Jets 2013 NFL draft: The scouts’ take

Dee Milliner will instantly be expected to contribute to a now-depleted secondary. Credit: Getty Images
Dee Milliner will instantly be expected to contribute to a now-depleted secondary.
Credit: Getty Images

Whether fairly or not, the Jets’ two first-round picks in last week’s NFL Draft will be expected to turn around a franchise that has struggled the past two seasons. The team has missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner and Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson will likely step into prominent roles for a team clearly rebuilding.

The picks are welcome for head coach Rex Ryan, a former defensive coordinator with the Ravens who very much remains involved with his defense with the Jets.

Metro New York reached out to two NFL Draft experts for their grade on the Jets’ first-round picks.

The experts:
Dan Shonka – A former NFL scout who is now the general manager and national scout for Ourlads.com
Rick Serritella – The founder of the popular and well-respected NFL Draft Bible, a comprehensive draft resource

No. 9 – Dee Milliner, cornerback, Alabama

How does the pick fit into the Jets needs?
Shonka: After the trade of Darrelle Revis, it gives the Jets another big time cornerback to play opposite Antonio Cromartie.
Serritella: Most complete cornerback in the draft. If anyone can play in the shadow of Revis, Milliner has talent to do so. Will play opposite of Cromartie as Kyle Wilson is not viewed as dependable starter.

What did you like about the player on tape?
Shonka: Has the prototypical size and speed for the cornerback position. Smooth and fluid in his movement with little wasted motion. Good body control and ball skills. Can stick his foot in the ground and drive hard on the ball. Plays with good instincts and awareness. Good ball skills to play the ball down the field.
Serritella: Physical cornerback who excels in bump and run coverage. Fluid hips and natural instincts; will step up and help against the run.

What stands out as a concern?
Shonka: Has below average hands to catch the ball.
Serritella: Footwork and fundamentals need improvement. Has just one year of starting experience.

No. 13 – Sheldon Richardson, defensive tackle, Missouri

How does the pick fit into the Jets needs?
Shonka: Ryan wants strength up the middle with loss of Sione Pouha. An upgrade from Antonio Garay & Kenrick Lewis. Should create competition and rotation ability.
Serritella: Not your prototypical nose tackle in a 3-4; better suited in 4-3 scheme. Could change dynamic of Jets defense up front with Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson.

What did you like about the player on tape?
Shonka: Instinctive with the ability to redirect quickly. Lightning quick up the field; doesn’t stay blocked. Experience dropping into coverage. Plays well on his feet. Good instincts and feel for the game. Explosive initial quickness to control the blocker. A good effort player.
Serritella: Explosive. Speed allows for rare pass-rush abilities from the defensive tackle position. Can be disruptive in backfield and has the ‘quicks’ to chase down runners.

What stands out as a concern?
Shonka: Only played a year and a half for the Tigers. Will slip off a tackle at times when he’s trying to rake and strip a quarterback.
Serritella: Struggles to hold point of attack, loses leverage against stronger lineman. Junior college transfer so still developing as a player. Coming off shoulder surgery.

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.


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