New York Jets Fact Or False: Mini-Camp Edition

Chris Gross with his weekly New York Jets Fact or False, looking at New York Jets mini-camp issues

The 2012 New York Jets have countless story lines and question marks surrounding them heading into this pivotal year for both Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez. Following the conclusion of today’s third, and final, mini-camp practice, the Jets will not be together in their entirety until the beginning of training camp at the end of July. A lot can be taken from the OTA’s and mini-camp period of the off-season, however, it is important to remember that the regular season is still months from kickoff and absolutely nothing is set in stone yet. For this week’s New York Jets Fact Or False, we’ll examine six of the most prevalent headlines as we begin the early transition from the offseason into the preseason.

1.) Santonio Holmes is still the team villain. Fact. While Santonio Holmes has gone through great efforts to stay out of the spotlight all offseason, while seemingly working to repair his fractured relationship with Mark Sanchez, as well as saving some time to visit with injured U.S. Military Troops in Germany, it took number 10 only one day of practice to grab the headlines in a negative way. After struggling to fulfill his desired number of reps during the first day of mini-camp, Holmes reportedly threw his helmet as he came off of the field, while expressing his disapproval for the workload he was expected to achieve in his first day back with the team.

While this was likely just a simple act of frustration from the ultra-competitive Holmes, Tone has to realize that everything he does will be under heavy scrutiny this season, particularly acting out like this in a practice session open to the media. It is certainly understandable that highly spirited athletes are often emotional, however Holmes is in a unique situation. The majority of media outlets are seemingly waiting for him to implode, so he needs to be smart about repairing his image, if he truly intends to do so. Until then, Holmes will remain portrayed as the villain of the Jets, and the majority of the moves he makes will be painted in a negative light, until he changes the perception of himself in the media.

2.) The more rigorous strength and conditioning program is the reason for the early hamstring plague. False. Among others, Holmes and rookie WR Stephen Hill each missed practice time this week due to tweaked hamstrings. Yesterday, ESPN’s Rich Cimini hinted at the idea that the cause for the ongoing hamstring issues in mini-camp were related to the more intense weight room regiment. While an increase in strenuous muscle activity could contribute to some types of injury if not conditioned well enough, this is the NFL. The players and coaches are professionals, and experts in their respective trades. An NFL level strength and conditioning coach is certainly capable of implementing stretching and flexibility techniques to decrease the risk of muscle related injuries.

While it is easy to assume that an increase in weight room intensity is an underlying cause for the recent run of hamstring issues, it is more likely a case getting back into playing shape. The most durable NFL players usually have the most strenuous offseason programs. During his time with the New York Giants, Tiki Barber was known for having one of the most intense weight room regiments out of any player in the league, and as a result, missed only six total games throughout the span of his ten year career, four of which came during his rookie season. Strength training does not increase the risk of injury, but more commonly reduces it.

3) Tim Tebow will be playing just about everything other than “traditional” Quarterback this season. Fact. While Tebow is the backup quarterback, he was not brought to New York for that reason. Conversely, he was not brought here to be the starter either. The Jets traded for Tebow to be the excellent football player they know he is. He has reported to mini-camp at a career high 249 lbs, and reports indicate that the Jets would still like him to add weight. By traditional standards, there aren’t any 250 lb athletes with the overall football skills of Tebow serving as pocket passers. The added weight will allow Tebow to serve more effectively as an all around football player, particularly in an H-Back, Running Back type role. Over his two seasons in the NFL, Tebow has rushed for 887 yards and 12 touchdowns, with a very impressive 5.4 yards per carry.

There will surely be a good amount of Wild Cat QB thrown in for Tebow as well, especially with the newly hired Tony Sparano’s knowledge of the system, coupled with Rex Ryan’s infatuation with it. In fact, since Ryan has come to New York, the Jets have the highest total yards per play out of the Wildcat in the entire NFL during that time frame, at 6.1 YPP. Expect Tebow to serve as a jack-of-all-trades for Gang Green this season, while seeing very little, if any, time as the regular quarterback.

