Welcome to Bent’s Game Analysis, which is based on watching and re-watching TV footage. As such, it is not always possible to accurately determine everything that was going on. However, every effort has been made to ensure that the information below is as complete and correct as possible.

BGA is back…and this time it’s preseasonal (again)!

Coming up, part one your breakdown of last night’s 24-21 overtime win over the Giants with detailed analysis of the offensive players, including the obvious talking point of the day.

Join me after the jump as I attempt to cover every angle.

This week’s BGA is going to be two parts, so I’ll be back with the defensive analysis later. For now we’re focusing on the offense.

It’s what everyone has been talking about, a battle that’s been raging on throughout the summer. Should it be the much-maligned veteran whose inconsistent performances belie his high draft spot or the flavor-of-the-month rookie, who most are hoping will be a bargain and of whom we got our first extended look yesterday?

Offensive Line

The OL had an up and down night against the Giants athletic defensive line.

Yes, it’s the battle for the starting left guard spot! With Vladimir Ducasse being given a chance to start only to limp off early in the game, that shone the spotlight on Brian Winters, making his NFL debut following an ankle issue.

So, how did the rookie look? Regrettably, not so hot. Winters struggled really badly and seemed to be the primary reason why the offensive line struggled so much during the game. The Jets managed to rush for a pitiful 39 yards on 29 carries and there was a lot of pressure up the middle.

My initial assessment of Winters, having looked at footage from his college career and the Senior Bowl in particular, where he played guard, was that he was pretty raw and would need some seasoning before he would be ready to start at the NFL level. Many pencilled Winters in as the potential starter and he did seem to be progressing well at camp, based on reports. Missing time due to the ankle injury was without doubt a setback for him and the fact he’s not as far along as hoped should perhaps take that into account. It may also be true that the injury is still bothering him to some extent and maybe that limited his performance.

I can only judge him based on how he performed last night though and there were a lot of plays where he was badly beaten. He was driven into the backfield, failed to sustain blocks, missed blocks in space and got beaten several times in pass protection, including on the play where Geno Smith threw his first interception and a couple more where he was bullrushed into the backfield. Worst of all, he was the guy who allowed his man to get off his block to nail Mark Sanchez and knock him out of the game.

Winters is not a complete lost cause by any means. He showed some flashes of promise on the move and did settle down somewhat once the Giants started resting their starters. On Bilal Powell’s touchdown run, they ran behind him, although he never engaged his man cleanly and it was only Powell’s momentum that enabled him to break the plane. Perhaps his best block saw him pulling to the right and it looked like his man was going to beat him outside, so he flung himself sideways to prevent that. Even on that play it was more a case of effort and desire enabling him to make the block despite bad technique rather than all-round good execution. He deserves a pass because of the time he’s missed and the fact he was thrown into action against a very good Giants defensive line without first being able to get his feet wet against lower competition. Hopefully he can learn and adjust from some of the things that happened in this game.

One interesting observation was that, while Ducasse was in the line-up, they never pulled him, despite the fact he’s proven to be more than capable of carrying out such an assignment. Then when Winters entered in his place, they pulled him immediately on the first play (and regularly thereafter). I wonder if that was playing to Winters’ strengths or could they perhaps not see that as something Ducasse will succeed at on a regular basis? One theory I had is that the Jets were running their more straightforward plays early on, with a view to breaking out some of the more complex stuff as the game went on. If that’s the case, then Ducasse never got the chance to benefit from these tendency breaking runs that might have allowed him to excel. As it happens, he was never quite able to get it going.

Ducasse did make one very good block on the play before he limped off. That may even have been where the injury took place. He cut down a linebacker in the open field to spring Chris Ivory for a nice gain on a screen pass. The line as a whole did block well on the opening touchdown drive too, although mostly in pass protection. However, Ducasse was not faultless by any means. He didn’t really have any dominant blocks in the running game and there was one play where he let his man get off his block, albeit after driving him off the line. He allowed penetration on one play too, although he recovered well to drive his man upfield and out of the play. He was beaten twice in pass protection, once on a play where Nick Mangold came across to bail him out (and, to be fair, it’s possible Ducasse knew he had help behind him and directed his man in that direction). As Bassett noticed this morning there was also one play where both Ducasse and D’Brickashaw Ferguson were beaten on the outside and Geno Smith was nailed high and low (although he did get the throw away).

