Throughout this month, I've been looking at some of the players the Jets have added to the active roster since the end of the regular season. Jets fans might not know too much about these players, so I'll be looking at NFL game footage to try and assess what they might be able to bring to the table.

Today we look at cornerback Ras-I Dowling. The 25-year old is 6'1" and 210 pounds and was a second round pick for the New England Patriots in 2011. However, he was released before the 2013 season after a series of injuries limited him over his first few years. The Jets signed him to their practice squad in October and signed him to a futures contract at the end of the season.

After the jump, I look in detail at footage from Dowling's career so far to evaluate some of his strengths and weaknesses.

Who is Ras-I Dowling?

Dowling was a great athlete in high school, playing defensive back, wide receiver and even some quarterback. He was recruited to Virginia where he was a second team all-ACC selection in 2009 and a preseason second team all-American in 2010. However, an ankle injury limited him to five games in his senior season. After he ran an unexpectedly-fast 4.40 at the scouting combine, many sources had him listed as a potential first round pick, but New England were able to take him with the first pick of the second round.

Despite missing the first three preseason games as a rookie, Dowling was an opening day starter at right cornerback. However, in week two, he suffered a hip injury in the first half, ending his season. In his second season, he started off as the third cornerback, playing on the outside in nickel packages on opening day. However, over the next five weeks, we was relegated to dime corner, playing in the slot and getting just 24 snaps in five games. In week seven (against the Jets) he had a much more significant role, but then suffered another season ending injury, this time to his thigh. He was released at the end of preseason in 2013 after another unspecified injury caused him to miss all four preseason games.

Let's look at his numbers from his career so far:

The Numbers

Two seasons

Nine games

Two starts

10 tackles, three missed tackles

One pass defensed

Coverage numbers: 10-16-123 yards

Completion percentage: 62.5%

Yards per attempt: 7.7

QB rating: 86.2

Four penalties

(Some statistics in this article are provided courtesy of Pro Football Focus.)

Now let's briefly recap his performance from 2011 and 2012:

2011 Preseason

Despite missing the first three games, Dowling played a significant role in the final preseason game against the Giants and won a starting job for the opener. He had three tackles and a quarterback hit. He did give up a couple of catches, one downfield as he stumbled when the receiver made his break to the outside and another on third and six when he was playing too far off. On one running play he showed good physicality by knocking his blocker on his backside to go and pursue the ball. There was also a play where the quarterback's initial option to his left was not open, so he looked towards Dowling's man. However, Dowling had made an effective jam at the line and was right up on the receiver, so the quarterback ran out of time and was sacked on a delayed blitz up the middle.

2011 Week One - at Miami

Miami wasted no time at all in going after Dowling, who was in man coverage on Brandon Marshall on the first play of the game. Chad Henne threw a quick-drop deep fade and Marshall was able to catch the slight underthrow for 25 coming back to the ball. Dowling was right with Marshall down the sideline, but didn't get his head turned around in time to anticipate the underthrow. They later targeted him again, hitting Devone Bess for 26 on a slant route where Dowling was too far off and then missed his tackle from behind. However, Dowling was targeted four more times and did not give up another catch.

On one play, they tried to hit Marshall at the goal line, but Dowling closed to hit him in the back as the ball arrived, forcing a drop. On another, they threw a fade to Brian Hartline on fourth and goal at the one and Dowling was draped all over him as a slight overthrow fell incomplete. Dowling again never got his head turned though. That was a big play because it would have cut the score to 31-24 but Tom Brady threw a 99-yard touchdown pass on the next snap to make it a 38-17 game.

Dowling did have one penalty, on a play where he let Hartline get an outside release and couldn't resist grabbing him. The throw in the other direction was completed anyway, so this was declined. He ended up with two tackles, including one on a play where he came off his man and chased the receiver out of bounds on a short pass. He also gave up an 11-yard catch on 2nd and 13, closing to make the tackle on the completion in front of him, but this was negated by a penalty.

Week Two - v San Diego

Dowling was targeted once here, with Malcolm Floyd coming down with a 23-yard catch in a crowd. From watching the film, it seems harsh to mark down Dowling on this play as he had safety support deep and seemed to pass Floyd off. He had one tackle and made another in run support downfield on a negated run. He was injured before halftime on a play where he was not involved in the action.