4.) David Harris will finally get his much deserved recognition this season. False. Is there a more underrated defensive player in the NFL than David Harris? Since being drafted by the Jets in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Harris is averaging 102.8 tackles, 3.9 sacks, and 1 interception per season over his first five years in the league, while never being selected to a single Pro Bowl. Yes, he was a second team All-Pro in 2009, but has been snubbed by for the Pro Bowl in each year of his impressive NFL Career. In 2007, Harris’s rookie campaign, he tallied 127 tackles, including 90 solo, 5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. His AFC counterpart DeMeco Ryans was elected as the starter to the Pro Bowl that same season, although he registered only one more tackle than Harris, with three fewer sacks. Similarly, Ray Lewis was elected as the reserve at middle linebacker that same season despite notching seven fewer tackles and three fewer sacks than Harris. Sure, Ryans had collected over 150 tackles in the season prior, and Ray Lewis is, well, Ray Lewis, but this tells you all you need to know about how far under the radar Harris has flown since entering the league.

Although Harris has been the most consistent player on the team not named Darrelle Revis over the past few seasons, he still receives very little, if any, recognition. Although the Jets linebacker corps is one of the biggest question marks of the defense as we head into July, they have still received a fair amount of publicity during mini-camp. However, the spotlight has once again left the Hitman in the dark as the focus has been primarily on the revival of Bart Scott and the possible emergence of rookie DeMario Davis. Harris is a staple, not only of the defense, but also of the entire team, yet he often goes without mention when it comes discussing the vital keys to New York’s successes. Harris will likely rank in the top 2 in tackles among defensive players this season, yet few words will likely be printed about the 5 year veteran out of Michigan.

5.) The Jets have their defensive core of the next generation in Quinton Coples, DeMario Davis, and Josh Bush. Fact. The three of these rookies have all been heavily involved in mini-camp practices. Coples will be starting from day one, as expected, and according to reports out of practice, it is with good reason. Coples has been very impressive during his first early practices as a Jet, and the new scheme will surely maximize his skill set. The Jets were criticized for passing on Melvin Ingram, but now with their intentions to use more 46 and 4-3 looks this season, the move to select Coples is beginning to become more praised each day. The 16th overall selection out of North Carolina is out to prove the Jets organization right, and all of his many doubters wrong. Expect nothing less from Coples this season and beyond.

As for Davis and Bush, there was a good chance they would be playing a significant role this year due to the lack of depth at their respective positions. Bush is the only true free safety on the roster that is capable of playing the center field role in the secondary, and Davis is brings some much needed speed to the linebacker corps. Each of these players have been running with certain first team sub packages, and expect them each to play a heavier role as the season progresses, while serving on special teams.

The three of these young players certainly have the potential to fill as the core of the defense down the road. By the time they are entering the primes of their careers, Muhammed Wilkerson will be right there with them, while Darrelle Revis will likely still be the best corner in football and David Harris will be young enough to remain as a very important piece of the defense. If each of them can fulfill their potential, the defense will have the potential to be ranked among the best in the league for years to come.

6.) Chad Ochocinco will get off of Revis Island in 2012. False. To quote Ochocinco himself, “Child Please.” In his 6 career games against Darrelle Revis, Ochocinco has compiled only 16 catches for 289 yards, with no touchdowns. Those numbers average out to about 2.67 receptions for 48.17 yards per contest. With the artist formerly known as Chad Johnson entering the twilight of his career, coupled with the nightmare that is the Dophins’ quarterback situation, Ocho would be wise to set up his beach chair and lather up with sunscreen because Revis Island will be his residency for two of the sixteen weeks this season.

New York Jets: Davis and Maybin X-Factors At Linebacker

Demario Davis and Aaron Maybin have the skill set to be x-factors on the Jets defense this season

The New York Jets were slow at linebacker last season. Slow may actually be an understatement to describe Bart Scott trudging after running backs and Calvin Pace needing a sun dial to time his rush to the quarterback. Even the young players the Jets turned to when there were injuries, like Garret McIntyre and Josh Mauga were sluggish in the speed department.

