Earlier this week, the Jets claimed former Patriots tight end Zach Sudfeld on waivers. Jets fans might not know too much about the rookie Sudfeld, so I've been looking at footage from preseason and the regular season so far to get an insight into what he brings to the table.

The 6'7" 260 pound Sudfeld was undrafted out of Nevada and did not catch a pass yet this season. However, he showed some flashes in preseason, where he made eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown with New England. He was released earlier this week, but it's believed the Patriots intended to place him on their practice squad if he cleared waivers.

After the jump, I'll be looking back over his performances in preseason and the first month of the regular season to assess some of his strengths and weaknesses.

Who is Zach Sudfeld?

Entering his senior year at Nevada, Sudfeld was on nobody's radar as he had just two catches. However, he caught 45 passes for 598 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior and some people projected him as a late round pick. He wasn't invited to the scouting combine, but did workout at Nevada's pro day, where he showcased a 37-inch vertical leap and ran a 4.78 forty. He disappointed in the bench press with just 11 reps, though.

New England signed him as a priority free agent after he went undrafted and when they lost Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, he found himself as a projected starter following a solid preseason campaign. Unfortunately, he suffered some injury issues early in the season and was unable to make a solid impact. With Gronkowski supposedly set to return soon, the Patriots were likely hopeful that they could stash Sudfeld on their practice squad to preserve a roster spot. However, the Jets - with Kellen Winslow dealing with knee issues and Konrad Reuland not really part of the offense so far, decided to pick him up.

Let's look in more detail at each of the games he's played in so far with the Patriots:

2013 Preseason

Week One: at Philadelphia

Sudfeld played 33 snaps in this one and caught one pass on two targets. His one catch saw him line up on the left and leak out to the opposite flat, where he made the catch and then slipped a tackle to turn the corner down the sideline. He then cut back downfield and made a spin move for an athletic 22-yard gain.

As a blocker, he did make some positive contributions - look out for #44 on this crazy run, initially making a kickout block on the left side and then getting out in front of the runner to make a downfield block near the goal line. On another play, he used his man's momentum to drive him upfield and create space for an eight yard run on a draw play and he blocked down on a linebacker to set up a 14-yard gain on a cutback run. However, there were signs of rawness too as he had four missed blocks that led to runs being stuffed. One saw him fail to sustain the block and let his man get off it to the inside, one was just a late reaction to a safety blitz, again on his inside, one saw him failed to make contact with his man on the outside and finally he allowed his man to get penetration leading to a run being stuffed for a loss.

Week Two: v Tampa Bay

He played 33 snaps again this week, catching two passes for 32 yards and a touchdown on four targets. He also caught a two-point conversion. You can see the two point conversion here at 0:44, as he goes up to to catch it at the back of the end zone over two players (although the official makes arguably an even better catch when Sudfeld tosses the ball to him). The touchdown can be seen here - a juggling catch down the middle, showing outstanding concentration. His other catch came on 3rd and five as he ran a simple out pattern on 3rd and five, made the catch just beyond the marker with a defensive back on his back and dragged him for a 10-yard pick up. On the two he failed to catch, he might feel he could have brought them in, but it would be harsh to call either one a drop. One saw him open down the middle, but the pass was too far out in front of him and he could only get one hand to it on a diving attempt. The other was thrown down the middle with a defensive player draped all over him and two safeties lurking. He got two hands to the ball, but it fell incomplete in a crowd.

In terms of blocking, he stayed in to pass protect four times, but Da'Quan Bowers bullrushed and he was driven back into the quarterback on one. He also missed a screen block badly as his man anticipated the play and got outside him to blow it up.

Week Three: at Detroit

Again he played 33 snaps here and caught all three passes thrown his way for 36 yards. However, he fumbled one of them away as he was wide open down the seam but then the open field hit jarred the ball loose. One of his other catches went for 11 on third and 10, as he came back to the ball on the outside and made the catch short of the marker, but then turned upfield and stretched the ball out to make the first down.