2012 Preseason

Dowling made a couple of starts in preseason in 2012 and ended up with 11 tackles and a pass defensed. In the first game against the Saints, he made a couple of good plays, preventing Chris Ivory from bouncing a run outside and coming up to wrench the ball away from a running back underneath to cause an incompletion. In the next game, he didn't get exploited in coverage but was in on a few tackles, including one on special teams. He did struggle to get off a block on one screen pass, but did force the receiver outside and eventually made the tackle. The third game saw him give up a 10 yard catch as he was playing off but closed into tight coverage and almost deflected the pass. He also assisted on a tackle in the flat. Finally, in the fourth game, he came off his man to make a good tackle on a tight end underneath then had another open field tackle in the two minute drill. He gave up a couple of short catches underneath where he was in tight coverage.

2012 Week One - at Tennessee

In this game, Dowling was targeted four times and gave up four catches. However, they only totaled 30 yards. On the longest of these Dowling was playing press coverage. He jammed the receiver, giving up an inside release and disrupting his route, but the quarterback was able to adjust and hit him in stride going across the middle and Dowling's missed tackle led to a 17 yard gain. He gave up another 12 on a 2nd and 17 play where he bailed at the snap and was giving up the easy yardage underneath. Another was just a four yard dump off in front of him. The last one was a great play by Dowling as the Titans were backed up near their goal line and tried to run a wide receiver screen. Dowling anticipated well and closed quickly before the slot receiver could block him to wrap him up the ball carrier and bring him down in the end zone. The receiver got forward progress, so it wasn't a safety, but the play lost three yards.

Dowling had four tackles in all and was also flagged for defensive pass interference on a play where the receiver made an inside break and Dowling grabbed him from behind at the marker.

Week Two - Week Six

Dowling didn't see any action at all on defense in week two and was used sparingly over the next four games. The most action he saw was 10 snaps against the Broncos in week five. In week three, he played just four snaps and did give up a first down catch but it was negated by a penalty. On the play, he was playing in the slot and the tight end ran faked an out-route and then circled back inside, although Dowling was all over him as the ball arrived. In week four, he played five snaps and targeted once, making the tackle for a short gain on a screen pass, although the runner did slip. In the Denver game, he gave up a seven yard pass on second and 10, keeping the play in front of him and making the immediate tackle. He also assisted on a tackle downfield. He played just five snaps in week six and was not targeted.

Week Seven - v New York Jets

In this game, Dowling was given a more substantial role, but then suffered a season ending injury after having played 22 snaps. He was called for two penalties and had a costly missed tackle, but did make a couple of nice plays in coverage. The only catch he gave up was on a third down play where he was keying Dustin Keller across the field and looked to have him wrapped up short of a first down, only for Keller to slip his tackle and dive for the marker. His first penalty was also on Keller as he was playing very physical coverage and did appear to grab him slightly as he made his break on a throw down the middle. He also made contact as the ball arrived. The second was meaningless, as it was away from the ball on a play that went for a first down anyway. This looked dubious as he was called for holding Stephen Hill at the line.

Dowling did a good job on two throws to Chaz Schilens. One, on third down, saw him do a good job of making contact within five yards and then disrupting the in-route by getting his hand in ahead of the throw. The other was on a throw to the end zone as he was draped all over the receiver's back on a quick slant.

Here's my observations from watching the footage, divided into categories:

Usage

Dowling mostly played at right cornerback in the regular season action he saw, other than in the 2012 season where he was relegated to a slot role in dime sets. He has also played plenty of left cornerback in preseason action.

Coverage skills

Dowling is a physical corner and seemed to be in tight coverage most of the time, even on plays where he gave up a catch. He seemed to make strides from year one to year two in terms of getting his head turned around. When playing off coverage, he would sometimes leave too much of a cushion, but not as often as - or to the same extent as - most young players. There were no real examples of him being badly beaten, which is impressive.

Athleticism

Pre-draft scouting reports on Dowling suggested he would excel more in a zone-based or Tampa 2 style scheme because he lacked elite speed, but his 4.40 forty yard dash at the combine raised some eyebrows. His recovery speed, thought to be a weakness, does seem to be pretty good and he can run with his man well on the intermediate and underneath routes. Interestingly, rather than run with his man on a go-route, there were times when Dowling would pass his man off to a deep safety and pick up a safety value underneath or in the flat instead. That's obviously a scheme-based decision from the Patriots to play zone, but I'd say it has more to do with the coverage abilities of their deep safety (Devin McCourty, a converted corner) than being specifically designed to mask any deficiencies in Dowling's ability to run stride for stride.

