Senior Bowl: New York Jets 2015 NFL Draft Prospects
Jan 22, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; South squad players move at the snap of the ball during Senior Bowl South squad practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports
The Senior Bowl is a scout’s garden. It is the bountiful grove of prospects that consists of players that are looking to raise their draft stock within a week’s time. The week is probably more important than the game itself, but the game is still what it’s about. Just ask E.J. Manuel. His performance in that game undoubtedly raised his stock that year.
The Jets officially have new management in place and that includes a makeover in the scouting department. It’s promising, but I’ll help them out anyway. Here are a few Senior Bowl prospects I’ve been following this week and will have my eye on during the game. These are prospects that I honestly believe have the skills, attributes and experience to make this Jets team better.
Next: Wide Receivers
Nov 29, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (4) attempts to make a catch as Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back Lafayette Pitts (6) defends during the first half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Offensive Senior Bowl Prospects :
Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami/Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State –
These two WRs are impressive each in various ways but they are also alike in more than one.
– They share the same skill set to stretch opposing defenses and get behind secondaries very quickly.
– Neither are “ideal” NFL size: Dorsett – 5’9″, 183 / Smith – 6’0″, 190
– Both are tough, shifty WRs that should be able to immediately contribute to a NFL team’s passing offense, but both will have to work on getting better at running Pro routes.
– Neither drop passes. Both WRs are pretty reliable when getting their hands on the ball for the most part.
Both Dorsett and Smith are complementary WRs right now, but they both have the skills, attributes, talent and upside to become better WRs on the next level. The Jets were seen talking with Dorsett this week down in Mobile so that’s very encouraging. I expect both to do enough to raise their stocks before the draft, Dorsett more than Smith.
Next: Offensive Linemen
Oct 11, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Laken Tomlinson (77) blocks against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Laken Tomlinson, OG, Duke and La’el Collins, OT, LSU –
If I’m the Jets, I’m certainly looking to at best, stabilize the offensive line, which was as bad/inconsistent as any of the underachieving units on the team last season. I am not saying Geno Smith is the answer at the QB position for the Jets, but when he has time to throw, he’s pretty good.
Duke’s OG Laken Tomlinson and LSU’s OT La’el Collins are two viable options for the Jets. Tomlinson’s stock has been rising this week, whereas Collins has been pretty stable, with some questions about his pro position still lingering.
Most scouts can’t determine if he’s best suited to play tackle or guard on the next level. Right now, the Jets need stability/competition at the guard position. They can easily try Collins at guard and swing him out at tackle next season if necessary.
The Jets were reportedly talking with Tomlinson on Thursday; an encouraging sign indeed. Keep your eye on both during Saturday’s game.
Next: Sammie Coates
Jan 22, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; South squad wide receiver Sammie Coates of Auburn (18) pulls down a pass during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn –
Coates is physical, big, and physical. Not to mention, he’s fast. There are some “questions” about his route tree, but none of which that causes any concerns over here. I think the only question with Coates is if he’s worth a top second round selection? Answer – of course he is. I don’t think he falls below the 2nd round.
I love his game and think he’s gotten better at Auburn over the past two seasons.
Next: Cameron Artis-Payne
Jan 21, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; South squad running back Cameron Artis-Payne of Auburn (44) pulls in a pass during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn –
The speedy Auburn RB has been underrated (in my opinion) all season. He’s a tough, solid runner in-between the tackles, but he’s an excellent pass catching RB, something that the Jets could use right now. His numbers at Auburn won’t jump out at you, but they don’t really need to. If you’ve seen him play, then you are aware of the versatility he displayed at Auburn. The Jets RB corp consist of Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson and Bilal Powell. It’s uncertain if Johnson will be back next season and if Powell’s role will increase/change. One thing is for certain though, the Jets could certainly use a talent like Artis-Payne in the backfield.
Next: Defensive Backs
Nov 29, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans cornerback Josh Shaw (6) tackles Notre Dame Fighting Irish receiver Will Fuller (7) in the second quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive Senior Bowl Prospects –
Josh Shaw, DB, USC and Quandre Diggs, DB, Texas
I spoke about Josh Shaw last week in my East/West piece so you should already know I’m a fan. He’s versatile. Can play Safety and/or CB in the pros. I like him, a lot.
Quandre Diggs is a tough, instinctive CB that flashes great awareness for the ball and displays solid/great techniques in the secondary. The Jets have secondary issues, to say the least, and those issues were magnified last season with all of the injuries making it all seem much worse. The Jets have a tough job this off-season in fixing the secondary, tough indeed. They can start by looking at these two players.
Next: Nate Orchard
Nov 22, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes defensive end Nate Orchard (8) sacks Arizona Wildcats quarterback Jesse Scroggins (15) during the second half at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Arizona won 42-10. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Nate Orchard, DE, Utah –
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The Jets have a need for a passing rushing OLB and no potential 3-4 OLB’s stock has risen more this week than Utah’s defensive end Nate Orchard. The ‘Ted Hendricks Award’ winner ended this past season with 18.5 sacks, good for 2nd in the nation. Down in Mobile, Orchard has flashed strength and quickness off the snap and the burst on the edge to get to the QB. It seems as if his stock is rising much more quickly than even he probably anticipated, which means if a team wants him, they will have to jump on him no later than early 2nd round.
There are other top pass rushers that warrant early selections as far as the Jets are concerned, but I think Orchard should certainly be on the Jets radar at this point as he’s looking to be solid value in the 2nd round.