Few hold it down like John B at Gang Green Nation. Where he finds the time for all this blogging, I'll never know.
Because of the team's needs, I will need to explain the reasoning behind not picking certain players as much as I need to explain my pick. The Jets have an obvious need at quarterback. Many pundits say, "Rex Ryan saw what drafting a rookie quarterback can do for a team with the Ravens in 2008." This is true, but he also saw how picking the wrong guy can set a franchise back with Kyle Boller. Picking just any signal caller early is not automatically a magical fix.
There are two remaining quarterbacks with a first round grade, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman. They are both very talented and could one day grow into excellent NFL quarterbacks. Both, however, have red flags. Sanchez made pro throws with pinpoint accuracy in the Rose Bowl, torching an excellent Penn State defense. However, he has little game experience, having made only 16 starts in college and was relatively inconsistent. The learning curve will be steeper for him than for other signal callers because of this lack of reps at game speed. Freeman has an above average arm, size, and athletic ability. However, his accuracy and mechanics are suspect. He was mistake-prone as well at K-State. Freeman is a project. Do I think both players could become good one day? Yes. Would I bet the next four to five years of my franchise on it? No, both have too much developing to do.
The Jets have three young quarterbacks, all of whom have displayed promise to varying degrees. Before I roll the dice on a signal caller, I want to make sure I do not already have an answer in place. All I need is to hit one in three among Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff, and Erik Ainge. If I miss on all three, I can look to address the position next year. If I take Sanchez or Freeman, I am putting all of my eggs into that basket and will lose four to five years with a miss.
With this in mind, I am taking the local Jersey kid, who became a star at the University of Georgia. Since the Jets are returning the AFC’s leading rusher, Thomas Jones, and Leon Washington, who averaged 5.8 per carry a year ago, this might seem unnecessary. The reality is Jones will be 31 at the start of the 2009 season. He is a senior citizen in terms of running back age. It could all go south for him at any moment. He is also reportedly unhappy with his contract. Since Drew Rosenhaus is his agent, there is no telling how ugly this could get. When all of this is coupled with the reality that cutting Thomas next offseason will clear out about $6 million in cap room, this is probably his last season in green and white. A succession plan needs to be in place sooner rather than later.
Moreno is the total package. The Georgia product runs with authority between the tackles and has the agility to run effectively outside. He couples above average burst and strength with elite vision and cutbackability (I’m making up words like Mel Kiper now). His receiving and blocking skills will make him an every down back in the pros. His timed 40 was in the 4.6 range, which is below average and raised red flags for some. I would only worry about this if Roger Goodell adds a track and field component to every football game. Moreno ran for 5.5 yards per rush in his career while playing against the fastest defenses in the country in the SEC.
There are two possibilities here. If Jones declines or forces his way out, the Jets will have a natural replacement in place. If Jones continues to be a productive runner, the Jets will couple their elite run blocking line with a three headed monster at running back that can pound on and wear down defenses for four quarters. Moreno will have a mentor with a similar running style in T.J.
The 2009 Jets will be a team carried by ball control and defense. Instead of addressing a weakness at receiver, I am making this strength, which will be essential to my success this season, stronger. I am not going to invest big in a receiver when my unsettled quarterback situation could limit his effectiveness. The constant eight man fronts my elite running back rotation will force will do plenty to open things up for my passing game.
MTD thoughts: How can I argue with such sound reasoning? Easy. The Jets need to fill holes, not add depth in the first round. John B probably won't like it, but if the Jets want one of those quarterbacks to succeed, a wide receiver is a huge need. With Ryan as the new coach, I also wouldn't be surprised to see a rush linebacker if he doesn't believe in either Vernon Gholston or Bryan Thomas. Moreno is a fantastic value here, but not necessarily a pick the Jets need to make.
Mocking the Draft's Top Five Remaining Prospects - WR Jeremy Maclin, CB Vontae Davis, RB Chris Wells, QB Mark Sanchez, DE Michael Johnson