A closer look at the Jets seventh round pick, Scotty McKnight —
Background – As we all know by now he is a childhood best friend of Jets starting quarterback Mark Sanchez. The two of them used to be ball boys together for Mission Viejo high school.
College – McKnight decided to walk on at Colorado University, where he left as the school’s all-time leading reception and receiving touchdown leader. He led the team in receptions all four of his seasons in Colorado, a pretty amazing stat for anybody, never-mind a walk on. Last season he had 50 receptions for 621 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Vitals – 5’11, 182 pounds, 4.5 40 yard dash at his Pro Day.
Position – His skill set projects to a slot receiver, that could use his quickness and intelligence to his advantage to get open.
NFL Comparison – Not really sure…maybe a Greg Camarillo type?
“Are you kidding me? Teaming up with a great organization and a great team and then being together with my childhood buddy who I grew up with.”
Where He Fits – McKnight will compete for the 4th or 5th receiver spot with a number of players, including Patrick Turner depending on how the Jets handle free agency.
Best Case Scenario – McKnight makes the roster and contributes as a slot receiver in some packages, while carving out a role for himself on special teams. He becomes E to Sanchez’s Vinny Chase in the streets of New York City and North Jersey (good Entourage references by Brian Bassett in his coverage of McKnight).
Worst Case Scenario – McKnight doesn’t make the team and Mark Sanchez forces the Jets to draft his other best friend next year.
A collection of New York Jets players are currently convened in California taking part in a pseudo-mini camp organized by starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez. For the second year in a row, Sanchez has demonstrated his leadership in the locker room by putting together “Jets West,” as he calls it. This year it is particularly important considering the lockout. Outside of the on the field work, Sanchez is organizing classroom sessions to review the offense and various things for himself and his teammates to do around California. For example, a group of them attended the Lakers game last night.
The list of attendees includes Braylon Edwards, Dustin Keller, LaDainian Tomlinson, Mark Brunell, Kevin O’Connell, John Conner, Patrick Turner, Jeff Cumberland, Greg McElroy, Brad Smith, Jeremy Kerley, Scotty McKnight, and Joe McKnight, with Santonio Holmes rumored to be showing up later in the week. It is an impressive effort by Sanchez to put this together and rally this many teammates. Rex Ryan recently commented that Sanchez and cornerback Darrelle Revis will be his captains this year and “Jets West” is just one reason why Sanchez deserves it.
As the Jets starting quarterback the past two years, Sanchez has dealt with the ups and downs expected of a young quarterback. He still struggles with his accuracy and consistency, along with making a few judgement errors. However, the reasons Jets fans should be feel confident that they have their franchise quarterback in place for the next decade is that Sanchez is a winner, plays better when the spot gets bigger, and has both a terrific work ethic and desire to lead. He is the anti-Matt Leinart, which makes Mike Tannenbaum look that much smarter for passing on Leinart in 2006 and moving up for Sanchez in 2009.
“Jets West” should help the offense make up for what time they are losing from the lockout yet more importantly it is another step in their young quarterback’s path to becoming the unquestioned leader of this team.
Joe McKnight…clearly learning from last off-season
For the most part I enjoy the work of the New York Jets beat writers. In particular, I think both Manish Mehta of The Daily News and Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger work hard to consistently produce unique content. However, I was disappointed to see the back cover on the early edition of the New York Post feature an “exclusive” story on Jets seventh round pick, Scotty McKnight written by long time beat writer Mark Cannizzaro.
Cannizzaro “got” McKnight by obtaining information about when as a 17 year old, McKnight was suspended from school for writing a inappropriate story for his creative writing class. As a bet with a friend, they attempted to come up with the most shocking “Quentin Taratino” like stories. Unfortunately, the teacher perceived these as direct threats to her, even though McKnight has no history of violence and has never been in any type of legal trouble in his life.
This is really headline, front-page news in the New York sports world? If Cannizzaro was interested in tearing down NFL draft picks just days into his career, he could have started with Kenrick Ellis or Bilal Powell who actually have a history of real problems, especially Ellis who is pending trial on an assault charge. Yet, he got his information, probably from a bitter old classmate of McKnight, who openly discussed the incident with the Jets before being drafted, and looked to tear down the kid just days into his NFL career.
New York…where a 17 year old kid writing an inappropriate story five years ago is headline news. Hide your pens and paper tri-state area, Scotty McKnight could be moving to a neighborhood near you. Give me a break. Do your job and go get some inside information on the Jets free agency plans instead of muckraking the past of their players.
After seeing how the Jets spent their six draft picks over the weekend, which players from the 2010 team could be on thin ice heading into this upcoming year?
- Shaun Ellis – Personally, I think it is still a smart move to bring Ellis back as a mentor for Muhammad Wilkerson and because the guy should finish his career where he started it. He is the longest tenured Jet and a respected leader on the team. However, the Jets aren’t going to overpay for him now after spending their first round pick on a defensive end. They could also bring Trevor Pryce back as a cheaper mentoring alternative for Wilkerson.
- Kris Jenkins – Not that he was likely to be back anyway, but the Kenrick Ellis selection seals his fate.
- Kellen Clemens – Good as gone.
- Kevin O’Connell – Will probably be given a chance to compete in training camp with Greg McElroy but unless he blows him away (not likely considering his past few summers) he will join Clemens.
- LaDainian Tomlinson – Everything we have heard since the draft indicates that he will still be back and it would be the smart move to have him return. The Jets need his leadership, receiving ability, and pass protection. Yet, you have to wonder if Bilal Powell looks good in the pre-season, if the Jets would consider letting him go.
- Joe McKnight – If he replicates his 2010 summer and Powell is productive, the Jets could part ways with their 4th round draft from last year to make room for their 4th round pick this year.
