Over the last month, I've been looking at some of the players the Jets have added to the active roster since the end of last season. Jets fans might not know too much about some of these players, so I've been looking in detail at preseason and regular season footage to get an insight into their strengths and weaknesses. This series concludes today with a look at former Bears safety Brandon Hardin.

The 24-year old Hardin is listed at 6'3" and 217 pounds and was a third round pick in the 2012 draft. He has never played in an NFL regular season game, following some injury issues. However, he did play in six preseason games before the Bears released him in August. The Jets picked him up in January.

After the jump, I look in detail at footage from the last two preseasons to evaluate some what Hardin brings to the table.

Who is Brandon Hardin?

Hardin had a productive college career, where he was actually a cornerback, but missed his entire senior season after injuring his shoulder and requiring surgery. He returned to action in the East West Shrine Game and then had a monster pro day with great numbers across the board, including a 4.43 forty. Had he not missed his senior year, most experts agreed he would have been a much more heralded prospect, but when the Bears selected him in the third round it was considered a reach.

The Bears immediately announced that they would be converting Hardin to safety and he was the second string free safety as the preseason got underway in his rookie year. However, he suffered a scary neck injury in the second game and was placed on injured reserve shortly after. In 2013, he was unable to climb any further up the depth chart in preseason, before a broken scapula in the last preseason game sealed his fate.

Let's look in detail at his six preseason appearances.

2012 Preseason

Week 1 - Denver

Hardin was only credited with one tackle in this game but was in on several others. The one tackle he got credit for was on a 20-yard completion down the sideline where the cornerback seemed to pass off the receiver to him, but he had to cover the deep middle.

His best play saw him range across the field to jump in front of a long pass down the left sideline. That could have been an interception but the ball bounced off his hands as he may have slightly mistimed his jump. On another play he closed well on the intended receiver running down the seam, but the pass was batted down by a linebacker.

There were three plays where if you were being harsh you could say he missed a tackle. The first of these saw the runner slip away from him inside the five only to be immediately tackled by someone else before gaining any more yardage. On the second he overpursued out to the sideline on a run to the outside and the running back cut back inside for another 5-10 yards. On the last one, he actually stopped the runner at the second level, but he was able to squirm free and fall forwards for a few extra yards.

There were a couple of moments of slight hesitancy, notably on these two touchdowns (here and here - Hardin is #35), literally for just a split second each time, but where without any hesitation he might have prevented the runner from breaking the plane each time.

On special teams, there was one play where he was initially employed as a vice, double teaming the gunner, but he ran downfield and then peeled off to get a good contact to slow up another player on the kicking team in the open field. However, he didn't finish the block and this player did still end up making the tackle. He was also employed as a punt protector, getting downfield first on one punt, but overpursuing to let the return man get upfield.

Week 2 - Washington

This was the game where Hardin suffered his scary neck injury. It came on a blown coverage where he reacted quickly to make a downfield tackle on a tight end to limit the yardage to 19, but lowered his head and injured his neck while making the hit.

Prior to that, he had only been in for a handful of plays. On one, he was in a good position in coverage downfield on an overthrown ball, but perhaps would have had a chance at an interception had he been able to locate the ball while it was in the air rather than focusing on the receiver the whole time.

2013 Preseason

Week 1 - at Carolina

Hardin played 26 snaps in this game, all in the second half. He had one downfield tackle, but did okay in coverage. He was in good position on one play where the quarterback threw wide, perhaps on purpose, as Hardin had the closest receiver covered. On another, the quarterback looked for Hardin's man on a hot route, but the receiver never looked back for the ball. Hardin reacted well, but should have intercepted this and probably would have scored. He dropped the ball that hit him right in the numbers. On another play, a pass was deflected but he was unable to react fast enough to have a shot at picking it off.

Week 2 - San Diego

Hardin played 25 snaps in this game, mostly in the third quarter. He played on the first series of the fourth quarter and returned for the last play of the game, which was a Hail Mary pass that was overthrown and he leapt up to bat safely out of the back of the end zone, although it obviously wasn't going to be caught anyway.

