It has been thought the Jets would target a pass rushing linebacker early in the 2012 draft. Melvin Ingram (South Carolina), Courtney Upshaw (Alabama) or Andre Branch (Clemson) are considered favorites at this position to be chosen within the first two rounds, but some sources have indicated this might not be the case.
According to Sports Illustrated draft analyst Tony Pauline’s web-site, TFY Draft Insider, the Jets will not be targeting a pass rusher until the 5th round pick #154:
There’s a lot of speculation in mock draft’s around the internet that the New York Jets will use the 16th pick to select Courtney Upshaw of Alabama. Sources tell me that while the Jets would consider it, the way it stands today the team is unlikely to pull the trigger and choose Upshaw. The word in the scouting world is the Jets will target a pass rushing linebacker in the later (5th) rounds, similar to the way they targeted wide receivers during the same part of last April’s draft.
The acquisition of Tim Tebow may have changed the Jets drafting priorities or the team feels content with Bryan Thomas, Aaron Maybin and Ricky Sapp playing opposite Calvin Pace.
Looks like the Jets may settle on more of a project pass rusher concentrating instead on other positions earlier in the draft.