-Matt Magill and Justin Lasher
Just like you, Justin and Matt have their favorite NFL teams. Just like you, they were both waiting with baited breath as the draft picks rolled in over the weekend. Sure, they could cover all the picks in the entire draft, breaking down and grading which teams did well and which teams were the Chicago Bears. Instead, Justin and Matt are breaking down the Jets and Cowboys, respectively, so you can get a fan’s perspective on the draft from two teams in drastically different places in terms of what they were looking for and where they were picking. If you want to contribute with your thoughts on your favorite team (even if it’s the Jets or Cowboys) drop us a line and let us know.
Draft Haul –
Taco Charlton (No. 28 overall), Chidobe Awuzie (No. 60 overall), Jourdan Lewis (No. 92 overall), Ryan Switzer (No. 133 overall), Xavier Woods (No. 191 overall), Marquez White (No. 216 overall), Joey Ivie (No. 228 overall), Noah Brown (No. 239 overall), Jordan Carrell (No. 246 overall)
The Cowboys went into the draft with an express need to get better at defense. Not only was this need brought on by the fact that their defense was far from championship caliber last year (and for the last few years if we’re being honest) and because they lost so many pieces in free agency this year. As Cowboys fans, we may not have been too happy with guys like Carr or Claiborne, but going into the year with a big question mark is even scarier, especially given where Dallas was last year.
Dallas definitely addressed the two most glaring issues on their team, the secondary and the defensive line with the majority of their draft picks. Save for two wide receivers, Dallas focused solely on those two areas of need and played this draft like a team that knew they were a couple players away from contending. Top pick Taco Charlton was a wise addition to the defensive line. It creates a bit of a logjam there this year, but provides the opportunity for young guys to push the vets, making everyone better (or weeding out the dead weight). Besides, what better system, what better coach than Rod Marinelli to teach a young defensive lineman? I would have liked to see Dallas trade down out of the first and pick up an extra pick or two, like Green Bay did one pick later, but I can’t fault the Cowboys for taking who they did and filling a huge hole.
Versatility at the Corner/Safety position was the name of the game with Awuzie in the second round. This gives insurance in case Anthony Brown falls back to earth or Jeff Heath becomes the Jeff Heath we all remember and not the Jeff Heath from the season-ending Packers game last year.
Why take wide receivers? The Cowboys have a decent pass receiving corps already, however it’s not great. Can Beasley replicate last year’s success? Does Dez ever return to form as one of the best receivers in the game? Can Witten squeeze a couple more years of effectiveness out of the end of his career? And what of Terrance Williams? I know the Cowboys just re-signed him, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be pushed to get better. So far, in his career, Williams has yet to separate himself as a true #2 receiver in my opinion, so churning the roster in that regard is not unwise. Plus, receivers and defensive backs also offer versatility in the return game. Essentially, aside from the defensive line positions, Dallas was able to draft two positions in one nearly across the board. That’s how you maximize your draft picks.
I feel like this draft went about as well as it could have considering where the Cowboys were picking. Without big trades (which Jerry thankfully failed to make this year) the Cowboys weren’t going to get the best talent available. They went with their guys though, drafted for positions they needed, and stuck to the plan. Generally, when that happens, the Cowboys wind up with a better draft than when they are movers and shakers to move up. This may not go down as a historically great draft for the Cowboys, but it doesn’t have to, it just has to stay the course. And, bonus, they didn’t draft any injured guys or criminals!
New York “J-E-T-S”:
Draft Haul –
Jamal Adams (No. 6 overall), Marcus Maye (No. 39 overall), ArDarius Stewart (No. 79 overall), Chad Hansen (No. 141 overall), Jordan Leggett (No. 150 overall), Dylan Donahue (No. 181 overall), Elijah McGuire (No. 188 overall), Jeremy Clark (No. 197 overall), Derrick Jones (No. 204 overall)
Leading up to the draft, I was fully expecting The Jets to go quarterback with one of their first two picks. I was praying they would go secondary and make the wiser decision. Much to my surprise, they actually made a football smart decision and addressed the glaring hole in the back end of their defense.
Last season, teams would repeatedly throw the ball up against The Jets porous secondary, to gains of 20 plus yards, and often a long TD. It was horrendous to watch. Call it fate, or luck, Jamal Adams fell right into our laps at #6. Adams will help the secondary in pass defense, but also being able to stuff the run, with his ball hawk like skill set. I was blown away with their second pick that The Jets picked another safety in Marcus Maye. While Maye is probably the more NFL ready to contribute right away compared to Adams in terms of pass defense, this almost solidifies the departure of draft bust Calvin Pryor.
The Jets continued to please me with their next two selections, picking two solid receivers that will add depth to a much needed position as we enter into the West Coast Offense. ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen are two solid athletes with good hands, that I feel will contribute right away. Stewart is more of a deep ball threat while Hansen will help move the chains. If we see injuries to our receiving corps like last year, we should be more suited to be productive rather than the mess we had to witness in 2016.
With the 150th overall pick, I believe The Jets selected one of the steals in the draft with TE Jordan Leggett out of Clemson. Not only does Leggett have good legs, he can catch the ball, something we haven’t seen out of a TE in New York for some years. New offensive coordinator, John Morton, loves to feature TE’s in his offense, something very refreshing for a position so close to my heart.
I would have been pleased to see some OL help added with the next two picks, to help the offense hide some passing deficiencies and to aid the 4.3 yards per rush in 2016. The picks of small school players Dylan Donahue and Elijah McGuire, don’t wow me, but I will take a wait and see approach here.
Going cornerback with their two final picks add depth to a position of need for The Jets, but I am not sure either one of these players (Clark or Jones) is ready to contribute now. I hope that one or both of these guys can develop into good, solid, players for years to come, but it’s more likely they will be special teams players in the short term.
Overall, I feel The Jets came away a better football team from this year’s draft. They picked up a stud in Adams, a solid player in Maye, and a underrated athlete in Leggett. They were able to address a couple of positions of of need, and they didn’t mortgage the franchise to reach for a quarterback that isn’t ready to contribute (they already have two on their roster). I think they went into the draft knowing they weren’t going to overhaul things in one draft, but they made progress, and that is more than I expected.