We all know what Rex Ryan thinks of last year's draft for the New York Jets; he gave it an A+ grade. Our man Mel Kiper, Jr., disagrees.
Nine months after the fact, the ESPN draft guru reviewed every team's draft and applied updated grades. Back in April, Kiper gave the Jets a B. He improved it up to a B+. That's still pretty good, although not quite up to Ryan's opinion.
Explaining his new grade, Kiper says he gave it a slight bump "because they hit a huge home run" with Sheldon Richardson (first round), whom he calls one of the best run-stuffing 3-4 defensive ends in the league. No doubt, Richardson enjoyed a terrific rookie season and he's one of the leading candidates for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, which will be announced on the eve of Super Bowl XLVIII.
Kiper stopped short of giving the Jets an A because, as he explains, cornerback Dee Milliner (first round) "struggled mightily" and quarterback Geno Smith (second round) was too inconsistent. Milliner played well over the final few weeks; in fact, he was named AFC Defensive Rookie of the Month for December. Prior to December, yes, he struggled. Smith's season followed the same arc as Milliner, although he probably had more early success than Milliner. Guard Brian Winters (third round) showed promise at the end, but his season was an epic struggle. One thing to remember about Winters: It was his first time at guard. With a full offseason to train and get comfortable at the position, he should be better in 2014.
When you're thinking about the Jets' '13 draft, think about this number: 3,967.
That's the combined total of offensive, defensive and special teams snaps played by the Jets' five rookies -- impressive. It's the highest amount in the AFC East, slightly better than the Buffalo Bills (3,819) and way ahead of the New England Patriots (2,672) and Miami Dolphins (1,886).