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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

4th Draft Preview Issue With Frank Coyle From

Jets Quietly Trying To Strengthen Offensive Line

Green Rewind contributor Ray Clifford has always said the biggest thing that Mike Maccagnan neglected was drafting offensive linemen. I happen to agree with Ray and it even goes beyond that. The coaches could not really recognize the offensive line talent they were playing. Case in point was two years ago when they started Wesley Johnson at center who could not block a piece of styrofoam. With that said the Jets may be quietly gathering some offensive players. A couple they had and a couple they acquired the last 4 weeks. It will be like throwing mud against the wall but I’m predicting two of the four will stick. Here they are:

Jon Toth, C, Kentucky
It might not seem like it, but Toth is actually an interesting addition for the Jets. Toth measures in at 6-5, 310 pounds. He didn’t miss a single game in four years at Kentucky. Sports Illustrated ranked him as the fourth overall center prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft. ESPN had him fourth as well. He was their No. 169 prospect overall. Toth had some teams interested in signing him as an 
undrafted free agent, but a sudden back injury prevented that from happening. Toth had surgery on a disc in his lower back over the summer. He should be ready to go by training camp

“He's not the best athlete at the position but his size, arm length, strength and consistency should outweigh that on the next level. Toth has the traits and ability to be an eventual starter in the NFL.”

Ben Braden, G, Michigan
Braden signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent on May 7, 2017.

Scouting Report
Demonstrates requisite quickness and athleticism. Shows the ability to reach block defensive ends on the play side of outside zone plays. Good football acumen, asked to perform a variety of blocks in a pro-style offense. Fairly natural athlete for an offensive lineman. Shows when he’s asked to cut linemen and linebackers.
Shows great location ability when pulling. Played guard and tackle. 

“ Tough guy who's willing to get his block by any means necessary.”

Jordan Morgan,G, Kutztown State

Morgan received an invitation to the NFL Combine and was able to complete all of the drills. After attending the combine, he was projected to be a fourth or fifth round pick by the majority or analysts and scouts. He was ranked the eighth best guard in the draft by Sports Illustrated and the ninth best guard by Morgan was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. 

“Morgan could become a solid NFL backup with eventual starter potential if he improves his balance and stops lunging.”

Eric Smith, OT, Virginia
Smith started for 3 years at Virginia. He was a late invitation to play in the senior bowl but he wasn’t invited to attend the scouting combine and was considered a long-shot to be drafted.
He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dolphins and impressed early on in camp.Playing well in preseason, Smith made the 53-man roster. He suffered a knee injury in practice that landed him on injured reserve. He was activated from the injured reserve list with a few weeks to go in the season but didn’t get a chance to play and was released in final cuts after the 2018 preseason. The Patriots added him to their practice squad, but the Jets poached him for their active roster in December, although he remained inactive to the end of the year.

From Adam Gase as the Dolphin coach on Eric Smith:
“He did a lot of really good things that we liked,” Gase said. “I love how engaged he’s been since he’s been hurt. He just constantly kept working… It just starts moving so fast and you’re trying to keep your body right and keep up with what’s going on because as the season goes on… if you’re not practicing, it can get tough. He did a great job of staying up to speed and making sure that when he got a chance to jump back out there, he was ready to go.”

Frank Coyle is a long-time scout with nationwide ties with NFL and college coaches, scouts and player agents. He has published for 28 years including a 250-page NFL Draft Yearbook with over 250 in-depth scouting reports. Long-time scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game and member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 25+ years. His site is

1.   Knowing the Jets have $99+ million in cap space and their weaknesses, where and on who would you spend the money on?