Fortunately the coaching staff recognized this issue and made improving team speed a point of emphasis this off-season. Bart Scott has reportedly dropped 15 pounds and one hopes he could perform similar to how he did in 2009 and 2010, when he was a very good 2 down, run stopping linebacker.

More importantly, the Jets added linebacker Demario Davis in the third round who has impressed the coaching staff enough to already be running with the first team in sub packages. His speed at the position gives the Jets versatility they have been lacking since Rex Ryan took over. Davis has the ability to run with running backs and tight ends in pass routes, unlike any other linebacker on the team’s roster. Look for him to make an immediate impact in passing situations and to gradually take more reps away from Scott as the season progresses.

Aaron Maybin will be entering his second year with the team and with a full off-season with the coaching staff under his belt, should move towards becoming a more complete player. Last year it was all speed rushing and hustle with Maybin. While he doesn’t need to change his motor, he does need to add some inside pass rushing moves and work on tackling in space. Maybin led the team with 6 sacks last year despite not joining the team until week 4. Look for him lining up at both defensive end and outside linebacker in pass rushing situations, likely replacing Bryan Thomas most of the time.

When looking at the grotesquely overpaid Pace, who is coming off his worst season with the team, hopefully the pieces around him will make him stronger. When breaking down the Jets 46 alignment, Bucky Brooks of NFL.com points out that with Muhammad Wilkerson, Sione Pouha and Quinton Coples up front, you could see Pace spend a good chunk of time lined up at defensive end alongside them. Pace should also be improved in his traditional 3-4 outside linebacker spot as Maybin becomes more respected as a pass rusher and Coples becomes a factor up front.

Ultimately, you have a general feeling what kind of production you will get from David Harris, Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas, and Calvin Pace. However, Davis and Maybin have the opportunity to bring a unique element to the position group. Can Davis help solve the Jets problems covering the tight end and dealing with faster running backs? Can Maybin be a double digit sack guy with a full off-season to prepare in Rex Ryan’s defense? Positive answers to these questions could lead the Jets to having one of the league’s top defenses once again.

A Final Look At The New York Jets 2012 Draft Class

Chris G gives one final round-up of the New York Jets 2012 draft class

After watching hours of film on every selection made in the 2012 Draft by the New York Jets, we have analyzed each player and where we think they will fit in with the team, based on their skill set and potential. Now, it’s time to have fun with some predictions for each of these rookies in 2012 and beyond. Let’s have a look at what a yearbook of the Jets’ 2012 Draft Class would probably read.

Most Likely To Succeed – DE Quinton Coples. This was a very tough decision, as I think Stephen Hill will undoubtedly have a successful career in the NFL. However, Rex Ryan is a defensive minded coach, and besides Darrelle Revis, has yet to have a player in New York with the physical upside of Coples. With all the criticism emerging from the Jets’ decision to pass on Melvin Ingram for Coples, expect Rex to make it a priority to ensure the young DE out of North Carolina will thrive underneath him.

Most Likely To Be Considered A Steal – LB DeMario Davis. Davis has the passion, drive, and physical ability to be an elite NFL linebacker down the road. It will benefit him greatly to play in a system designed by Rex Ryan, while learning under the tutelage of David Harris and Bart Scott in the early years of his career. From what Davis was able to demonstrate in college, along with his tremendous speed and size for the position, there is a very high chance that, in the coming years, people will be questioning how he ever fell to the third round.

Biggest Sleeper Pick –WR Jordan White. Not too many people are talking about White, but when taking a closer look, this kid has all the potential in the world to be a very solid NFL Wide Receiver. His production at Western Michigan speaks for itself, while he has repeatedly proved to be tough, physical, and athletic on film. His intelligence displayed by his ability to find holes in the defense, as well as his fantastic route running ability will put him right where he needs to be in camp in order to compete for a roster spot. I would be shocked if he is not on the active roster at some point this season, while developing into a reliable safety net for Mark Sanchez in the future.

