Earlier this week, the Jets signed offensive lineman Hayworth Hicks off the Indianapolis Colts practice squad. He must therefore, by rule, remain on the Jets’ active roster for at least the next three weeks. Jets fans might not know too much about Hicks, so I’ve been looking at game footage in detail to investigate what he could bring to the table.

Hicks spent the preseason with the Colts after going undrafted in the 2012 draft. This followed a solid career at Iowa State, which saw him earn Second Team All-Big 12 honors. He didn’t make their final roster, but was added to the practice squad, where he remained until this week. The Jets had placed a waiver claim on him at the time, but they withdrew this when three other higher-priority claims were successful.

After the jump, I look in detail at footage from the preseason to evaluate some of his strengths and weaknesses.

Who is Hayworth Hicks?

Hicks is over 330 pounds and played guard in college, where he started 24 games. There was some talk that he was learning the center position, but in preseason he exclusively played at right guard. Reports on his preseason performances were generally favorable, but we’ll look at those in more detail further down.

Indianapolis used to run a zone blocking scheme, but switched to a man-scheme for this year, which should ensure Hicks will be prepared for Tony Sparano’s system. In recent weeks, the Colts have been incorporating more zone blocking and have seen some success in doing so. Presumably Hicks has been tasked with learning those plays, so that will also help his versatility in the event the Jets do something similar.

Iowa State actually plays a spread offense with man blocking, although they do use a lot of inside zone runs, like many man blocking teams. Once again, this should mean he would translate to the Jets’ system better than someone from a pure zone background, athough often spread offenses do have simpler blocking systems compared with NFL schemes.

2012 Preseason

As noted, in preseason, Hicks played right guard with the Colts. He was on the second unit for each of the last three games, after starting off on the third unit in the first game.

Week 1 – Rams

Just played the fourth quarter (14 snaps) …

- Rode his man down to the ground on the inside to set up a four yard run

- Opened a hole on the right side, with help from a double team from the RT for a nine yard run

- Drove a linebacker back at the second level, but the run went for no gain behind him

- In pass protection, he initially knocked his man back, but then let him get past him, although the pass was completed for a first down before the pressure got there

- Got a good surge on a straight-ahead block, but then lost leverage and allowed his man to get off his block

- Tried to leverage his guy to the outside, but ended up shoving him into the path of the runner

- Blocked his man to the ground

- Pulled to the right and whacked a DB at the second level

Not a bad first performance, although he wouldn’t have graded out too well. He was moving his opponents about but it wasn’t leading to a huge amount of success, although I would attribute this more to the line not really blocking well as a unit and running plays not developing fast enough. His one issue in pass protection was more down to the fact that the quarterback (a certain Drew Stanton) held the ball for quite a long time.

Week 2 – Steelers

Played the entire second half (34 snaps) …

- Let his man get off his block to assist on a tackle for a short gain

- Gave his man too much of a clean release on a screen pass

- Initially blocked his man in pass protection but then he looped around the outside for a clean run at the quarterback, although the throw was completed for a first down before the pressure arrived

- Blocked his man well in pass protection, although he would end up chasing the quarterback out to the sideline as he scrambled

- Blocked down and drove his man back to create a seam for a short gain

- Surged through the line and then made a block at the second level but the run went for a short gain behind him

- Just about managed to handle a bullrush long enough to enable a touchdown pass to be thrown. Driven back initially before stabilizing

- Pulled to the left to block the MLB but he read the cutback run up the middle and was able to beat the block to the inside and make the play

- Made what looked like it was supposed to be a pulling reach block going left, but the runner went to the inside instead of outside and therefore his man had inside leverage to make the play and he ended up getting called for a hold as he tried to prevent that

- Driven back by a bullrush in pass protection

- Surged forward and then tried to make a second level block but let his man get off it

- Flattened a guy at the second level enabling a run to be bounced outside

- OLB was unblocked and made a tackle in the backfield. It looked like it was the RT’s fault but it might have been Hicks who missed his assignment

- Pulled left and set the edge with the help of a double team block from the right sided fullback in a three back set

Hick was up and down here, but did show flashes of potential dominance. His blocking in space was pretty solid, but he didn’t always sustain his blocks. Some of his mistakes could be attributed partially to bad reads by the runners.

