Jets draft 3 WRs, QB Boyd among picks on final day
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) The New York Jets began the NFL draft with a whopping 12 picks - and they made every single one of them.
General manager John Idzik did consider making some moves throughout the three days. Move up? Move down? In the end, the Jets thought it was more valuable to stay put. From the first round through the seventh.
''Did we have opportunities? Yeah, we had opportunities,'' Idzik said after the Jets completed their picks. ''But we felt like the players we selected, it was not worth moving out of that pick. We'd rather have them as a Jet.''
The Jets loaded up on wide receivers and added another quarterback to the mix on a busy final day in which they had nine picks.
They addressed a few key needs during the first three rounds by taking safety Calvin Pryor, tight end Jace Amaro and cornerback Dexter McDougle, but needed depth at wide receiver. On Saturday, they took Oklahoma's Jalen Saunders at No. 104 in the fourth round and UCLA's Shaquelle Evans 11 spots later. They also drafted Nebraska's Quincy Enunwa in the sixth round.
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was taken with the last of the Jets' three compensatory picks in the sixth round. While Geno Smith and Michael Vick will compete for the starting job this summer, Boyd will likely go up against Matt Simms for the No. 3 spot.
Jets coach Rex Ryan is quite familiar with Boyd, who was a college teammate of his son Seth, a wide receiver for the Tigers. Boyd's leadership attributes were attractive to the Jets, something confirmed to Ryan in a conversation with his son.
''He said, if Tajh would have called a meeting at 2 a.m., the entire football team would have been there,'' Ryan said.
Boyd set 57 school and Atlantic Coast Conference records, finishing with 11,904 yards passing and 107 touchdowns. He also ran for 26 scores.
''When we went there for a workout this year, it was as fine a quarterback workout as there might have been all spring,'' said senior director of college scouting Terry Bradway.
Among the Jets' other selections Saturday were Furman offensive lineman Dakota Dozier (fourth round), Iowa State linebacker Jeremiah George (fifth), Northwest Missouri State cornerback Brandon Dixon (sixth), Louisiana Tech defensive end IK Enemkpali (sixth) and Utah linebacker Trevor Reilly.
Saunders is a short - 5-foot-9 - but speedy receiver and punt returner who caught 123 passes in two years at Oklahoma after transferring from Fresno State. He said he went to the NFL combine at 165 pounds, but gained 10 pounds after there were some concerns about his weight.
''I would describe my playing style like a gorilla,'' Saunders said during a conference call. ''I'm a savage on that field. I would say between a gorilla and a terrier, a pet dog or a terrier. They're real small and people don't expect too much from them. They always like to fight and always like to play around.
''That's just the type of player I am. I'm real feisty.''
Saunders, from Elk Grove, California, had 61 catches for 729 yards and eight TDs last season, and added two scores on punt returns. He could complement Jacoby Ford as one of the Jets' key return men.
''I definitely feel like I can come in and compete for either a receiver position or a punt return job,'' Saunders said.
The 6-1, 213-pound Evans, from Inglewood, California, had nine touchdown catches for UCLA last season. He had at least one reception in each of his last 28 games with the Bruins, and led the team in catches his last two years.
He spent his first college season at Notre Dame, but said ''it just wasn't a good fit,'' and transferred to his hometown college team.
Dozier, at 6-4 and 310 pounds, played mostly left tackle at Furman but started his last two games in college at guard. The native of West Columbia, South Carolina, who's nicknamed ''Bull Dozier,'' is expected to play at the guard spot for the Jets.
George, from Clearwater, Florida, is a bit undersized at 5-11 and 230 pounds, but led the Big 12 with 133 tackles as a senior and has good quickness. He could be a backup at inside linebacker and contribute on special teams for the Jets.
''I play the game of football with my heart, not my height,'' George said.
Dixon and his twin brother Brian were starting cornerbacks for Division II champion Northwest Missouri State last year. Dixon, from Pompano Beach, Florida, had six interceptions and 17 pass breakups in two years after transferring from Joliet Junior College.
The Jets also made some intriguing picks on defense in Enemkpali and Reilly.
Enemkpali, from Pflugerville, Texas, is a power rusher who had 145 tackles and 17 1/2 career sacks in four years, ranking him third in school history. Reilly, from Valley Center, California, had 8 1/2 sacks last season, has had some knee issues and is 26, married with two daughters and served a Mormon mission in Sweden.
''I can say this: every single pick, it seemed like we were on the edge of our seat,'' Idzik said. ''In other words, we picked very popular players.''
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL