The NFL combine is a little more than a week and a half away. It will run from Feb. 26-March 4 in Indianapolis. I’m not a huge fan of the NFL Combine. The Combine is the chance for prospects to impress NFL teams with their physical abilities such as the 40-yard dash time, vertical jump, shuttle run etc. I always wondered why are players running the 40-yard dash without their pads on? Wouldn’t it be more realistic putting the prospects in game conditions? I would also have receivers and running backs carry a football when timed in the 40. Same thing for the vertical jump and defensive lineman and linebackers. Put uniforms on them. Don’t we want to see how defensive lineman and linebackers jump to block passes? And wouldn’t it be more beneficial for offensive lineman to be timed in the 10-yard dash? It is more meaningful to me for my offensive lineman exploding off the ball quicker than maybe blocking 25-35 yards down field. Right after the combine we will hear about the new 40-yard dash record and the new super human who is jumping up the charts. Don’t get me wrong. There is a necessity for the players and coaches but I think it is very overrated. As a Jet fan the NFL Combine brings up sour memories to me with names such as Dewayne Robertson, Vernon Gholston, Quinton Coples, and Calvin Pryor (there are more) as players that “did things that we never saw done.” But we all know the above mentioned as players were superior athletes but were draft busts. I know it is important to know the 40 time of each player and their vertical jump but nothing beats the “eye test.” Watch as much film as possible. I stated this once before but Bill Parcells who was not the best drafter had one of the best theories when choosing a player. He would dig down deep to obtain as much film as he could even going back to the player’s high school. He would search for games that the player’s team was getting blown out and go to the 4th quarter to see if the player’s motor was still running and if he cared. This has value. With that said it is quite interesting how coach BB approaches it. He puts a lot of stock in the interview. He has been known to try and make the player feel uncomfortable. For instance if it is a player from Ohio State, BB may ask him as the first question, Who is the Governor and Lt. Governor of Ohio? Or he may ask a player from Boston College, What is the first cross street on Beacon Street going south from Cleveland Circle? He loves doing this and seeing the player’s reaction to the question and not necessarily the answer is what BB takes notice of. Whatever body language BB is looking for, the formula seems to be working. I’ll end up watching some of the combine but the Jets need to work the film room as much as they can and don’t fall in love or be too impressionable by any kind of physical Superman achievement in Indianapolis. In closing, I dug up an old NFL Combine profile of Vernon Gholston so you can see how teams and the so called experts miss. Wait one hour after eating before you read this:
From The NFL Combine Profile
Vernon Gholston is a remarkable talent, but he's only just begun realizing his vast potential. He never picked up a football until his sophomore year in high school and had just one season of defensive experience as a linebacker before being converted to defensive end when he arrived at Ohio State. Blessed with incredible speed (clocked at 4.56 in the 40-yard dash), long limbs and superb strength, Gholston is the prototype pass rusher that professional teams look for -- big, fast, strong and explosive. An avid performer in the weight room, he boasted the best bench press on the team at 455 pounds. He also put on an impressive performance for teammates, squatting 405 pounds 20 times. How Gholston was lured into football will one day make a nice story, if he becomes the legendary pass rusher many personnel experts are predicting.
Jets Draft Will Be Impacted By NFL Quarterback Situation
Jet fans should keep a close eye on the quarterback situation for each team leading up to the draft. Mock drafts are fun and this year’s quarterback class is considered weak compared to 2018. With that said remember that teams that need quarterbacks get crazy leading up to the draft. Green Rewind contributor Ralph Sharaga nailed it a few issues back when he wrote:
“It’s that time of the year when mock drafts begin to pop up like mushrooms after a heavy rain. And QBs start creeping or leaping into these first round prognostications. I call it quarterback inflation due to General Manager desperation. Next September we’ll be discussing the Tank for Trevor, or Lose for Lawrence strategy, but for now, the names you need to know are Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, Daniel Jones and the sexy pick of this draft, Kyler Murray. They’ll all be moving up draft boards from now until April 25th. These days QBs always move up - never down. Teams talk themselves into reaching for players at this position more than ever.”
