The 2016 NFL Combine starts this week and the NY Jets will be on the prowl for rising talent to add to the roster.
The Jets did a phenomenal job adding perennial all-star talent through the free agency period last season. But the real contenders build their rosters through the NFL Draft, the Jets new brass didn’t do too bad in that category either.
Everyone talks about drafting the best player available in the lead-up to the draft, but when push comes to shove few actually pull the trigger when they’re on the clock. General manager Mike Maccagnan put his money where his mouth was and drafted defensive linemen Leonard Williams sixth overall despite the gold mine of talent already on the roster.
Now we’re in year two of the Todd Bowles-Maccagnan regime and let’s see what’s in store for the encore performance. That encore performance starts with the annual combine where over 300 players go through the gauntlet of drills, measurements and interviews to see if they’re NFL material.
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The combine will be held from February 23rd to the 29th at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The majority of the combine will occur during the business days and the majority of the public and fans will be unable to catch every waking moment of it. So what should Jets fans be watching out for?
Well, the on-field workouts make up just one component of a prospect’s combine experience (the schedule is listed below). A prospect also spends time meeting with teams (coaches, GMs, personnel/scouting directors) for interviews and other mental tests. Another portion of the combine is the medical examination, when teams gather info on prospective players. The NFL Network is the place to watch all analysis of the yearly event.
FRIDAY, FEB. 26• 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Running backs, offensive line, and special teams workouts• 8 p.m.-11 p.m.: Combine Prime-time wrap-up/analysis show
SATURDAY, FEB. 27• 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends workouts• 8 p.m.-11 p.m.: Combine Prime-time wrap-up/analysis show
SUNDAY, FEB. 28• 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Defensive line and linebackers workouts• 8 p.m.-11 p.m.: Combine Prime-time wrap-up/analysis show
MONDAY, FEB. 29• 9 a.m.-2 p.m.: Defensive backs workouts• 8 p.m.-9 p.m.: Combine Prime-time wrap-up/analysis show
There is a lot to learn from the combine and one of the things the Jets will be paying attention to is the 40 time, cone-drills and most important of all, speed. It’s something Bowles and Maccagnan harped on at the end of the season press conference.
The Jets need a game-changer on special teams, they need to add some speed to their front seven, particularly at the outside linebacker spots. Over the last several years the Jets have relied upon veterans long in the tooth to man these spots: Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas to name some of the more recent names.
With Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie getting older it wouldn’t be crazy for the Jets to add some more youth to the secondary position. You can never have enough good cover corners and having speed at the position is never a bad thing.
And the last spot the Jets may be paying careful attention to speed is at running back. All of the Jets tailbacks are currently without contracts and the Jets could use a home-run hitter in the backfield.
The full list of participants can be found here: NFL Scouting Combine Participants.
Nov 7, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Cardale Jones (12) throws in the first quarter versus the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Specifically here are some names to watch out for as they go through the rigors of the combine over the next week.
Clemson Tigers: Kevin Dodd DE, Mackensie Alexander CB and Shaq Lawson DE/OLB.
The last thing the Jets want to hear is a first round pick being used on a defensive player, but if the Jets can add an edge rusher that’ll instill fear into defenses they at least have to do their due diligence. Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson may not even be there at 20 for the Jets to consider if they blow up the combine as expected. Alexander is a pit-bull at corner and he has the work ethic to be one of the better late first round prospects.
Ohio State University: A record 14 players were invited from OSU and the Jets should be paying attention to quite a few of these prospects.
The Jets could use a few upgrades on the offensive line, specifically at right tackle and right guard. Plus the offensive line depth is non-existent and is in need of a face-lift. Taylor Decker could make sense at 20 for the Jets.
Braxton Miller could be a game changing talent that could lift the special teams unit and create a different dynamic on the offensive side of the football in space.
It would be tough for the Jets to add another developmental prospect at quarterback, but if they decide to look at somebody, Cardale Jones could be that guy. He’s 6’5, 250 pounds and reminds many of Cam Newton from a physical stand point as he has all the measurables, but his resume is incomplete. Jones currently is slated as a late round pick/priority free agent.
The last name to mention is Darron Lee who is the Jets pick in our latest mock draft here at The Jet Press. Lee projects as a hybrid outside linebacker at the next level who posses elite first step quickness, unmatched athletic ability and could be the double digit sack guy the Jets haven’t had in years.