Best Value – S Antonio Allen. After reviewing the game film of safety Josh Bush, I have an excellent feeling about his play and how he will succeed as a Jet. However, I have had Allen rated as the third best safety in this year’s class right behind Harrison Smith. A further review of his game film only solidified that notion, and in the 7th round, the former Gamecock was certainly the best value pick by New York this year. The Jets likely selected Bush ahead of Allen because of their greater need for a true centerfield-type safety, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum were ecstatic to see him still on the board in round 7.

Least Likely To Ever Play A Significant Down – G Robert T. Griffin. Don’t get me wrong, Griffin’s massive frame, and great tenacity give him tremendous upside. However, he appears to be light years away from being a capable NFL offensive lineman. His skill set is very far behind in terms of his strength, footwork, and technique. There’s always a chance that he proves this assertion to be false, but in all likelihood, Griffin will find a home on the practice squad and settle there for a few years, before becoming a career backup, at best.

Only time will truly tell how each of these young men will fare as NFL players. Surely, they have all done things well enough to find themselves in the rare position that they are in. There’s no doubt that they are all good football players, but which of them will go the distance to ensure success in the NFL?

New York Jets: Building Towards A 4-3 Defense

The New York Jets are putting the pieces in place to spend more time in the 4-3 this season

Rex Ryan has never been hesitant about using a variety of defensive looks since becoming the head coach of the New York Jets. However, they have predominantly been a 3-4 team. After a disappointing 2011 season, it appears the Jets will looking to use more 4-3 alignments this season and will be looking for different things out of a few key players in their system.

Surprisingly, defensive line has developed into the deepest position on the Jets roster. They have one of the best nose tackles in football in Sione Pouha, a promising second year player in Muhammad Wilkerson and one of the league’s better run stoppers in Mike DeVito. Behind them, Marcus Dixon was very good off the bench last year at both defensive end and defensive tackle. Last year’s third round pick Kenrick Ellis has the physical potential to be a force inside and Martin Tevaseau is a capable rotation player. Finally, they surprised many by selecting defensive end Quinton Coples in the first round.

On the other hand, the Jets have many questions at linebacker outside of David Harris. Calvin Pace is coming off his worst season with the team and appears to have lost his burst getting after the quarterback. Bart Scott is also coming off his worst season with the team and is a major liability on passing downs. Bryan Thomas is going to be 33 years old and is coming off major surgery. Aaron Maybin is a hybrid defensive end/linebacker and is predominantly just a pass rush threat. Demario Davis has plenty of potential but is ultimately still a third round rookie.

Outside of Maybin (who is built like a safety), the Jets have asked their linebackers to lose weight and improve their speed. Pace and Thomas are going to spend more time being pure linebackers instead of having different formations where they put their hand in the dirt because the Jets have enough capable defensive lineman.

It is a smart move by Rex Ryan to cater his defense to his depth chart. These is no need to fit square pegs in round holes. You play to your strengths and the Jets strength should be their defensive line more so than their linebackers. Ryan wisely hired a defensive line coach in Karl Dunbar, who was coaching a 4-3 in Minnesota to help with this adjustment. The Jets have a versatile front with most players being able to slide between defensive tackle and defensive end. Ryan should be able to send out a myriad of lineups that could both stop the run and rush the passer.

For example, a line-up with DeVito and Pouha at defensive tackle with Coples and Wilkerson at end, should be capable against the run while still getting push to the quarterback. On third downs, you could slide Coples inside to defensive tackle, bring Aaron Maybin in at end and then replace Bart Scott with Demario Davis or an extra safety to get after the quarterback.

Regardless of what the Jets de facto starting line-up ends up being, expect to see four to five defensive lineman getting major reps throughout the game while a player like Bryan Thomas could end up playing less than 50% of the snaps. It is also hard to see a scenario where Pace and Scott don’t see a decline in their reps.

