The Jets announced their latest signing this morning, with Chad Spann joining the active roster to take Aaron Berry's place. Berry was placed on injured reserve today after suffering a torn ACL in yesterday's practice. Jets fans might not know too much about Spann, so I've been looking at game footage to get some idea of what he brings to the table.

Spann was out of the league in 2012, but spent time with three teams during 2011 and saw action in preseason and in the postseason. After the jump, I'll be looking back at the footage from the 2011 season to see what he's capable of and assess his chances of competing for a roster spot.

Who is Chad Spann?

The 24-year old Spann is listed as 5-8 and 202 pounds and went to college at Northern Illinois. There he moved into a starting role in his junior season and ended his college career with back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons. In 2010 he was named the MAC Offensive Player of the Year after leading the entire nation with 22 touchdowns and he ended his college career with 49 touchdowns and a 5.4 yards per carry average.

Spann ran a 4.52 forty, a 4.32 short shuttle and a 7.18 long shuttle at his pro day (which the Jets attended) and had a 32.5 inch vertical and a 120-inch broad jump. He also lifted the bar 18 times. Despite this, he went undrafted in 2011 and was picked up by the Colts, who he played for in preseason. He didn't manage to make it onto the final roster, as he was released with an injury settlement, but he got picked up by the Rams that October and went on their practice squad. He didn't manage to get any regular season action, but was then signed to the Steelers offense in the days leading up to their playoff game against Tim Tebow's Denver Broncos. With Rashard Mendenhall out for the season and Mewelde Moore dealing with injuries too, Spann was prepared for a possible third down back role, but in the end wasn't needed and featured solely on special teams.

Entering 2012, Spann was working on his receiving and route running skills with a view to a possible permanent switch to wide receiver. However, he had to deal with a second torn hamstring and after the Steelers released him in May, he was unable to get healthy enough for another shot at getting back into the league. However, he went back to NIU's pro day in March and impressed enough to earn an invite to the Jets rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis. Obviously he didn't manage to win a contract there and then, but did enough that they had him in mind when a roster spot became available.

Let's look back at his performances in the 2011 preseason with the Colts.

Week One - Rams

Having impressed at camp, Spann entered this game as the Colts' number one kick returner and was also in the mix at running back, getting some rotation reps as early as the first quarter. His first kickoff return went well, as he avoided contact in the open field to run the kick back 28 yards to the 23-yard line. However, the next one didn't go so well as he let a bobbling squib kick roll through his hands and past him into the end zone. Having retrieved it, he actually did pretty well to get back to the 14. The third kickoff was a touchback, but the fourth one was another disaster. This time it went through his hands in the end zone and he booted it forwards. He was fortunately able to scoop it up cleanly on the move, but went down at the 10-yard line. His final kickoff return wasn't much better, as he caught the ball deep in the end zone and ran straight into the first man, who he bounced off, but was soon tackled at the 14 without being able to pick up any extra yardage. Overall, his four kickoff returns accounted for 67 yards and two recovered muffs. He was replaced at half time and wouldn't get another shot at the role.

At running back, his first carry didn't go so well either, as he was swarmed under for a two yard loss. You couldn't put this on him though, as a couple of players missed their blocks and he had nowhere to go. On another first quarter rep, he chipped a pass rusher effectively on a quick pass.

In the second quarter, he got another series at running back on a drive that ended with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Dan Orlovsky to Taj Smith on a blown coverage. Spann ran for eight on an outside stretch run (the kind Mornhinweg is expected to use a lot this year), heading to the outside, before cutting upfield between the right guard and right tackle who were on the move to the right. The next play was an ever better read, as he picked up four and the first down on 2nd and two. He took the hand-off going right, but then cut back all the way to the left and dived for extra yardage upfield. He then set up the touchdown with a 25-yard reception. Orlovsky faked the hand-off to him and he actually stumbled on his way out to the flat, but recovered his balance just in time to make a clean hands catch on the move, turning it upfield and using him speed to dodge a diving tackle at the second level. He got nailed by the safety 25 yards later.

