Our lead NFL Draft analyst Connor Rogers was on site in Mobile, Alabama for Senior Bowl week. With head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan on hand as well, it is safe to assume the Jets may add some talent from the biggest college all-star game.
Who stood out in practice? What players might fit the Jets? Let’s take a look…
1) Noah Spence, Edge, Eastern Kentucky
I’ve been talking up Spence for quite some time now, but he had a lot to prove this week in Mobile.
The talent has been obvious, but he had to prove to NFL front office executives and coaches that his troubles with substance abuse is truly behind him. I spent a few minutes with Spence on media night and did not come away disappointed. He does not hide from his mistakes and understands the road ahead of him.
On the field, Spence confirmed what I have thought since mid-October: he is the best edge rusher in this draft class and it’s really not close (top 5 overall player as well). He is the ideal selection in round one for the Jets, but I highly doubt he escapes the top 15.
2) Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
Butler has been unblockable for much of his career at Louisiana Tech and that did not stop during Senior Bowl practices. The 325 pound defensive tackle is an ideal fit for a team needing a shade nose player that can also push the pocket as well as stuffing the run.
If the Jets lose Damon Harrison to free agency, Butler looks like the most talented player that is a plug and play option at that interior spot of the Jets defensive line (See Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller’s latest mock draft here). His Senior Bowl week was so good that he seems to have solidified himself as a top 40 selection, which would not be as ideal for the Jets regarding their round 2 selection.
3) Darian Thompson, S, Boise State
Thompson is a fluid athlete on the back end that is very aggressive downhill. He had a big week in practice, displaying leadership and a great understanding of where to be at all times.
On paper, Thompson’s length/size was always a clear positive (6’2, 215), but on the field he is a really intelligent player that is very vocal in the secondary. He’ll be in the first round conversation these next few months and certainly should not make it out of the top 50.
4) Harlan Miller, CB, Southeastern Louisiana
You probably just said to yourself: “Who? And from where? What?” That should be the last time you think that when Harlan Miller’s name is brought up.
The 6’0, 180 cornerback is physical, smooth, and plays with a ton of energy. I stood a few feet from Miller on the sideline for the final day of practice and he couldn’t stay quiet for more than 10 seconds. Communication is vital in the secondary and this came off as a huge positive.
Miller is very aggressive and moves well, his game has a ton of Buster Skrine to it (except he’s 3 inches taller, which is key). He solidified himself as a day two player on my board and will be a steal if he gets overlooked due to the competition he routinely faced.
5) Deion Jones, LB, LSU
There was a bit of a strange panic when Jones measured in around 6’0, 220 and I do not really understand why. He is not your classic thumper type linebacker that will ‘fill’ for the middle of a defense.
What Jones does bring to the table is range, instincts, and speed. He was very impressive in coverage and does not get beat to the sideline against the run. Many teams in the league need to add athleticism to their front seven and the former LSU ‘backer can add that from day one.
The Quarterback Hype Train
There was not much to talk about in Mobile regarding the quarterback position outside of Carson Wentz, who had a solid week.
At 6’5, 233 pounds the North Dakota State product certainly looks the part. He was great with his teammates and the media all week as well, constantly showing the ability to command a huddle.
Wentz has a superb skill set and the most natural arm talent in this draft class, but the hype train has gotten a bit crazy. He’ll be a top 15 player for me (just behind Jared Goff, who sits at 10 overall) and a valuable asset worth investing in, but the dividends might not pay off instantly like many expect.
Wentz needs to work on his pocket presence and more importantly diagnosing pressure and working through his reads. No quarterback in this class should be a week one starter as a rookie, especially Wentz. This is how quarterbacks can fail to develop, let’s just hope the NFL franchise that selects him realizes this as well.
Updated Big Board
- Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
- Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
- Noah Spence, EDGE, Eastern Kentucky
- Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
- Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
- Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
- Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
- Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
- Jared Goff, QB, Cal
- Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
- Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
- Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
- Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
- Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
- Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
- Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida
- Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
- Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State
- Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
- Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss
- DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon
- Vernon Butler, DT, La Tech
- Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
- Mike Thomas, WR, Ohio State
- Shaq Lawson, EDGE, Clemson
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report