Jets have many needs going forward. GM Mike Maccagnan did a good job cutting cap problems in recent years to put them in the current situation. Their top priorities are edge pass rushers, a true feature back and #1 receiver, offensive tackle, defensive linemen and cornerbacks. They need to add a few top starters prior to the NFL Draft 2019. Most FA additions will probably come on the offensive side of the ball with selected defensive additions. With tags starting being used this week, edge defenders like DeMarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney, Preston Smith, Dante Fowler, Dee Ford, Trey Flowers and Shane Ray could come off the FA board soon. All these edge rushers are just entering their prime. Lawrence, Clowney, Smith, Flowers, Fowler and Ford will be expensive, but they bring the hot commodity the Jets need – edge pass pressure. Smith may not get the publicity of the others, but is an emerging impact edge defender that can make a difference. Flowers would be a coup to wrestle away from the Patriots. Always around the ball and makes plays. Jets will have to compete for the top FA prospects here or use a high draft selection. With no #2 pick currently, they may have their choice of any edge prospect other than Bosa. Josh Allen of Kentucky is a stud and the most complete edge defender in this draft class. The Jets will entertain moving back in top ten for a #2 selection. I love DE/LB Montez Sweat from Mississippi State. He strikes and brings explosiveness and power and has impact talent. He figures off the board by the middle of the first round. With $99 million in free agency available and the #3 overall selection, the Jets could address this area with two edge rushers and elevate this unit significantly with premier defenders like DL Leonard Williams and safety Jamal Adams inline already.     

I also like free agent OTs, JaWuan James, Trent Brown, Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Fisher or Donovan Smith. Tackle pickings are generally thin after a few prospects with several teams have already resigned before the FA period even starts. There could be a few released veterans, but that is usually limited at best. OT Brown would be a hit to the Patriots, a double bonus. That might put the burden on the NFL Draft 2019 where LT Jonah Williams, Greg Little and Andre Dillard are expected to be off the board probably by middle of first round. Quality offensive linemen get gobbled up quickly with 6 prospects in each of the first two rounds last April, including 10 of the first 39 selections. In the top 100 selections in the NFL Draft 2018, twenty draft choices were used on offensive linemen.

Jet corners Morris Claiborne (29) and Buster Skrine (30) are up as free agents. At $7 million for Claiborne and $6+ for Skrine, both would be costly to resign especially with veteran Tremaine Johnson (29) signed for a $12 million cap charge with an $8 million cash layout. Jets might want to resign one of the veterans with Skrine more versatile. Johnson signed a $72 million dollar contract thru 2023 with $34 million guaranteed. Veteran corners Jimmie Ward, Darqueze Dennard, Ronald Darby and Bradley Roby are second contract defenders will NFL starting skills to couple with Johnson and form a top tandem. Ward is a high-quality starter and though an expensive fit, capable of being a key missing piece almost immediately. Jets might also look to couple their starters with a developed rookie addition with starting talent.  

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2. The talk here in NY is that the Jets may pursue Le'Veon Bell in free agency. Is this a good move?

Bell would be a good addition but only on certain terms and conditions. Does he sign for anything near his $14 million former contract that he refused to sign through the fall of 2018. The Steelers will not tag him with Franchise or Transitional labels. He is a complete back who is only 27 years old and coming off sitting out the entire 2018 season. He should be primed for a big 2019 performance and an excellent compliment to young Sam Darnold. His presence takes pressure off Darnold and could convert the Green offense a 60-40 run to pass. Bell makes Darnold and the Jets defense 20% better just by his annual average production. I think he probably costs at least a 3 year deal for in the $50 million area.

3. Is this year a strong draft?

This NFL Draft class is very strong on defense especially the line and top edge defenders. GM Maccagnan faces a key question at the 3rd overall pick. Select premier defenders, LB Josh Allen, DL Quinnen Williams or Rashan Gary or corner Greedy Williams. Moving back in the first round may allow them to address two positions with the addition of a #2 draft choice. Maccagnan wisely retained the #1 pick this year by refusing to part with it in the move up last April in the first round. Jets moved from the 6th overall pick to the 3rd overall selection for three #2 selections, a month before the NFL Draft 2018. The trade closed the Bills, Dolphins and Cardinals out of the top three selections. Maccagnan put them in position for the 2nd QB and they were pleasantly surprised to land Sam Darnold with the selection. Darnold can be the franchise QB missing for the Green for decades.   