In some mock drafts I’ve seen Oaklahoma’s Kyler Murray going anywhere from 8-20 and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins going anywhere from 6-10. I will be very surprised if both players don’t go in the top 5. This is good for the Jets. We want competition so teams have to move up. The Jets pick (3rd) becomes more valuable the closer we get to draft day and quarterbacks are the main reason why. Remember a year ago how the Jets moved up in the draft. The Jets gave up their No. 6 overall pick, two second-round picks — No. 37 and No. 49 overall — as well as a 2019 2nd round pick to move up to the 3rd spot. At the time numerous people told me the Jet overpaid to move up but it turned out to be a great move as Sam Darnold fell into their laps (thanks Giants). I thought Mike Maccagnan should have been fired with Todd Bowles but this move might have saved his job for another year. Interestingly the trade was made on March 17, 2018. I really believe if it was consummated in April or say on draft day, it would have cost the Jets more. The Jets are in a great spot! If a team wants to move up to the 3rd spot, I would hope that Mike Maccagnan doesn’t slide down too far down and I would not go past the 8th pick depending on the compensation. There have been moves by some teams already. The QB frenzy is coming.
John DeFilippo was named offensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was the Eagles quarterbacks coach in 2016-17 and supposedly is very close to Nick Foles. It is not a guarantee Foles becomes a Jaguar. But the stars are surely lining up that way.
The Baltimore Ravens have an agreement in principle to trade former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco to the Denver Broncos, league sources told ESPN on Wednesday. The trade cannot officially be processed until the new league year begins March 13. Compensation is rumored to be a mid round draft pick.
Colin Kaepernick settled his lawsuit with the NFL. Since he helped lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl his skills have diminished incredibly. If he has the burning desire to get back in the game and shows that he is in some kind shape, some team will give this 31 year old a try out.
T-Ball Skills & Drills
Here is the draft order for the 2019 draft which I will reprint from time to time leading up to April 25th. I have put an asterik next to teams that may draft a quarterback. Rumors were rampant a few weeks ago that the Cardinals are in love with Kyler Murray. Also rumored is that Jon Gruden might look to trade Derek Carr. There could be less or there could be more teams that want a QB. Some may argue that the Ravens, Titans and even the Lions may be in the quarterback market. The more the merrier for the Jets and Jet fans.
2019 NFL Draft Order
Rnd. Pick # NFL team
1 1 Arizona Cardinals *
1 2 San Francisco 49ers
1 3 New York Jets
1 4 Oakland Raiders *
1 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers*
1 6 New York Giants *
1 7 Jacksonville Jaguars *
1 8 Detroit Lions
1 9 Buffalo Bills
1 10 Denver Broncos *
1 11 Cincinnati Bengals *
1 12 Green Bay Packers *
1 13 Miami Dolphins *
1 14 Atlanta Falcons
1 15 Washington Redskins *
1 16 Carolina Panthers
1 17 Cleveland Browns
1 18 Minnesota Vikings
1 19 Tennessee Titans
1 20 Pittsburgh Steelers
1 21 Seattle Seahawks *
1 22 Baltimore Ravens
1 23 Houston Texans
1 24 Oakland Raiders from Chicago [R1 - 1]
1 25 Philadelphia Eagles
1 26 Indianapolis Colts
1 27 Oakland Raiders from Dallas [R1 - 2]
1 28 Los Angeles Chargers *
1 29 Kansas City Chiefs
1 30 Green Bay Packers from New Orleans [R1 - 3]
1 31 Los Angeles Rams
1 32 New England Patriots*
Alex Khvatov writes the NFLDraftBlitz.com. He is participating in this year’s draft issues. Alex has been covering the draft year-round since 1999. They provide rankings, interviews, mock drafts, big board and value board. The reason I love NFL Draft Blitz is because of the ease of navigating the web site. It is easy to search and the information provided is excellent. Make sure you take a look at www.NFLDraftBlitz.com
1.Knowing the Jets have $99+ million in cap space and their weaknesses, where and on who would you spend the money on?
The Jets have to make a splash in free agency with all of that money available. DeMarcus Lawrence makes more sense to me than Le’Veon Bell. The Jets are switching to a 4-3 defense, and Gregg Williams needs a pass rusher at DE. They haven’t had a decent outside pass rusher since John Abraham. However, I am sure that the Cowboys will use the franchise tag on him. Trent Brown would be an upgrade over the current LT Kelvin Beachum.
Brown is a player with huge potential. The Patriots will not be able to re-sign him. C Matt Paradis has been a stable force for the Broncos since he has been drafted. It is imperative for the Jets to improve their OL in 2019.
