2019 Senior Bowl Recap: Defense

Clayton Smarslok with his Senior Bowl recap for defensive players…

Senior Bowl week is officially done with. The game was played Saturday afternoon in what capped off a fantastic week in all. The first part of the recap on the offensive side of the ball, came out on Friday, before the game was played. But with the game now in the past, here are some thoughts on what went down with the defensive side during and after my trip in Mobile.


2019 Senior Bowl Recap: Offense

Clayton Smarslok with a Senior Bowl practice recap for offensive players…

Three days in Alabama, one practice. That’s all that was available with both practices on Wednesday being restricted to media after getting moved to an indoor facility due to a nasty rainstorm. Regardless, being able to watch the one practice plus the information by just being in Mobile, it’s safe to say the trip was still a success.

With this being a site that covers the Jets and all, my time down there was really focused on their positions of need on both sides of the ball. Here’s what I came away with during my time in Mobile for the offense.


Senior Bowl Preview: Defense

Clayton Smarslok with his Senior Bowl preview for defensive players…

With the Senior Bowl coming up in just a few days, this is the first time in the draft process where you get a group of players like this together until the combine in just over a month. The teams get to meet with some of the players and see them compete against some of the best in their class.

On Monday, we previewed three offensive players that would be potential targets for the Jets. Below, we go over three players on the defensive side that will be looked at to be fits in the new system they bring in with Gregg Williams becoming the new defensive coordinator.


EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

At the moment, the Jets still have a huge need off the edge. It’s been well documented that they haven’t had one after they traded John Abraham prior to the 2006 draft. This allows me to believe they will be spending a good amount of their cap space on players to fill that void. If they refuse to do so for some reason, Montez Sweat will be one name to watch in the first round. But rather than being in the running for the third pick, he could be someone they look at if they trade down. After the transferring to Mississippi State for his last two seasons, the fifth year senior played in all 26 games recording 22.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss in the process, making him one of the top edge rushers in the 2019 class.

Montez Sweat would be a much better fit as a defensive end in this new 4-3 defense the Jets will run rather than be an outside linebacker in a 3-4. On film, Sweat shows an explosive first step and a variety of rush moves, best of which is the long arm. However, one area it would be nice to see improvement this week is his flexibility and bend. Very rarely will you see him win by dipping the shoulder to beat a tackle, which is part of the reason why he won’t be near the top of the first round.

By switching to a 4-3 base defense, the Jets are lacking edge rushers like never before. Their defensive ends before will now move to defensive tackle and the outside linebackers are either free agents or not the prototypical end in this defense (i.e. Jordan Jenkins). This pairing is likely a long shot but if Sweat blows up the Senior Bowl next week and the Jets actually trade down to the mid to late teens, this match becomes slightly more realistic.


CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple

There may be no more important position for this new defense than cornerback. Gregg Williams absolutely needs players to fit his scheme if he wants to be aggressive the way he always has. The big reason they took Denzel Ward instead of Bradley Chubb last year was because of how important the cornerback position is for him to be successful. Rock Ya-Sin could possibly be one of those guys for the Jets.

When watching Ya-Sin, his size stands out at 6’1 and around 190 pounds. The length is coveted in today’s game and he uses his to his advantage being physical at the line of scrimmage, something Gregg Williams will want. Ya-Sin has good athleticism and shows good ball skills, just not the greatest of hands. He’ll need some work technically starting with the feet, but nothing that can’t be fixed. One interesting tidbit about Ya-Sin is that he was given a single digit number in his first season with Temple. That means his teammates thought enough of him to consider him one of the leaders before taking a snap.

The Jets not only need cornerbacks for Williams, but they need cornerbacks on the roster in general. This off-season the Jets are possibly losing Morris Claiborne, Buster Skrine and Daryl Roberts to free agency; making this a big position of need heading into the off-season. Ya-Sin would be a developmental selection that could possibly fall to them in day three, but should qualify as some depth with some future upside.


S/NB Mike Edwards, Kentucky

Edwards was originally supposed to be the second Kentucky Wildcat on the list but with Josh Allen dropping out, Edwards is the now only Wildcat but the second defensive back. While he isn’t as big of a name as Allen, he did play just as big of a role for the Wildcat defense over the last four seasons. But before we go any further what should be mentioned is that Edwards may be listed as a safety, but he is being looked at here purely as a nickel back more than anything else. That was the main slot he filled at Kentucky showing good production over his 45+ game career, recording 10 interceptions and 23 pass deflections during his time there.