The Jets strength on defense is cornerback and defensive line, Rex Ryan should be smart enough to build his game-plans around these two positions.

New York Jets Draft Pick Analysis: Linebacker Demario Davis

Chris Gross breaks down New York Jets third round pick linebacker Demario Davis

When watching game film of New York Jets’ 3rd round pick DeMario Davis, one word comes to mind: Boom! The Linebacker from Arkansas State may very well be one of the hardest hitters in this entire draft class. Among that, Davis possesses a very balanced skill set that gives him the potential to be an absolute steal as a third round selection. The young man that has recently drawn comparisons to Ray Lewis from the Jets coaching staff, in terms of his demeanor, attitude, and leadership ability. He proved that he can excel in all aspects of the game during his career at Arkansas State.

Other than being a very tough, hard-hitting player, Davis also possesses the read and reaction skills needed in a good linebacker. One of the best traits in his game is that there is no hesitation in his reaction time whatsoever. When a hole opens on a run play, or a pass rush lane on a blitz, Davis is very fast to hit the seam, which gives him an immediate advantage in making plays. He is able to fly to the ball from anywhere on the field, aided partly by his impressive speed, but primarily from his instinct and vast knowledge of the game.

Davis also has elite speed and athleticism as a linebacker. He is extremely fast and explosive out of his breaks, and can transition between his movements very smoothly. He has shown the ability to rush the passer from both the interior and off the edge, which is going to make him a very versatile weapon for Rex Ryan and the Jets’ defensive coaching staff. He has a good arsenal of pass rush moves to couple with his tremendous speed, which should make him a valuable asset to a defense that had so much difficulty getting to the quarterback last year.

What Davis needs to work on the most, to truly be able to succeed at the next level, is his ability to shed blockers. He is usually fantastic at taking on the lead blocker in the hole, always using the correct shoulder and superior aggressiveness to blow up the fullback or wrapping guard as they come through, however he struggles to defend straight on blocks from offensive linemen. Davis too often allows linemen to get into him, making it virtually impossible for him to regroup in time to make a play. He needs to improve his hand action to be able to strike a quick move and get off the block immediately, rather than wasting time getting tangled up with the blocker. Effective handwork will also assist Davis in avoiding cut blocks, something that became frequent against him as last season progressed. When a linebacker plays with as much intensity and tenacity as Davis does, some offensive players tend to shy away from contact after a while throughout the course of a game. This may not necessarily happen at the next level, but in the event that it does, improved handwork will allow Davis to avoid this more often than not.

Davis’s coverage skills are not great, but decent. What works best for him in pass coverage is his physicality and speed. He is very aggressive against receivers coming over the middle, or backs out of the backfield. His technique in coverage is far from perfect, however he was able to mask that in college due to his outstanding speed. This is something that he will need to improve upon at the next level, where the majority of offensive backs and receivers are going to be faster than he is. These are simple coaching points that will be made once he gets into camp.

What is most impressive about DeMario Davis’s game film is his motor. He is constantly moving all over the field, sideline to sideline, regardless of the situation. He is very tough, and hits just as hard, if not harder than any defensive player that was taken this year. Davis was also a very good special teams contributor, as there were countless plays last season in which he blew up blockers and ball carriers alike during his time on the kickoff team. This will likely be a large part of his role with the Jets this season, so his experience here is extremely important.

Davis brings an intimidating presence to the field. While watching him on film, you can just feel the attitude he plays with. He is passionate, a natural leader, and seems to want it more than anyone else on the field at all times. He has been very productive during his time as a starter at Arkansas State. Since 2009, he has compiled 201 tackles, 7 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and 4 interceptions. Also, as previously stated, Davis is extremely fast. He ran a 4.61 40-yard dash at the combine, but was reportedly in the low 4.5 range at his pro day. Either way, his extreme tenacity, speed, leadership ability, and versatility make him a perfect fit for the Jets.