2. The talk here in NY is that the Jets may pursue Le'Veon Bell in free agency. Is this a good move?
Le’Veon Bell is a great RB. He didn’t play last year and he is fresh. He brings a lot to the table. But how effective is he going to be behind the Jets’ offensive line? It is the weakest unit on this team. Aside from a couple of games, they struggled in the run blocking department for most of the season. You have to fix and address the OL before you commit a huge sum of money to a RB. I would be against this move. The Jets should select a RB in the third round of this year’s draft. Trading for WR Antonio Brown would make more sense to me for a reasonable price.
3. Is this year a strong draft?
Overall, it is an average draft in terms of talent. The first round will
be dominated by defense especially the D-line. QB’s will be drafted a lot higher than they should this year. The TE class is strong because of the underclassmen, and there is depth at the RB position especially on Day 3.
4. The Jets have tons of holes to fill especially at: offensive line, edge pass rusher, wide receiver and cornerback. How do these positions rank as far as strength in this year’s draft?
Edge pass rusher, offensive line, wide receiver and cornerback.
5. Things may change but right now, give Jets fans 3 players in each round that the Jets should consider knowing where they pick?
1st Round – DE Nick Bosa (Ohio State) makes the most sense, but he won’t be available because he will get drafted by the Cardinals or the 49ers. Edge rusher Josh Allen (Kentucky) is a great fit in a
3-4, but not a good fit for the Jets 4-3 scheme. DT Quinnen Williams would be the best player available for the Jets, but not a major need. I would be looking to trade the No.3 pick and get extra draft picks which are badly needed for this team.
2nd Round – no pick.
3rd Round – RB Devin Singletary (FAU), RB Elijah Holyfield (Georgia) or OG Chris Lindstrom (Boston College)
4th Round – CB Amani Oruwariye (Penn State), DE Shareef Miller (Penn State) or DE Joe Jackson (Miami, FL)
5th Round – WR Hunter Renfrow (Clemson), WR Cody Thompson (Toledo) or OT Paul Adams (Missouri)
6th Round – no pick
7th Round – WR Stanley Morgan Jr. (Nebraska), OG O’Shea Dugas (LA Tech) or LB Blake Cashman (Minnesota)
6. Everyone is looking for the next Brady situation getting a steal in the late rounds. What players are teams overlooking who are slated as late round picks or un-drafted free agents?
WR Cody Thompson (Toledo) – has terrific hands and runs precise routes.
WR Penny Hart (Georgia State) – undersized, slot WR with good speed. He is a very tough guy for his size and is very quick in and out of his breaks.
DT Daniel Wise (Kansas) – versatile, athletic DT with outstanding
quickness and a non-stop motor.
RB James Williams (Washington State) – the best pass catcher out of the RB position in this draft.
7. I am hoping that the Jets trade back with one of the teams looking for a quarterback. What do you see the chances of that happening and how do you rate this year’s QB class?
This is an average QB class this year. I would wait till next year.
However, teams are desperate at the QB position. Five teams in the top 15 (Giants, Jags, Broncos, Dolphins and Redskins) are looking for upgrades at the most important position on the team. Three QB’s will be drafted in the top 15 of the first round.
I agree that the Jets should trade back. They need to trade the No.3 pick to the highest bidder if DE from Ohio State Nick Bosa isn’t available. Get extra picks. Too many holes on this team.
8. Are there any division 2 or 3 players the Jets should look at?
DB Mook Reynolds (Texas A&M Commerce) – good tackler, instinctive, non-stop motor and versatile DB who projects as a nickel CB at the next level. He was dismissed by VA Tech.
CB Josh Simmons (Limestone) – excels as a press corner with instincts and great ball skills.
WR Ashton Dulin (Malone) – great speed, dangerous deep threat and will help as a returner. Was invited to the Combine.
9. Do you see any players especially QBs that might have a chance at another position in the NFL?
QB Trace McSorley (Penn State) – should switch to RB and give it a shot.
