Editor’s Note: We’ll be covering each team’s draft picks over the span of the next month in our customary team-by-team draft reviews, exclusively for Premium Subscribers. Enjoy!
The Patriots and Jets spent most of their draft day capital addressing areas of need beyond the skill positions typically of use to your fantasy team. For obvious reasons, positions along the offensive line and the defense are integral to NFL gameplay and do have the potential to impact the skill positions. A stronger offensive line allows an offense to run more smoothly and efficiently. A stronger defense helps get the ball back to the offense as soon as possible and control time of possession.
All of that being said, these two teams only drafted a total of three offensive skill players and there was a trade made for another one.
New England Patriots
The Patriots had a relatively boring draft from a skill position perspective. Your prior investments into their skill positions are safe, and, if anything, certain positions have been strengthened. It is important to acknowledge the Patriots, while they did not invest into a running back, generally invested into some maulers along the offensive line who were generally given strong run blocking grades – this could potentially mean a shift in the offense to a more run focused offense. That would be one way to hide the defensive deficiencies post-Revis along with minimizing the hits taken by Brady on each of his drop backs.
Round 6 – Pick 6 (202 Overall) – AJ Derby
A.J. Derby is a very raw player who only spent one year playing tight end at Arkansas. He has great size and above average athleticism as a projected future move tight end for the New England Patriots. Derby is definitely a bit of a project still given his minimal time at the position, but any time you can take a late shot in fantasy drafts at a player that could eventually profile as a part of one of the top offenses in the NFL, you should be paying attention to his future usage.
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New York Jets
The Jets did not much more into skill players in this draft than the Patriots. They came away with a quarterback to develop and a deep threat at wide receiver. Additionally, they traded for another running back to add to their depth chart.
Perhaps most importantly, the Jets moved from a ground and pound defensive mind in Rex Ryan to a much more talented offensive mind in Chan Gailey. Gailey has consistently been creative in implementing his offensive weapons and using them in ways that best utilize their skill sets. If anything, the Jets’ offensive players are more likely to benefit from the change in coaching than they are nay of the picks made throughout the draft.
Round 2 – Pick 5 (Pick 37 Overall) – Devin Smith
Devin Smith has speed and a great ability to track down the deep ball. The Jets grabbed him to fill a specific role this year and hope that he will turn that into regular snaps in the future. Smith can change the game in a single play and will demand coverage over the top from defenses. The Jets are hoping that he can mix with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker to spread out coverage and open up the middle of the field. While his instant role is likely as the deep threat, Smith is fully capable of blossoming into a more complete player at the NFL level moving forward.
Round 4 – Pick 4 (103 Overall) – Bryce Petty
Bryce Petty has prototypical size to play quarterback in the NFL and has surprising athletic ability given this size. That said, Bryce Petty was a part of a spread offense in college. There have been consistent questions about whether or not his production was overly reliant on this offensive scheme or not. Lucky for Petty, the Jets and Chain Gailey was one of the best locations where he could land. Geno Smith has been so mediocre over the last couple of years that the new coaching regime brought Ryan Fitzpatrick in to compete for the starting position. Since Fitzpatrick is clearly not the long term solution, Petty has a real shot over the long haul to take over the lead of the team’s offense. Lucky for him, Gailey is one of the better coaches to help him realize his potential.
7th Round Pick (224) for Zac Stacy
The Jets also traded away a 7th round pick to the St. Louis Rams for Zac Stacy. Some may look at the Jetrs backfield as getting crowded since they already had Chris Ivory and Stevan Ridley as lead backs and Bilal Powell and Daryl Richardson as passing down backs. That said, it has been hard to carve out consistent roles for each player as two of them are strong early down backs and Powell and Richardson are much better if utilized in open space as receiving backs. Zac Stacy, while not terrific at anything in particular, is fully capable of performing in every role as a jack of all trades. It would not take much for Stacy to step forward and become the lead back in this offensive scheme based on this versatility. Chain Gailey has had strong success getting his weapons into space and helping them reach their fullest potential within his system.
Matt Cassell is with the Bills not the Jets
Matt Cassel is in Buffalo, NY. Not New Jersey, NY. I think you meant to say Ryan Fitzpatrick. It’s a lot of information this time of year. I’m sure all your subscribers forgive you! 🙂
Yes, absolutely – my apologies. Was late when I was putting it together and I confused which mediocre QB was running which mediocre AFC East team 🙂
This is a horrible summary. Seriously, weak effort.