Davis is a Rex Ryan type player, and he should have a tremendous future in New York. As for this year, expect to see him in some sub packages, most likely on third downs as either a blitzer or in coverage. He should have a heavy role on special teams, something he will undoubtedly succeed at, while learning the defensive system behind David Harris and Bart Scott. Eventually, he will be the successor to Scott, and should form a very potent duo on the inside with Harris in the future.

Editor’s Note – Davis is a bit raw in some areas but I think he is a player Jets fans are going to fall in love with in the coming years. His motor and speed reminds me of what we saw from Aaron Maybin last year, except Davis has the tools to be a complete linebacker. Look for him to contribute in sub packages and be pushing Bart Scott heavily for playing time all season, until ultimately taking over for him next year.

New York Jets Rookie Mini Camp Report

Chris Gross on the five most important takeaways from New York Jets rookie minicamp

We let Chris Gross out of the film room long enough to break down five key points from the New York Jets rookie mini-camp. Check back tomorrow for his breakdown of safety Josh Bush and then throughout the week for our closer look at DeMario Davis, Stephen Hill and Quinton Coples.

1.) DeMario Davis needs to continue leading. Rex Ryan and the Jets’ coaching staff raved not only over Davis’s tremendous speed, but also how vocal and assertive he proved to be during team drills. While this is exactly what you want from one of your linebackers, Davis needs to prove that he can be just as confident and vocal when the veterans come into camp. It is often natural for guys to feel comfortable around their peers, however, the true test will come when respected and established players line up alongside Davis. Ryan has compared his demeanor and confidence to that of future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis’s. He needs to not be afraid to step on anyone’s toes, and just continue to be himself. This will be key to his development and success this season.

2.) Don’t get your hopes up on Robert T. Griffin. Griffin has generated some interesting buzz coming out of rookie mini camp. He reportedly has been quite impressive to coaches and media alike. While I am not doubting Griffin’s potential, it is simply foolish for anyone to declare him in competition for playing time after three days of non contact drills. It is not difficult for offensive lineman, especially those with size comparable to Griffin’s, to look decent while scrimmaging without pads on. As we previously noted here at Turn On The Jets, Griffin is a long way from being a productive NFL lineman. He will not be the solution to New York’s Right Tackle situation anytime soon.

3.) No Surprises. Out of all the stories that came out of training camp, one that should not have come as a surprise to anyone is Stephen Hill’s impressive display of speed and size. We all know the physical ability of Hill, so it shouldn’t be shocking that he stood out during the weekend long camp. What will be interesting to see is how he plays when he eventually gets reps against the Jets’ first team corners in training camp. It will benefit Hill greatly to be able to compete against two of the best corners in the league in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie during practice.

4.) Let Him Play! After an impressive first day of camp, first round selection Quinton Coples was told by coaches to sit out of team drills. While this was most likely a ploy for the coaches to fairly evaluate the tryout players who were overmatched by Coples, they have to be careful with this approach. For a player who has been labeled lazy at times, perhaps a bit unfairly, the last thing he needs in his quest to earn respect is for his peers to see the coaches pampering him by giving him rest, while they are all on the field working. Again, I’m sure this is not too big a deal, but New York needs to be careful not to turn their newest pass rusher into a prima donna.

5.) The Headline Grabber. In typical New York Jets fashion, the team was highly discussed on Sunday and Monday due to the signing of QB Matt Simms, son of New York Giants great Phil Simms. The Jets simply have too many holes on the roster to carry four quarterbacks. We all know Sanchez and Tebow aren’t going anywhere, and Greg McElroy is light-years ahead of Simms as an NFL Quarterback. At best, Simms provides a body through training camp, and then lands a practice squad deal for the season. This is seemingly a move consisting of Mike Tannenbaum being Mike Tannenbaum and generating that coveted buzz that he appears to enjoy so much.

