As New York Jets coach Rex Ryan puts it, the NFL is a league of size and speed. And in his eyes, that seems to be exactly what he thinks the Jets got during the course of the three day NFL Draft this weekend. They got Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill in the second round and linebacker Demario Davis in the third.
The Jets have been skewered by some draft experts for taking Quinton Coples in the first round and their draft in general. Many are wondering how in the world the team didn’t pick up an offensive tackle, but Ryan says he feels great about where his team is at following the draft.
Rex Ryan joined ESPN Radio New York with Michael Kay to discuss picking receiver Stephen Hill, not selecting anyone to fix potential issues at offensive tackle, linebacker Demario Davis, the potential of needing help at safety and where his team sits following the draft.
You guys took receiver Stephen Hill with your second pick. Tell us about him and if he just slides right into the mix at receiver:
“I think, first off, Stephen Hill, the first thing that jumps out at you is obviously the size and speed and everything. This is a size, speed league. But it’s more than that as well. This guy can play. The numbers, he only had like 28 catches or something like that, but it’s in that option offense. And he did average 29 yards a catch. It kind of reminds me of when my dad took Keith Jackson when he was with the Eagles. I think Keith Jackson only had 19 catches and I think he made the Pro Bowl his first year as a rookie. Hopefully that will happen here with Stephen. He’s got incredible potential for us and we expect him to contribute for sure.”
Draft analysts have said you guys didn’t do enough at offensive line. Do you feel OK there? You seem to be defending tackle Wayne Hunter:
“I’m defending Wayne Hunter. Wayne Hunter was asked to do a lot of being isolated one-on-one for the majority of the time and I don’t know how many tackles hold up down after down that way. I like what we’re doing with Wayne. Wayne’s going to settle in there and he’s going to be just fine for us.”
What about getting Demario Davis, a linebacker from Arkansas State?:
“To me, he’s really an inside linebacker; he’s not necessarily an outside linebacker. When you look at his 4.5 speed, that’s probably what you assume he is. But he’s more of an inside linebacker. I’d put him in that Bart Scott mold. Just a guy that he can really run and did 32 reps at 225. He’s a size/speed guy. He’s got that run-and-hit factor that you look for in linebackers.”
Are you OK at safety or are you going to have to look into free agency?:
“Well, you know the way Mike Tannenbaum is, we’ll always look and if there’s a way of helping our football team then we’ll certainly look at everything. Safety, whatever it is, we’ll look for it. Antonio Allen is a guy that I think was a second-team AP All-American and rightfully so. … He’s kind of a ballhawk-type guy as well and makes plays on the football. With him, I think he played almost like safety, but it was really close to the line of scrimmage, almost as an outside linebacker. … Certainly he possesses the tools and we like the fact that he’s an outstanding football player.”
Do you feel good about where this team stands as it is right now?:
“I feel great about our team. There’s no doubt, I feel great about it. When you look at it, today they’re actually in Phase Two of the offseason conditioning program and you’re actually able to get on the field with them. … It was good to see our guys get on the field and I enjoyed watching the offense work with some new coaches and their personality out there on the field.”