Spann got one more series at running back in the fourth quarter, where he carried once for no gain. On the play, he read that there was nowhere to go and tried to cut back, but slipped as he did so.

Week Two - Washington

Spann wasn't used as a return man this week, but did get involved on special teams. He made a good tackle on a punt return after having lined up as the punt protector. Nobody blocked him, so he just ran down the middle of the field, but he did a good job of breaking down the return man in the open field to hold him to a five yard runback. On a negative note, he was penalized for an illegal block in the back on the punt return team after missing his block on the edge and getting beaten downfield. He hustled well to get back into the play, but shoved the tackler in the back just as the return man caught the ball and they collided, with the tackler's helmet knocked flying and a minor head injury arising.

On offense, he just got one series at the end of the game over the last 3:11. He carried once, making a decent cut up the middle for six. On another play, he stayed in to block and the announcer praised how well he picked up the blitz, although the replay did show that the pass rusher had driven him off his base and he was actually pushed into the quarterback just after the throw was made. However, he did well to stay in front long enough to allow him to get the throw off, especially since there was another player that came up the middle unblocked to hit him cleanly at the same time.

Week Three - Green Bay

Relegated to a special teams role in this one, as the starters were given additional reps, Spann did not make any kind of an impact.

Week Four - Cincinnati

Having fallen behind in the battle for roster spots, Spann saw action on just three series in this one, although he was in the game contributing as the Colts drove for the winning touchdown late. On his first series, halfway through the third, he carried the ball once, turning the corner on the outside and slipping a tackle downfield for nine yards. That play was negated by off-setting penalties (including bizarrely - and presumably erroneously - a holding call charged to himself).

On the next series, in the fourth, they faked the hand-off to him and he tried to chip a pass rusher, but didn't get him cleanly, leading to a pressure. He rushed for seven on his first carry, picking his way through traffic and avoiding contact in the hole. His next carry went for no gain, as there was nowhere to go on a stretch run outside, so he just fell back into the pile at the line of scrimmage.

On the final (game winning) drive, they were mostly passing the ball. On one play, he threw an effective cut block on a blitzer although the QB hesitated and was pressured anyway. I wouldn't credit that to Spann. On another play, he stayed in to pick up the blitz and two guys came up the middle. He dealt with the situation well, backing off to force one of them wide and then picking up the other one, allowing the throw to be made. He set up the winning score with a 10-yard run on a draw play, as he burst up the middle and twisted down to the seven gaining a couple of extra yards.

Conclusions

While there isn't much to go on, I was impressed with Spann's elusiveness in the open field. That seems to be something the Jets see as a priority in their backs this season, so he might be able to turn some heads. He wasn't much of a pass catcher statistically in college (23 career catches with a best of 10 in one season), but looked pretty smooth catching the ball on that one big play. Having said that, his hands failed him on two of the kickoffs and he sometimes didn't look back for the ball early enough when running routes. If he's been working as a receiver though, his instincts and techniques should be much improved.

Spann didn't fare too badly as a blocker in limited exposure to the role and could make contributions on special teams. Although he did not perform well on kickoff returns with the Colts, he must have shown something for them to give him that opportunity in the first place and his open field elusiveness would seem to make him a good fit there. Surprisingly, in college, he did not return kicks (other than one punt), but did contribute on special teams (including one blocked punt).

While Spann, assuming he remains at running back, is likely a project or just injury cover with Chris Ivory dealing with a hamstring issue and Mike Goodson yet to report, it will still be interesting to see if he's made progress over the last two years and whether he still has much upside.

It does make you wonder when Goodson (who likely would have also been seeing time as a return man) is set to return. They will have to cut someone when he is activated and Spann will hope he can do enough not to be that guy when the time comes.

Tags: BGA, Bent Double

Who should the Jets pick at six? 00:05:25
Ralph Vacchiano and Tony Pauline discuss who the Jets will select with the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Ralph Vacchiano and Tony Pauline discuss who the Jets will select with the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft. 