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?

There is high quality and depth along defensive line while cornerback and offensive tackles will be positions where top talent will fall quickly. OT begins to slide after the top 4-5 prospects especially on the leftside. FA is also weak at LT. Edge rushers is always a critical but dicey position and a top priority for the Jets. The top edge rushers may be tagged in FA. Prospects, Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, Jachai Polite and Brian Burns will probably fall in that order after Nick Bosa goes before the Jets 1st round selection. I love both Allen and Sweat and think they are great fits for the Jets and rookie starters.

Wide receiver is a deep group with a few top prospects considered true #1 receivers. I like N’Keal Harry best with AJ Brown and DK Metcalf next, though none belong before the mid first round or later. Cornerback is a quality group with Greedy Williams and Deandre Baker the top two prospects who are expected to come off the board in the top selections. Corner will be a high priority for Jets especially if two FAs leave in the offseason. Greedy Williams would be an excellent fit and probably comes off the board in the top 5 picks. The corner class is deep and should see many future starters come from the middle round.     

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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 (#3 overall) – LB Josh Allen, DT Quinnen Williams, DL Rashan Gary, CB Greedy Williams
2nd round (no pick)

3rd round (two picks, own & New Orleans)
 OLB DeAndre Walker, CB Rock Ya-Sin, WR Riley Ridley, LB Germaine Pratt, CB Kendall Sheffield, RT Kaleb McGary,  OL Elgton Jenkins and RB Benny Snell.                            

4th round
LB Ben Banogu, OT Max Scharping, WR Emanuel Hall or DT Dontavius Russell,                                      

5th round
DT Daylon Mack, CB Alijah Holder, DE Jonathan Ledbetter or CB David Long                                     

6th round (no pick)
7th round
CB Sean Bunting, WR Preston Williams, OT Derwin Gray or RB Wes Hills 

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?

RB Rodney Anderson of Oklahoma and OLB Porter Gustin of Southern California were rated higher but have fallen off injury concerns. If they check out medically, late steals with definite upside potential. Linemen, OT Derwin Gray of Maryland and OG Lanard Bonner of Arkansas St are falling through the cracks and both carry starting NFL grades in time. Gray is very intriguing for the outside. Wideouts DaMarkus Lodge of Mississippi and Emmanuel Butler of Northern Arizona have talent to compete for the possession receiver role. Both have size and starting talent, though need to settle into a system. Definite late steals with real upside.                        

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? 

Trading back in top half of first round keeps Jets in range of top defensive players and probably earns a #2 pick. It would be a wise move. This years’ QB class is not equal to last year. Two high prospects Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray are only one year starters. Teams like the Jaguars, Bengals, Giants, Redskins and Dolphins are interested in moving up. Broncos appear out after the trade for Joe Flacco. Redskins hold the 15th overall pick in first round and want to land a top QB. Jets would certainly have to get a #2 pick plus future high picks to move to middle of the round.

Raiders could be a Wild card here with three #1 picks including #4 overall plus two late #1 picks. Moving back to the Jaguars would be ironic moving from the 3rd overall to the 6th overall choice after doing the opposite last year to move up with the Colts to land Darnold. Maybe Jaguars Tom Coughlin is willing to part with three #2 picks like the Jets did last year. Great dream for Jet fans.

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8. Are there any division 2 or 3 players the Jets should look at?

CB Corey Ballantine of Washburn (Ks) and RB Wes Hills of Slippery Rock (Pa) are two D2 prospects I like. Both showed well at the All-star weeks and helped their cause. They both need to follow up with strong NFL Combine workouts.

9. Do you see any players especially QBs that might have a chance at another position in the NFL?

Murray is definite wild card – QB, running back and wideout like Tyreek Hill. Limited other QBs, but maybe Eric Dungey of Syracuse could apply his athleticism to a deluxe role weapon.

