With the 2012 NFL Draft mere days away, the wait is almost over.
For the first time since Ryan took over the head coaching reigns in 2009, the Jets have a selection in the first half of the first round of the draft, with the 16th overall selection in the first round.
Of course, the Jets selected 5th overall in 2009, after they made a draft day trade to move up 12 spots to select USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. But this year, the atmosphere is different.
Selecting in the middle of the 1st round, rather than towards the end like they did the previous two years, there is a lot of pressure to hit a home run with their 16th overall pick and get a guy who can make an immediate impact.
Perhaps they’ll draft a player from a position of need, such as a pass rusher like Melvin Ingram or Courtney Upshaw. However, there’s no telling who’s going to be available at pick 16 and who won’t be.
Ryan hinted last week that sometimes drafting for need isn’t the best way to go, and that simply taking who you judge to be the best player available, regardless of positional need, is the better way to go.
“If you just try to reach for a need, sometimes that’s not the best thing to do,” Ryan said at a charity event in Manhattan last Wednesday. “Take the best player, that usually works out for you.”
One example is running back Shonn Greene, who the Jets selected in the third-round of the 2009 draft, despite the fact that the Jets already had proven veterans in Thomas Jones and Leon Washington on the roster.
“When we traded up to get Shonn Greene, we already had three running backs,” said Ryan. “But Shonn Greene was a great player. That was a great move for us.”
Clearly, with the draft fast approaching, the Jets are playing things close to the vest and are trying their best not to tip their hand.
I have no idea who the Jets will end up selecting in round 1, or any other round for that matter. But for the team’s sake, they have to make sure they get a heck of a football player, and not another Vernon Gholston.