As was mentioned, Edwards spent a lot of his time in the slot. He does a great job here in man coverage regardless of the matchup and does a solid job in zone following the eyes of the quarterback and knowing his surroundings. He has quick feet to mirror receivers but also good patience to not bite on a route too early. It’s hard to not love how he plays, he has a non-stop motor and is not afraid to get physical, even as a smaller guy. He was utilized well as a blitzer from the slot, shows tremendous ball skills and should be able to make an impact early on.

The Jets will need secondary help with all of the guys above leaving in free agency. Even though Edwards will fill a need at the nickel spot, it doesn’t hurt that he can provide help as a third safety as well. Marcus Maye has proven he can’t be relied on to play all 16 games, so getting a player who has the versatility to play in a couple different areas like Edwards later o in day two or early day three of the draft would be a great get for the defense.

Senior Bowl Preview: Offense

Clayton Smarslok with a Senior Bowl preview for the offensive players…

The Senior Bowl week is one of the best weeks of the entire year for anyone in the scouting community. Everyone will be there! You obviously the best seniors in all of college, top executives, Head Coaches from NFL and college, and media members covering every aspect of the NFL Draft, including yours truly.

Getting credentials for the first time at the Senior Bowl will be fun because it’s a chance to get to see players you wouldn’t typically watch on television and get the possibility to know some of them and what they’re going through. To get an interview is a free-for-all after the practices, which means I’ll have to showcase some of the old moves to get to players like Josh Allen and other big names. Here are just some of the names on offense that will get the attention of me and likely the Jets as well.


Clay’s NFL Draft Cheat Sheet – New Year’s Six Edition

Clayton Smarslok With His Draft Cheat Sheet For The New Years Six Bowls.

As the final days of 2018 wind down, people are making their plans for their New Year’s celebrations, thinking of what resolutions they partake in for a few days and just enjoying the holidays. What you all need to be doing is watching the New Year’s Six bowl games, starting today. From each of those six games, we’ll look into one prospect that could possibly don green and white or whatever color scheme the Jets use next season.

Continue reading “Clay’s NFL Draft Cheat Sheet – New Year’s Six Edition”

Clay’s NFL Draft Cheat Sheet – Bowl Edition #1

Bowl season is here but it doesn’t quite feel like bowl season just yet. With the vast majority of these teams being middling programs with six or seven wins and several top guys deciding to sit out, it could be better. But hey, football is football and we’ll take it anyway we can while it’s still here. In week two there are 13 games to be played, the last 13 before we get to the New Year’s Six. What players should you focus on, you ask? Here are the few that decided to play before leaving for the NFL.

Continue reading “Clay’s NFL Draft Cheat Sheet – Bowl Edition #1”

NFL Draft – Five Potential New York Jets First Round Targets

Clayton Smarslok with five prospective first round targets for the New York Jets

After Sunday’s victory against the Buffalo Bills, there were a lot of mixed emotions amongst us Jets fans. On one side, 21 year old, rookie quarterback Sam Darnold was able to lead a fourth quarterback comeback against a top 5 defense, on the road and in his first game back from injury. The team was in disarray, losing their last six games. One of which included a blowout to the Bills at home. A game like this was needed for the young guys on this team moving forward.


Clay’s NFL Draft Cheat Sheet – Post Regular Season

Clayton Smarslok with his post regular season college football cheat sheet

It was over before we knew it. No more weekly Saturday games until next September but it was a great season to look back on. It had young first year starters take over the sport, major upsets, redemption stories and one of the most memorable games in regular season history.

With every bowl game and three playoff games left to play the season isn’t over yet, but for many top prospects their collegiate careers are finished. They make the smart business decision to sit out their meaningless last game to ensure their health heading into the offseason. With that, let’s review the last week and the season as a whole for some of these soon to be NFLers.


NFL Draft – Three Quarter Season 2019 NFL Mock Draft

Clayton Smarslok with a first round NFL mock draft…

There are only four games left for each team, and it is now bowl season in college. The season flew by but that only means draft season is coming in hot and I’m here to get you all ready.

Over the past couple weeks, more and more draft eligible prospects have been declaring for the draft. However, one of the big names we are still not sure about is Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. With all signs pointing to him returning, he will be the big name off of this list.

The draft order was from using the ESPN standings with the current strength of schedule as the tie-breaker (not head-to-head) for picks 1-20. Between 21-32 were my predictions for the 2018 playoffs with strength of schedule as the tie-breaker again.

Clay’s NFL Draft Cheat Sheet – Conference Championship Week

Clayton Smarslok with his weekly college football cheat sheet

The college football regular season may be over but we’re not done just yet. There are still conference championships to play for with the bowl season to follow. This is when you you get some of the best showdowns of the season, we can only hope that they all live up to our lofty expectations.