Physicality

With excellent size - he's basically the same as or bigger than every safety on the Jets roster apart from Brandon Hardin - Dowling can be extremely physical and is often, albeit not always, employed in press coverage. He does a good job of disrupting routes and getting a jam at the line, but occasionally risks a flag by being a bit too hands-on. He didn't do too much in terms of tackle numbers, but certainly didn't shy away from contact.

Run defense

Operating mainly on the outside unless it was a passing down, there weren't many chances for Dowling to get involved in run support. He did make a few downfield tackles on longer runs. There was one play where he got in on a tackle on a run up the middle, but the runner was able to push the pile for a short yardage conversion.

Tackling

Dowling did miss a couple of tackles, but these were really due to being a step behind his receiver in coverage rather than poor technique. Where he did make tackles, he seemed to be relatively solid with two of the more impressive ones seeing him stop a tight end in his tracks in the open field and wrapping up Ivory on the edge and hauling him to the ground, nearly causing a fumble. He did seem to take good angles.

Blitzing

Dowling has never blitzed in an NFL regular season game and only had one sack in four years in college. However, he did blitz once from left cornerback in a preseason game, hitting the quarterback unblocked off the edge and forcing a deliberate throw away out of bounds. With his size and speed, he could be useful in such situations in some of Rex Ryan's blitz packages.

Ball skills

Dowling did manage to get his hands on a couple of balls in the footage I watched and helped disrupt a couple of passes with good timing. In college, he showed an ability to pick off passes, with eight in his first three seasons, but he doesn't have an interception at any level since 2009.

Instincts

Dowling's instincts were something that were identified as one of his main strengths in pre-draft scouting reports. He showed evidence of that here, coming off his man when appropriate to make a tackle or jump on another route. I didn't see any examples of him blowing an assignment.

Demeanor

I wouldn't say Dowling was especially demonstrative, but did get fired up when he made a play and did protest when flagged, which is of course the Patriot Way.

Special teams

Dowling didn't make many special teams contributions. In one preseason game he did chase across the field to force a runner out of bounds at the 25 in kickoff coverage and in another he recovered a fumble by Julian Edelman while operating as the vice on the punt return unit. However, that didn't ultimately matter because Edelman had been interfered with - by a gunner who had blown by Dowling in the first place. With his injury history, the Jets might shy away from using him on special teams altogether.

Injuries

This is the key, as Dowling missed most of his senior year with an ankle injury, suffered season ending hip and thigh injuries in 2011 and 2012 and then got hurt again in camp in 2013 with what I believe was a leg injury, but the Patriots never disclosed details.

Off-field issues

I can't find any reports of off-field issues for Dowling.

Conclusions:

Once again, this comes down to whether Dowling can get himself healthy, which frankly - given his recent history - doesn't seem very likely.

However, if that does happen, Dowling actually might have more upside than any of these recent reclamation projects the Jets have signed. New England have thrown a lot of resources at the cornerback position in the past few years, trying to find a decent mix, so it's not necessarily a reflection on his ability levels that Bill Belichick and his staff lost patience with his inability to stay on the field. The Patriots have jettisoned defensive backs in the past that have gone on to display competence elsewhere, including Darius Butler - a 2009 second rounder who has done a solid job with the Colts over the past two years following a year with the Panthers.

Reports from last summer suggest that Dowling was working with the first unit and many of the New England coaches wanted him to start opposite Aqib Talib and ahead of Alfonzo Dennard last year, only for his injury to shunt him back down the depth chart and ultimately off the roster. The fact that the Jets have had him in their system for over six months means that they should have a good idea about his physical condition and the chances of him remaining healthy.

From the footage I watched, I'd say Dowling was impressive but perhaps more from a potential standpoint than in terms of the actual results he had. One of the most intriguing things was that he showed some clear improvements from year one to year two (and may have made further strides in his third year if the reports about him being a potential starter are accurate).

It's too soon to close the book on Dowling's career, as he clearly has the potential to be a starter-level player at the NFL level. Whether the Jets will be the ones that benefit from him finally being able to remain healthy and regain the impetus in his career development remains to be seen, but this is at the very least a nice piece they've added into the mix.

We'll wrap up this series next weekend with a look at safety Brandon Hardin, a 2012 third round pick signed by the Jets in January.

Tags: BGA, Bent Double

New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets signed fourth-round pick Chris Herndon, a tight end out of Miami (Fla.), on Monday, leaving first-round pick Sam Darnold as New York's only unsigned draftee.

