New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan is every media outlet’s dream: the very quotable coach known for his outlandish statements. From him not kissing Bill Belichick’s rings, to his Jets winning the Super Bowl, the coach did not shy away from what was on his mind — no matter how ridiculous it sounded. Well, there’s another one to add in there: Rex Ryan believes the Jets are the winners of the 2013 NFL draft.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The Jets, due to no depth and lack of talent on their roster, have started five rookies this season, and have seen varying degrees of success. Dee Milliner has been benched a few times already; Geno Smith is struggling, and the linemen they drafted are having trouble blocking. However, despite the rookies’ struggles, save for Sheldon Richardson, coach Ryan lauded this draft class.
“If this is not an A-plus class, I don’t know what you’re looking [at],” said Ryan. “Mostly our whole draft class except for two players is producing and actually doing something to contribute to wins and these losses. I most definitely would grade us out an A-plus, though. We’re just trying to keep contributing and get better.”
That’s nice, but Ryan, who is basing it on his rookies starting, does not exactly have better options to go with. So, is the Jets’ draft class really an A-plus?
Let’s take a look.
The No. 9 pick is struggling to say the least. Milliner, who was rated as the best cover corner coming out of the 2013 NFL draft, was expected to fill the hole left behind by the departure of Darrelle Revis, but he has looked very below average this season.
Rookies struggle, but Milliner doesn’t look like he belongs with the starters; he doesn’t look like a No. 9 pick. The rookie is unable to cover, unable to tackle and it appears that he is having trouble recognizing situations in which the ball would come his way.
The No. 13 pick — a pick the Jets acquired when they shipped Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Sheldon Richardson has been playing out of his mind this season.
Richardson has made an instant impact on defense and has found himself in consideration for Rookie Defensive Player of the Year honors. He has given the Jets organization and its fans hope for the future. In 13 games, Richardson has shown his prowess in the pass-rush with over 18 quarterback hurries, 3.5 sacks, four QB hits and one forced fumble. On run defense, Richardson has 64 tackles (25 stuffed runs).
It has been a very Jekyll and Hyde season for second-round pick Geno Smith as he’s taken his team and their fans on a roller coaster ride. Because of his mistakes, the Jets are 5-7. The quarterback has some major flaws: he drops too far back, he doesn’t go through his progressions and gets rattled easily when he feels the pressure or gets hit. At times, Smith looks like he throws the ball just to avoid getting hit.
The Jets’ third-round pick has given up nine sacks since replacing Vladimir Ducasse (another draft bust) at the guard position in Week 5 — the second-most among all NFL linemen and the worst among guards in the league.
Oday Aboushi & Will Campbell
Oday Aboushi (fifth-round pick) and Will Campbell (sixth-round pick) have both inactive for every game this season — quite the impact.
Fullback Tommy Bohanon, a seventh-round pick, has failed to make an impact on the team, playing just 38 percent of the team’s snaps. Why the Jets would draft a fullback is beyond comprehension, but that’s another story.