This goes back to something I’d spoken about last week and that had been a concern since the offseason began. While Ducasse might be individually capable of outperforming the incumbent starter, Stephen Peterman, the chemistry on the line was not as good. I was impressed by the cohesiveness of the line last week and, although Peterman didn’t play as well as Ducasse, I had worried that this would suffer if they made the switch. Sure enough, the chemistry was nowhere near as good and went downhill even further when Ducasse was replaced by Winters.

I wonder if the Jets made a bad mistake here. Ducasse hasn’t had many reps with the first unit but found himself performing well enough to get a shot with the starters, only to find that this had a detrimental effect on the unit as a whole. With most of the starters to be rested next week (one would assume) have the Jets painted themselves into a corner where they’re forced to choose between inferior individual play at the left guard position or inferior cohesiveness as a unit? (Obviously the injury would affect this too, but I don’t know anything about the severity yet).

As for Peterman, after struggling in the first two games, will he find himself back in the driver’s seat by default? (Whether that be by virtue of the injury or just the fact that the line perhaps won’t gel as fast with Ducasse in there). Could a platoon/rotation system be in the cards again, at least until the decision presents itself?

For his own part, Peterman struggled again, but it was difficult to know how much of that to attribute to him being uncomfortable with playing center and how much was just poor play generally. Peterman had one bad snap, although it wasn’t the one Mark Sanchez fumbled. He also gave up a sack on his and Sanchez’s first snap of the game. Peterman doesn’t really look a viable option as the emergency center, although it is very early in the day in terms of the experiment. However, it could be taking valuable preparation time away from someone who might need more reps with the starters, so it’s another tough call.

If Nick Mangold can remain healthy then the backup center is not an issue, but I got the sense he spent most of last night babysitting Winters and this impacted on his own effectiveness. There was a lot of pressure that came right up the middle and he had to save Winters on a couple of occasions, one of which was when the Giants pressurized Smith into an interception. They sent six on a blitz and the Jets had six men in to block, but Winters was the only guy to get beaten and the fact that Mangold had to step across to prevent his man from getting to the quarterback meant that Powell was left with the impossible task of picking up two blitzers at once.

Mangold did make some Mangoldesque blocks in the running game, but he also missed some and seemed to have a lot more on his plate, with rookies to his left and right behind him to worry about.

The other three starters felt the knock-on effects of all this too and none really stood out, especially when run blocking. Ferguson did set the edge well on Powell’s touchdown and, other than the play where both he and Ducasse were beaten for a hit, there was only one other time where he was troubled in pass protection (but he recovered to drive his man upfield at the last moment). Willie Colon allowed a couple of pressures – one as his man stunted around Mangold and another as he was driven back by a bullrush and knocked over. At right tackle, Austin Howard did hold up well in pass protection, but wasn’t as consistent as a run blocker, where he was called for a hold.

On the second unit, JB Shugarts and Oday Aboushi swapped roles and Aboushi looked more comfortable on the right side. On one play he took his man and drove him to the inside on a running play. He did get beaten outside for a pressure though. Shugarts made two errors – one leading to a pressure as his man shot the gap between him and Winters (although Winters was probably equally to blame). On another, he inexplicably gave his man a clean release to easily tackle Kahlil Bell in the backfield. Someone (presumably Shugarts) must have missed a call there, because he blocked that play like it was a screen pass.

Operating at guard again, Caleb Schlauderaff didn’t have much of an impact. On one play he was driven back into the way of a running back on a screen pass. None of the third stringers got to play this week.