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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

The Jets had a boatload of cap space as well as the No. 3 overall draft pick to work with this offseason. And LB Darron Lee thinks the moves made using those resources have looked good thus far.

The most notable of the acquisitions made by GM Mike Maccagnan include CB Trumaine Johnson, LB Avery Williamson, and first-round draft pick QB Sam Darnold. These three players are the crucial chess pieces Lee thinks will help them now and in the future.

"This is a game of chess, not checkers," Lee told Jets.com's Eric Allen. "Adding those important pieces like Tru, Avery, and Sam is huge. It has us going in the right direction in my opinion, but implementing those guys in our brotherhood and our standard in what we have here is huge. Seeing how they're abiding by it also and they're jelling in smoothly with it -- it makes you excited. It can't help but make you excited because they're buying in."

Tags: Avery Williamson, Trumaine Johnson, Darron Lee
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell broke his silence about the legalization of sports betting that the United States Supreme Court voted in favor for on May 14.

This enormously impacts the professional sporting world as Congress could now regulate sports betting if they wish to do so. However, if they elect not to, each State is allowed to act on its own in implementing their own system.

No matter what happened, Goodell's top priority is making sure that the integrity of the game continues to flourish moving forward with the ruling...

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Nov 26, 2016; East Hartford, CT, USA; Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Nov 26, 2016; East Hartford, CT, USA; Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

With the first of their three sixth-round picks in last month's draft, the Jets selected Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson. This regime has already brought in several young cornerbacks, but none of them have managed to separate themselves from the pack.

Does Nickerson's skill-set give him a chance to eventually become the home-grown starter they've been trying to develop?

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North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd, of Fort Hays State, runs drills during the North team's practice for Saturday's Senior Bowl NCAA college football game in Mobile, Ala., Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd, of Fort Hays State, runs drills during the North team's practice for Saturday's Senior Bowl NCAA college football game in Mobile, Ala., Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The Jets have signed DT Nathan Shepherd, who they drafted 72nd overall last month out of Fort Hays State.

Shepherd was an Division II All-America selection in his 2016 and 2017 seasons. Last season, he tallied 38 tackles (12.5 for loss) and four sacks. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: If you're a team like the Jets, still in the beginning stages of a total rebuild, you can take a chance on raw players like Nathan Shepherd, a Canadian who was a smallish linebacker in high school before growing into an NFL-caliber defensive tackle at Division II Fort Hays (Kan.) State.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets charity 00:01:47
The New York Jets hosted the "Taste of the Jets" event to help raise money for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

The New York Jets hosted the "Taste of the Jets" event to help raise money for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. 


New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)
New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)

When recently retired Cowboys TE Jason Witten watches Sam Darnold, he sees similarities between the no. 3 overall pick and former Cowboys QB Tony Romo. 

Romo and Darnold share the ability to thrive even when the scripted play goes awry. Romo made a career out of extending plays and Darnold earned a similar reputation while at USC.

"He's calm, he's got this poise. He reminds me a little bit of Tony Romo, the way he creates plays," Witten said...

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New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Former USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin explained on The Jet Stream podcast Wednesday why Sam Darnold will be a great fit for the Jets.

"Sam is a great fit," Martin said. "Just going back to how he was recruited, when we first got to know him -- he was a guy that was a linebacker and played some wide receiver. Point guard on the basketball team. When he dropped back and started throwing a few passes, we were like 'this kid can throw the ball.'"

And the way Darnold threw the ball changed how USC viewed him...

Tags: Sam Darnold
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New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)
New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)

Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon are back for a special edition of The Jet Stream podcast where they take a deep dive into the Jets' newest quarterback, Sam Darnold. The guys chat with Sam's former offensive coordinator from USC, Tee Martin, about the kid's emergence in college and how he compares to Peyton Manning. Later, Sam's best friend and former USC teammate, Jake Russell, joins the show to discuss what he's like off the field and his competitiveness on it.

Click below to listen...

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) during second half against Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) during second half against Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Robby Anderson's felony resisting arrest with violence charge stemming from an incident at an event in Miami in May, 2017 will be dropped, his attorney, Ed O'Donnell told the NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

During the incident, Anderson allegedly fought with arresting officers.

While Anderson's 2017 issue will be resolved, he is still dealing with his recent reckless driving arrest.