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What The Jet Scribes Are Saying
Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
The Evil Empire’s rule over the NFL landscape has been a perpetual pain in the posterior for the Jets. So, if you can’t beat them OR join them, there’s only one thing left to do: Steal from them. Surely, the Patriots can appreciate such a strategy given their past thievery (see: SpyGate). Although the Jets technically won’t be committing larceny, they are well-positioned this offseason to weaken The Dark Side by pilfering two key pieces to their championship puzzle. Gang Green has the financial resources ($100 million in salary cap space) to bolster two pivotal areas of need by signing free agent defensive end Trey Flowers and offensive tackle Trent Brown next month.It would be the ultimate win-win for Mike Maccagnan and Adam Gase: Pluck a pair of key starters from your biggest divisional threat. The Jets desperately need an upgrade on the edge. The 25-year-old Flowers would provide new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams with an invaluable versatile player, who has proven to be effective getting to the quarterback and stopping the run. Bill Belichick and Brian Flores moved Flowers around like a chess piece en route to winning their second Super Bowl in three seasons.Flowers’ sack totals don’t jump off the page (6, 7 and 7 1/2 in the past three seasons), but he affects games in myriad ways. He racked up 45 quarterback hits and more than 60 pressures the past two seasons. He lined up all over the formation to create havoc against the pass and run.
Flowers’ 10.5 percent run-stop percentage ranked fourth among defensive ends this season, according to Pro Football Focus. He finished with 57 tackles, including nine for loss and three forced fumbles. Belichick knew exactly how to maximize Flowers’ versatility. The thinking is that Williams, who doesn’t lack for self-confidence, would be able to do the same for a such a versatile player entering his prime. Brown, a mountain of a man, is expected to be one of the most coveted tackles in free agency, but comes with more risk than Flowers. The 6-8, 365-pound lineman was a pleasant surprise in his first year with the Patriots, who pulled off a draft-day trade with the 49ers last year.Brown, who will turn 26 in a couple months, had a solid regular season replacing Nate Solder before taking his game to a higher level in the playoffs. His success transitioning from right tackle in San Francisco to Tom Brady’s blind-side protector will land him a big payday this year, but he had his fair share of hiccups with 35 pressures allowed. Only one tackle allowed more quarterback hits (12)…..The smart take from the strong. The Jets have a chance to get better and weaken their most hated rival by adding Flowers and Brown.
Marty Schupak just released book from Amazon
Brian Costello, NY Post
The Jets have gone so long without a dominant edge pass rusher that sometimes it feels like Mark Gastineau was the last one they had. In reality, it has not been that long, but it has not been that short of a time either. John Abraham, who last played for the Jets in 2005, is the last dominant Jets player to come off the edge and terrorize quarterbacks. It has been a need they have been trying to fill ever since, and they have failed to do so. This year, it is the top priority. The Jets found a quarterback they feel can be their signal caller for the next decade in Sam Darnold. Now, they have to find someone to chase the other team’s quarterback. When you look down the list of potential free agents for this offseason, there are a lot of big names in the edge-rusher category. The Cowboys’ DeMarcus Lawrence, Texans’ Jadeveon Clowney, Chiefs’ Dee Ford and Seahawks’ Frank Clark all have expiring contracts. Here is the problem, though: There is a good chance none of those guys actually becomes a free agent on March 13 when the new league year begins. They are all expected to either get contract extensions or receive the franchise tag from their respective teams. This is why it is so difficult to find pass rushers in free agency. If you are a team with a good one, much like a quarterback, you don’t let him hit the market. It was what made the Raiders trading Khalil Mack to the Bears so shocking last season. Teams hold onto pass rushers as tightly as they can.
If you look at the top pass rushers in the league right now, Mack is a rare exception in that his team did not acquire him through the draft. Almost all of the top pass rushers were drafted by their respective teams. Mack, Chandler Jones and Calais Campbell are notable exceptions. That means the solution to the Jets’ pass-rushing problem will likely come in the draft and with their first-round pick — whether they stay at No. 3 or trade down. The good news is this draft is loaded with defensive linemen and pass rushers.
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Rich Cimini, ESPN
Matt Bowen remembers the first day of training camp under Gregg Williams -- the first team drill, actually. This was 2004, when Bowen played safety for the Washington Redskins. They were coming off a 5-11 season under the easygoing Steve Spurrier, who was replaced by the legendary Joe Gibbs and his new sheriff on defense, Williams. They started with a 7-on-7 period. Pretty routine. Nice and easy. Pitch and catch. Except Williams instructed his defense to blitz the quarterback -- all seven defenders.
"I've never seen Mark Brunell look like that in his life," Bowen recalled with a laugh. "He ended up throwing the ball away. That was the introduction to how we were going to play defense." Memo to the New York Jets: He's coming for you, this 60-year-old defensive coordinator who flaunts a big résumé, a big ego and big expectations….Williams is a must-watch coach, and it will be fascinating to gauge his impact on the four biggest names on defense: safety Jamal Adams, cornerback Trumaine Johnson, linebacker Darron Lee and defensive tackle Leonard Williams.