Running Backs

Chris Ivory needs more of his yards to be vertical as opposed to horizontal.

With not much going on in the way of run blocking ahead of them, there wasn’t much the running backs could do. Chris Ivory did run for about 100 yards, unfortunately 85 of them were horizontal, as he twice showed some elusiveness to try and make something out of nothing on a busted play, but was unable to break away cleanly either time. He did have a couple of nice runs, a good gain on a screen pass and picked up the blitz well, but there wasn’t any production, highlighted by how he almost got tackled for a safety, just about managing to get out of the end zone.

Powell continues to start and did get in the end zone, as well as making some nice moves on a screen pass for a first down. However, he was beaten a couple of times in pass protection, dropped a pass and almost fumbled as he was ruled down. He also turned a big loss into an even bigger one on a play where he was blown up in the backfield.

Bell also had his best moment as a pass catcher, making a nice move on a screen. He too struggled in pass protection as he was driven into the quarterback on one play. Mossis Madu saw brief action and Chad Spann seems to have fallen back.

The fullback, Tommy Bohanon, had his ups and downs again. His consistency is mostly okay but there were still errors. His missed block led to Ivory nearly getting tackled for a safety and then on the next play he probably picked up the wrong blitzer, leaving another to have a clean run at Smith. There were some good lead blocks and one nice catch, but he’s still as much of a work in progress as most of his rookie counterparts.

Receivers

Kellen Winslow was one of Geno's favorite targets

On a day when the Jets offense racked up 420 yards, despite only managing 39 on the ground, there were obviously some productive outings for some of the receivers. For Stephen Hill, there was good mixed with bad. His four catches were encouraging, with one of them showing the deep separation we’ve been looking for since he was drafted. That exceeds the number of catches he had in the first two games combined. He’s also now drawn three first downs via penalty. However, he lost his cool badly and got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, then fumbled moments later. Nitpicking perhaps, but the long catch he did make didn’t exactly look natural or comfortable either.

The other would-be starter, Jeremy Kerley, had a poor day. After starting off well with a third down conversion, he had two plays you could classify as drops and missed a couple of blocks badly in the running game.

By contrast, Ryan Spadola had a rocky start, but finished strongly. Some will say he shouldn’t have allowed Smith’s first interception to happen, even if the throw was slightly behind him. He bounced back late in the game with three big catches, including the go-ahead touchdown with two minutes left and the 70-yard catch and run to set up the game winning kick in overtime. Spadola certainly solidified his spot there, although he did it all against the Giants third secondary which was really bad. On the touchdown, the deep safety overran and basically let the pass fly right past him and on the long pass, Spadola immediately ran downfield and was wide open, so there must have been some kind of a breakdown.

Newest Jet Mohamed Massaquoi saw brief action and made a couple of catches including one where he found an open space downfield after the play was extended. He wasn’t able to get open deep on one pass that was broken up, though.

Ben Obomanu has now had two nice games out of three as he looks to earn a spot. He caught three passes for 56 yards, doing well to get into the end zone for the first score and catching a couple of other first downs including a 24-yarder.

Reserves Zach Rogers, Joseph Collins and Michael Campbell were all targeted at least once. Rogers had two catches.

At tight end, no touchdown for Jeff Cumberland this week and he also had a rough start as a blocker. However, later on he redeemed himself a little with two of the better blocks I saw from anyone on the day. Operating as a left tackle on an unbalanced line play, he blocked his man out of the play and then later set the edge really well.

Kellen Winslow Jr. had a good day in the passing game and was Smith’s favorite target, with four catches. I suspect he got lucky on the diving catch because that may have hit the ground as he landed. He twice caught short passes and had to try to elude defenders to get the first down, managing to go one-for-two in that endeavor.

Backup Konrad Reuland had a quiet game but that’s okay because when he stood out in the earlier games it was often for blocking mistakes. He caught one short pass. Chris Pantale failed to sustain his block on one running play, but he remains ahead of Hayden Smith in the unlikely event that the Jets would consider carrying four tight ends.