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The Class of 2017: Quarterbacks 00:05:06
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano and draft analyst Tony Pauline take a close look at the quarterbacks available in the 2017 NFL Draft

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

After not doing a Mock Draft in about a decade, I've now done two versions in less than three weeks - with a third (and final) version still to come. So with eight days to go until the draft, here's my SNY Mock Draft, version 2.0. The information comes from NFL sources, draft experts, and in some cases my own mind:

1. Cleveland Browns - Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

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Daily News Live: New York Jets 00:03:45
Daily News Live considers all of the Jets' options regarding the No. 6 overall pick in the NFL draft.

Daily News Live considers all of the Jets' options regarding the No. 6 overall pick in the NFL draft.


New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles on looks on against the Washington Redskins during the first half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles on looks on against the Washington Redskins during the first half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills)

The less the rest of the nation has to see the Jets, the better.

That seemed to be the thinking of the NFL and its partner networks as they made up the 2017 schedule. The Jets, coming off a 5-11 season and heading for a year that doesn't appear to be promising, are scheduled to play only one game in prime time on national TV - a league-mandated Thursday night game that every team must have.

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 (Kelley L Cox)
(Kelley L Cox)

The Jets will open the 2017 season in Buffalo against the Bills and close it in New England against the Patriots.

The Jets will also face the Raiders in Oakland in Week 2 and host the L.A. Chargers in Week 16...

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Njoku discusses the NFL draft 00:05:15
Miami tight end David Njoku discusses his senior season and how he is handling the pressure that comes with being a top draft pick.

 (Brian Spurlock)
(Brian Spurlock)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Here is the most up-to-date information on what the Jets have done during free agency, including contract details and salary cap information. The signing period will continue through the NFL draft and right up until the start of training camp in July, so bookmark this page and keep checking back for frequent updates.

JETS SALARY CAP SPACE

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Marshon Lattimore highlights 00:00:35
SNY.tv takes a look at the highlights of Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore.

The Jets will meet with Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore on Tuesday, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Gareon Conley, another CB from Ohio State, will visit the Jets on Tuesday as well.

Lattimore, 20, became a starter for the Buckeyes this past season, and was given First Team All-Big Ten honors.

The 6'0", 194-pounder redshirted during his first season at Ohio State in 2014 and was limited to just seven games in 2015 due to hamstring issues.

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Motivated Muhammad Wilkerson 00:02:29
The DNL crew discusses Muhammad Wilkerson's arrival at the Jets' Florham Park facility after coming off a disappointing 2016 season.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

For the first time in three years, Muhammad Wilkerson showed up for the start of the New York Jets' offseason training program.

The big defensive lineman was pictured at the Jets facility in Florham Park, New Jersey, on Monday morning, as the team officially kicked off its voluntary workouts. Last year, Wilkerson declined to participate because he wasn't happy with being tagged as the Jets "franchise player." He skipped them in 2015 as he hoped to pressure the Jets to give him a new deal.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bryce Petty, Buster Skrine, Christian Hackenberg, David Harris, Eric Decker, Leonard Williams, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

In addition to meeting with Miami tight end David Njoku on Monday, the New York Jets also met with Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and NC State safety Josh Jones, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

The Jets, who own the No. 6 pick in next week's NFL Draft, have given no indication as to which player they might pick, as a sample of 30-plus mock drafts has New York picking between eight players, ranging from quarterbacks to cornerbacks.

Foster, who recorded five sacks and 115 total tackles in his senior season with Alabama in 2016, is a 6-foot, 229-pound linebacker who did not participate in the NFL combine.

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 (Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports Images)
(Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports Images)

CB Marcus Williams has signed his free agent tender with the Jets, the team announced Monday.

Williams, who has spent the last three seasons with the Jets, has eight interceptions over the last two seasons. 

Tags: Marcus Williams
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QB Mitch Trubisky highlights 00:01:06
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays of former UNC quarterback and NFL Draft prospect Mitch Trubisky.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The only consensus among the mock drafters on whom the Jets will take at No. 6 is that there is no consensus -- and that's unusual for such a high pick this late in the process.

But with only 10 days to go until the first round of the NFL draft begins, the picks in 32 mock drafts examined by SNY are split fairly evenly among eight players. The belief seems to be that the Jets will use the pick to fix their secondary (50 percent of the mock drafts have them going corner or safety), though some still believe they'll take a quarterback (32 percent).

