The NFL scouting combine, a time for hopeful football prospects to show off their skills in many different tests and drills. From the Wonderlic test, to the always popular 40 yard dash, each drill is very important in showing a prospects pros and cons. Now, just because a player may perform well at the combine does not mean that he will be successful in the NFL. As Jets fans, just hearing the name ” Vernon Gholston” can give us nightmares. This is a very important draft for the New York Jets. John Idzik and crew certainly have their work cut out for them. The Jets have 7 picks in the draft ( one in each round), and they simply cannot afford to draft a player that does not work out. Let’s take a look at some of the things the Jets will be looking out for during the combine.
1- The Quarterback Group-- With John Idzik now the General Manager for the Jets, he may look to start fresh at the Quarterback position. Let’s face it, The QB situation was a disaster in 2012. Mark Sanchez had a horrible season after former GM Mike Tannenbaum gave Sanchez a very hefty raise in his contract, Tim Tebow was more of a distraction then anything else, and Greg McElroy was not overly impressive in his one start vs the Chargers. Unfortunately for Gang Green, this QB class is nowhere near as strong as last seasons. There are no Andrew Lucks or Robert Griffin III, but there are certainly some players that would be a goof fit for the Jets. With that being said, I think taking a QB with the number 9 pick in the draft is not a smart move. Instead, taking a QB in either round 2-3 would seem more logical. A few names to keep an eye on are Mike Glennon, Tyler Wilson, and Ryan Nassib. Glennon drew interest from the Jets during the Senior bowl, the same for Nassib. Neither is very mobile, so do not expect much when it comes to the agility tests, but both of them have strong arms that they will look to show off whenever they get the opportunity. Something about Tyler Wilson makes me think that Rex Ryan would love to have him. Wilson is a very fiery competitor who is always trying to improve his game. In New York, we all know the media is brutal. A guy like Wilson may very well be able to handle being in the headlines. He should be one of the prospects Jet fans keep a close eye on during the week. To say the least, next years group of QB’s on the roster will look very different than this past season. Just a matter of figuring out who exactly those new guys will be.
2. No more Pace, No more Bart- – I am sure I am not alone in saying that I ” CAN”T WAIT!” to see a new group of linebackers for the Jets next season. Now don’t get me wrong, Both Calvin Pace and Bart Scott played pivotal roles in the Jets defense fpr many years, but last season was the icing on the cake showing just how glaring the need for a LB was. Pace was unable to get to the quarterback, while Scott was dealing with a toe injury all season that really made him almost a liability on the field. It is safe to say that the Jets desperately need to get younger and faster at the linebacker position. With Demario Davis and David Harris already in place, somehow the Jets need to find 2 OLBS. Garret McIntyre and Ricky Sapp are good spot players, who can certainly provide much needed depth, but both may not be ready to step in and start at this point. Lucky for the Jets there are 3 LB’s who may be available at number 9, Dion Jordan, Barkevious Mingo, and Jarvis Jones. I expect john Idzik to be watching very closely when these guys are on the field. Jordan is a very rare athlete. He has the ability to pressure the QB with ease, and also drop back into coverage. When playing the Patriots twice a year, don’t think for a second Rex would not like to have a guy like Jordan at his fingertips when it comes to stopping Gronkowski or Hernandez. Jordan has been dealing with a shoulder injury so that is something to watch for this week. Although is numbers dropped this past season at LSU, Barkevious Mingo still seems to be considered a top 15 pick this year. To me, Mingo is sort of a ” tweener” and would not to add muscle if he wants to be on the field every down. But that does not take away from his great ability to rush the passer. i am interested to see how Mingo does this week. Jarvis Jones is a name to keep a very close eye on as a fan, and I expect Idzik to do the same. Jones is an incredible talent, with no gaping whole in his game. The question on Jones is that he is suffering from a very serious spine condition that may end his NFL career early. ( Marcus Mcneill for the chargers was just forced to retire at a young age from the same disease). If Jones is healthy, he could be the next great pas rusher in the league, but that is a very big if. Look for Idzik to look very closely at the OLB group this week.
3. The “skill” positions-Santonio Holmes coming back from injury will certainly be a big boost to the Jets offense next season. Adding him to the names of receivers like Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, and more then likely Braylon Edwards quietly makes the receiving core actually a strength of the team moving forward into next season. Running back on the other hand can certainly use an upgrade. With Shonn Greene most likely to be in a different uniform next season, the Jets may be looking to the draft to find a back that would compliment Billal Powell and Joe McKnight. With the West Coast offense now being run in NY with Marty Mornhinghew, the Jets need a versatile back. some backs to look out for are Kenjon Barner, Mike Gillislee and Giovani Bernard. Barner is a speedster who will light up all the agility drills. He has the ability to be a very dangerous weapon out of the backfield at the next level in both the running game and the passing game. If you read my previos article on running backs I beleive the Jets should target, you know how high i am on Mike Gillislee. He does a little bit of everything on the field. He can slide right in and replace Shonn Greene with ease. Bernard has all the tools that you look for in bac, it will be interesting to see how he does this week considering he has been dealing with some injuries. Bernard is considered a 2nd round prospect, and with the Jets picking 39th, he may be a player that Idzik may look to grab this coming April.
For a full schedule of the events to occur at the combine, you can catch it by clicking here
These are just some players I believe John Idzik will be keeping a close eye on this week at the MFL Combine. While I am sure he will be looking at every position, the ones i mentioned are some of the more glaring needs on the team. The combine will be held from Saturday Feb. 23- Tuesday Feb 26th. During this short time span, it is possible that John Idzik and his staff may know exactly the players they want to draft in April’s draft. Only time will tell, enjoy the combine.