So, I guess that’s it for part one, we’ll be back later with … ah, wait a minute. Did I forget someone?

Quarterbacks

Smith’s eagerly anticipated debut didn’t go well. Prince Amukamura did the analysis for me when he said that Smith was locked onto his target all day. (Thanks, Prince). On the second interception in particular, he missed the end dropping off into coverage, which was very Sanchezian. Yes, Justin Tuck was well-hidden behind the enormous Shaun Rogers as the pass was being released, but that’s no excuse. When I saw his first interception, I knew people would defend him and say that it was the receiver’s fault (although Smith was still partly at fault for hitting him in the back hip). However, once you get to three interceptions in one half, that’s too much of a pattern to ignore.

Smith was clearly rattled by pressure, including on the third interception, an overthrow, and showed a disappointing lack of awareness when he stepped out of the end zone for a safety with the Jets up by one. (I would note, however, that this wasn’t a very good play call by Marty Mornhinweg. When close to the end zone, pulling a lineman in play action is asking for trouble – you’re not fooling anyone and it puts pressure on everyone to pick up the right guy.)

There was also a lot of pressure up the middle, for which Smith may have been partially responsible and there were times when he waited for his receiver to make their breaks instead of throwing them open. Most disconcerting of all, he didn’t hit many receivers in stride, despite the expectation that his accuracy would be better than that of Sanchez.

Now, Smith did have some quality moments, highlighted by his penalty-aided touchdown drive in the first half and another good drive to pad his stats after half time. Moreover, there was one area where he was unquestionably better than Sanchez has ever been and that’s in terms of the timing and accuracy of his short passes. Of course, the book on Smith in some circles was that short passes were all he could do, but we’ll have to wait and see how the rest of his game blossoms over time.

As for Sanchez, he wasn’t doing badly against backups – five for six with three first down throws – but there were still mistakes. The fumbled snap was disappointing and his sole incompletion came on a poorly timed screen pass (underscoring Smith’s superiority in that area). On another play, he did complete a screen pass for a first down to the left, but it looked like the receiver in the right flat (Reuland) had way more room to run and Sanchez didn’t see him. The injury obviously messes up whatever plans they had at that point (although the media seemed to have decided the competition was already over).

I won’t dwell on the decision to put him out there with the backups, but one point I haven’t seen made is that maybe it’s good to put him out there with an overmatched offensive line, so that they can prepare him for that situation in the event of a rash of injuries or whatever during the season.

Matt Simms came in and performed admirably again, albeit against a weak third string secondary. He wasn’t as flawless as last week, with a few wayward throws, but his touchdown and long throw to Spadola were spectacular. Next week should be interesting between him and Greg McElroy (who is still nursing an ankle injury), assuming that the third string quarterback job is between the two of them. While Simms has looked good late in games, he hasn’t had experience against starters like McElroy has, so I don’t think you can call either of them a viable starter option at this stage, as impressive as they’ve both been at various times.

So, where does this all leave us?

Last week I received a mixed response to a comment I made on the blog:

Part of me wonders whether Geno running a vanilla offense is that far behind Sanchez in terms of gives-us-the-best-chance-to-win-ocity … That’s if Geno is only capable of running a watered-down version as some seem to be suggesting.
Allow me to re-visit that thought. Ignoring the possibility for the same excuses made earlier for Winters (reduced preparation time, possible lingering effects from previous injury), it did seem like Smith was just not ready. However, we’ve seen Sanchez run “air it out” and “play it safe” versions of multiple different offenses and he’s always struggled to limit the back-breaking mistakes in the “air it out” version, but isn’t accurate enough to move the chains on a consistent enough basis when playing it safe due to his lack of timing and accuracy in the short game. We’ve also seen Smith in a “play it safe” version (week one, after which everyone was asking whether he could perform with the offense functioning fully) and an “air it out” version (last night, after which the answer to that question would appear to be “not yet”).

