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2019 NFL Draft: 12 Players hot on Jets radar

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: A video board displays the text "THE PICK IS IN" for the New York Jets during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: A video board displays the text "THE PICK IS IN" for the New York Jets during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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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

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FEBRUARY 28: Offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins of Mississippi State speaks to the media during day one of interviews at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FEBRUARY 28: Offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins of Mississippi State speaks to the media during day one of interviews at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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

ATHENS, GA – SEPTEMBER 1: Isaac Nauta #18 of the Georgia Bulldogs runs with a catch for a second half touchdown against the Austin Peay Governors on September 1, 2018 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA – SEPTEMBER 1: Isaac Nauta #18 of the Georgia Bulldogs runs with a catch for a second half touchdown against the Austin Peay Governors on September 1, 2018 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

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

EAST LANSING, MI – NOVEMBER 10: Justin Layne #2 of the Michigan State Spartans breaks up a pass next to Terry McLaurin #83 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first half at Spartan Stadium on November 10, 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MI – NOVEMBER 10: Justin Layne #2 of the Michigan State Spartans breaks up a pass next to Terry McLaurin #83 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first half at Spartan Stadium on November 10, 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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

PASADENA, CA – SEPTEMBER 09: Nate Starks #23 of the UCLA Bruins hangs on to the ball to complete a 39 yard pass play before he is stopped by Jahlani Tavai #31 of the Hawaii Warriors in the first half of the game at the Rose Bowl on September 9, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA – SEPTEMBER 09: Nate Starks #23 of the UCLA Bruins hangs on to the ball to complete a 39 yard pass play before he is stopped by Jahlani Tavai #31 of the Hawaii Warriors in the first half of the game at the Rose Bowl on September 9, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

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

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