New York Jets Select Mark Barron in Rant Sports 2012 NFL Mock Draft

With the 2012 NFL Draft right around the corner, we here at Rant Sports are doing our own mock draft, with each featured NFL writer representing their team’s selection in the upcoming April draft.

The New York Jets are in an interesting spot this year, coming off a disappointing 8-8 season, and they find themselves right in the middle of the first round, with the 16th overall pick.

There’s a lot of ways the Jets could play it, depending on what’s available by the time they’re on the clock.

They certainly could use that elusive bonafide pass rusher that Rex Ryan has never had in his Jets tenure. A player who can make an immediate impact off the edge would make Ryan’s defense very scary.

Players like North Carolina’s Quinton Coples, Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw and South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram are all possibilities for that role, but they may all get taken before the Jets have a chance at them.

In our Rant Sports mock, Coples was drafted 9th overall by the Carolina Panthers, Upshaw went 10th to the Buffalo Bills, and Ingram was taken with the 12th pick by the Seattle Seahawks.

By the time I was on the clock representing the Jets, I narrowed the pick down to three possible candidates. Alabama safety Mark Barron, Illinois pass rusher Whitney Mercilus, and Clemson pass rusher Andre Branch.

It was a tough choice, because both positions represent areas of need, but ultimately I did not believe either of the two pass rushers would necessarily be particularly good value picks with the 16th overall pick.

The current safeties on the Jets roster include the much-maligned Eric Smith and recent pick-up LaRon Landry, and the best pass rusher is former Buffalo Bills bust Aaron Maybin, who had a breakout 2011.

Ryan and the Jets have often been able to scheme around their weaknesses on defense, but in the first round of this year’s draft, they have to fill a need at one of these two crucial positions, either safety or pass rusher.

After some deliberation and weighing the pros and cons of each potential pick, I’m going with Mark Barron, the 22-year-old safety from the University of Alabama with the 16th pick of the Rant Sports 2012 NFL Mock Draft.

The 6’2, 215 lb senior started the past three seasons in the Alabama secondary, winning two national championships along the way.

He was a unanimous 2011 1st-team All-American and a finalist for the 2011 Jim Thorpe Award, giving annually to the nation’s top defensive back.

Barron missed the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine after having offseason surgery to repair a double hernia, but it shouldn’t affect his availability during OTAs and offseason workouts. compared him to Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson, and I’m sure the Jets would be thrilled with that, should he don the Green and White come draft day.

What do you think, Jets fans? Would Barron be a good fit for Rex Ryan’s defense, or is there another first-round prospect you’ve got your eye on? Sound off in the comments below.


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  • Lee Riddle

    If all of the pass rushers get taken I think the Jets should draft Malcolm Floyd out of Notre Dame. FS Brandon Taylor will be available in later rounds, and posseses better coverage skills than Landry and Barron. He also runs the 40 at 4.5, and has great ball location skills. Landry can play SS and Taylor can play FS. I would not be upset if the Jets chose Barron, but I think the better play would be to get Floyd and Taylor who would both have the potential to start. Floyd is a big target who is a downfield threat. Something the Jets haven’t had legitimately in a while. The way I would like to see the draft go for the Jets:
    1st DE/OLB Melvin Ingram (Starts Over Bryan Thomas)
    2nd FS Brandon Taylor (Starts over Eric Smith)
    3rd OT Bobbie Massie (Potential to start over Wayne Hunter)
    5th WR Marvin Jones (Potential to start over Chaz Schillens)
    Best available for the rest

    • Jon Presser

      I am a fan of Floyd. He could be a great fit in the Jets offense. In our Rant Sports mock draft, Floyd fell all the way to 19th to the Bears, but I expect him to go earlier than that on draft day.

      What I like about Michael Floyd, aside from his obvious talents in the passing game, is that he’s also a very good run blocker. If the Jets are going to be running the ball as much as we think they will, having a big receiver like Floyd who can open up holes for the backs would be a great element to have.

      I’m not too familiar with Taylor’s skill set, but there’s no doubt the Jets need a big upgrade at free safety. The one thing we know about Rex Ryan is that no matter who we plug in there, he’ll find a way to scheme the defense around the weaknesses and try to hide those holes as best he can.

      At the end of the day, the Jets are in a pretty good spot at 16. I’m pretty confident they’ll be able to find a solid starting player at that spot, whatever position that may be.