Draft season is upon us as free agency quiets down and prospect watch goes into overdrive. But the reality for us is that we’re not that involved in the College side of things, but that doesn’t mean we’re not fans of the draft.
For me though that means reflecting back on drafts gone by to tell you which teams made the best picks and which ones the worst. So as I do every year I’m grading every draft pick from 2009 through to 2011 on the PFF rating scale (-2 to +2), factoring in where they were drafted, injuries and a host of other things.
Up first? Well we’re moving in draft order so it’s the New York Jets.
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
Nor here …
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Matt Slauson, OG (193rd overall pick in 2009): If you can find a slightly above average guard in the sixth rough and then get over 3,000 snaps out of him you’ve done well. Very well. It’s not the most glamorous pick and he’s not the greatest guard the Jets have ever had, but don’t be fooled into downplaying what a great get this was.
Muhammad Wilkerson, DE (30th overall pick in 2011): If Wilkerson had been able to repeat his 2012 then this might have ventured into the 1.5 territory. As it is, he took a step back after his big breakout year where he was one of the best defensive players in all of football. Still, even if 2013 turns out to be the rule and 2012 the exception, the Jets will still be happy with this productive (and versatile) talent.
Jeremy Kerley, WR (153rd overall pick in 2011): You get the feeling more is to come from Kerley, especially if he can get more consistent play from the quarterback spot and if he has more viable options catching balls alongside him. Still, for a fifth-rounder to develop into a starting receiver who is especially productive from the slot, the Jets can’t complain.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Joe McKnight, KR (113th overall pick in 2010): Perhaps I’m being a little kind here because McKnight really didn’t deliver on offense. But I do value a good returner and his work in both 2011 and 2012 added a dimension to the team.
0.0: It could have been worse
Shonn Greene, RB (65th overall pick in 2009): Never quite took the step to being the kind of feature back you could rely on week after week. Running behind a strong offensive line and with plenty of opportunity to make plays, he delivered about what you’d expect from a third round running back. Which is to say he really didn’t wow you.
Kendrick Ellis, DT (94th overall pick in 2011): Playing time has been the biggest problem for Ellis who has managed just 519 snaps in his career with the Jets. That’s incredibly frustrating because when he has been on the field he’s played extremely well (+15.1 career grade). Somewhat buried on one of the strongest fronts in the league.
Bilal Powell, RB (126th overall pick in 2011): Another mid-round running back who has managed to eat up some snaps (1,062) without ever making the starting spot his own. Better suited to a third down back role or playing second fiddle to a more explosive runner.
John Conner, FB (140th overall pick in 2010): Conner has proved an impressive lead blocker during his stops off in various spots, but his time in New York is remembered more for his Hard Knocks cameo than his regular season play. Still, not every fifth rounder goes on to play 569 snaps on offense.
Greg McElroy, QB (208th overall pick in 2011): A developmental quarterback who had his chances but just didn’t have the talent to prosper at the NFL level. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Scotty McKnight, WR (228th overall pick in 2011): Spent a year with the team but most of that on injured reserve after tearing his ACL.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Not here but …
-1.0: What a waste!
Kyle Wilson, CB (29th overall pick in 2010): You can never have enough defensive backs. Or so the saying goes. In my opinion you can never have enough good defensive backs, of which Wilson just has not become one. I expect first round cornerbacks to be good starters, not below average ones.
Vladimir Ducasse, OG (61st overall pick in 2010): Time and time again he was placed on a path to a starting job. Time and time again he fluffed his lines and blew his shot. In four years he would play 782 snaps and register a terrible -11.4 grade in that period.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
Mark Sanchez, QB (5th overall pick in 2009): No longer the Sanchize (or was it Franchez?), the reality of the New York Jets, between 2009 and 2011, is they very likely had the most talented roster. But they did not have a talented quarterback, with this a team held back by the failings of Sanchez. A career -85.2 grade sums everything up with him — so often maddeningly poor it’s a surprise it took so long for the team to move on.
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
Here are the teams we’ve covered so far:
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