The New York Jets desperately needed to land a cornerback early in the NFL Draft, and they got one in Round 3 with their selection of Maryland’s Dex McDougle. Unfortunately, the selection of McDougle is one of the biggest reaches of the draft thus far, as most draft experts agreed he was a 5th-6th round prospect. However, Rex Ryan and John Idzik clearly believe in McDougle, and he will have a chance to come in and compete for a starting job.
McDougle suffered a season ending shoulder injury this year, which kept him from participating in the combine. When healthy, McDougle was a productive player who showed a lot of natural cover skills. He is a good athlete who is comfortable in man to man, and he actually had three interceptions in the three games he played his senior season. McDougle also has outstanding intangibles, and Maryland created the Dexter McDougle Ultimate Team Player Award in his honor.
McDougle is a little undersized at 5’10″, 196 lbs, and long term he may end up as the Jets’ slot corner. If he is healthy this season, he will join a host of similar players, including Dimitri Patterson and Kyle Wilson, in competing for the starting job opposite Dee Milliner. The Jets are gambling on McDougle living up to the promise he showed at the start of last season, with the belief that player is worth a third round pick.
However, it is hard to justify this selection. There is nothing wrong with who they drafted, the problem is when. Taking McDougle over the likes of Keith McGill and Pierre Desir is a mistake, and if the Jets were that high on McDougle they could have easily landed him with one of their three fourth round picks, if not even later. This type of reach is not what the Jets needed, and if the gamble doesn’t pay off then they just wasted a valuable third round pick.