He got in on a couple of tackles in the running game, including one play where he came up from deep to avoid a pulling lineman and prevent a runner from turning the corner on an outside run, making the stop for a two yard gain.

Week 3 - at Oakland

In this game, Hardin only played in the fourth quarter but still saw action on 17 plays. He had two downfield tackles on 22 and 21 yard completions over the middle where he was playing deep. He was targeted once, for this touchdown. On the play, Hardin (still #35) got caught up in traffic on a rub route and didn't take a particularly good angle. Again, he could have helped himself by anticipating better here.

Week 4 - Cleveland

The final preseason game usually features backups, so you might expect Hardin (who started) to perform better in this one, but it was actually his worst game by some margin. Having said that, the Browns starters did do some of the damage, including on the first play of the game where they threw a 45-yard bomb to Josh Gordon. The cornerback passed Gordon off to Hardin downfield and Hardin didn't react fast enough as he initially went to cover the same slot receiver as the cornerback. On another early play, Hardin came up too fast and overpursued on a slant route, allowing Gordon to turn the corner upfield.

Hardin was used in direct coverage a lot more in this game and did not fare well. On one play he picked up a tight end running a post pattern and couldn't prevent a 21-yard completion. That was pretty tight coverage though and he almost got a finger on the ball. On another play, he was matched up with a receiver in the slot for the only time all preseason, but the outside receiver came underneath and Hardin failed to react to this in time, getting turned around and leaving him open for 12 over the middle.

As if this wasn't bad enough, there were also three plays where he didn't get over in time from center field, leading to two first downs and this touchdown. He wasn't in direct coverage on these plays, so it's hard to blame him for them, but they were plays where an elite player would perhaps be expected to break it up.

There were a couple of plays where he was in a better position, although the receiver slipped on one and the other was a bad overthrow. He injured himself late in the game, but might have been due to be a final cut anyway following this disappointing finish to the preseason.

Usage

There are many reports out there saying that Hardin was employed as a strong safety in Chicago. This is inaccurate. Hardin was employed as a deep safety, often single-high. In 2013, he was only in the box 14 times in 121 snaps and his role in 2012 was essentially the same.

Coverage skills

Any time you get a former cornerback moving into a safety role, that can be an advantage in coverage. However, Hardin was mostly employed in coverage support rather than in direct coverage.

Hardin did a disciplined job of keeping things in front of him, but there were times where he reacted a beat late or failed to anticipate something with the ball in the air. There were occasional flashes of him breaking well to the ball, but not many.

Athleticism

Hardin's measurables are incredible and obviously the reason he was drafted so high despite injury concerns. The Bears are apparently adopting a "maximum ceiling" approach to their draft strategy and this fits in with that. While there were instances where he showcased this athleticism (and he's an impressive physical specimen that looks more like a linebacker than a defensive back), he was so hesitant at times that this mitigated some of those gifts.

Physicality

One thing I noticed from Hardin was that there were a lot of plays where he came up but then pulled up short of getting in on the tackle. I know Jets fans in recent years have been frustrated at what they perceive to be "shying away from contact" by the likes of Kerry Rhodes and Antonio Cromartie and it's difficult to determine whether that's what this was or if Hardin was just being extremely disciplined in terms of keeping the play in front of him. I lean towards the latter, because there were a couple of plays where he did actually lay the lumber on a ball carrier that was held up in that situation although I expect there was some degree of uncertainty in his new position and over-cautiousness in terms of not wanting to make a mistake. It's possible he was tentative in certain situations due to some of his injuries, but most of the time he would break himself down as he arrived at the ball, which is certainly preferable to a safety coming up too fast and overpursuing (although he did do this once or twice).

As noted, he wasn't employed in direct coverage much, so I couldn't really comment on his physicality in coverage based on the footage viewed.

Run defense

As he wasn't in the box very often, Hardin didn't really contribute much as a run defender. He got in on a few tackles at the second level, but there was only one play where he came up and stopped a run. That was on an outside run where he came up from deep. He did run blitz a few times, but the run went the other way each time.

