Barring an epic swing and miss, the New York Jets should land a very good player with the sixth overall pick. There will be no shortage of options.
Several players improved their stock at the NFL scouting combine, which concluded Monday. A few players, previously projected to be picked in the 10-20 range, are pushing to crack the top 10. Here's our "Watch" list, possibilities for the Jets at No. 6, based on positional need and the assumption that quarterback Jameis Winston and defensive tackle Leonard Williams already will be gone:
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama -- He didn't do anything to hurt his status as the top receiver in the draft, clocking a time of 4.42 seconds in the 40. The Oakland Raiders (No. 4) are the popular landing spot for Cooper.
Randy Gregory, OLB, Nebraska -- He has a high ceiling as a pass-rusher, but he has to convince teams he can add bulk. His measurements -- 6-foot-5, 235 pounds. He ran the 40 in 4.64 seconds.
Shane Ray, DE, Missouri -- The SEC Defensive Player of the Year (14.5 sacks) didn't work out at the combine because of a foot injury he suffered in Missouri's bowl game. Ray will perform for scouts at his pro day, March 19. He's 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, on the smallish side for an every-down edge player in a 3-4 scheme.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon -- He didn't disappoint, running exceptionally well (4.52) and drawing high marks for his throwing performance. He also impressed teams during interviews with his football acumen. Mariota-to-the-Jets is the hot speculation. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said Monday, "You better have a plan, if you're the Jets, on how you're going to develop him -- and really feel great about the fact that he's going to be able to make the transition, and what your plan is. By that, I mean he has a lot of work to do in terms of anticipating."
Kevin White, WR, West Virginia -- White made himself a lot of money, blazing the 40 in 4.35 seconds -- at 6-foot-3, no less. He probably moved into the top 10 and could be a consideration for the Jets, especially if Cooper is off the board.
Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State -- Cornerback is a huge need for the Jets, but is Waynes worth the sixth pick? He improved his stock by crushing the 40 (4.31), the fastest time among defensive backs. He has press-corner skills and experience, which makes him attractive to Todd Bowles.
Dante Fowler, OLB, Florida -- He projects as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He created a buzz at the combine, running 4.60 seconds at a rock-solid 6-foot-3, 261 pounds. He may have pushed his way into the top 10.
Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson -- He worked out with the defensive linemen, but he's seen as a 3-4 outside 'backer. He might have been one of the top athletes in Indianapolis, running 4.53 seconds, leaping 41 inches in the vertical jump and recording 35 reps on the bench press. Problem is, he's a tweener at 6-foot-3, 246 pounds.