New York Jets Draft Picks: Six New Faces Added, Four On Offense, Two On Defense

New York Jets draft picks throughout the weekend

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9 Total Updates since April 28, 2011
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Initial Thoughts On Jets 2011 Draft Class

A collection of initial thoughts on the New York Jets 2011 draft class -

  • They finally took a major step towards building their defensive line for the future with the selections of Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis. In an ideal world, the two of them and Mike DeVito would anchor the Jets 3-4 for the coming 5-7 years. Wilkerson should be a terrific player in this system and the Jets got excellent value with him. Ellis has potential but major character concerns and will obviously have a much harder time earning reps this season than Wilkerson.
  • I am still a little surprised the Jets spent a fourth round pick on a running back. I am not sure the pick is a referendum on anybody currently on their depth chart. I just think they found Bilal Powell to be good value at that spot and liked his skill set. LaDainian Tomlinson is going to be gone after this season, so Powell should be able to develop into Shonn Greene's primary backup for the long term...that is if Greene develops into the lead back, the team is hoping for. You never know, Powell could be the number one back on opening day in 2012. For now, he should be a core special teams player and battle Joe McKnight for the limited reps behind Greene and Tomlinson.
  • We knew the Jets would to address the receiver position and they did by selecting TCU's Jeremy Kerley and Mark Sanchez's buddy, Colorado's Scotty McKnight. Both players project more as slot receivers, with Kerley looking like a Brad Smith replacement, with his experience running the football and return ability. The guy had a knack for making big plays in college and finding the end-zone. McKnight will be a nice story and should have a pretty good chance of sticking on the roster if he can find a way to contribute on special teams.
  • I was very happy to see the Jets decided to invest in a long term backup for Mark Sanchez at quarterback. Greg McElroy was a winner in college, who has terrific intangibles and sounds like he has the right mindset to come work into being the Jets long term #2 quarterback option.
  • I was disappointed to see the Jets add no linebackers. They remain very thin at both the inside and outside position. Beyond that, they still haven't taken any steps to improve the pass rush coming from the outside linebacker position in the 3-4, by failing to find a heir apparent to Bryan Thomas, who could provide a boost on passing downs. Clearly, they have faith in Jamaal Westerman and Josh Mauga to develop into quality depth players who can contribute in some packages.
  • The Jets also ignored their secondary, which would make you think they are confident that most of their free agents will be returning in that area. Don't forget Antonio Cromartie, Drew Coleman, Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo, and Brodney Pool all need new contracts. 
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New York Jets Draft Picks: Scotty McKnight, Wide Receiver, Colorado

The Jets concluded their 2011 draft class by selecting Colorado WR Scotty McKnight, who also happens to be Mark Sanchez's childhood best friend. McKnight doesn't have impressive measurables but was ultra productive in college and obviously has good chemistry with Sanchez from all the time they spent working out together. 

The Final 2011 Jets Draft Class

 

  • Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
  • Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton
  • Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville
  • Jeremy Kerler, WR, TCU
  • Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama
  • Scotty McKnight, WR, Colorado

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New York Jets Draft Picks: Greg McElroy, Quarterback, Alabama

The Jets have hopefully finally found their long term backup for Mark Sanchez by selecting Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy in the seventh round of the NFL Draft. He is a proven winner with strong intangibles. This decision will likely mean the end of Kellen Clemens career with the Jets, as McElroy will probably be the number three quarterback this year behind Sanchez and Mark Brunell.

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New York Jets Draft Picks: Jeremy Kerley, Wide Receiver, TCU

The New York Jets traded up eight spots in the fifth round to draft TCU wide receiver Jeremy Kerley. As expected the Jets addressed the wide receiver position which is surrounded by uncertainty. They gave up their sixth round pick in the deal, which was with the Eagles. Their next selection is in the 7th round (227th overall). 

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New York Jets Draft Picks: Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville

With their fourth round selection, the Jets have taken Louisville running Bilal Powell. He is 5'11, 207 pounds, and ran a 4.51 40 yard dash. He is a physical, power runner. It will be interesting to see where he fits into the Jets plans at running back moving forward. 

More to come...

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NFL Draft 2011: Jets Take Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton In Round 3

With their third-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft (94th) overall the New York Jets addressed their need for a nose tackle by drafting mountainous Kenrick Ellis, a 6-foot-5, 346-pound defensive tackle from Hampton.