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Tight end David Njoku highlights 00:01:34
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays from former Miami Hurricanes tight end David Njoku.

The New York Jets will meet with Miami tight end David Njoku on Monday after his previously scheduled meeting with thwe Giants was canceled, according to ESPN's Jordan Raanan.

After having a formal interview with the Giants at February's NFL Combine, Njoku was scheduled to meet with the Giants for a second time on Monday, according to The Record's Art Stapleton. Instead, the New Jersey native will meet with the Jets. 

The 20-year-old Njoku, who is expected to be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft, had 43 catches and eight touchdowns for the Hurricanes last season.

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California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)
California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Jets will meet with former California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb this week, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan.

Webb, 22, threw for 4,295 yards, 37 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his senior season with Cal. In his four-year college career, which includes three seasons at Texas Tech, he threw for 9,852 yards, 83 touchdowns and 34 interceptions.

Webb, a 6-foot-5, 229-pound quarterback, has drawn comparisons to Brock Osweiler, according to his NFL.com draft profile page.

"He obviously is going to need coaching after being in those offenses at Texas Tech and Cal," one AFC scout told NFL.com. "I think he has enough between the ears to unlearn some of his bad habits and start to get things right. I see another Nick Foles if you give him time to develop."

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Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley intercepts the ball intended for Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams during the first quarter in the 2016 CFP semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)
Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley intercepts the ball intended for Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams during the first quarter in the 2016 CFP semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Jets will meet with former Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley this week, according to the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta.

Conley, whom Scouts Inc. rates as the No. 21 prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft, totaled four interceptions and eight passes defensed in 13 games with the Buckeyes last season.

A 6-foot, 195-pound junior, Conley ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash, had a 37-inch vertical leap and recorded a 6.68-second three-cone drill time at the NFL combine.

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 (Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports Images)
(Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports Images)

The Jets have terminated the contract of LB Julian Stanford.

In 2016, Stanford notched 15 solo tackles and assisted with 7 more across 9 games. He did not record a sack or interception. His lone season with the Jets, which began on the practice squad, ended when an ankle injury landed him on injured reserve.

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 (Scott Galvin)
(Scott Galvin)

Jets CB Nick Marshall has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2017 season for violating the NFL's performance enhancing substances policy, the league announced Friday.

Marshall is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

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Corey Griffin and Brian Bassett are joined by Jets and NFL Draft writer Jeff Lloyd as Draft Season is in full swing, and this week they take a close look at the offensive options in the draft, even if they don't love what they see.

Click below to listen!

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QB Mitch Trubisky highlights 00:01:06
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays of former UNC quarterback and NFL Draft prospect Mitch Trubisky.

The Jets are bringing in North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky for a visit today, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.

Trubisky is widely regarded as the top quarterback prospect in this year's NFL Draft.

The Jets have made their interest in Trubisky known over the last month. New York sent a large contingent of scouts for the quarterback's pro day, and followed it up with a private workout in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
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Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Wesley Johnson (76) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Wesley Johnson (76) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Center Wesley Johnson has signed his restricted free agent tender for $2.75 million to return to the Jets, according to multiple reports

Johnson started the final four games with the Jets last year when Nick Mangold was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury. 

During his three seasons with the Jets, Johnson has started in nine games, with eight of those coming in 2016. 

 

Tags: Wesley Johnson

QB Pat Mahomes highlights 00:01:22
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays from former Texas Tech quarterback Pat Mahomes II.

Latest Update (April 12)

10:00AM: Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes is visiting with the Jets today, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Mahomes would have hired Jeremy Bates to be his private QB coach this offseason, but was unable to once the Jets hired Bates as the team's QB coach, Schefter added. The two have mutual respect for each other.

With the draft 15 days away, the Jets are reportedly looking hard at the quarterbacks available.

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Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)
Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Jets held a workout with former Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports.

Knight, 23, threw for 2,432 yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 11 games with the Aggies last year.