So…with Smith not ready to run that kind of offense and Sanchez seemingly having worn out his welcome (as well as being hurt to the point that it may force their hand), is there a third option (no, not Simms/McElroy)? Could it be that the best option is a more conservative offense with a shackled Smith sticking mostly to those short plays he excels at and not taking undue risks? It’s a thought, at least.

The downside to this is that it’s going to undermine Mornhinweg, who seems to be one of the best things the offense has going for it right now. You’ll bring people into the box, gumming up the running game, and reduce the number of big plays being made downfield. Why neuter your best asset? However, on the understanding that this would buy Smith the time to gradually install the rest of the offense at a speed with which his comfort level can cope, could this be a workable plan? Maybe not, but to do that and lean heavily on the defense might be the best plan available to them, at least in the short term.

Part two will cover the defense. We'll be posting this tonight.

Tags: BGA, Bent Double

Who will the Jets select #3? 00:05:13
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano and SNY NFL Draft Expert Rich Cirminiello discuss who the Jets will select third overall in the NFL Draft.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

In less than a week, Jets GM Mike Maccagnan will make the most important draft pick of his tenure with the team, the one that surely will define his legacy.

No pressure, right?

Tags: Eli Manning, Josh McCown, Ralph Vacchiano
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Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Over the last few weeks, we looked at some of the players who have been invited to attend an official pre-draft visit with the Jets. With the visits ending earlier this week, let's take a final look at a selection of the players New York brought in.

Parry Nickerson, CB, Tulane

Nickerson is a four-year starter who was a constant standout on the Tulane defense. During his career, he recorded 16 interceptions, broke up another 31 passes and scored two defensive touchdowns. He turned heads at the scouting combine when he ran a 4.32 40-yard dash.

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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon are ready to open their present that is the #3 pick in the NFL Draft. The guys discuss the possibility of the Jets trading up, yet again, and the crazy idea of selecting a non-QB (can someone say Bradley Chubb) with the 3rd overall selection. Plus, former NFL QB Dan Orlovsky calls in to give his insight into the top four quarterbacks.

Click below to listen

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 (Tim Fuller)
(Tim Fuller)

The Jets will open the 2018 season in Detroit against the Lions on Monday night football, and finish things in Week 17 on the road against the Patriots.

Their entire 2018 schedule has been confirmed by SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, and is below...

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Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Former QB Dan Orlovsky thinks the Jets are targeting Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield with the No. 3 pick in the Draft, and one of the reasons is very specific.

Orlovsky, who played under Kyle Shanahan, noted that Jets OC Jeremy Bates is from the Mike Shanahan coaching tree. And that one of the traits Shanahan loved about John Elway is that he would screw his back foot into the ground when he threw -- adding that Bates loves that trait in quarterbacks as well. 

"There's one guy in the Draft who has that trait," Orlovsky said earlier this week on SNY's Jet Stream podcast. "And it's Baker Mayfield. He does the same thing when he throws. And I just think that those coaches fall in love with traits of guys that remind them of players that they had success with in the past. I think that they're looking at Baker Mayfield and going 'that's our guy.'"

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Projecting trades in a Mock Draft is a futile effort. There are too many variables and rumors. It's mostly speculation. And really, it's just an exercise in fantasy football.

But … well, who doesn't love fantasy football?

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Oct 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold. (Kirby Lee)
Oct 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold. (Kirby Lee)

In his latest mock draft, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer has the Jets taking Sam Darnold as their quarterback of the future at No. 3. 

Many experts believe Darnold could be the first overall pick by the Browns, and if he doesn't land with Cleveland, then the Giants would scoop him up at No. 2. However, with Josh Allen as Breer's No. 1 pick and the Giants electing to go with Saquon Barkley over a quarterback, Darnold drops in the Jets' lap. 

So, there is no need for the Jets to choose between Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield...

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Mangold's Hall of Fame chances 00:04:59
Dan Graca and Jon Hein debate over Nick Mangold's chances at making the Hall of Fame and the Devils' chances at beating the Lightning.

