2019 NFL Draft: 12 Players hot on Jets radar
By Steven Blush
Jets GM Mike Maccagnan is probably a great poker, player because he’s tight-lipped and never shows his hand. But there are a handful of intriguing prospects his team’s spent quality time with over the past weeks.
Before each Draft, teams like the Jets can meet with 30 prospects. Every form of interaction gets documented; listing all the pro days, local visits, Combine meetings, private workouts, individual meetings, and multiple visits. Much information can be gleaned from such data.
Jets have held well-documented multiple visits with top draft talents Nick Bosa, Josh Allen and Quinnen Williams. They’ve also expended considerable due diligence on elite first-rounders like Michigan D-lineman Rashad Gary, Houston DT Ed Oliver, Alabama guard Jonah Williams and Iowa tight end Noah Fant.
Their recently released 2019 schedule — facing the Patriots twice in the first seven weeks — will make any Jets playoff bid daunting. So getting these draft selections correct is especially critical to the Florham Park master plan for a big 2020.
This multi-page breakdown offers insight on 12 of the lesser-known players that excite the Jets prior to the upcoming draft. As Bart Scott famously said, Can’t Wait!
Next: Tough O-Linemen
Elgton Jenkins, C, Mississippi State
A cerebral snapper, versatile lineman and on-field general. MSU coaches extolled his discipline and technique. Has the measurables to play the pro game. But some scouts question if he’s large enough to withstand the league’s new breed of behemoth interior pass rusher.
Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
An impressive physical specimen with the tools to protect an NFL quarterback’s blindside. A work in progress — but with good coaching, his upside is immeasurable. The Jets could consider sitting Cajuste next season to learn behind LT Kelvin Beachum.
Connor McGovern, C/G, Penn State
Seems like a high valuation for a big nasty who may require two or three years of development. But this Penn State stud’s got the size and tools to eventually be a pro guard. Don’t confuse him with the same-named Broncos O-lineman. He just doesn’t feel like a fit with these Jets.
Next: Offensive Weapons
Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia
Likely this draft’s premier blocking TE; a highly physical, dirty-deed team leader with a bit of a crazy streak. Questions arise over his hands, so at worst, he’ll be that “sixth offensive lineman.” Either way, he’ll see the field because he’s a bruising old-school baller. What the Jets felt they had in penalty-machine Eric Tomlinson.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State
An NFL afterthought from a deep OSU WR corps that featured Parris Campbell and Johnnie Dixon. Then he dominated one-on-one in his monster Senior Bowl showing. Possesses the requisite size and speed to compete as a WR1, and offers additional value as a special teams gunner. The chippy Buckeye the Jets thought they were getting in washout Devin Smith.
Reggie White, Jr., WR, Monmouth
This 6’3″, 210 match-up nightmare, set a Hawks record with 249 career receptions. A dark horse in the pre-Draft process who’s gained significant attention as of late, including by both East Rutherford franchises. Figure a Jets late-round move on either he or Baylor’s Jalen Hurd.
Next: Shutdown Corners
Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State
Insiders shudder to think about the possible upside of this Spartan underclassman, once he picks up the nuances of the pro game. Unbelievable coverage range and tackling abilities. And he’s used to wearing green-and-white in Lansing!
Sean Bunting, CB, Central Michigan
Quickly rising up many draft boards, this CMU cover corner has the size and speed to excel on the next level. Some fret over his tackling abilities and occasional lack of effort. Probably won’t last past Round Four.
Ugo Amadi, DB, Oregon
The Jets prefer versatility in their secondary-men — like recently re-signed cornerback Darryl Roberts who filled in much of 2018 for strong safety Marcus Maye. This tough, cerebral Duck projects as a slot/nickel corner with free-safety skills and punt-returner upside. A strong Day Three consideration.
Next: Front Seven
Immanuel Turner, DT, Louisiana Tech
Lining up every week next to projected first rounder Jaylon Ferguson has brought significant attention to this fierce Bulldog — who at 309 pounds, turned heads with his 4.97 40-yard dash. Turner has officially met with 14 teams — including the Jets, on more than one occasion.
Adrian Middleton, DT, Kentucky
A 6’3″, 300-pound fireplug run-stopper who started 38 consecutive games, including all 13 for last season’s heralded Wildcat program. Seems worth a camp invite. No relation to Jets safety Doug Middleton.
Jahlani Tavai, ILB, Hawaii
Big and tough, JT devastated all of his Mountain West competition. An immediate NFL special teamer who’d benefit from an apprenticeship under consummate pros C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson. But shoulder injuries for a tackling machine (who averaged over ten per game over three seasons!) remain a major red flag.
Other Reported Targets:
Shareef Miller, EDGE, Penn State
Albert Huggins, NT, Clemson
Lexington Thomas, RB, UNLV
Byron Cowart, DE, Maryland
Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State