Representing the New York Jets, higgige7 with the 16th pick in Arrowhead Pride's 2012 NFL mock draft...
Big thanks to AP user jmcgoblue for allowing me to slide in and assume managerial authority over this draft. Good luck in jury duty, AP brethren.
The Jets are an intriguing team on many levels. They have a borderline-elite defense, a new back-up quarterback, a decent rushing attack equipped with a fairly studly offensive line, and above all, the best cornerback in football (and the most promiscuous).
But, when you look at this roster from top to bottom, you think: How did this team make it to two consecutive AFC Championship games? They are formidable up front with two incredible offensive linemen, and their defensive line is pretty solid.
But what's worse, their linebacking corps seems to lack skill and depth on the outside, even if they roll out with two of the deadliest ILBs in the league each Sunday. Sure, they have Calvin Pace, but, meh.
Another thing I noticed in my research: Guess how many teams had more sacks than the potentially formidable Jets D last year? Half the league, including the Rams, Redskins, Raiders, Dolphins, and the Broncos! It's time to get a little stronger up front.
With that in mind, the 17th pick is DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw from Alabama.
The Jets' front seven generated roughly 25 sacks, with most of them coming from Bart Scott, David Harris, and Calvin Pace (roughly 15 between the three). I say, put in another stud OLB that can take the place of Thomas (who?) and let this corps go to work. With young and promising DE Wilkerson manning the left side of the line, and a beefy NT in Pouha, the line seems pretty solid. A strong consideration was SS Mark Barron, also from the Crimson Tide, especially considering the Jets play in the same division as the Gronk. But, I'm banking on my GM skill, albeit unproven, to find a safety with cover ability later in the draft. A Nick-Saban-coached, blue-chip pass rusher is going to be more difficult to come by in the later rounds. Also, quite honestly, I could see a case made for receiver, quarterback, interior OL, and DL, but I'm still going with Upshaw.
Most of you are savvy armchair GMs, so you may know some of this information already, but here is some more on Upshaw courtesy of CBS Sports:
"First-team All-American by the FWAA, Sporting News, CBSsports.com, SI.com and ESPN.com ... second-team All-American by Walter Camp and the Associated Press ... finalist for the Lombardi Award, which goes to the nation's best linebacker or interior lineman and the Butkus Award, which goes to the nation's best linebacker ... semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award ... ranks second in the SEC and tied for 14th nationally with 17 tackles for loss (-85 yards) ... has 16.5 career sacks and is a first-team midseason All-American by SI.com, Sporting News and ESPN.com while CBSsports.com and Phil Steele listed him as a second-team midseason All-American ... was a preseason first-team All-SEC selection ... five-time Defensive Player of the Week by the Alabama coaching staff."
What do you think, Fireman Eds?
Previously (with approval results)...
9. Carolina Panthers - South Carolina LB/DE Melvin Ingram (Forgot to do a poll)
16. New York Jets - Alabama DE/LB Courtney Upshaw