Tags: Robby Anderson
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Oct 29, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Henry Anderson (96) during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)
Oct 29, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Henry Anderson (96) during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)

On day three of the draft, the Jets opted to trade a seventh-round pick for former Colts defensive lineman Henry Anderson. However, this move has flown under the radar somewhat with the focus on the players brought in via the draft.  

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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

The Jets still have some money to spend, which is why they will be hosting free-agent S Kenny Vaccaro this week at their facility, per the Daily News' Manish Mehta.

Vaccaro was drafted 15th overall by the Saints back in 2013, where he has spent the last five season. His best year came in 2015 when he totaled 104 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and five passes defended. 

Last season, the 27-year-old tallied 79 tackles, one sack, one interception, and one forced fumble over 14 games. 

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye
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Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi participates in workout drills during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi participates in workout drills during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets had back-to-back picks in the sixth round of last month's draft, and they used the second of them to select defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi with the No. 180 pick. Let's provide some insight into what Fatukasi brings to the table and how he might fit in should he make the team.

Fatukasi is a player whose run-stuffing abilities have stood out over the past four seasons with UConn. He's strong at the point of attack, can get off blocks to make plays in the running game and can create penetration either with his strength or quickness.

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South squad offensive tackle Antonio Garcia of Troy battles defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon of Villanova in a blocking drill during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)
South squad offensive tackle Antonio Garcia of Troy battles defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon of Villanova in a blocking drill during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets claimed former Patriots offensive lineman Antonio Garcia off waivers and cut kicker Nick Rose, the team announced on Monday.

Garcia, 24, was a third-round pick last season but did not appear in a game after he had reportedly developed blood clots in his lungs, according to the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe.

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

Former Jets coach Chuck Knox, who was paramount in the Jets drafting Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath, died Saturday at 86. 

Knox started his vast coaching career with the Jets in 1963 as part of Weeb Ewbank's first Jets staff. Knox was big on the run game, which awarded the nickname of "Ground Chuck."

However, he saw something in Namath during his time at the University of Alabama, and knew the Jets needed him...

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Daily News Live: Sports gambling 00:03:44
Eric Chemi of CNBC joins Daily News Live to discuss the legalization of sports gambling and the ramifications of this newly amended bill.

The United States Supreme Court struck down a 25-year old law on Monday that had basically prevented all states except Nevada from having legalized sports gambling. "The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make," the Supreme Court announced. "Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own."

The ruling was an enormous immediate victory for the state of New Jersey, which could have a gambling venue open in Monmouth Park within a few weeks, according to the NY Post. There will be a press conference in Monmouth Park on Monday at 1 p.m. Aside from New Jersey, The Post notes that New York and Illinois are among roughly 15 other states who have "introduced bills to legalize and regulate sports betting tied to the Supreme Court outcome." 

The NBA and MLB have been preparing for Monday's potential outcome, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN, who said each league had hired lobbying firms, submitted written statements, and sent executives to testify in statehouses. Windhorst added that every professional sports league had been involved, but with the NBA and MLB at the forefront...

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Oct 15, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins center Spencer Long (61) lines up against the San Francisco 49ers at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)
Oct 15, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins center Spencer Long (61) lines up against the San Francisco 49ers at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)

Jets C Spencer Long is ready for an injury-free 2018 season with his new team.

Last season, Long was only able to make six starts for the Redskins due to a knee injury and was placed on IR in November. The ailment plaguing the 2014 third-round pick was rooted in a chronic quad issue which was corrected this offseason by surgery and an improved regiment.

"It was basically like a fraying rope," Long said...

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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Trenton Cannon (40) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Trenton Cannon (40) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

With their final pick of the 2018 draft, the Jets selected Virginia State running back Trenton Cannon.

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New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)

In the post-draft Honeymoon period, most fans, players and media alike are heaping praise on QB Sam Darnold. But Darnold's teammate T Kelvin Beachum wants to wait before he fully joins the fray. 

Beachum started all 16 games for the Jets last season, blocking for Josh McCown and Bryce Petty. At some point this season, he may be blocking for Darnold. 

"I've heard that he is a great person," Beachum said via Darryl Slater of NJ.com. "I'm excited to get him in that room." 

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New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets have four quarterbacks on their roster, which seems like one too many. They cut Bryce Petty last week to clear at least a little room on their depth chart, but they still have another move to make. Or maybe two.

Whatever they end up doing, the Jets' quarterback situation isn't as clear cut as some think, from the identity of the Opening Day starter all the way down to the likely odd-man out. As Todd Bowles said last weekend, the Jets are "open to anything right now" -- especially at quarterback.