New York Jets: Rookie Mini-Camp Is Time To Feel Good

The early returns on the Jets top draft picks were positive, but let’s not get carried way

The New York Jets, not unlike many other teams in the NFL, had rave reports about their rookies and how they performed at mini-camp over the past weekend. DeMario Davis is the next Ray Lewis. Stephen Hill was a man among boys. Quinton Coples had six sacks in a single practice.

This isn’t a criticism of Rex Ryan’s effusive praise or the fan’s excitement about new players. Every team around the NFL is taking part in the same practice right now. Robert Griffin III has already been crowned Sonny Jurgensen by a Washington writer. You would think the Colts are improving from Peyton Manning in his prime this season with Andrew Luck under center. And Ryan Tannehill apparently threw some of the prettiest 10 yard out routes ever seen on tryout NFL players not wearing equipment.

The point is not to get carried away. Should you be excited about DeMario Davis because he is fast and seems to have natural leadership skills? Yes. Should you be fantasizing about 90 yard Stephen Hill touchdown receptions? I know I am. But as Bill Parcells used to say after a particular player was being hyped a little too much early in his career, “let’s not put him in Canton yet.”

Let’s see how the rookies handle the veterans and full contact practices, then let’s see them making plays in the pre-season, then let’s see them playing when it really counts. I do think that Stephen Hill and Quinton Coples will start this year. I’d be surprised if DeMario Davis wasn’t in a number of defensive packages and a special teams ace but they all have a long way to go.

In case you weren’t keeping track, here are the player comparisons we have heard so far for prominent Jets rookies –

Coples – Trevor Pryce, Shaun Ellis, Muhammad Wilkerson

Hill – Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Keith Jackson

Davis – Ray Lewis, Bart Scott

And our very own at TOJ, from the rookies Chris Gross and myself have reviewed

Jordan White – Jerricho Cotchery

Antonio Allen – James Ihedigbo

Terrance Ganaway – A quicker Shonn Greene (hopefully).

New York Jets Rookie Camp – The Path To Playing Time

How can the 2012 New York Jets draft picks find themselves playing time this season?

The New York Jets eight draft picks and a large collection of undrafted free agents and tryout players will gather for a mini-camp this weekend. Focusing down on the eight draft picks, what will it take for each of them to receive playing time this season? Who will be their primary competition? Let’s take a closer look –

Quinton Coples – Regardless of whether Coples starts at defensive end or not, he is going to see substantial reps on the defensive line rotation particularly on third downs. In a way Marcus Dixon, Kenrick Ellis and Mike DeVito are competing for playing time with him but in reality Coples has a much different skill set than all three and will likely be used in many unique ways by Rex Ryan. Ideally, at a minimum Coples is a pass rushing specialist this year and then sees the rest of his game develop in the coming years.

Stephen Hill – Unless he bombs out in the pre-season, Hill will be the opening day starter at split end. He has too much speed and size to keep on the bench. Chaz Schilens and Patrick Turner will be competing to be his backup but shouldn’t see anywhere near the amount of playing time Hill does this season.

DeMario Davis – Outside of Aaron Maybin, Davis will be the fastest of the Jets linebackers. While I do not think we will see him in a starting role this season unless there is an injury, he should fill in for Bart Scott at inside linebacker in certain packages and could also line up at outside linebacker for Bryan Thomas to utilize his ability to cover the tight end. He will be competing with players like Josh Mauga, Nick Bellore and Garret McIntyre but considering his skill set and where the Jets drafted him, I’d look for Davis to both make the roster and be a regular contributor on defense.

Josh Bush – Bush’s skill set make him the most natural free safety on the Jets roster. Unless he is beat out by Tracy Wilson or DeAngelo Smith, he should immediately contribute in a handful of defensive packages and be the top backup to Eric Smith who is technically the team’s free safety even though he is miscast in that role.

Terrance Ganaway – He will be competing with Bilal Powell to be active on a weekly basis and then competing with Joe McKnight and Shonn Greene for playing time. His comfort of playing in an option offense makes him an immediate candidate to be a factor on offense when Tim Tebow is under center. Don’t be surprised if Ganaway ends up contributing a few hundred yards of offense this season.