After a year out of football, No. 74 is officially hanging up the cleats. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: On the lists of favorite players and all-time greats, you'll rarely find a center. They're buried in the trenches, often noticed only when a bad snap happens or a defensive tackle breaks through.

The same was probably true for Nick Mangold during his 11 NFL seasons - rarely noticed from the outside and incredibly underappreciated game to game. Yet somehow he still emerged from his long career as a fan favorite. And he definitely emerged as one of the Jets' all-time greats.

Tags: Nick Mangold
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New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams gestures while jogging on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams gestures while jogging on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan made it clear he had no worries about the state of the Jets' defensive line heading into the offseason. Sure, they've lost a lot of talent in recent years, trading Sheldon Richardson, cutting Muhammad Wilkerson and not re-signing Damon Harrison.

But they still have Leonard Williams, the sixth pick of the 2015 draft, and despite a down season last year, the Jets have huge expectations for him.

Tags: Damon Harrison, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Los Angeles Chargers kicker Nick Rose attempts a field goal during an NFL game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Nick Rose attempts a field goal during an NFL game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets were awarded kicker Nick Rose on Monday after the Los Angeles Chargers placed him on waivers, the team announced.

Rose made 11 of 14 field goals in 10 games with the Chargers and Washington Redskins last season and converted on 23 of 26 extra points. He went 1-for-3 as a member of the Chargers in Weeks 16 and 17, and 10-for-11 in eight games with Washington. His longest make last year was 55 yards.

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Brian Winters remembers everything about the moment his 2017 season went off the rails. He remembers the time, the place, the play, and without question, the pain.

"It was second quarter in Oakland (in Week 2) with five minutes to go before half when we were driving in to the north end zone. I still remember it like it was yesterday," said the 26-year-old guard. "It was an outside zone play and (running back) Bilal (Powell) was trying to stretch it outside of me, so I went to continue to push my guy through. And as soon as I pushed through I felt like a pop."

Tags: Brian Winters, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jeff Badet catches a touchdown pass against Texas Longhorns defensive back Kris Boyd in the second quarter at the Cotton Bowl. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jeff Badet catches a touchdown pass against Texas Longhorns defensive back Kris Boyd in the second quarter at the Cotton Bowl. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Last week, we looked at some of the players who have been invited to attend an official pre-draft visit with the Jets. More names have leaked out over the past seven days, so let's break down some of the more interesting ones in detail.

Jeff Badet, WR, Oklahoma

Badet spent most of his collegiate career at Kentucky, but saw some high profile action last year after transferring to Oklahoma. He wasn't invited to the scouting combine, but if he had been, his pro day numbers for the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump would all have ranked first or second at the receiver position.

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: It's not quite crunch time yet, but there are less than three weeks until the start of the first round of the NFL draft, which means draft boards are in their final stages all around the league. It also means that the truth about which players are being targeted by which teams is starting to leak out -- albeit slowly.

Still, there are a lot of variables, especially in the first two picks. But at the moment there aren't many changes to my latest Mini-Mock Draft. The Browns are still taking a quarterback at 1. The Jets are still definitely taking one at 3. And I still think the Giants will take one -- assuming the right one is available -- at 2.

Here's a full look at my new Top 10, with some updated inside information...

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Former Jets QB Mark Sanchez has been suspended four games after violating the performance-enhancing drug policy, the league announced Friday. 

Sanchez, who last played for the Jets in 2013, was the Bear's third-string quarterback last season. He claimed that "unknowing supplement contamination" was the reason for his drug test to turn up positive. 

The 31-year-old took to Instagram to explain the whole story...

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 (Kamil Krzaczynski)
(Kamil Krzaczynski)

The Jets have already begun condensing their roster for next season as the team announced several cuts on Friday. 

Among them was former Bears RB Jeremy Langford, who signed a reserve/future contract with the Jets worth $630,000 this offseason. The 26-year-old spent time jumping through practice squads last season, and though he was promoted to the Ravens' 53-man roster, an injury pushed him to the IR the same week he joined the team. 

