New York Bound: 2011 NFL Draft Analysis

MUHAMMAD WILKERSON Rd. 1 No. 30 (30) – DE, Temple, 6’4,’’ 315 lbs

Many have said that Wilkerson was the best value pick of the first round. He is the likely heir-apparent to Shaun Ellis, who is no longer under contract with the Jets. Rex Ryan has compared him to Haloti Ngata, one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL and former Ryan player on the Ravens, as well as a young Trevor Pryce, whom the Jets acquired during the 2010 season.

KENRICK ELLIS Rd. 3 No. 30 (94)  – DT, Hampton, 6’5,’’ 346 lbs

A much better talent than where he was drafted, Ellis does come with some extra baggage. He is currently facing a felony assault charge after an incident while at Hampton that could lead to a 20-year prison sentence. The Jets have done extensive background checks and are confident that Ellis will be able to play. Many scouts were impressed with the athleticism Ellis showed off despite his massive frame. Many see him as a Kris Jenkins-type player. He fits well as a solid run stopper who can also bull rush when facing a single blocker.

BILAL POWELL Rd. 4 No. 29 (126) – RB, Louisville, 5’10,’’ 204 lbs

Many scratched their heads at this pick. Powell will join an already crowded Jets backfield that includes Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, Joe McKnight and John Conner. Powell rushed for 1,405 yards in 2010 (6.1 ypc) and totaled 14 touchdowns. He fights hard for every yard and has a second gear when he breaks past the front line. He will need to work at setting and sustaining blocks. But it is likely that he will make the Jets’ roster because Rex Ryan wants to keep his backs fresh all season long.

JEREMY KERLEY Rd. 5 No. 23 (153)  – WR/KR, TCU, 5’9,’’ 188 lbs

Because of his size and speed (4.56 40-time), Kerley could develop into an effective slot receiver. He was the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year, so that is where he is expected to contribute in the short run. It is likely that he was drafted as insurance in case the Jets lose Brad Smith to free agency, especially because Kerley was used as TCU’s Wildcat quarterback.

GREG McELROY Rd. 7 No. 5 (204)  – QB, Alabama, 6’2’,’ 225 lbs

This is the possible end of the road for Kellen Clemens, Kevin O’Connell and Erik Ainge as Jets’ backup quarterbacks. McElroy is probably the smartest player in the 2011 draft class (43/50 on Wonderlic). He is a winner and he brings a good attitude to the team.

SCOTTY McKNIGHT Rd. 7 No. 24 (227)  – WR, Colorado, 5’11,’’ 185 lbs

The Jets closed out their draft by selecting one of Mark Sanchez’s closest friends. McKnight and Sanchez have been friends since they were eight years old. Sanchez was McKnight’s personal QB at his pro day. McKnight has proven himself as a solid player, but it is hard to see where he fits into the grand scheme of things. I would have to guess that the Jets are hoping he and Sanchez would have good chemistry together and that he can contribute on offense as some point.

PRINCE AMUKAMARA Rd. 1 No. 19 (19) – CB, Nebraska, 6’0,” 206 lbs

Clearly the Giants took the best player available here. They are now very deep at cornerback and Amukamara is someone that can contribute immediately. He is a solid cover corner, which helps the Giants’ tricky pass rush. He instantly improves the defense.

MARVIN AUSTIN Rd. 2 No. 20 (52) – DT, North Carolina, 6’1,” 309 lbs

Again, it appears that the Giants decided to take the best player on the board because they are relatively strong at the defensive tackle position. This could mean the end of Barry Cofield’s tenure with the Big Blue though. Austin has rare quickness for his size and can be a good interior pass rusher. He only fell this low due to off the field issues.

JERREL JERNIGAN Rd. 3 No. 19 (83) – WR, Troy, 5’9,” 185 lbs

Jernigan is undersized for his position and is raw as a route runner. He is better after the catch and has great field vision, which translates into return skills on special teams. The Giants were hit by a lot of injuries as this position last season, so Jernigan adds depth that they need. He can work out of the slot and create yards.

JAMES BREWER Rd. 4 No. 20 (117)  – OT, Indiana, 6’6,” 323 lbs

This was the first necessary pick of the Giants’ 2011 draft. With Kareem McKenzie aging and David Diehl possibly moving inside to a guard spot, Brewer gives the Giants the young player to develop into the tackle of the future. Brewer is very big, but his athleticism is not where it should be. Give him a year or two before he produces.

GREG JONES Rd. 6 No. 20 (185)  – ILB, Michigan State, 6’0,” 242 lbs

Jones was at one point considered one of the top inside linebackers in the country before his senior season. He has the skills to be a good backup for now and could contribute on special teams. He can easily develop into a starter with some work, and the Giants do need help at linebacker.

TYLER SASH Rd. 6 No. 33 (198) – S, Iowa, 6’0,” 211 lbs

Sash’s value comes with his instincts and toughness. He does not currently possess the football intelligence the team would hope for, but he can grow into a contributor as a reserve and help on special teams. The Giants need a safety because Deon Grant is a free agent, so Sash gives them depth.

JACQUIAN WILLIAMS Rd. 6 No. 37 (202)  – LB, South Florida, 6’3,” 235 lbs

Williams was a teammate of last year’s first-round pick, Jason Pierre-Paul, at both South Florida and Fort Scott Community College. He was USF’s team captain and led the team with 71 tackles last season. He is an athletic linebacker, but he will need to add a little more weight to keep up with other players at the next level.

DA’REL SCOTT Rd. 7 No. 18 (221) – RB, Maryland, 5’11,” 211 lbs

Scott is a speed back and has good playmaking ability. Giants GM Jerry Reese compared Scott to a Willie Parker-type player. With Ahmad Bradshaw possibly leaving for free agency, Scott could find a place behind Brandon Jacobs and D.J. Ware as the third-string halfback.