The 2013 NFL Draft is drawing closer, which means it's a good time to take a look at what the New York Jets could reasonably walk away with. The Jets have some clear needs but are looking to make sure they hit on definite contributors as they try to dig in their heels and stop this franchise from continuing to slide downhill. Names like Chance Warmack and Jarvis Jones could help early on in the 2013 NFL Draft, while someone like Trent Steelman could be a nice late addition.
Round One: Jarvis Jones, Georgia – Put aside the Pro Day times and realize that he dominated the SEC for two full seasons after the spinal stenosis diagnosis. Jarvis Jones is a bona fide sack artist built to fly off the edge in an attacking defense. With a strong, young defensive line already in place, Jarvis Jones and Antwan Barnes could be a deadly combo coming off the edge. Chance Warmack of Alabama and Barkevious Mingo of LSU also have to be in the discussion, but we're going with Jarvis Jones.
Round Two: Zach Ertz, Stanford – After the departure of Dustin Keller, the Jets need a tight end that can come in and contribute immediately for Marty Mornhinweg and whoever ends up under center. Zach Ertz should produce from day one and gives the Jets a nice target at tight end.
Round Three: Hugh Thornton, Illinois – Big, physical, tough, nasty blocker with some attitude problems. Nothing wrong with an offensive lineman who has a chip on his shoulder. Hugh Thornton started at left guard for three years before moving out to tackle as a senior and playing well on the edge. Would slot in nicely back inside at one of the guard spots. Quick and powerful. With Thornton, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Willie Colon and Austin Howard, the Jets could have a big, physical offensive line.
Round Four: Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse – He's been linked to the Jets over and over as an option to help solve their need at safety. An explosive player who dealt with some injuries in college.
Round Five: Jordan Mills, Louisiana Tech – Good at getting to the second level, but a bit raw. Needs some technical development in his pass sets, but has nice size and looks like a future starter at right tackle. Austin Howard filled the void last season as best he could and is still developing, but there's nothing wrong with some insurance.
Round Six: Joe Kruger, Utah – Utah has become a nice producer of NFL talent and Kruger not only has that going for him but his older brother, Paul Kruger, is a productive outside linebacker who just signed a big deal with the Cleveland Browns. Joe Kruger probably should have stayed for his senior season at Utah, but he would add some depth to the front seven with nice upside.
Round Seven: Trent Steelman, Army – The Jets have been hot on the trail with Trent Steelman as the Army quarterback attempts to make his NFL dream a reality. It could depend on how the Jets think the rest of the league values Steelman, whether they can slip him into the pool of undrafted free agents. If you like him, take him. He can serve multiple purposes including depth in the receiving corps, Wildcat quarterback and special teams.
Roundup: A sack artist, a starting tight end, offensive line help, a safety and two underrated developmental prospects. That would be a pretty nice haul for John Idzik in his first NFL Draft as general manager of the Jets. Some might covet a running back or wide receiver, but the Jets need to draft foundation. Running backs can be found in the later round or amongst undrafted free agents, plus the Jets already signed Mike Goodson. This draft seems to have a lot of smaller, quicker wide receivers. Being that Santonio Holmes isn't a big No. 1 wide receiver and they have a nice slot receiver in Jeremy Kerley, if the Jets are going to draft a pure receiver before the late rounds it should be someone with a bigger build like Aaron Dobson of Marshall.