The news that Jim Leonhard's collision with Patrick Turner caused a broken leg that will sideline him for the rest of the season has no doubt thrown Rex Ryan's plans for the upcoming game against New England into chaos. It also raises questions about how the Jets will perform at the safety position and who is going to step up to fill the void.

I've been breaking down Jets footage all season long and although we cannot say for certain how the Jets will perform without him - mainly because he's only missed six snaps all year (all in goalline situations) - there are certainly a few things that can give us some idea.

Join me after the jump for some in-depth analysis.

Eric Smith

Although Smith had started the previous game, he was the one named as Leonhard's replacement by the team this week. (Clearly Brodney Pool is going to return to the starting lineup.) The team had already lauded Smith's communication skills and the Jets immediately reaped the benefits of those on Thursday night with a much more organized display than they had produced over the previous few weeks, especially in zone coverage. Smith will definitely be the one to take over Leonhard's crucially important role of organizing the secondary.

In terms of role, it's not like Smith (or Pool) will be thrown into a situation they haven't already faced this year. Although both have primarily been deep safeties, they have each spent plenty of time in the box. The one major adjustment is that when they played together it was always in a three-safety alignment, with Leonhard there too.

Smith is a better tackler than Leonhard, but is less reliable in coverage. However, he is much bigger than Leonhard, so at least he does not have as much of a size mismatch against tight ends. While Smith's skillset would seem to suit the strong safety role, I wouldn't be surprised to see him deep, so that he is in a better position to read the offense.

One thing that I've often thought about Smith is that when he is pressed into full time action, he often performs well, whereas in a role-playing situation, he struggles. It's as if he benefits from being aware of his role from the start and is able to prepare fully and get into the rhythm of the game faster. I had absolutely nothing to back this up, but when you think back to when he has started in the past - At the start of 2008, before he was concussed in the collision with Boldin, when Kerry Rhodes was benched last year, at the start of this year when Pool was out and last week, after Pool was benched - he always seems to perform well.

So, I did a little sleuthing and the results are quite striking. Smith has played more than 50 snaps a game five times and in those five games he has performed at a very high level compared to when he plays less than that:

Run defense

* More than 50 snaps - 32 solo tackles (6.4 per game), no missed tackles, PFF rating +6.9

* Less than 50 snaps - 40 solo tackles (1.2 per game), nine missed tackles, PFF rating -2.5

Pass coverage

* More than 50 snaps - 9-for-15, 84 yards, no touchdowns. QB rating 75.4, PFF rating +0.3, no 20 yard plays given up

* Less than 50 snaps - 23-for-40, 314 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions. QB rating 86.9, PFF rating -13.5, four 20 yard plays given up

Pass rush

* More than 50 snaps - Three pressures in 15 pass rush attempts, PFF rating +0.3

* Less than 50 snaps - 15 pressures in 150 pass rush attempts, PFF rating -9.4

Overall

PFF rating in games where he played more than 50 snaps is +7.5 and when he plays less than 50 snaps is -28.7

Maybe it's a small sample size right now but, so far, the numbers suggest that Smith is a very poor backup safety, but a very good starter. Maybe this indicates he is capable of stepping up.

Searching for flaws in the model

What happens if he starts, but then ends up with fewer than 50 snaps because he doesn't perform well enough to stay out there? The only recent example of that was in the first New England game this year. Smith was seemingly benched after 36 snaps, just before halftime, because he should have been deep when Randy Moss beat Revis for a score. However, that particular game still stands up to scrutiny, again suggesting he performed better than normal due to the fact he started. He had two tackles, no missed tackles, a pressure and gave up no receptions for a PFF rating of +0.2 (which would have been higher had he not been docked 0.9 points for his "helmet" to "helmet" penalty on Wes Welker.)

Also, why make 50 snaps the cut off point? I decided to look at whether there was any correlation between number of snaps and performance. If you look at the five games where he played between 40 and 50 snaps, his performance is not as good as when he plays more than 50, but it is still better than normal (and arguably better than Jim Leonhard has been this year). In those five games, his PFF rating was -3.5, so not quite as bad as the -25.2 total rating for the 24 games with less than 40 snaps, especially when you factor in the additional snaps. He had 14 tackles in those five games, with two missed tackles, and opposing QB's went 5-10-59 against him, with one TD and one interception (a 62.1 rating).

Brodney Pool

Leonhard's injury thrusts Brodney Pool back into the limelight, after the team suggested he was struggling to get to grips with where he needed to be and was the source of some of their defensive breakdowns in recent weeks. In the first game against the Patriots, Pool replaced Smith at halftime and his superior cover skills proved useful, helping the Jets to shut out New England in the second half. After his benching for last week's game, he still saw plenty of action in three-safety alignments and - much like the other two safeties - performed well. The coaching staff suggested that taking certain things "off his plate" seemed to have helped him out.