Tackling

This ties in with the last few sections, but Hardin didn't make a ton of tackles, nor did he miss too many bad ones. He had a few plays where he took a bad angle and overpursued, but not many instances of having a runner wrapped up and letting him get away. There were, however, a few times where he didn't quite make a clean stop, enabling the runner to fall forward and a few other times where he hesitated when going to make a tackle allowing costly yardage.

Blitzing

Hardin only blitzed once and only had one sack in his college career. However, his combination of speed and size (he's basically the same size as Rhodes) could mean he'd be good at this in a special packages role.

Ball skills

It doesn't seem like Hardin has very good hands. He dropped one easy interception and there were a few other plays where he might have been able to pick the ball off. Part of that was perhaps down to him failing to anticipate and react in time, though, rather than his ability to catch the ball. He did have one interception and eight passes defensed in two years at Oregon State. He did get his hands on a few balls and jumped a few routes, but could have done a better job of being alert to tipped or overthrown passes in his area.

Instincts

Since he was playing a new position, we should probably give Hardin a pass here, but there was a constant sense he was a beat slow to react and occasional confusion over what he should do in a given situation. It reminded me of Demario Davis' rookie season. If he could start to get more comfortable in his role, Hardin would start to make a lot more plays because he'd arrive half a step sooner.

Special teams

Hardin made some minor contributions on special teams. He was employed as a punt protector, on the punt rush unit, as a secondary vice when doubling a gunner and blocking on the kick return unit. He'll likely need to shine in these roles and also in kick coverage (where he had one assist as a tackler) to have a realistic shot at a roster spot.

Injuries

As noted, Hardin is yet another player who became available because of major injury concerns. Whether any of these will pan out remains to be seen, but there's potential upside in a lot of them. To recap, he missed 2011 after shoulder surgery, had a serious neck injury in 2012 and then broke his scapula last August.

Off-field issues

I could not find any details of any off-field issues for Hardin.

Conclusions:

Yes, of course, this is another long-shot that depends primarily on whether Hardin can get healthy. Even if he can, he still has to prove he can make the transition to safety.

While completing this analysis, I was reminded of Jaiquawn Jarrett, another high draft pick safety who also struggled before being released early in his second season. Since he did make the team and - other than that one play Jimmy Graham made on him - acquitted himself pretty well, that's an interesting re-read for context.

The Jets do have several promising safeties under 25 and may even add another in the draft next weekend, so competition is high. However, there are places up for grabs. The main thing Hardin brings to the table that none of the other safeties do is his size and speed combo.

Hardin did show inexperience at times, but wasn't constantly making bad mistakes. While it looks likely he'll end up as a story of unfulfilled promise, you can't blame the Jets for giving him one last shot.

That wraps up our look at the guys the Jets have added to the roster since the end of the season. We'll be back with some more analytical stuff after the draft, including articles on Dee Milliner and Quinton Coples.

Tags: bentdouble, BGA, Bent Double

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

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- After months of rumors, reports and lies -- a lot of lies -- here is my final best guess about how the first 10 picks of the 2018 NFL draft are going to play out on Thursday night.

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Darnold talks Giants and Jets 00:01:27
Sam Darnold talks about meeting Eli Manning, his visits with the Giants and Jets and advice he received from fellow Trojan Mark Sanchez.

USC QB Sam Darnold didn't get to meet with Eli Manning during his visit with the Giants, but got to see plenty of Jets during his visit with them.

"I saw him from a distance and he was working, so I didn't want to bother him," Darnold said about Manning. "We had a chance to meet at the Manning Camp, which was awesome."

Regarding the Jets, Darnold said he got to see a bunch of players he was familiar with.

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UCLA QB Josh Rosen (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
UCLA QB Josh Rosen (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

UCLA QB Josh Rosen, who is expected to be taken early in the first round during the NFL Draft on Thursday night, had fun with reporters who were asking him on Wednesday about the potential of being selected by the Jets at No. 3 or Giants at No. 2.