Robert T. Griffin – As our breakdown later in the day will show, Griffin has a long, long way to go before becoming a contributor on a NFL team. This season he will compete with Caleb Schlauderaff and Austin Howard for a spot on the active roster. However, it is much more likely he will end up on the practice squad.

Antonio AllenMake sure you click the link to read Chris Gross’ full breakdown of Allen, who should end up being LaRon Landry’s backup this season, a contributor as a blitzer and play special teams. I’d be surprised to see a journeyman like Tracy Wilson or DeAngelo Smith beat him out.

Jordan WhiteMake sure you click the link to read Chris Gross’ full breakdown of White. He will compete with Patrick Turner and Eron Riley for a roster spot and projects to backing up Jeremy Kerley in the slot if he can make the roster.

New York Jets Draft: Thoughts On Hill And Davis

Thoughts on the Jets selection of Stephen Hill and DeMario Davis

A few quick thoughts on the New York Jets decision to trade up for wide receiver Stephen Hill and draft linebacker DeMario Davis

1. It appears the New York Jets are taking the best player available instead of looking to fill needs. They have ignored right tackle, outside linebacker, and safety despite major holes in their depth chart. With no picks in the 4th or 5th round, look for them to sign Yeremiah Bell, Chris Johnson, and maybe Vernon Carey down the road when they come to the realization that Wayne Hunter, Vlad Ducasse or Austin Howard isn’t the answer at right tackle.

2. I love the Stephen Hill selection, he is a physical freak who has the right attitude to take advantage of his natural abilities to become a big time player in the NFL. It is fair to question the value of spending a 2nd round pick on a receiver in a Ground and Pound offense but if Hill becomes the needed big play threat opposite Santonio Holmes and makes Sanchez that much better it will be worth it.

3. Davis is a great athlete with a high motor who will hopefully be starting next to David Harris at inside linebacker by next year. The Jets have put together the pieces to play a much larger share of snaps in the 4-3 instead of a 3-4. How about this for a 3rd down line up? Coples and Maybin at end. Wilkerson and Pouha at defensive tackle. Harris and Davis at linebacker. Revis, Cromartie, Wilson, Landry and a free safety in the secondary. That should be a line up that gets after the quarterback.

Jets Select OLB DeMario Davis

The New York Jets ended their second day of the NFL Draft by selecting OLB DeMario Davis out of Arkansas State University with the 77th overall pick. This is an interesting pick, because there seemed to be players of higher value at positions of need for New York with Bobby Massie and George Iloka still on the board. However, Davis certainly plays Rex Ryan’s brand of football.

Other than the fact that Davis possess great strength (32 reps) and speed (4.53 40), he is extremely explosive, having posted a 124″ broad jump, coupled with a 38.5″ vertical, both of which set the bar for Outside Linebackers in the entire class this year. Over his past two seasons at Arkansas State, Davis had 132 tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 interceptions. Most importantly, Davis plays with some of the greatest tenacity you will see from any player selected this year. He repeatedly delivered punishing hits last season, leading ESPN’s Mel Kiper to deem him a man among boys at his level of play. Several analysts believe Davis would have been an earlier selection had he played in a major conference.

Davis is also a very versatile player. At 6’2″, 235 pounds, he can certainly afford to add a little weight, but he has the combination of strength, speed, and athleticism that will allow Rex Ryan to move him all over the box, and he could end up filling the void left at Inside Linebacker when Bart Scott eventually departs. Ryan certainly loves versatile players in his defense, especially at the linebacker position.

Davis does not necessarily fit the mold of the pass rushing OLB that the Jets desperately needed, but his versatility and intensity should make him a valuable piece of Ryan’s puzzle, while his outstanding speed leaves much room for improvement in his pass rushing abilities. Expect to see him delivering some highlight reel hits on special teams early in the season.