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2013 NFL Draft: New York Jets Set to Grab a Pass Rusher in the First Round?

February 26th, 2013 at 7:23 AM
By Donald Lappe

After seeing the putrid offensive production the team put forth in 2012, a lot of people are assuming the New York Jets need to use their first round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft on the offense. On the contrary, the Jets might be better served to grab a rare commodity: the elite pass rusher that Rex Ryan has coveted since he arrived in New York in 2009. If the end goal is winning a Super Bowl at some point in the near future, the Jets will get closer to that target by adding a rare asset instead of drafting for need in the Top 10 of the 2013 NFL Draft. Names like Jarvis Jones and Damontre Moore are supposedly falling down the draft board, putting the Jets in a perfect position to grab a talented pass rusher.

The New York Jets own the ninth selection in 2013 NFL Draft. When a team is in the the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, a lot went wrong the season before. Being in the Top 10 choices presents an opportunity to grab rare talents that typically don't become available via free agency. Mainly elite quarterbacks, left tackles and pass rushers.

There's a reason why you don't see many high-level quarterbacks, left tackles and pass rushers hit the free agent market. Teams don't want to lose a rare commodity like that, which is what made the Mario Williams sweepstakes last offseason such a rare happening and that's why it ended with such a massive contract. The vast majority of the time, if you want to add an elite player at one of those positions, you have to do so with a Top 10 draft pick.

That's why the Jets will be better served drafting a pass rusher at No. 9 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft rather than seeking out a fix for an offensive need. The Jets have a former Top 10 pick at left tackle in D'Brickashaw Ferguson and there's no quarterback worthy of such a high pick this year. That leaves pass rusher as the final piece to that group of rare assets that can separate elite teams from average ones. And if the Jets aren't planning on being in the Top 10 selections in the NFL Draft again for quite awhile, it might be their last chance to grab one. They don't want to return to the level of play they reached in 2009 and 2010 once again only to be stricken by the same missing piece of the puzzle on defense.  

For once, the Jets are in luck. The 2013 NFL Draft has plenty of talented pass rushers, and like the overall 2013 NFL Draft class, the top prospects seem to have some defect moving them down the draft board. These are the kinds of things that become an issue in the lengthy lead up to the NFL Draft but are soon forgotten when the prospect becomes a player and starts piling up sacks on the stat sheet. The two most intriguing names are Jarvis Jones of Georgia and Damontre Moore of Texas A&M.

Jarvis Jones has fallen down the 2013 NFL Draft board because of a neck injury related to spinal stenosis. It's an issue that ended his time playing for USC, as the Trojans refused to put him back on the field. After passing every test at Georgia, the Bulldogs allowed him to play and he repaid them by terrorizing the SEC. Jones posted 14.5 sacks in 2012 and 13.5 in 2011. He wasn't piling those up against bad teams, either. In two games against the Florida Gators the past two seasons he recorded a combined seven sacks. Georgia won those two games by a combined 12 points.

Damontre Moore essentially stepped in a Von Miller's replacement at Texas A&M. With some apparent character issues and a rough 2013 NFL Combine, he's sliding down the board in the first round. He posted 21 sacks over his last two seasons with the Aggies. Doesn't that sound like the kind of player who ends up falling to a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers in the middle of the first round and goes on to pile up sacks over the course of his NFL career? If the Jets believe in the game tape and not the results on the track and the bench press, they shouldn't be afraid to draft Damontre Moore.

There are other options as well, such as Barkevious Mingo, Dion Jordan and Bjoern Werner. But under other circumstances, Jarvis Jones and Damontre Moore would likely be locks to go in the first five selections. The Jets should let other teams' losses be their gain and draft the pass rusher they have been longing for.

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Tags: 2013 NFL Draft, Damontre Moore, elite, Football, Free Agency, Jarvis Jones, Mario Williams, New York, New York Jets, NFL, NFL Combine, Rex Ryan

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