The SB Nation AZ NFL mock draft is reaching its conclusion and the New York Jets are now set to make their selection. This leaves only the two 2011 Super Bowl teams -- the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers -- to round out the first round.
Columnist Scott Howard, whose most recent feature covers the Arizona Cardinals' top five draft steals, makes the pick for the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets.
Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
The Jets have had one of the NFL's better defenses since Rex Ryan showed up in town but the roster is in a bit of flux this offseason and the majority of their draft needs are (GASP) on the defensive side of the ball. There's a decent need for a nose tackle to anchor their 3-4 scheme and they could probably also use a safety but a pass rusher wouldn't hurt them either and there just happens to be a pretty damn good one on the board.
That's why with the 30th pick in the SB Nation Arizona Mock Draft the New York Jets select UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers. Ayers stock has slipped a little bit after a pedestrian NFL combine appearance but at this point in the draft he's a real value - and it's hard to argue with his college production. He's more of a pass rusher than a cover guy but I don't think the Jets will stress out about that as he should immediately be able to bolster the pass rush.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are now on the clock. I will be making their selection.
Check out the mock draft on the Arizona Cardinals team blog Revenge of the Birds to see who both the community and the writers are projecting.
4- Cincinnati Bengals: AJ Green, WR, Georgia (JR)
5- Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU (CW)
6- Cleveland Browns: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson (SH)
7- San Francisco 49ers: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina (JR)
8- Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn (CW)
9- Dallas Cowboys: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama (SH)
10- Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama (JR)
11- Houston Texans: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska (CW)
12- Minnesota Vikings: Tyron Smith, OT, USC (SH)
13- Detroit Lions: Cameron Jordan, DE, California (JR)
14- St. Louis Rams: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue (CW)
15- Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama (SH)
16- Jacksonville Jaguars: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado (JR)
17- New England Patriots: J.J. Watts, DE, Wisconsin (CW)
18- San Diego Chargers: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado (JR)
19- New York Giants: Mike Pouncey, C, Florida (JR)
20- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College (CW)
21- Kansas City Chiefs: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor (SH)
22- Indianapolis Colts: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois (JR)
23- Philadelphia Eagles: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri (CW)
24- New Orleans Saints: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple (JR)
25- Seattle Seahawks: Jake Locker, QB, Washington (JR)
26- Baltimore Ravens: Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland (JR)
27- Atlanta Falcons: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa (JR)
28- New England Patriots: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State (JR)
29- Chicago Bears: Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU (CW)
30- New York Jets: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA (SH)