Kevin White, WR, WVU
As a chemistry major in college, I can have some pretty busy weeks. This week in particular looks fairly busy. So naturally I was excited at the prospect of procrastinating and writing about the NFL Draft. At the risk of my Inorganic Chemistry grade, let's talk football, and specifically, the New York Jets.
Head Coach: Todd Bowles General Manager: Mike Maccagnan
Key Additions: WR Brandon Marshall, CB Darrelle Revis, CB Antonio Cromartie, S Marcus Gilchrist, CB Buster Skrine, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Key Departures: HC Rex Ryan, DT Kenrick Ellis
The Jets sit at #6 in the 2015 NFL draft, and with a boatload of problems to fix. They're a different team from last year, trading out Rex Ryan for Todd Bowles (Hey! I know that name!). And even after being one of the more active teams in free agency, adding Brandon Marshall and Buster Skrine, bringing the old band back together in Darrelle Revis and Antonio (I think that's his name?) Cromartie, the Jets still don't look like a very good team.
And the reason for that is probably their lackluster offense. Geno Smith, now entering his third year in the league, has yet to really catch on in the NFL. He remains to be pretty inaccurate (career completion 57%), and turns the ball over quite a bit (34 career interceptions compared to 25 touchdowns). The running back position doesn't have a clear answer, with the addition of Daryl Richardson largely uninspiring. The wide receiving corps got bolstered by the trade for Brandon Marshall (age 31), and now Eric Decker (age 28) can go back to his natural spot as a solid number 2. Jets fans are perpetually waiting for slot receiver Jeremy Kerley to break out but health and inconsistency have been problems for him. Cumberland doesn't provide much at tight-end, and Jace Amaro hasn't shown much yet either. The O-line is in decent shape, but could use some youth in a hurry.
The defense, as has been customary for the Jets the last few years, is in pretty good shape. Rex Ryan knows defense, and left the Jets with some talent after heading off to Buffalo (Wild Wings). Young studs Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson headline an intimidatingly large front line. The linebackers aren't in bad shape, but could get younger. The secondary was a mess last year, even after pouring two consecutive 1st round picks into the position in 2013 (Dee Milliner) and 2014 (Calvin Pryor). But the Jets went out and got 3 corners and a safety during free agency, fixing the secondary clearly a priority for them. In theory, the secondary should look a lot better, but we'll see how the aging stars in Revis and Cromartie perform.
What you are left with is a team with a good amount of holes and a fan base whose team is stuck in mediocrity. The Jets know that the clock is running out on the Geno Smith experiment, but with no quarterbacks left on the board worthy of the 6th overall pick, they can't address the position here. This leaves the Jets in a tough situation, as fixing the quarterback position is likely at the top of their to-do list. It's not the absolute worst situation, however, as the Jets might not have been sold on Mariota in the first place, and were too far away to grab Winston. Additionally, the team has so many holes that they can add a player from pretty much any position and get away with it in the first round. RB? WR? TE? Sure, all team needs. What about a Pass Rusher? ILB? S? All good choices as well. The dearth of talent on the roster is why they are picking at number 6 in the draft. Infusing youth and talent are top priorities in East Rutherford, which prompts the Jets to take the highest rated player left on their board, Kevin White, WR, West Virginia.
White measures in at 6'3" and ran a blistering 4.35 at the combine. He's widely regarded as either the ‘1a' or ‘1b' receiver in this class, and for good reason. That combination of size and speed is hard to find, and he's worked on his hands to the point where you can trust him to go up and get a ball. White had a spectacular senior season at West Virginia, where he set school records by recording 7 straight 100-yd receiving games to start the season, and 16 receptions against Texas. White has the rare ability to use his size and athletic prowess to go up over the top of a defender and high point the ball, making him the type of receiver NFL offensive coordinators covet.
White has great potential, but he's not as polished as fellow number 1 wideout prospect Amari Cooper. It might take him a bit longer to catch on in the NFL, but White has all the physical tools to be a successful NFL wide receiver; it's just a matter of him putting it all together at the next level.
White fits in with the Jets current wide receiving corps quite well. Don't let the ridiculously talented WR class of 2014 fool you, wide receiver can be one of the hardest positions to transition to coming out of college. Brandon Marshall might not be the best mentor in terms of character (Although I'm a big fan, and he's pretty outspoken about an issue I don't think gets enough attention in today's world. You can check out his foundation to raise awareness for mental health disorders here), but both he and Decker have had good success in the NFL, and can bring White along a path where he can succeed. White can learn behind two accomplished wide receivers, and pick up a few tricks of the trade while he waits for the front office to find an answer at quarterback, or for Geno Smith to develop. In a couple years, I can see White becoming a Brandon Marshall type receiver, a go-to guy with some speed who can also come down with some tough catches.
The bottom line here is that the Jets need talent and in a hurry. Kevin White is the player with the most talent and upside left at this point in the draft, and that makes him the pick at #6.
1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (slickpablovick) - Jameis Winston, QB, FSU - [Explanation]
2) Tennessee Titans (mchiodo) - Leonard Williams, DE, USC - [Explanation]
3) Jacksonville Jaguars ("Snax") - Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, UF - [Explanation]
4) Oakland Raiders (kylebruneault) - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama - [Explanation]
5) Washington Redskins (BigTimeTMZ) - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - [Explanation]
6) New York Jets (4thand26) - Kevin White, WR, WVU - [Explanation]
7) Chicago Bears (rohan915) -
8) Atlanta Falcons (GMinTraining) -
9) New York Giants (Grandpapa Joe) -
10) St. Louis Rams (deg0ey) -
11) Minnesota Vikings (ablesser88) -
12) Cleveland Browns (djcunningham) -
13) New Orleans Saints (del.champion) -
14) Miami Dolphins (drc242) -
15) San Francisco 49ers (SleepingDuck) -
16) Houston Texans (JaviYL) -
17) San Diego Chargers (StoneColeKiller58) -
18) Kansas City Chiefs (jimmyrustler) -
19) Cleveland Browns (NowWhat?) -
20) Philadelphia Eagles (sports00fan00) -
21) Cincinnati Bengals (Zach_The_Gamecock) -
22) Pittsburgh Steelers (KJ Brophy) -
23) Detroit Lions (KamiKazeJEDI) -
24) Arizona Cardinals (ItownBallers22) -
25) Carolina Panthers (AndyMcNabb) -
26) Baltimore Ravens (dceagles) -
27) Dallas Cowboys (kamjam) -
28) Denver Broncos (WubbaLubbaDubDub) -
29) Indianapolis Colts (ei78) -
30) Green Bay Packers (Nka727) -
31) New Orleans Saints (SwoopThereItIs) -
32) New England Patriots (naderg43) -