Draft Murmurings: Prospects the Jets like
I spoke to a number of people this weekend to get some info on how some of the visits have gone.
Welcome to another week, one more week closer to the draft. That’s basically going to be our focus from here on out unless the Jets sign someone or trade for a superstar wide receiver. The closer we get to the draft, the more likely teams are to start listening.
First of all, let’s just get into the pre-draft visit tracker, we have one new name that got added over the weekend and we’ll start with him.
Derek Stingley Jr - The Jets met with the LSU cornerback for a 2nd time having already met with him at the NFL combine. Stingley has only played 10 games over the last two years and appeared in just 3 in 2021. He has all the athletic ability, but his tape hasn’t looked first-round worthy since his freshman year in 2019. That year he had 6 INT and 15 pass defenses, over the last two years he’s had 0 INT and 5 pass defenses. Although that 2019 tape is talked about a lot and the plays on the ball were notable, he did give up over 500 yards and 4 touchdowns too, so it wasn’t flawless either.
Treylon Burks - Wide Receiver - Arkansas
Ikem Ekonwu - Offensive Tackle - NC State
Sauce Gardner - Cornerback - Cincinnati
Aidan Hutchinson - EDGE - Michigan
Chris Olave - Wide Receiver - Ohio State
Kayvon Thibodeaux - EDGE - Oregon
Travon Walker - EDGE - Georgia
Jameson Williams - Wide Receiver - Alabama
Garrett Wilson - Wide Receiver - Ohio State
Perrion Winfrey - Defensive Tackle - Oklahoma
Devonte Wyatt - Defensive Tackle - Georgia
Taysir Mack - Wide Receiver - Pittsburgh
Isaiah Likely - Tight End - Coastal Carolina
Lewis Cine - Safety - Georgia
Jermaine Johnson - EDGE - Florida State
That’s 16 of the allowed 30 visits confirmed, so we’re over halfway. Some we may never hear about, but I’m sure we’ll get a few more players added this week. There are a lot of receivers and a lot of edge players on there as you’d expect, with more to come.
Over the weekend I spent some time chatting to as many people around the draft as I could get a hold of to find out what was being said about the Jets and some of the prospects that they’ve met. Here are a couple of things I heard:
The Jets “absolutely love” Kayvon Thibodeaux, I’ve heard this from multiple people and multiple times, they see him as the perfect scheme fit for their defense and don’t have the same concerns as some around his “character and motor”, he’s not the only edge player they’re fond of, but one person I spoke to said he’d be shocked if the Jets went elsewhere if KT was still available at #4.
Speaking of other edges, Jermaine Johnson had an “awesome” visit with the Jets and really hit it off with coach Saleh. There is “significant interest” from the Jets in Johnson and the feeling is very mutual.
Drake London is still in the process of setting up his pre-draft visit schedule, he hasn’t visited many teams as of this weekend, but he does have a fair few teams that have requested visits and it’s expected he will visit the Jets “at some point”.
The one other name that came up multiple times was Perrion Winfrey, the defensive tackle from Oklahoma. One person I spoke to said that the Jets “loved his versatility and what he could bring in both areas of the game”, Winfrey does have a quick first step and has ideal length, he’s also played all around the defensive line for Oklahoma.
This won’t shock anyone, but pretty much everyone I spoke to said they would be surprised if the Jets don’t take a receiver in round one, “they’re going to do everything they can to help Zach Wilson, they know they didn’t do enough for Sam and they’re not going to make the same mistake again”.
Are the Jets looking to replace Connor McGovern?
Something that keeps popping up on my timeline revolves around Connor McGovern and whether the Jets are looking to replace him.
I’ve seen multiple people say that their “interest” in Ryan Jensen and Bradley Bozeman in free agency is “evidence” that they’re looking at alternatives.
I don’t believe I’ve seen a single report stating the Jets made an offer to either player and as we know all too well, a lot of these interest reports are drummed up by agents looking to expand their client’s value. The Ryan Jensen interest report came from ESPN and I’m not sure where the Bozeman report came from.
McGovern had one of the best years of his career last year, especially as a run-blocker and he’s about to enter the final year of his deal. If the Jets were to find a replacement they could either cut McGovern this year (saving $9 million) or let him leave in free agency next year with a replacement already in the house.
Chances are that McGovern will have another solid year if the Jets decide to stick with him. It’s the 2nd year in the MLF system, it’s the 2nd year playing next to AVT and he has a proven veteran on the other side in Laken Tomlinson as well. I would prefer the consistency at center for Zach Wilson as well, but if the Jets did decide to dip into the center market in the draft, who’s available?
First Round - Tyler Linderbaum
The best center prospect in the draft and one of the best center prospects I’ve ever seen. Had a 99.1 pass-blocking efficiency rating last year allowing just 7 pressures over 457 pass-blocking snaps. I don’t think the Jets are in the market for a first-round center and even if he starts to slip, he won’t get past the Bengals at the back-end of the first round.
Third Round - Cole Strange
You know all you need to know about Cole Strange at this point, he’s a guard by nature but worked at center during the senior bowl and held his own. One of my favorite prospects, Strange had a 99.0 pass-blocking efficiency allowing 5 pressures over 311 pass-blocking snaps while also carrying an 86.4 run-blocking grade.
Third Round - Alec Lindstrom
Lindstrom comes from a family of linemen and that shows with how he plays the position, he’s all about technique, angles, leverage, and timing. He doesn’t show the power that some will want and he does have a tendency to play too upright but he’s another good option for the Jets’ zone scheme. Lindstrom had a 98.9 pass-blocking efficiency allowing 7 pressures on 368 pass-blocking snaps.
Fourth Round - Cameron Jurgens
Jurgens has excellent athleticism for the position which makes him an appealing option to teams that operate a lot of zone. He also called the protections at Nebraska and is considered a high IQ, high character guy with room to develop as an NFL starting center. Over the course of 2021 Jurgens had a pass-blocking efficiency of 98.4 allowing 13 pressures over 414 pass-blocking snaps.
Fifth Round - Luke Fortner
Fortner like Strange can offer some positional flexibility with both center and guard, which the Jets value in their offensive line prospects. Hand usage is the calling card for Fortner who shows a good understanding of leverage for the position. Like Jurgens Fortner also called protections at the line and is considered a high-character guy and leader on the field. Fortner is one of my favorite late-round prospects, he carried a pass-blocking efficiency rating of 99.2 last season, allowing 5 pressures on 429 pass-blocking snaps.
I like all of the prospects on this list, but if I had to pick a route for the Jets it would be either Cole Strange in the 3rd or Luke Fortner in the 5th.
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