In terms of blocking, he again had his ups and downs. Perhaps his best block saw him get outside leverage on his man and set the edge perfectly. Unfortunately, Nate Solder got beaten badly on his inside shoulder and ended up getting hit with a hold that negated the 13-yard run. He allowed his man to stuff a run on three occasions, the worst of which saw him react a split second late at the snap on 4th and one, which prevented him from stopping the defensive player shooting the gap to his inside to blow the play up. In pass protection, he again allowed his man to drive him back, this time beating him on the inside to hit the quarterback, although that might have been because of an illegal use of hands to the face.

Week Four: v NY Giants

In the final preseason game, Sudfeld was limited to 18 snaps, catching two short passes. One did go for a first down, as he held on despite a big hit at the marker. As a blocker, there was one play where he missed a second level block and his man made the stop. However, they ran the exact same play immediately afterwards and he did make the correction.

2013 Regular Season

Week One: at Buffalo

Sudfeld played 20 snaps in week one, but the only pass thrown his way was off his hands and intercepted. On second and five, Sudfeld ran just beyond the marker, then turned and looked back for the ball. Brady's pass was slightly off the mark and Sudfeld had to reach for it, but probably still should have brought it in. It went off his fingertips and was picked off. Compounding matters, he would later suffer a hamstring injury which kept him out of the lineup for the week two clash with the Jets.

Week Three: v Tampa Bay

In this game, Sudfeld played 17 snaps and was targeted twice, according to NFL.com, and did not register a catch. The first one saw him leak across the field and them turn upfield to the corner, but he kind of got caught up in traffic and was late getting his head turned around and locating the ball. He did get a step on his man and Brady had led him with the pass. On the second, it appeared Brady threw into double coverage with Sudfeld bracketed down by the goal line and was picked of by Mark Barron. However, a review of the coaches film appears to show that this pass was actually supposed to go over Barron's head to the receiver running across the back of the end zone and Barron just read his eyes and timed his jump perfectly.

As a blocker, there was one play where he allowed his man to stretch a run to the outside for a short gain, but no major errors.

Week Four: at Atlanta

The fact Sudfeld just played against the Jets' next opponent could be one of the reasons behind this move. He might be able to identify some weaknesses in their defense that the Jets' staff could exploit. He did only play eight snaps though, although he made one important contribution on offense, drawing a defensive hold on third and five. His one big error, though, and perhaps the main thing that led to his release, saw him misfield an onside kick, which gave the Falcons the ball back down 10 with four minutes to go.

Summary:

While we don't have too much to go on, let's look at some conclusions we can draw based on the footage watched, divided into categories.

Usage

Sudfeld was put in motion quite a lot and played in the slot almost as much (65 snaps) as he played as a conventional tight end (96 snaps). He only lined up in the backfield once and stayed in to pass protect just 10 times in the seven games. During the regular season, the Patriots passed the ball just under two-thirds of the time when he was in.

Receiving threat

As noted, he showed some flashes in preseason. Running after the catch on one play, getting downfield on another and having some success on possession type routes. While the potential is there, it is telling that he did not catch any passes once the regular season was underway.

Routes

Sudfeld does show an ability to get open, whether that be by finding a spot to sit down in a zone, or by running out to the flat or some kind of quick hitch or out pattern underneath. For a player of his type, you're looking for for him to be the kind of player to get a defender on his back and box them out and while there were some signs of that, he perhaps could do a better job of being physical and using his size. His low rep count in the bench press perhaps suggests that his strength is something that could really improve with a year in an NFL weights program.

Hands

Sudfeld did make some clean catches - the two point conversion in particular was a nice snag - but there were too many examples of him not catching the ball cleanly. On the play where he lost a fumble and also on his touchdown catch, a hit jarred the ball loose, even though he stayed with it and still caught the ball for his touchdown. There were also a handful of plays that were not outright drops, but plays where he got his hands to the ball but couldn't hold it. Maybe working with Kellen Winslow will help him there, because those were plays I'd expect Winslow to make.

Yards after the catch

The play detailed above where he caught a short pass and broke a couple of tackles for 22-yards was nice, but there were also a couple of others where he turned upfield and got a couple of extra yards, turning two plays that would have netted 14 yards into 21 yards. Those kinds of things are unspectacular but can be very valuable in terms of extending drives. It's something that Chris Baker used to do well.