Langford was released following his IR placement, and the former fourth-round pick wouldn't see time for the rest of the season.

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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) greets Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) during warmups before a game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) greets Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) during warmups before a game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

WR Dez Bryant was released by the Cowboys on Friday afternoon, with Bryant reportedly hinting afterwards that he might be staying in the NFC East.

Bryant, 29, had a down year in 2017, with 69 receptions for 838 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games.

"I let a lot of things get in the way that bother me mentally," Bryant said late last season. "I feel like, if anything, I need to deal with in the offseason - is that. Like I said, there's only certain things I can control."

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are taking a quarterback with the third overall pick in the draft. They know it. Everyone knows it. And they know everyone knows it. "I mean, you'd have to be out of your mind to think otherwise," was how one team official said it. The only lingering question is: Which one?

The Jets have had or will have had private meetings and workouts with all of the top four, and GM Mike Maccagnan has made the rounds at their Pro Days. When they traded up to No. 3 they were convinced that they'd be happy with choosing from whichever two (or three) fell to them. And obviously at least two of the Big Four -- USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Wyoming's Josh Allen -- will still be there...

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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon take their deepest dive yet into the NFL Draft. They discuss the latest with the four quarterbacks, as well as look back at Willie's draft process with the Steelers in 2006. Later, Brian Costello of the New York Post joins the show to give his take on the draft and the possibility of Mike Maccagnan signing defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) gestures after thrown a touchdown pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson, not pictured, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) gestures after thrown a touchdown pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson, not pictured, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

The Jets' preseason schedule has been officially released for the 2018 season. 

The Falcons will be Gang Green's first opponent of the new year on their home turf. Then, they will hit the road to face the Redskins on Aug. 16 at 8 p.m.

The annual Snoopy Bowl at MetLife Stadium between the Jets and Giants will be the Week 3 matchup, with the Jets getting home field advantage.

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Top QB prospect Josh Rosen 00:01:13
Former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is expected to be taken as one of the top QB's in the 2018 NFL Draft.

In his latest mock draft, ESPN's Mel Kiper sees the Jets grabbing UCLA QB Josh Rosen with their third overall pick -- as SNY's Ralph Vacchiano projects in his Mini Mock Draft 3.0. 

The Jets clearly traded up to the No. 3 slot to take one of the highly touted quarterbacks. With Wyoming's Josh Allen and USC's Sam Darnold going to the Browns and Giants respectively, Rosen appears the best option for the Jets in Kiper's mind. 

CLICK BELOW TO READ KIPER'S ANALYSIS

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Oct 22, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets tight end Eric Tomlinson (83) hurdles Miami Dolphins strong safety Nate Allen (29) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Oct 22, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets tight end Eric Tomlinson (83) hurdles Miami Dolphins strong safety Nate Allen (29) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Having opted to let Austin Seferain-Jenkins leave in free agency, the Jets are relying on a group of young tight ends to replace his production, recently adding two more options to the mix.

It's possible the Jets could look to add to the group via the draft but, for now, let's consider what each of the tight ends currently on the roster brings to the table, and consider how they might be used in 2018...

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Top QB prospect Josh Rosen 00:01:13
Former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is expected to be taken as one of the top QB's in the 2018 NFL Draft.

With the NFL Draft a little over two weeks away, the Jets continue to get their last live look at the top prospects they could select with their third overall pick. 

After Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield wraps up his private workout with the Jets Tuesday, UCLA QB Josh Rosen will visit the team, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

After Rosen's visit, USC QB Sam Darnold is expected to be next on the list at some point later this week. Wyoming QB Josh Allen is also expected to visit at a later date.

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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

The Jets continue to bolster their defense with another addition at the second tier in vetearn LB Kevin Minter, the team announced Monday. 

Minter most recently played for the Bengals in 2017, where he tallied 32 tackles in nine games. 

