While there isn't much optimism surrounding the Jets as we head towards camp, Jets fans are still keen to see this year's rookie class in action.
For an informed take on what to expect, we turned to Pro Football Focus Draft Analyst Jordan Plocher for his take...
JetsFix: From this year's draft, obviously taking Jamal Adams with the sixth pick was the headline move. Was that the right pick ... and if not, who else could they have taken there?
PFF: I think it was the right pick for a few reasons. One, Adams is a tremendous leader in the locker room. Two, he was one of the 5-6 blue-chip prospects in the class and largely only there because of the QB trade and offensive skill players that were taken before him. Three, his versatility means he can play corner or safety.
JetsFix: Selecting another safety with the second pick certainly raised eyebrows, but the assumption is that they hope to shore up that position for the next few years. How do you think the Jets could employ Marcus Maye and Adams, assuming they are to be on the field together?
PFF: Bowles loves to use safeties in different ways and in different spots on the field. If they are two of the best 11 defensive players on the team then he will have them out there together in a variety of ways. Bowles has said before that safeties in his scheme are interchangeable so I think both guys will be flip-flopped back and forth and allow Bowles to be creative with his sub packages. Furthermore, Bowles has been known to field more than 2 safeties at once.
JetsFix: Generally speaking, were there any specific players that you thought would have been a good fit with the Jets that perhaps they passed on or didn't get the chance to select?
PFF: Honestly, there was so many good corners I thought they would take one early but things didn’t fall that way. They did pick up two developmental height/weight/speed corners in Jeremy Clark and Derrick Jones.
JetsFix: Wide receivers ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen seem to bring different things to the table. Which one could you see making on-field contributions sooner? Does either of them have a higher ceiling than the other?
PFF: Both players were brought in for the toughness they bring to the offensive side of the ball more so than their speed or any other characteristic. Stewart wasn’t used a ton and Coach Bowles was really impressed by his route running in workouts so I would have to say Stewart has the higher ceiling.
JetsFix: Tight end Jordan Leggett was one of the better known prospects that the Jets ended up with, due to his role on the national title-winning Clemson Tigers. He seems like more of a possession option than a big play threat, but what sort of production do you think he could provide if he gets adequate playing time?
PFF: They wanted to add a pass-catching tight end and Leggett fits that profile. However, I would guard against having too high of expectations about rookie skill players production, especially without a strong returning starter at quarterback.
JetsFix: The Jets also selected running back Elijah McGuire on day three. He's a player who was considered more of a top prospect early on in his college career, but fell back following some injuries. Just how good was he in that early part of his career? Should that be considered significant or is a player's more recent body of work a better indicator of what they can do?
PFF: The Jets GM Mike Macaggnan has expressed that they frequently examine multiple years of film on prospects especially players they plan on selecting early in the draft. They definitely factored his entire body of work into their decision as his 2014 season was very productive. McGuire’s rushing grades actually went down each of the last two seasons as his snaps have increased. I know they valued his ability to be a punt and kick returner considerably and that is where he will start.
JetsFix: For a player like fifth round pick Dylan Donahue, how would PFF go about making an assessment of his pro potential? I assume you didn't get to break down many of West Georgia's games, but even if you did, what are you looking for in terms of a player like Donahue facing lower-level competition?
PFF: Against lower level of competition you just want to see the prospect win a lot of match-ups so even though we aren’t grading a prospect like Donahue we will still turn our PFF-trained eyes towards his performance against his opponent. You should never have to ask what a players number is if they come from a school that small because they better stand out so much you can tell who they are on the first play. You also want to see an identifiable NFL-trait like size or speed or agility. With Donahue Coach Greene really valued his intensity and pass-rush ability so that is why he’s a Jet.
JetsFix: The team took a couple of cornerbacks (Jeremy Clark and Derrick Jones) with their last few picks, perhaps as developmental-type projects. That obviously makes them difficult to project but did you see anything in either that suggests they could have an NFL future?
PFF: Both of the players are height/weight/speed prospects that represent a low-risk/high-yield at this point late in the draft. Coach Bowles’s defense is at its best when he has two press man corners on the outside that are so good he can do whatever he wants with the other 9 defensive players. Bowles’s defense gets scary good when it reaches that level so if either of these guys pan out in that aspect it will represent a home-run for the Jets. PFF’s Big-10 analyst Josh Liskiewitz is high on Clark’s ability.
JetsFix: In terms of the undrafted free agents, were there any players from this year's haul that stood out to you for any reason?
PFF: Gabe Marks is one of the more productive wide receivers in the history of the Pac-12 and a fierce competitor. I will not be surprised if Marks makes the team. Patrick Gamble stood out to me with his ability to generate an interior pass-rush and his knack for controlling the wrists of the man trying to block him.
JetsFix: To finish up, do you have any details on what we can expect from PFF during the upcoming season?
PFF: New website, new products, new podcasts, new team partners.
JetsFix: Once again, a big thanks to Jordan and PFF for sharing their views. You can follow Jordan on twitter here.