In three prior seasons with the Oklahoma Sooners, Knight threw for 3,424 yards, 25 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.

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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field following a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field following a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Jets will play three preseason games at MetLife Stadium this year.

New York will open its preseason slate at home against the Tennessee Titans between Aug. 10 and Aug. 14, then face the Detroit Lions on the road in Week 2, played between Aug. 17 and Aug. 21.

The Jets will be the road team when they face the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in Week 3, played between Aug. 24 and Aug. 28, then end their preseason schedule at home against the Philadelphia Eagles on Aug. 31.

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GEICO SportsNite: Willie Colon 00:01:32
Willie Colon calls it quits for his career in the NFL and hosted a retirement party Friday attended by friends and teammates.

 (Seth Wenig/AP)
(Seth Wenig/AP)

The Jets added free agent cornerback John Ojo on Friday. The 6'3, 205 lb former Edmonton Eskimo has spent the past three years in the Canadian Football League.

His CFL run was highlighted by a 41 tackle, five interception season in 2015. 

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Corey Griffin and Brian Bassett deliver a new podcast, as they dive into the potential trade market for Sheldon Richardson (if there is one), and start prospecting for new Jets recruits as the NFL Draft approaches.

Click below to listen!

 

Tags: Sheldon Richardson
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Malik Hooker highlights 00:00:35
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays from former Ohio State safety and NFL Draft prospect Malik Hooker.

Ohio State S Malik Hooker and Missouri DE Charles Harris are among the defensive Draft prospects the Jets will visit with on Thursday and Friday, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

The Jets have the sixth overall selection in the Draft, which takes place April 27-29 in Philadelphia.

Hooker was a First Team All-Big Ten selection this past season.

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 (Ron Chenoy)
(Ron Chenoy)

The Jets have signed TE Brian Parker, the team announced Thursday.

Parker, who played in nine games for the Chiefs in 2015 (making one reception), initially signed with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2015.

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RB Leonard Fournette highlights 00:02:11
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays from former LSU running back and NFL Draft prospect Leonard Fournette.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

I don't remember doing a mock draft any time in the last 20 or so years (though I did find internet evidence of one in 2010). I'm still interpreting my record in all the other years to be perfect -- no misses. But, as they say, "No guts, no glory". It's time to put that streak on the line with my first Mock Draft for SNY. It won't be my last, either. I'll be revising this up until Draft Week. So keep checking back. This is simply version 1.0:

1. Cleveland Browns - Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Yeah, they need a quarterback, but he's the best player in the draft and they have a decent young QB on the roster. Plus they have the No. 12 pick (so stay tuned).

2. San Francisco 49ers - Solomon Thomas, DE Stanford
They need a quarterback too, but they have a new coach and GM on long-term deals. They can wait until there's a better QB crop.

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Should Jets trade for Sherman? 00:01:57
Dan Graca and Jon Hein discuss if the Jets should make a trade for Richard Sherman.

Dan Graca and Jon Hein discuss if the Jets should make a trade for Seahawks CB Richard Sherman.

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RB Leonard Fournette highlights 00:02:11
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays from former LSU running back and NFL Draft prospect Leonard Fournette.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When Leonard Fournette, the star running back at LSU and a possible target for the Jets with the sixth pick of the draft, weighed a surprising 240 at the NFL scouting combine in early March, he blamed it on drinking way too much water.

Apparently, all that water weight is now gone.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Calvin Pryor, Marcus Gilchrist, Matt Forte, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets center Nick Mangold (74) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets center Nick Mangold (74) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Former Jets center Nick Mangold is making his first known free-agent visit to meet with the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday, according to a report.

The 33-year-old, who was released by the Jets in February, was expected to arrive in Baltimore late Tuesday night, according to ESPN. The Ravens traded their starting center, Jeremy Zuttah, to the San Francisco 49ers last month but did not bring in a replacement.

They do have two in-house candidates - John Urschel and Ryan Jensen, both of whom are 25. If healthy, the 33-year-old Mangold could conceivably compete for that job, or at least provide a veteran mentor to help the young centers.

Tags: Nick Mangold, Ralph Vacchiano
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