The Jets are finally getting to the point to where we can call this Joe Douglas’s team, rather than Mike Maccagnan. There are still quite a few stages before we reach that point in time but where it all starts is the Senior Bowl.
Douglas and his staff; Chad Alexander, Phil Savage and Rex Hogan, can all be expected to be at the event. As we all know, they have a lot of work to do, even if they did finish 6-2 in the second half of the season. This is where they will talk to teams, maybe strike up conversations regarding future deals but nothing is more important than getting the opportunity to watch these 100+ players that could have an impact in the NFL less than 10 months from now.
In this two part series, I will go over some key players that the Jets brass should have their eyes at the event, starting with the offensive side of the ball.
Also, be sure to listen to Play Like a Jet where I will join Scott Mason to discuss media day, the first two days of practice and more!
WR Van Jefferson, Florida
This one just makes way too much sense. He is the son of the wide receivers coach, Shawn Jefferson. They obviously have most of what they need to hear from a background perspective from him. But now they need to look into what Van can provide on the field. During his two years at Ole Miss and two years at Florida, he never had a season over 700 yards. In my opinion, it should be blamed more on the quarterback play he’s endured and the amount of mouths to feed rather than his actual skill level. With the Gators over the last two seasons, he has shown to be a very reliable target for Franks and Trask with his savvy route running and excellent hands. As a route runner, he sets up what he wants to do very well, building some routes off of others. Without elite athleticism, he is able to create separation this way.
The hope is that he will be going against a great amount of excellent cornerbacks in one on one drills while in Mobile. With a good showing in these in addition to what he’ll provide on special teams, Jefferson can see his name rise in the draft community and become a day two selection, despite being an older prospect.
OT Josh Jones, Houston
Definitely the position Douglas and company need to keep an eye more than anything else. By winning the last two games, the Jets put themselves in a tough situation when it comes to the top players at the tackle position. Jedrick Wills, Andrew Thomas and Tristan Wirfs could possibly all be off the board before the 11th pick pops up. If that’s the case, they need to have a plan B that draft weekend. That’s where Josh Jones comes in.
Jones is a massive human being but do not let that fool you. He is a great athlete at his size and can get on the move when he needs to. In addition to that, it’s hard not to notice a mean streak he can play with. The length, strength and movement skills all stand out. However, there is a little to be desired when it comes to the technical side of things.
His hands are a bit messy, as they can get up late at times and miss his striking point and he can also tend to stand a little upright, to name a couple things. The bright side to all of those negatives is that they can all be taught, whereas many of the things to love about him cannot be.
Jones will likely need to be a round two target, but it would not shock me to see him gone before day two gets underway.
iOL Nick Harris, Washington
To put it lightly, the first major acquisition Joe Douglas made did not work out. Ryan Kalil struggled when healthy and missed a big part of the season, where Jonotthan Harrison replaces him and also struggled, but just a little less than Kalil. Nick Harris can hopefully be the one to stop the revolving door at center in 2020.
Harris is a very well rounded offensive line prospect. He has great experience, playing over 40 combined games at center and guard. He has outstanding athleticism, whether it be pulling, getting to the next level or what have you. But most importantly, he already has the technique down. His hand usage is very solid, hitting the defender on the inside and not letting these guys get by him. I would like to see a better anchor in pass protection, as it seems it takes him a little more effort, but he doesn’t get pushed back too much to where it’s a legitimate concern.
The Jets desperately need help both creating space for Bell to run and giving time for Darnold to pass and Harris provides the best of both worlds. If he plays the way it is expected in Mobile, it is possible he ends up as a round one player. But headed into the event, Harris holds a mid-late round two grade
here’s to hoping he can fall to 48.