"You're trying to catch me," Rosen playfully told SNY's Ralph Vacchiano when asked about the media spotlight in New York.

Rosen also discussed his visits to the Jets and Giants. Hear his full comments below...

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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)

The Cleveland Browns could be deciding between Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield and Wyoming QB Josh Allen with the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday night's NFL Draft, reports Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

The Browns had been linked most recently to USC QB Sam Darnold as their likely choice at No. 1, with Mayfield's name first thrown in the mix on Tuesday. Now, the Browns are reportedly "cooling" on Darnold.

If the Browns are legitimately interested in Mayfield at No. 1 and take him, it would throw a wrench in the Jets' reported plan to tab Mayfield at No. 3.

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Willie Colon picks Josh Rosen 00:01:03
SNY Jets Analyst Willie Colon thinks the Jets will select quarterback Josh Rosen with the third pick in the NFL Draft.

Former Jet and current SNY analyst Willie Colon thinks the Jets will tab UCLA QB Josh Rosen with the No. 3 pick in Thursday's NFL Draft in Dallas. 

"I think [GM Mike] Maccagnan is at the point where he's okay with a kid being an outward thinker -- that's the label, so to speak, with Rosen," Colon said Tuesday on The Jet Stream Podcast on SNY. "But I think he understands he's an extremely polished quarterback."

Along with Rosen, the Jets have been connected to Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, who SNY's Ralph Vacchiano and Peter Schrager of Fox Sports believes will be the Jets' pick. ...Click below to listen to the Jet Stream podcast with Colon, Schrager, and Jonas Schwartz...

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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)

Peter Schrager of Fox Sports would be "shocked" if the Jets pass on Baker Mayfield if he's available when they pick at No. 3 during Thursday's NFL Draft, he said during Tuesday's Jet Stream Podcast on SNY.

Schrager spoke of "glowing reports" he received from the dinner Mayfield had with team brass a few weeks ago, and thinks the Jets are all-in on Mayfield -- even if Sam Darnold is available at No. 3.

"Everything I've been listening to for the last two, three months has been that Baker Mayfield -- if he's on the board -- is going to be the pick for the Jets," Schrager said. "That might include Sam Darnold as well -- if Darnold somehow falls. I think that they have been in love with Mayfield for this entire time. I'd be shocked if they went with one of the other guys."

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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon are finally ready to see who the Jets select in this year's NFL Draft! Will it be Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, or Josh Allen? To get their answer, they welcome the NFL Network's Peter Schrager to the show for his take on each quarterback, and discuss why Rosen is the guy and why Mayfield is mostly definitely not.

Click below to listen

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Jets' third-round options 00:05:01
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano and SNY NFL Draft Expert Rich Cirminiello discuss who the Jets will take in the third round of the draft.

The bulk of the attention has been on who the Jets will do with the No. 3 overall pick in Thursday night's NFL Draft.

It will be a quarterback. But which one? At least two of Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, and Josh Rosen will be available when the Jets pick.

Lost in the shuffle a bit has been the fact that the Jets have a third round pick (72nd overall) as well. And SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano and SNY NFL Draft Expert Rich Cirminiello recently discussed who the Jets could take with that pick.

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Top QB prospect Baker Mayfield 00:01:01
Former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is expected to be taken as one of the top QB's in the 2018 NFL Draft.

What is NFL Draft week without some drama over the No. 1 pick?

With reports circulating Monday that Wyoming QB Josh Allen is no longer in consideration for the Browns' No. 1 pick, ESPN's Adam Schefter is now reporting that Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield is "definitely" in the conversation. 

Schefter continues by saying the Browns may have their choice in mind for their first overall pick, and before that decision was made, Mayfield was a player in the mix.

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Nick Mangold retires from NFL 00:02:30
After spending eleven seasons with the Jets, Nick Mangold announces his retirement from the NFL.

Nick Mangold, who spent 11 seasons with the Jets, announced his retirement at the team's facility after signing a one-day contract on Tuesday. 

Tags: Nick Mangold
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:01:07
Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan discusses the team's strategy for its No. 3 overall pick with the draft just a few days away.