- Brad Smith – If Smith is commanding too much money, the Jets have drafted a player with a skill set to be his replacement in Jeremy Kerley. Even if Smith’s contract demands aren’t outrageous, they will have a tough time bringing him back with Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards both looking for new deals.
- Patrick Turner – Will Sanchez’s old buddy from USC get bumped from the roster by his new buddy on the team, Scotty McKnight?
A closer look at the Jets seventh round pick, Greg McElroy —
Background– McElroy played his high school football in Texas, where he won a 5A championship as a senior. He actually didn’t start his sophomore or junior year, as he sat behind Chase Daniel. In his one year as a starter, he threw 56 touchdowns to 9 interceptions.
College– McElroy started as a junior at Alabama and helped lead his team to a BCS National Championship, throwing for 2,508 yards and 17 touchdowns, along with a 60.6 completion percentage. In his senior year, he improved to 19 touchdowns and upped his completion percentage to 70.6 percent.
Vitals – 6’2, 222 pounds, scored a 43 out of 50 on the Wonderlic Test.
Position – Most likely he will be the Jets number three quarterback in 2011 and projects as their long term backup for Mark Sanchez.
NFL Comparison – How about a poor man’s Chad Pennington, considering his intelligence and intangibles but lack of ideal physical skills?
“I can’t think of a better place to go. It’s an incredible opportunity to learn from one of the greatest young quarterbacks in the game right now and to also play for one of the greatest coaching staffs. It’s an incredible tradition and legacy. I’m proud to be able to continue it and try my best to make the Jets a better organization.
Where He Fits – McElroy will compete with Kevin O’Connell, Drew Willy, and maybe Erik Ainge for the Jets number three quarterback job behind Mark Sanchez and Mark Brunell. I am assuming Kellen Clemens won’t return next year.
Best Case Scenario– He shows promise in the pre-season and easily wins the number three job. McElroy gives the coaching staff enough confidence to make him the number two quarterback heading into 2012.
Worst Case Scenario– McElroy struggles in training camp and is relegated to the practice squad during his rookie year, with O’Connell or somebody else ending up as the number three quarterback.
A closer look at the Jets fifth round pick, Jeremy Kerley —
Background – Kerley was a four sport athlete in high school in Hutto, Texas. As a junior, he led his football team to the state championship game as a quarterback. He was recruited to play both baseball and football in college but ultimately decided to stick with football at TCU.
College – Kerley began making his primary impact as a return man during his sophomore year. During his junior and senior year, he became a bigger part of the offense while remaining the team’s primary punt returner. Last season, he finished with 56 receptions for 575 yards, with 10 receiving touchdowns. He also added 97 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, a touchdown pass and 388 punt return yards.
Vitals – 5’10, 189 pounds, ran a 4.56 40 yard dash at the combine.
Position – He will work as a slot receiver in the Jets offense and immediately compete for the primary punt return job, which is wide open this year. The Jets will also likely experiment with him in the Wildcat formation, especially if Brad Smith doesn’t return.
NFL Comparison – Everybody is penciling him in as Brad Smith’s replacement already, although they are very different body types and Smith was a quarterback in college. Kerley should be able to be a more fluid receiver than Smith.
“I had a great workout for the Jets when they came down and worked me out,” he said. “Ever since then I’ve thought in the back of my mind, ‘Maybe, somewhere down that line, it could be.’ I’m just glad it was today.”
Where He Fits – Kerley should compete for reps as the Jets number three receiver, especially if either Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes don’t come back, along with Brad Smith likely leaving in free agency. He should also get a shot to be their punt returner and maybe get a few looks on kick return, beyond contributing on the coverage units for Mike Westhoff.
Best Case Scenario – Kerley finds a way to fill the role left by Brad Smith if he isn’t back next year. He becomes a versatile weapon on offense, contributing both as a receiver and a runner. Kerley also works into the rotation of punt returners.
Worst Case Scenario – He struggles to adjust into becoming a slot receiver in the Jets offense and doesn’t get meaningful reps on offense this season. Kerley also loses out on the punt return job.
A closer look at the Jets fourth round pick, Bilal Powell —
Background – Powell played his high school football in Florida at Lake Gibson. He was originally recruited to play defensive back for Louisville. Powell had a rough upbringing and was stabbed, allegedly in a gang fight during his sophomore year of high school.
College – Powell didn’t do much during first three seasons at Louisville. In his junior year, he only ran for 392 yards, while averaging 3.6 yards per carry. However, he exploded in his senior year, where he earned 1st team All-Big East honors. Last year for Louisville, Powell finished with 1,405 rushing yards, along with 11 touchdowns. He also tacked on 18 receptions and 3 receiving touchdowns.
Vitals – 5’11, 216 pounds, ran a 4.52 40 yard dash at the combine.
Position – He will join the Jets crowded halfback depth chart, along with Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Joe McKnight.
NFL Comparison – I read Rich Cimini compare him to Thomas Jones because of his one cut style. However, he looks a little more explosive and to have more big play potential than Jones in some of his highlights…then again everybody looks good in their highlights.
“It’s a great feeling right now, just to get the opportunity at a great organization and having the chance to play under Rex Ryan.”
Where He Fits – It will be very interesting to see. Everything we have heard since the Jets made the selection is that LaDainian Tomlinson will still be back, which means Powell will be battling Joe McKnight for reps behind Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson. He should also contribute on special teams.
Best Case Scenario – Powell finds a way to contribute on both offense and special teams. He provides good depth for the Jets and is able to step in to handle some carries if one of the lead backs are banged up, showing an ability to take on an even bigger role in 2012.
Worst Case Scenario – Powell imitates Joe McKnight’s rookie performance last year.