Early in the season, Pool was used almost exclusively as a deep free safety. He has good range and ball instincts, so performed reasonably well in that role. However, when Jim Leonhard started to get picked on in man-to-man situations, they experimented with using Pool in the box. Again, he did reasonably well at this, but since then the Jets have increasingly been using their safeties in zone coverages and this seemed to be where he was struggling. This perhaps suggests that if the Jets are going to play zone, Pool should be in the box and if they are going to play man, he should be deep. It is possible for the safeties to be interchangeable, but they would need to be careful about making this too obvious, because even if you switch them at the last moment, this can still tip your hand, which Tom Brady will be capable of exploiting.

If you read the comments from an anonymous GM earlier in the year, you'd have been forgiven for thinking that Brodney Pool is a hard-hitting playmaker. As a result, he has been viewed by many as a bit of a disappointment. However, as I noted at the time, that report was nonsensical, because Pool is a rangey, athletic safety with good size, but has never been known for his tackling. In fact, some of you may recall Jets 2005 draft pick Andre Maddox declaring that he was better than Pool, because "He can't tackle". What the Jets need Pool to be is a disciplined centerfielder with range and instincts, that will keep mistakes to a minimum. In other words, a poor man's version of what Kerry Rhodes would have been, if he listened to his coaches.

Kerry Rhodes

While we're on the subject of Kerry Rhodes, I was going to do an "Expendables" update this week, but Wordpress "ate" three hours worth of work and I ran out of time. However, my research into Rhodes revealed some interesting factors.

Last year, I repeatedly stated (and was often berated for doing so) that, despite his obvious flaws, Rhodes had performed well all season. This was because he hadn't made many mistakes or given up many big plays, so - even when you factored in his apparent lack of impact plays - his performance put him among the better safeties in the league (albeit in a down year for safety play league-wide).

We all know how Rhodes wanted to be placed in a role where he could showcase his playmaking ability more and how he wasn't keen to perform the thankless task of roaming centerfield, despite the fact he was the only Jet equipped to do so with such efficiency and that it was the most productive use of his abilities. Rhodes made the mistake of listening to "twiticisms" about his lack of impact plays, perhaps fuelled by his talk during the off-season. As a result, he started gambling and making mistakes, for example missing tackles by going for a big hit rather than wrapping his man up or gambling underneath and vacating deep centerfield on Ted Ginn's touchdown catch. This landed him on the bench, after which he returned to the team, played more disciplined football and was able to let some impact plays come to him rather than trying to make something happen and risking a costly error.

So, now he's with the Cardinals and is still being mostly employed in centerfield. Moreso, in fact, than when he was with the Jets. Early in the season, Rhodes did make some huge plays - a game clinching interception, fumble returns for touchdowns in consecutive weeks - and everyone in Arizona seemed more than happy with his impact. However, to go along with those big plays, he was also giving up big plays too.

Last year, Rhodes missed only five tackles (in 19 games), so even though he was often seen to be shying away from contact, he was at least keeping the ball carrier in front of him. This year, he's already missed eleven tackles, including a few particularly costly ones. Overall in coverage, he's been okay, but not quite as good as last year. He got beaten for a touchdown (something which didn't happen last year) and gave up a 53 yard pass play a few weeks ago (again not something that happened last year). QB's have a 69.8 rating when throwing his way, compared with 59.7 last year.

He has been a more productive tackler (61 tackles already, after just 71 in 19 games last year), but a lot of that is down to the fact that Arizona's run defense is nowhere near as good as the Jets, so runners are getting to the second level more. He's also had some strange moments - getting ejected for touching an official and fumbling the ball at the goalline for a touchback. Now it seems the impact plays have dried up too. Rhodes has two interceptions and no sacks. A few weeks ago, I was saying that Rhodes was going to get his first Pro Bowl appearance in the worst season of his career, but now, I'm not sure that he will make it.

Anyway, where I am going with all this, to bring it back to the original topic, is that the Jets might not necessarily be much better off had they retained Kerry Rhodes. Ignoring the impact his contract would have on their efforts to retain all their free agents this offseason, I was concerned that Rhodes' coverage skills were going to be hard to replace (and I was right). However, my bigger concern would be that they retained him and he played with poor discipline as he did at times last season. If that was going to be the case - and the Jets are the only people who could make a sensible judgement on the basis of his attitude - then they would be better off without the distraction. We will never know whether he would have fallen into line, but if his performance in Arizona suggests that he would have been gambling to try and make impact plays and giving up big plays as a result, then - even with Leonhard's injury - they might be better off for having traded him. Especially if Pool, who they wouldn't otherwise have signed, can fill in adequately.

One final thought: Does anyone agree with me that - even before this injury happened - Darren Sharper probably would have been a pretty good offseason pickup for this team?