10. When do you think Kyler Murray will be picked? Round and what # pick?

Murray is a wild card. The game has changed and several teams will value him high, probable top ten pick. His size leaves a lot of questions for taking 60+ snaps a game at QB. I would have real difficulty taking him in the first round without a super plan in an offense. 

11. Any additional thoughts on the NY Jet situation and how they should proceed?

With the 3rd overall pick, a few hot prospects will emerge and give the Jets a few options moving back in the first round. Jacksonville with 6th overall pick is a natural landing spot, just a question of the price Maccagnan can extract from the Jaguars. That would be the best situation for Jets. At 6th pick, they still get a blue-chip defender and probably their pick of any offensive linemen or skilled position players. Teams build on top 100 draft choices and adding a few this year could be vital to any turnaround, especially if their FA strategy lands 3 to 4 prime additions. 

12. What are your thoughts on the coaches that Adam Gase hired?

I really like the signing of HC Adam Gase. It wouldn’t be the first coach who failed in his first assignment. He is an excellent fit for young QB Sam Darnold and I would expect his career to take off with strong coaching from Gase. New offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains reunites with Gase after time in both Chicago and Miami. Loggains is a fine addition to staff. It is important in a few key areas, experience together and success in many respects. It’s important also that Gase does not have to coach the coaches on offense. That helps Darnold immensely. 
New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will bring his aggressive approach to the game and will give this unit a definite boost. He has made impact at several stops and can give the Jets defense new life. He does need some edge rushers and good cover man to implement his system.  He brings a tough mentality that was slipping recently despite some highly regarded prospects.
 Frank Coyle of

What The Jet Scribes Are Saying
Brian Costello, NY Post
Three players the Jets will have their eyes on at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis:

Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky
The 6-foot-5 Allen wreaked havoc on Wildcats opponents this year, notching 17 sacks. The Jets desperately need an outside rusher, but Allen may be off the board before the Jets pick at No. 3.

Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
The Jets already have one strong defensive lineman named Williams. Could they add another? Quinnen Williams and Leonard Williams would give the Jets a fearsome defensive line that would be tough for teams to handle. Quinnen had eight sacks for the Crimson Tide last year and was dominant at times.

Andy Isabella, WR, UMass
The Jets are in the market for a speedy slot receiver for Adam Gase’s offense. Isabella fits the bill. All eyes will be on Isabella when he runs the 40-yard dash this week. He said in January he had run a 4.26 hand-timed 40, which would be close to the Combine record of 4.22 by John Ross.

Around The NFL
…..The NFL suspended Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory indefinitely Tuesday for violating the league’s substance abuse policy as well as the conditions of his reinstatement from a previous suspension. Now, comes word from Adam Schefter of ESPN that Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving is under evaluation for a potential suspension.…..As Mike Clay of ESPN showed in a chart posted to his twitter account last Thursday, the turnover among the top three positions on NFL coaching staffs (head coach, offensive/defensive coordinator) over the two last seasons is sizable. The turnover of the coordinator positions, in particular, is staggering. Since the start of the 2017 NFL season, over 75 percent of coordinator positions in the NFL have changed.…..Patriots safety Devin McCourty suggested in the days preceding the Super Bowl that he’d possibly retire. He now says that he’ll be back for 2019. “I’m gonna play,” McCourty told the Sports Spectrum podcast…..The Lions have hired Kyle Caskey as their new running backs coach, Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network reports…..Ndamukong Suh appears as uncertain about his future as everyone else speculating on where he might end up. The Rams defensive tackle becomes a free agent next month. “We’ll see,” Suh said, via TMZ Sports, when asked about returning to the Rams…..Tom Brady has set another NFL record: Most expensive football card. A card featuring Brady as a rookie sold for $400,100, the highest price ever for a football card, according to ESPN…..

2019 NFL Draft Order
*Asterik next to teams that might draft QBs
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*

NFL Calendar:
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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