Demeanor

Sudfeld actually seemed quite laid back a lot of the time. Maybe that's just his long hair giving him a laid back surfer look, but it seemed like he never got overly excited by a big play or upset when he made a mistake. On the play where he didn't look back at the ball in time, it seemed like he was more amused by it than anything else. In his defense, he might have got a bit more excited about the touchdown catch, but he seemed to get dinged up a bit on the play.

One tweet suggested that the Jets are getting an extremely hard worker in Sudfeld. On the other hand, that was from his agent.

Run blocking

Sudfeld has good size, but he has plenty of rawness as a blocker. However, there were some signs of positive contributions as a blocker, which hopefully he can build on as he develops. I do like his overall potential as a run blocker. Some of the negative plays he had saw him a little uncertain at the snap, so maybe once he's more comfortable with the schemes at the NFL level and used to the speed of the game that will make a big difference for him.

Pass blocking

There wasn't much of a sample size, but Sudfeld got schooled a couple of times in pass protection. He didn't do a very good job of anchoring himself and once you're back on your heels, NFL players will always take advantage. Again, maybe he improves here as his comfort level grows, because he has good size.

Conclusions

We've seen this type of move made before and the team involved just bleeds that player for information on their own team and the common opponents they've faced, before letting them loose. However, I do feel like Sudfeld is a guy who teams around the league will feel has upside. Having said that, the Jets were the only team to put in a waiver claim for him.

If he is a hard worker, as advertised, then that's a good start and the fact he was disciplined enough to remain penalty free throughout his seven appearances with New England is positive too.

Sudfeld looks like a developmental project due to his rawness, but at the same time has enough ability that he could hopefully fill in when required and do a decent job. With Kellen Winslow's status this weekend uncertain (he is questionable), I can understand why the Jets retained Konrad Reuland on the roster for this week, but if Sudfeld settles down well over the next week or two, then Reuland's place on the team is certainly under threat and that could free up another roster spot.

Exclusive stats from Pro Football Focus were used in this article.

Tags: BGA, Bent Double

 (Matthew Emmons)
(Matthew Emmons)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

One last look at the top players on the board for the Jets as they prepare to make the sixth overall pick on April 27:

1.CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State - He has been in the No. 1 spot on this board almost from the beginning because of his skill and because he seems likely to be there at 6. The Chicago Bears seem to like him at 3 and there's a chance the Tennessee Titans will take him at 5, but both teams seem to have other priorities. If he gets through to the Jets, it will be hard to pass up this 6-foot, 193-pounder who could give them the shut-down cornerback they haven't had since Darrelle Revis was still Darrelle Revis. (Last report: 1)...

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Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

After initially being "open for business" with the sixth pick of the draft and admitting a desire to trade down, Mike Maccagnan seemed to close up shop on Monday. Now the Jets GM says "We feel pretty good at 6 right now."

And they should, because if the sudden frenzy over the quarterbacks in this draft is more than just a smokescreen, the Jets will end up with a better player at 6 than they previously believed.

For the longest time it didn't look like any quarterback would go in the first five picks of the NFL draft. The scouting world was down on all of the top quarterbacks in the draft and few believed any were worthy of even a Top 10 pick. The idea that any of them could end up as the top pick seemed crazy -- as crazy as the idea that two could go in the Top 10...

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(Bill Streicher)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has spent a lot of time this offseason looking at the quarterbacks in this draft. But that isn't necessarily unusual. In fact, he said, the Jets "feel pretty good" about the quarterbacks they already have.

"We have the two young guys (Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty) and we like both of them in terms of ability and potential," the Jets GM said during his pre-draft press briefing on Monday. "We feel pretty good about the guys we have."

That hasn't stopped him from looking, of course, and at least considering the possibility of the Jets drafting a quarterback with the No. 6 overall pick. They have scouted the top quarterbacks in the draft heavily this offseason and many believe the Jets will take one in that spot...

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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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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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(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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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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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.

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Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
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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. 

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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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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)
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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.

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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)
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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)

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)

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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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.

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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
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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. 

 

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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)
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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.

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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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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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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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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.

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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.

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