The third safety

Pool and Smith have each had plenty of reps at both safety positions. However, the effect of late-season injuries is often felt further down the depth chart. Last season, when Lito Sheppard, Bart Scott and Donald Strickland got hurt against the Colts, it meant that Drew Coleman, Dwight Lowery and James Ihedigbo were all forced to play almost the whole game. All three have been up and down, but on the whole are solid role-playing backups for this team and will hopefully continue to be so. However, when forced to start, they can be exposed. A similar situation arose earlier this year with Darrelle Revis and Kyle Wilson/Drew Coleman, which the Jets were fortunate enough to overcome.

With any luck, the Jets will not lose too much from having Smith and Pool as their starting safeties. If they can iron out any communication issues and keep the breakdowns to a minimum, whether that requires a scheme simplification or not, hopefully the Jets defense will still be able to play at an elite level. The next question, however, is what they will do when they go to their three safety alignments.

Although he's coming off a concussion, many people are hoping Dwight Lowery will be able to step into that role. Although a lot of people are suggesting the Jets could "convert him to safety", this is a change that has already taken place. Third safety is exactly the role Lowery had when Pool was out earlier in the season. Against Baltimore, he was in on 23 snaps, all of them at safety. All but three of his season high 37 snaps against the Pats in week two were as a safety. While Revis was hurt, he filled in at cornerback, but then returned to his role as the third safety against Minnesota and since then has filled in at both safety and slot corner as and when required. He got plenty of playing time against the Packers, because they went to a spread formation, for example.

So - if he's declared fully healthy - Lowery is equipped to fill in as the third safety and his ball skills should serve him well. If Lowery can't go, or if there's another injury to a safety, what other options do they have?

One option is to go corner-heavy. For the Pats game, if the first three Rex v Belichick matchups are anything to go by, the Jets will have at least five DB's on the field at all times and sometimes as many as seven. Even though Randy Moss is gone, the Patriots do still have a pass-first offense, so I don't expect that to change. Maybe they could go with four corners and two safeties, which would mean extra playing time for Drew Coleman and either Kyle Wilson or Marquice Cole.

The other option - if we ignore the possibility of signing somebody off the street like Hank Poteat - is to use James Ihedigbo more. Ihedigbo has carved out a nice role for himself as a special teamer, pass rusher and run blitzer, but when pressed into service as a replacement for the injured Bart Scott in the AFC Title game last year, he looked a little lost, particularly in coverage. Largely based on this game, the feeling is that Ihedigbo will struggle if used as a conventional safety.

However, that's the only extended action we have to go on. Who can say whether he has made improvements since last year? He has certainly been playing more and although he is usually employed in those same run blitzing and pass rushing situations, that is not always the case and his comfort level has undoubtedly grown.

Again, it's a ridiculously small sample size, but Ihedigbo has been employed in coverage 27 times this year and only given up one catch. He is being used in coverage more than last year, where he didn't drop into coverage more than once in a game until week 13. So, they can still use him coming off the edge and drop him into coverage from time to time, seemingly without other teams being able to exploit him, at least so far.

Conclusions

Jim Leonhard was not having a particularly good season so, on the face of it, this shouldn't be an insurmountable loss. Unfortunately, the timing couldn't have been much worse because Leonhard had been playing solid football over the last month, the zone defense which was presumably going to be an important weapon against Brady and the Patriots had just started to look solid and they were just in the process of finalizing their preparations for the biggest game of the year so far, many of which involved Leonhard's input significantly. Toss in the fact that Brodney Pool's form had not been good and it's no wonder Rex Ryan looked a little shaken on Friday afternoon.

However, this is a team that has won games without Jenkins, Ellis, Pace, Revis, Sanchez, Cotchery and Holmes under the current regime. Add Leonhard to that group and maybe it would be the straw that broke the camel's back. Unfortunately for the Patriots, other than Jenkins, the others will all be there on Monday night, along with the rest of the Jets roster, which will be hungry to make Leonhard's absence seem like an afterthought. Beyond Monday, who knows? Right now, who cares?

Tags: Main Page, Bent Double

Oct 23, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A New York Jets helmet on the bench displays a sticker with the number 90 in memory of former New York Jet Dennis Byrd who was killed in a car accident last week. The Jets face the Baltimore Ravens today at MetLife Stadium. The Jets are wearing Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Oct 23, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A New York Jets helmet on the bench displays a sticker with the number 90 in memory of former New York Jet Dennis Byrd who was killed in a car accident last week. The Jets face the Baltimore Ravens today at MetLife Stadium. The Jets are wearing Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

There is no doubt who the biggest winner was in the 2017 draft for the Jets. No one had a better three days than Christian Hackenberg.