New York Jets' Jamal Adams (33) and Los Angeles Chargers' Sean McGrath (84) fight for control of the ball during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets' Jamal Adams (33) and Los Angeles Chargers' Sean McGrath (84) fight for control of the ball during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets own the third pick in this year's draft, their highest since 1996. How have they drafted in the first round over the past five years?

2017: Safety Jamal Adams, No. 6

It's too early to tell how Adams' career will pan out, but the signs so far have been promising. He started every game in his rookie year as the Jets' secondary definitely played better than it had in 2016. On the field, Adams had his ups and downs, but he showed flashes of brilliance in a versatile role. Off the field, he's played a big part in the ongoing culture change that has galvanized the team and has also been a useful tool in player recruitment.

Tags: Calvin Pryor, Damon Harrison, Darron Lee, Dee Milliner, Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, Sheldon Richardson
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Nov 18, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold (right) and UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) shake hands after their game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports (Kelvin Kuo)
Nov 18, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold (right) and UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) shake hands after their game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports (Kelvin Kuo)

It will be an absolute stunner if the Jets don't take a quarterback after trading up to No. 3 in the NFL Draft, which takes place on Thursday night in Dallas.

So, who will it be?

At least two out of the group of Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, and Josh Allen will be available for the Jets. 

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Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Michael Conroy/AP)
Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Michael Conroy/AP)

The Browns' choices for their No. 1 pick seem to have come down to two choices just three days away from the NFL Draft: Sam Darnold or Josh Allen?

Yes, there is always the prospect of the Browns going with RB Saquon Barkley with their first overall selection, knowing they have the No. 4 pick later on. However, experts including SI's Peter King see Cleveland getting their quarterback first before addressing anywhere else. 

Recently, rumblings about Allen going No. 1 have gained some steam. But King's most trusted source says Allen is too much of a risk, and the Browns don't want to get another quarterback pick wrong.

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 (Kevin Jairaj)
(Kevin Jairaj)

Broadway Joe loves Broadway Baker. Or at least that's what could be Baker Mayfield's nickname if the Jets were to select him with their No. 3 overall pick. 

Hall of Famer and former Jets QB Joe Namath loves what he has seen from Mayfield over the years of watching him play. He recently watched the Georgia-Oklahoma College Football Playoff matchup at the Rose Bowl on New Year's Eve, and after his daughter asked if he had seen anything like the back-and-forth bout, he responded saying he wouldn't want to be going up against Mayfield...


Everything you need to know about the Jets and No. 3 >> Read more

Vacc's Mini Mock Draft has Jets tabbing Mayfield >> Read more

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 (Dennis Wierzbicki)
(Dennis Wierzbicki)

The Jets have not stopped looking for help on their defensive line as they hosted numerous free-agent linemen on Monday. 

Former Bears DT Lamarr Houston and former Patriots DT Chris Jones were among those looking to impress the Jets. Houston split time with the Bears and Texans last season, totaling five sacks over 10 games. A former second-round pick by the Raiders back in 2010, Houston is entering his ninth season in the NFL this year. 

Jones played for the division-rival Patriots in 2013 and 2014, where he finished with nine sacks and 79 tackles over 28 career games. He most recently played for the 49ers in 2016, where he had 17 tackles over six games. He did not play for an NFL squad in 2017. 

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New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams on the sidelines during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams on the sidelines during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets have officially picked up DL Leonard Williams' fifth-year option, keeping Williams with the team through 2019 at least. 

Williams, 23, the sixth overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, will make $14.2 million in 2019, assuming he's considered a defensive end. If they try to say he's a defensive tackle, the contract will be $11.4 million, according to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano. The contract becomes fully guaranteed next March.

"It's definitely time to step up and take it to the next level," Williams said last week via Vacchiano. "That comes with a lot. It's just not my play on the field. It comes with my leadership, how I approach work, how much time I'm putting in outside of the mandatory hours into my craft, into my game."

Tags: Leonard Williams
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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)

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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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