“We really feel that with him and the addition of Muhammad (Wilkerson), we have added youth and athleticism up front to a group we thought was good and now, hopefully, we have made that position better,” said Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum. “We thought that we were just a little short and a little concerned about the depth up front so both these players are going to help us.”

Ellis is one of those ‘high-risk, high-reward’ players who comes with character concerns.

Tannenbaum said the Jets are “comfortable” with Ellis.

“Based on all the information we have, we feel good about the player. We feel that it was appropriate to take him where we took him and we will move forward from there,” Tannenbaum said. “He is going to come in here with a clean slate and we are going to move forward together.”

In looking at what the Jets have done thus far, they had questions on the defensive line. It is obvious they targeted trying to address them.

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Thoughts On Wilkerson and Where Jets Go From Here

I think the general consensus on the New York Jets selecting Muhammad Wilkerson in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft was that they got excellent value. Wilkerson fell further than expected and has the talent, versatility, and size to become an immediate difference maker on the Jets defense. The Jets will likely let Shaun Ellis leave via free agency now and have Wilkerson slide in at starting defensive end in their 3-4 looks. He also has the ability to move inside to defensive tackle when they go to a four man front. Honestly, it still wouldn't hurt to bring Ellis or at least Trevor Pryce back to mentor Wilkerson and allow him to begin as more of a rotational player.

Either way the Jets have to be happy getting somebody as talented as Wilkerson with the 30thoverall pick. The real question is now where they go from here. Many players the Jets were linked with in the first round like Akeem Ayers, Brooks Reed, Jabaal Sheard, and Justin Houston are still available. It could be very difficult for Mike Tannenbaum to sit still without a second round pick. The Jets don't select again to the 94th overall pick, which is at the back end of the third round.

The Jets don't have much ammunition to trade up into round two but if Ayers or Reed start sliding, they might have to dip into their selections next year to make a move. If they can leave this draft with Wilkerson and one of the outside linebackers they were targeting in round one, it could be worth it.

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Reaction To Wilkerson Selection

A few selected quotes from New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, head coach Rex Ryan, and the newest member of the Jets, Muhammad Wilkerson --

MIKE TANNENBAUM:  He was a guy that we had identified for a while.  The thinking was that he is going to come in and give us definite versatility on the defensive line.  (He is) 6’4", 315 (pounds).  He had earned a single-digit at Temple, which means he had a very successful offseason.  He’s a local guy.  It’s interesting, I had a really good talk with Al Golden, who coached him at Temple.  Al was at Virginia with D’Brickashaw (Ferguson).  I thought they had a lot of similar attributes in terms of work ethic and demeanor.  I think he’s one of those players that, in Rex’s defense, is going to do whatever it takes to be successful.  In building our team, something Rex and I talked about the last two years was we feel like depth at the defensive line position was something that was a concern.  To get someone of his ability, we’re really excited about that.

REX RYAN: I don’t see him as a nose tackle, but I see where this young man can play defensive end in our system and tackle, as well.  I see him as a possible three-down contributor for us, but we’ll see.  He’s going to have to come in here and earn his reps and everything else.  We think he’s going to be an outstanding player for us.

You love to have a pass rusher whether it comes from the outside or inside.  This young man can certainly do it.  Mike (Tannenbaum and Joey Clinkscales) already talked about his pass rush numbers.  I think he had nine-and-a-half sacks this year so obviously he has a lot of production.  You look at that as an interior pass rusher and that is hard to do.  Clearly, we’re excited about it.  He has a huge wing span.  I think his arms are 35 ¼ inches long.  That’s up there.  That’s D’Brickashaw (Ferguson) type arms.  We’re excited about that.  From an inside pass rusher, that’s really what you look for.  We compared him to a young Trevor Pryce when he came out of Clemson.

MUHAMMAD WILKERSON: I thought it was going to happen. I had a great visit when I went to visit the Jets and did the workout for them and when that 30th pick came around, I just had that feeling that they were going to pick me up.

I can move along the line (and) play any position (on the) defensive line. That’s a credit to Temple playing in a 4-3 and a 3-4. It helped me out and I can fit in with whatever they need to be done at any position.

That’s a tremendous defense that they have over there and I’m glad to be a part of it. I think I can come in and help the defense be even more destructive than it is.

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