Late Rounders

The draft is finally here.  

This time next week Jets fans will have already overused the word "beast" and will be either crowning some rookie the new league MVP or out drowning their sorrows over a questionable pick.

First round options have been analyzed to death.  I don't know about you but I'm ready to talk about some players whose names don't rhyme with Seagram, Rickshaw or Karen.

Last year, our very own John Conner was part of a documentary called "Late Rounders". Consider this my own version.  

On today's episode, I've decided to highlight two players I'd be more than happy to see in Green & White next year.  In my opinion, both players would be good options for the Jets to use one of their many 6th or 7th round picks on in the upcoming draft.

The one thing to keep in mind is that there are reasons these players are only projected to go in the late rounds, but as we all know, late rounders can sometimes end up being Pro Bowlers..... *cough* Brady *cough*

Let's start with my favorite late rounder.....

S Tramain Thomas (Arkansas)

To me, Tramain Thomas is a no brainer late round steal.

Which safety prospect is tied with Mark Barron for most career interceptions?  This guy.

The most exciting thing about Thomas is his ability to create turnovers and make plays in coverage.  As a starting safety in the SEC, he's recorded 13 pass break-ups, 12 interceptions and 6 forced fumbles.  His instincts in the middle of the field, ability to locate the ball quickly and make adjustments to come away with the ball are all qualities that a safety in today's league MUST possess.

The most common "positives" from scouts when evaluating Thomas have been regarding his ability to quickly redirect, accelerate and reach top speed  quickly to keep up with receivers.  His 4.51 40 time would have put him as the second fastest safety in this year's combine.  

At 5'11 7/8 and 200lbs he could use a few extra pounds on him, but that's nothing that a few meals with the offensive linemen couldn't fix.

While some have called him the most underrated safety prospect this year, there are definitely some negatives that would need to be addressed. While known to be an aggressive player, his tackling technique could use some work and he has been criticized for over pursing as well.  

You can't teach great cover instincts, but you can teach a guy how to become a better tackler.  

Thomas is projected to be drafted in the sixth round.  With the Jets blatant need for a safety who can actually cover, I see Tramain Thomas being the obvious choice for a late round pick who offers great value.  

FB/TE Emil Igwenagu (UMass)

Now I know those of you who suffer from Post Traumatic Ducasse Disorder stopped reading once you read the word "UMass" but :
A) this would be a 6th or 7th round selection.....
and B) remember Victor Cruz.

As a big Conner/Keller fan this choice may surprise some.  There's just something about a player with versatility that will always catch my eye and intrigue me.

After impressing many during the East West Shrine game, Igwenagu received an invite to the Senior Bowl where he continued to catch the interest of many teams.

Igwenagu (6'2 247lbs) has played TE, FB, LB, H-back as well as special teams.  While primarily playing TE for UMass, he fits right in to the new trend of versatile tight ends in the league.

Igwenagu can block as a TE, line up in the backfield as a blocker, carry the ball, and is a viable receiving threat as well.

In addition to his versatility, scouts took notice of Igwenagu's strength and work ethic. He's described as a gritty, tenacious, determined player who competes hard.  

He possesses great off-field qualities too. He's been the Minutemen's Co-Captain for the past two years and is a smart, accountable, unselfish player.

With Tannenbaum's love of drafting player from his alma mater, this is one UMass boy I wouldn't disagree with.  The Jets need a TE that can be an inline blocker and receiving threat too.  If nothing more than a great special teams addition, in my opinion Igwenagu is a developmental option definitely worthy of a late round look.