Week 3 – Redskins

Entered on the second possession of the third period, with over 10 minutes left and played the rest of the game (36 snaps) …

- Pulled left and was initially stood up by his man, but then countered to get a late surge and set up a short gain

- Sustained his block on the edge just well enough to allow the runner to break his man’s tackle in the hole

- Failed to pick up a delayed blitz in pass protection

- Pulled to the outside and rocked the OLB on the edge, setting up a run up the middle

- Appeared to miss his assignment in pass protection, leading to a QB hit

- Rocked the OLB again on a similar pulling block to the play mentioned above, but this time he bounced off to assist on the run for a short gain

- Was almost driven back into the QB on a bullrush, but just managed to regroup and hold him off

- Was seemingly taken by surprise on a run blitz, allowing his man to get off the block and force a fumble, although it was ruled down by contact by the replay booth

- Good second level block was inconsequential as the run went for a short gain behind him

- On 4th and goal from the two, his man almost made the stop, but he just about got enough of him to enable the touchdown to be scored

- Allowed a stunting DE to beat him to the QB but he was the second guy to get there, so he wouldn’t have been “credited” with giving up the pressure

Some signs of rawness here from Hicks, but he was never really badly beaten and did have some positive moments.

Week 4 – Bengals

Entered the game in the first with 2:25 to go on the third Colts possession and played the rest of the game although a nine minute Bengals drive in the third helped limit his total snap count to just 42 …

- Allowed a lineman to shoot the gap and make a tackle for a short gain

- Pulled left and had to dive to make contact, just doing enough to prevent a tackle in the backfield

- Drove his man laterally out of the play to set up a seven yard run

- Was beaten for a pressure as his man set him up to the outside and then made a duck under move to beat him on his left shoulder

- Pulled left and leveraged his man back to the inside to create the seam for a seven yard touchdown run. This was arguably Hicks’ best highlight and can be seen here (Hicks is number 61)

- Made a pulling block which he held well, enabling the runner to cutback for five. It looked like he could easily have been flagged for holding, but he perhaps deserves credit for keeping that on the clean side of legal

- Rode his man to the ground at the second level, allowing the run to be bounced outside for nine. Holding was called on the right tackle, where again it could potentially have been called on him

- Was beaten on the inside, but this was one of those plays where the whole line seemed to mess up so they probably screwed up the call or something. Two other guys were beaten worse than he was and the play was easily stuffed for a loss

- Made a surging block, although the ball was fumbled going up the middle

- Drove his man to the outside, setting up a short gain for the runner

Of the four, this was probably Hicks’ best game. He still made one or two mistakes but did have a positive impact on several runs.

Observations

Based on all the footage I watched, here was my take on what Hicks brings to the table, divided into categories:

Usage - As noted, Hicks only played at right guard.

Athletics Ability - As you can see from the breakdowns, Hicks was called upon to pull quite a lot and had some success doing so. For a big man, he is surprisingly light on his feet and appears to be pretty nimble.

Run Blocking - Like most young linemen (and fullbacks) Hicks’ biggest issue seems to be that he sometimes makes a block initially but lets his man get off the block to make a play. That’s an adjustment you have to make because it’s much harder to sustain blocks against NFL players. In space, he seems to be pretty good at finding his assignment and when he does lock onto a block, he seems to have the ability to leverage his man out of a play. His ability to pull will come in handy if he gets any playing time with the Jets, but one thing he didn’t show in preseason was any trap blocking up the middle, something he’d be expected to be able to do with the Jets. He did a pretty good job of drive blocking when asked to do so.

Pass Protection - Most of the time, Hicks was employed in a free safety role. In other words, the other four linemen would block their man and Hicks would remain free to pick up a delayed blitzer or help out if one of his teammates lost leverage. This is a good test of both his instincts and his ability to react and move into position laterally. Overall, he did a pretty good job of this, but there were one or two missed assignments.

When matched up one-on-one, he mostly held his own, only getting beaten for a pressure once. However, he was driven backwards by some bullrushes.

Attitude - It’s difficult to read too much into his demeanor because he wasn’t demonstrative and finishing blocks to (and beyond) the whistle like a Jason Smith, but there was nothing that stood out in terms of laziness, lack of effort or arguing with teammates or opponents. There were one or two mix-ups but, as ever, we can never be certain where the blame lies and it did seem like he appeared to get his assignment right most of the time.

Conclusions

Despite the fact Hicks drew rave reviews during the offseason, if I had been grading these games, it’s likely he’d have graded negatively for the most part. Having said that, he never looked overmatched and managed to avoid any horrible missed blocks leading to big plays or anything like that, so maybe he’s capable of filling in and holding his own even if he isn’t ready to dominate.

I’d liken this signing to the Austin Howard signing last season. Is Hayworth Hicks going to be ready to contribute this year? Probably not, unless he’s come on a long way over the last few months. However, it gets a guy into the system that has obvious potential and could be ready to contribute by next year, when the Jets’ guard situation is in flux with both starters out of contract.

Unless Brandon Moore is hurt, or the Jets fall out of contention, I wouldn’t expect to see Hicks on the field this season. In fact, even if either or both of those things happen, Caleb Schlauderaff would probably be the first to get an opportunity. Hicks could theoretically be in the mix with Schlauderaff and Ducasse to flesh out the roster at the guard position next year.

Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, 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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