The NFL Combine has finally arrived! Here are the top three players the NY Jets should keep a close eye on this week in Indianapolis.
The draft season has been going on for quite some time for NY Jets fans. The offseason started early yet again in New York, as they were out of the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season. With that being said, the most prevalent scouting event of the year is ready to get started: the NFL Combine.
Hundreds of prospects will gather in Indianapolis to try to impress scouts and front offices around the league. Many prospects are looking to get their names on teams’ draft boards, while others are only in the building to ensure their stock doesn’t plummet.
The combine will be especially important for the Jets this year since they own eight picks in the upcoming draft. Their top selection won’t be an easy one to make this year, falling at the 11th spot rather than the third. The combine may very well put one prospect above the rest on general manager Joe Douglas’ draft board.
So, who should the Jets keep their eyes on? Here are the top three players Joe Douglas and Co. should be watching at the combine this week.
Next: An elite OL prospect
Rebuilding the offensive line is a top priority for Gang Green this offseason. Protecting Sam Darnold and blocking for Le’Veon Bell are absolute musts if the Jets want to see improvement in their offense next season. Jedrick Wills Jr is a great way to help fix up some of the Jets’ issues upfront.
Wills took a huge leap from his sophomore to his junior season, which is what flew him into the projection of being an early first-round draft pick. His ability as a pass protector is arguably the best in the draft class, and that’s impressive given how loaded this class is at offensive tackles.
Many believe Wills is a Pro Bowl caliber offensive tackle whose game will translate well into the NFL. He’s a mean, smart, and smooth pass protector who will become a stable piece to whichever team he lands on in April.
The Jets should certainly keep their eyes on almost every offensive lineman participating in the combine, but Wills’ elite ability as a pass protector should catch the Jets’ eye. He’s been a common selection by the Jets in several mock drafts, and for very good reason.
Next: An under the radar WR
Under the likelihood that Robby Anderson will leave the Jets in free agency this offseason, the Jets’ receiving core will need help. Badly.
Lucky for them, this year’s draft class is one of the deepest receiver classes scouts have ever seen.
Denzel Mims is one of many wide receiver prospects who could easily be a first-round pick in a different draft class but could fall due to the depth of his draft class. Standing at 6-foot-3, Mims has an impressive combination of height and speed and is excellent at winning contested catches.
Mims had two 1,000 yard seasons during his three-year starting tenure at Baylor and scored 28 total touchdowns in his college career. He also averaged an impressive 15.7 yards per catch for the Bears.
Mims is exactly what the Jets need at wide receiver. He may not possess the truly elite speed that Anderson offered, but his skillset brings a bunch to the table. He projects as a starter in the NFL and would be a superb addition to the receiving room in New York.
Next: A quarterback?
Tua Tagovailoa may very well be the most important player for the Jets to watch at the combine. Yes, a quarterback.
Prior to the 2019 college football season, Tagovailoa was a lock to go top five in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Dolphins (allegedly) purposely constructed a roster that was meant to lose games so they could get their hands on the star Alabama quarterback. Now, his draft stock relies heavily on this week’s combine.
After suffering a season-ending hip injury last season and two ankle injuries prior to that, Tagovailoa’s draft stock came a little more into question. He’s now being mocked all over the place, from third overall to all the way into the middle of the first round. His medical examination at the combine will be gigantic for his stock.
Under the odds that the Jets want to move their 11th pick to acquire more picks later in the draft (which would be a smart idea at the right price), Tagovailoa’s health may prove to be big for the Jets. If he’s healthy, he’ll be gone before the 11th pick, which could raise tensions for teams interested in other quarterbacks, such as Jordan Love or Justin Herbert.
The idea that the Jets will look to trade down is mere speculation. However, if teams get desperate to move up and grab a quarterback before they’re gone, the Jets should expect some calls. At the right price, it would make too much sense for Joe Douglas to not move the pick.