He was a second round draft pick by the Cardinals back in 2013, and he would spend four seasons in Arizona before heading to Cincinnati. He totaled 175 tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble, and six passes defended over 61 games (37 starts). 

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Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson (12) runs after the catch in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)
Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson (12) runs after the catch in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)

The Jets continue to stack their wide receiving corps for next season as former Vikings WR Charles Johnson signed a deal with the team on Monday. 

Johnson, who was waived by the Panthers in July 2017, sat out all last season due to surgery on his right knee. He played for the Vikings from 2014-16, where he totaled 60 receptions for 834 yards and two touchdowns over 39 games. 

The Grand Valley State product was a Packers' seventh-rounder back in 2013, and after joinging the team's practice squad following camp that year, the Brown picked him up to join their 53-man squad. He dressed but never saw action with the Browns. 

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The Jets' free agency strategy 00:12:52
The Jets Nation panel analyzes the Jets' recent free-agent additions, including former Vikings franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Here is the most up-to-date information on whom the Jets have added and lost during free agency, including contract details and salary cap information. Be sure to bookmark this page and check back for frequent updates.

JETS SALARY CAP SPACE

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Dec 27, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley (25) rushes against Boston College Eagles defensive tackle Noa Merritt (94) during the second half of the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Dec 27, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley (25) rushes against Boston College Eagles defensive tackle Noa Merritt (94) during the second half of the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

While the Jets are reportedly hosting Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen for official Draft visits this week, we've also been keeping an eye on who else is reportedly scheduled to attend. Last year, both Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye took official visits before being selected with the Jets' top two picks.

Aside from the quarterbacks, most of this year's names that have leaked so far would be players the Jets might be hoping will drop to day three of the draft or maybe even be available as a priority free agent if they go undrafted. Let's look at some of the more interesting prospects...

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Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

With the NFL Draft just 17 days away, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield is scheduled to meet with the Jets in Florham Park on Monday and Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

The Jets have already met with Mayfield on multiple occasons -- including at the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine -- and the team held a private workout with him. 

The 22-year-old Mayfield, who is expected to be selected early in the first round, threw 119 touchdowns in three seasons with Oklahoma and capped it off by throwing 43 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2017 when he started a career-high 14 games...

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell is pursued by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell on a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter during an NFL football game at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell is pursued by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell on a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter during an NFL football game at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Despite the retirement of Matt Forte, the Jets have bolstered their depth in the offensive backfield with a couple of veteran additions. Let's give consideration to what each back brings to the table and how they might find a niche in the Jets' offense this season.

Bilal Powell...

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Sep 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Indianapolis Colts nose tackle Al Woods (99) and Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) wait to take the field before the Colts game with the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)
Sep 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Indianapolis Colts nose tackle Al Woods (99) and Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) wait to take the field before the Colts game with the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)

Free agent DT Johnathan Hankins visited the Jets on Thursday, reports Dan Graziano of ESPN. Hankins, who was cut by the Colts earlier this offseason, has also visited the Redskins.

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Giants, Hankins agreed to a four-your deal with the Colts worth $30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets were obviously looking for an upgrade at defensive tackle when they made their brief -- and ill-advised -- pursuit of Ndamukong Suh. Thankfully, they pulled the plug on that before it happened. Johnathan Hankins could turn out to be a much better fit...

Tags: Johnathan Hankins
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A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)
A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)

Former Jets WR/DB and Super Bowl champion, Bill Rademacher, has passed at the age of 75, the team confirmed on Tuesday. 

Rademacher came out of Northern Michigan undrafted, and ending up joining the Jets as a receiver in 1964. He would play in New York for five seasons that included a Super Bowl title in 1968. 

After getting released in 1969, he joined the Boston Patriots where he played just two seasons before retiring. Radebacher, then, became the head coach of Norther Michigan, where he owned a 37-16-1 career record. 

Overall, he played in 58 games totaling 24 receptions for 282 yards and three touchdowns.

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