"We're going to let it all play out before make those kinds of decisions," he said.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

For some draft picks, the process of becoming acclimated to a new environment is quicker given their circumstances.

Saquon Barkley of the Giants was born in Brooklyn, and didn't live far from his new home even when he was in Pennsylvania. Shaquem Griffin of the Seahawks may be making a shift from Florida to Seattle, but he has his twin brother Shaquill Griffin to guide him through the process.

Sam Darnold, on the other hand, is transitioning from sunny, laidback Los Angeles to the hustle and bustle of New York City without someone to lean on, or understanding of how this side of the states operates. In fact, he just visited the Big Apple for the first time only a few weeks ago.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Jets selected tight end Chris Herndon with the first of their day three picks in the 2018 draft last month. Herndon, who went to college at Miami, was injured towards the end of the 2017 season, which may have prevented him from going earlier. The Jets scooped him up with the 107th overall pick and will be hoping he proves to be a bargain. Let's weigh up his likely role in 2018 before reviewing his strengths and weaknesses.

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New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

The Jets have consistently said they don't want to throw their No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold into the fire this season. Former Giants QB Phil Simms doesn't understand why. 

Simms looks at Darnold's situation as being the potential Jets savior at quarteback. In turn, he needs to get on his feet and hit the ground running. 

"He'll fit in fine," Simms told NJ.com's Darryl Slater at BTIG Charity Day on Tuesday. "If I was the Jets, I would play him from Day 1. That's just me. Start him. Let's go. Got a long offseason, training camp, preseason games. They probably won't [start Darnold in Week 1].

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Namath talks Darnold 00:01:07
New York Jets legend Joe Namath shares his thoughts on the team's rookie QB Sam Darnold, and what lies ahead for the new signal caller.

Legendary Jets QB Joe Namath spoke Tuesday about the recently-drafted Sam Darnold and whether starting him this season should be on the table.

"First of all, anybody that is starting on that field has to have convinced their teammates that he's worthy to start," Namath said. "And for a 20-year-old rookie quarterback, that's gonna be tough to do early on. Because the big leagues -- pro football -- is different than college football."

While Namath thinks Darnold and any rookie has a lot to prove, he believes he should be out there if he shows he's ready.

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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets CEO Christopher Johnson is confident Sam Darnold is the answer his team's decade-long quarterback question.

Johnson was present at BTIG Charity Day, where he appeared for the Lupus Research Alliance, on Tuesday. He had some strong words about his No. 3 overall pick, saying the moment Darnold's name was called, it was the start to the Jets' revival.

"I honestly think (people) are going to look back 20 years from now and say this is the moment the Jets shifted into a new gear -- that they became a new team," he told reporters.

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

The Jets announced they have signed K Taylor Bertolet, while waiving CB Bryson Keeton

Bertolet was a tryout at the team's rookie minicamp this past weekend. The Texas A&M product spent time with the LA Rams in training camp last season. In his senior year back in 2015, Bertolet was a perfect 38-for-38 in extra-point attempts and 22-for-31 (71 percent) in field goals.

The Jets now have three kickers on their current roster with Cairo Santos and Nick Rose to compete with Bertolet at camp. 

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North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd of Fort Hays State stretches during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)
North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd of Fort Hays State stretches during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)

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The Jets selected defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd with their lone Day 2 pick in the 2018 draft. Shepherd, who attended Fort Hays State University, raised his stock throughout the offseason and was selected by the Jets 72nd overall. Let's consider his strengths and weaknesses and how the Jets might use him in 2018.

Shepherd is expected to be raw, having only played college football at Division II schools. That's a concern for a player who took a circuitous path to the NFL and will turn 25 during his rookie season.

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Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi reacts after a sack. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi reacts after a sack. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets signed two draft picks and two undrafted free agents on Sunday.

Defensive end Folorunso Fatukasi and defensive back Parry Nickerson, both sixth-round picks, and linebackers Frankie Luvu and Anthony Wint, agreed to terms with New York as the Jets begin minicamp.

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GEICO SportsNite: Sam Darnold 00:03:53
Ralph Vacchiano reports on the impressions of Sam Darnold at the Jets minicamp and Jeane Coakley speaks with Todd Bowles about the young QB.

Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass during the second half of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass during the second half of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Christian Hackenberg has apparently made major changes to his throwing motion in an attempt to revitalize his stalled NFL career.

He just never bothered telling his current team about his plans.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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