Leonard Williams: In all likelihood, he'd be the 3-technique in the four-man front, meaning he'd line up on the outside shoulder of a guard. The position is designed for the player to get upfield and make plays, as Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald did as the 3-technique under Williams in 2015 and 2016. Hall of Famer Warren Sapp made the position famous during his days with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The feeling in the organization is the new scheme can unlock Leonard Williams' potential. Despite solid play over four seasons, he has managed only 17 sacks. An aggressive, one-gap scheme can help with the sack numbers, but it won't be a cure-all because the change isn't as radical as you might think.
Darron Lee: He could be the biggest beneficiary of the Gregg Williams scheme. Undersized as an inside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme, which caused him to get swallowed up against north-south running teams, Lee will feel liberated in the new defense. He will have more opportunities to play in space, where he can excel because of his athleticism. You saw glimpses of it last season, especially in pass coverage (three interceptions). Under Williams, he can be a run-and-hit linebacker.
Jamal Adams: He should love Williams' coaching style because it mirrors the way he plays: relentless. He's a do-everything player who should be featured in the new system.
"If you watched his film this year, you know he can be one of the top safeties in the NFL," Bowen said. "There’s no question about that. In this scheme, he can do a lot of different things. I think it goes back to his scouting report coming out of LSU. This was a safety who could cover down, who could play over the tight end and who could match up with a running back. Plus, he had the footwork of a corner at times. He could play in the slot. And he finds the ball. He’s around the football. Guys that are around the football, that doesn’t happen by accident." Williams will love Adams because he's a smart player who never lets up. The man actually tackled people in the Pro Bowl, for crying out loud.
TrumaineJohnson: He knows Williams better than anybody on defense because he played for him, 2014 to 2016 with the Rams. He made a lot of money in that scheme -- two franchise tags, plus a $34 million guarantee from the Jets. Johnson's play slipped last season, but maybe he can rebound under the fiery Williams, who won't tolerate a lack of focus.
"He didn’t play his best ball last year -- everyone understands that -- but he gets a fresh start," Bowen said. "I think he's the perfect corner if you play Cover 2, in my opinion, because of his frame, his length. He can be a physical player who can jam at the line of scrimmage and sink and get his eyes on the quarterback. But he’ll be asked to play man coverage as well, and he’ll be asked to play man coverage with no help. That’s part of the defense. The skill set is still there. Maybe this is a situation where, working under Gregg and fine-tuning his technique, he can get back to what he was."
Around The NFL
…..The NFL has reached a settlement agreement with Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid regarding their grievances, according to a joint statement from their attorney and the league…..The Denver Broncos may take a look at Patriot receiver Chris Hogan in free agency…..The NFL is softening its stance toward the college players they initially barred from the combine. “The NFL sent a memo to GMs and coaches informing them LA Tech DE Jaylon Ferguson, MSU DT Jeffery Simmons, and CSU WR Preston Williams will be permitted to travel to Indy to undergo the same comprehensive medical evaluations given to invited prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine”, tweeted Ian Rapoport of NFL Network…..The Chargers are re-signing defensive back Jaylen Watkins to a one-year deal, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed…..The Bills released tight end Charles Clay. The move was widely expected after Clay’s disappointing 2018 campaign. Clay, 30, was set to enter the final year of the five-year contract he signed with the Bills back in 2015. Instead, the Bills released him in order to save $4.5MM against the 2019 cap…..The Lions released safety Glover Quin, according to a team announcement. In related moves, wide receiver Bruce Ellington and linebacker Nicholas Grigsby were also cut from the roster…..The Falcons informed cornerback Brian Poole that he will not be tendered as a restricted free agent, Mike Florio of PFT tweets. ….One of the biggest questions on the minds of Broncos fans since the Joe Flacco trade has been; does this take quarterback off the board for John Elway at pick 10? Word is the Broncos staff love Drew Lock and will snap him up at 10 if he is still on the board…..
Feb. 26-March 4 -- NFL combine, Indianapolis.
March 13 -- League year and free agency begin.
March 24-27 -- Annual owners meeting, Phoenix.
April 25-27 -- NFL draft, Nashville, Tenn.
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