliner Island?” Dee, even if he were to win DROY would still be hiding in the shadow of Revis, and that is something he just can’t control.

With the #13th pick in the 2013 NFL draft the NY Jets select: Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson – This means only one thing. The defense is going back to a 4-3. Richardson is a complimentary player in a 3-4 system but is a pass rushing penetrator in a 4-3. Perhaps the most athletic interior lineman in the draft, Richardson compiled 6 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 18.5 tackles for loss while at Missouri and managed 30 reps of 225lbs at the combine. (Whoa!) As for whether or not it fills a need… NO. The Jets needed an outside rusher or an offensive weapon, even an offensive lineman would have seemed like a more reasonable, safer decision. This pick left most Jets fans hanging their heads. Richardson isn’t going to win the Jets any games the way a Tyler Eifert could have. Even Texas Safety Kenny Vaccaro would have been possibly a better call if you are trying to fill a need. If this was picking the best player on the board, then I again would question; with so many needs, why not trade out of this position in order to obtain more picks for either this draft or next year?
The Jets also traded their 4th round pick to New Orleans for RB Chris Ivory. Ivory is exactly what Rex Ryan always wanted from new Titans back up Shonne Greene. At 27, the Jets signed Chris to a team friendly contract and should be the starter right from the start. This was a great trade on the part of GM John Idzik. Jets fans should be excited to finally have a running game. Let’s review the remainder of the NY Jets selections
#39 – West Virginia QB, Geno Smith – Great value at #39. What some considered the best QB in the weak QB class, Smith will challenge David Garrard for the starting job right away. This clearly spells the end of the line for Mark Sanchez, as the new GM now has his guy at QB. Pack your bags Mark, it may take until the trade deadline to find someone interested in your services, but it’s bound to happen if he isn’t flat out released.
#72 – Kent State OG, Brian Winters – Wrestling background with a nasty streak in him. He is a “brawler” which is exactly what the Jets offensive line needed, some toughness. I had hope the Jets would have decided on a guy like Chance Warmack at #9, Winters is a great complimentary piece while also getting Milliner at #9.
#141 – Virginia OT, Oday Aboushi – 32 starts at LT. He will give the Jets some depth at need position. He is not a starter, but can help fill a hole in case of injury or certain packages.
# 178 – Michigan DT/ OG, William Campbell – A DT the Jets are hoping to turn into a mauler in the middle as depth for the interior line. He put up 35 bench presses of 225lbs at his pro-day which is unbelievable.
#215 – Wake Forest RB/FB, Tommy Bohanon – John Connor is gone, and the Jets will be hoping to find their lead blocker in the 6’1, 246lbs Bohanon.

PASS, FAIL OR PUSH? – FAIL – The NY Jets were in a position to hold this draft hostage with two first round picks, and did nothing to address some serious holes on their roster. The team now has 5 QB’s after releasing Tim Tebow, thank god (no pun intended) and has no targets for whoever wins the QB1 job to throw to. The Offensive line is still a work in progress, as is the pass rush. I fully understand you couldn’t fix this team in one draft. Like the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” I do however, feel trading one of the two top picks the Jets had after the Revis deal would have created both cap space, and given them the ability to fill more holes with good young talent. That’s the deciding factor why the Jets got a failing grade.

And finally last but certainly not least:

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