Once thought to be the Jets possible Quarterback of the Future, he apparently still is after the Jets avoided the Quarterback Class of 2017 with all of their nine draft picks over the three days of the NFL draft. That wasn't a guarantee, either. They heavily scouted the top ones, and all of them except for North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky were available when they made the sixth overall pick.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Eric Decker
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Apr 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Jamal Adams (LSU) poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (right) as he is selected as the number 6 overall pick to the New York Jets in the first round the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Apr 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Jamal Adams (LSU) poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (right) as he is selected as the number 6 overall pick to the New York Jets in the first round the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

There has long been a conventional wisdom in the NFL that safeties aren't usually worth high draft picks. There are exceptions, of course, but good ones can often be developed later. And there are more premium positions like quarterback, receiver, cornerback and defensive end.

Still, the value was so high on LSU safety Jamal Adams that he was a great pick for the Jets when he fell to No. 6.

But taking another one near the top of the second round?

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 (James Snook)
(James Snook)

The NFL draft may be over, but the search for rookies is still ongoing, with teams scrambling to sign undrafted free agents to fill out their roster. The Jets have 84 players on their roster including their nine new draft picks. So, without releasing anybody else, they have room to sign six UDFAs.

Below is a running list of UDFAs who have reportedly signed with the Jets, plus some players who have been invited to their rookie mini-camp (May 5-7) for a tryout. The list has been compiled from NFL sources, published reports, and sometimes straight from the players themselves.

Check back often, as this list will be updated constantly over the next few days. It can also change quickly as players and teams back out of agreements. Nothing is official until a player actually signs on the dotted line:

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Devin Smith will miss the 2017 season with a torn ACL. (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)
Devin Smith will miss the 2017 season with a torn ACL. (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)

Minutes after the 2017 NFL Draft ended, the Jets got bad news about their second-round pick from 2015.

Wide receiver Devin Smith will miss the 2017 season with a torn ACL, according to general manager Mike Maccagnan. Smith, who missed most of last season and has only played three NFL games, sustained the injury in the first team workout of the year.

Tags: Devin Smith
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Jan 1, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Derrick Jones (19) reacts after a first down against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the second half in the 2016 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports (Derick E. Hingle)
Jan 1, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Derrick Jones (19) reacts after a first down against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the second half in the 2016 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports (Derick E. Hingle)

The Jets selected Derrick Jones with the 204th overall pick in the seventh round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. He was their third pick of the sixth round and final pick of the draft.

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Nov 28, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Jalin Marshall (7) makes a reception for a touchdown defended by Michigan Wolverines safety Jeremy Clark (34) in the third quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Nov 28, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Jalin Marshall (7) makes a reception for a touchdown defended by Michigan Wolverines safety Jeremy Clark (34) in the third quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

The Jets selected Jeremy Clark with the 197th overall pick in the sixth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. He was the second of four Jets' sixth-round picks.

 


THE VITALS:

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

The Jets traded down for fifth time in 24 hours Saturday at the start of the sixth round of the NFL draft. 

After making seven selections in the draft, including the first of the sixth round, the Jets sent their second pick of the sixth round (191st overall) to the Cowboys, (who sent the Jets their sixth-round pick (221st) as well as a fifth-round choice in the 2018 draft.

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Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns running back Elijah McGuire (15) runs the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats in the first half at Commonwealth Stadium. (Mark Zerof)
Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns running back Elijah McGuire (15) runs the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats in the first half at Commonwealth Stadium. (Mark Zerof)

The Jets selected Elijah McGuire with the 188th overall pick in the sixth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. He was the first of the Jets' three six-round picks.

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Mar 4, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; West Georgia defensive end Dylan Donahue speaks to the media during the 2017 combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports (Trevor Ruszkowski)
Mar 4, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; West Georgia defensive end Dylan Donahue speaks to the media during the 2017 combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports (Trevor Ruszkowski)

The Jets selected Dylan Donahue with the 181st overall pick in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets draft 00:02:05
Jeanne Coakley talks with the Jets' first-round pick, Jamal Adams, and highlights the team's second- and third-round picks.

The Jets selected Jordan Leggett with the 150th overall pick in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday.

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Nov 26, 2016; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears wide receiver Chad Hansen (6) catches a pass against UCLA Bruins defensive back Marcus Rios (9) during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium the California Golden Bears defeated the UCLA Bruins 36 to 10. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports (Neville E. Guard)
Nov 26, 2016; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears wide receiver Chad Hansen (6) catches a pass against UCLA Bruins defensive back Marcus Rios (9) during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium the California Golden Bears defeated the UCLA Bruins 36 to 10. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports (Neville E. Guard)

The Jets selected Chad Hansen with the 141st overall pick in the fourth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday.

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The Road to the NFL Draft 00:03:29
SNY shares the stories of three paths to the NFL Draft: Miami's David Njoku, Ohio State's Curtis Samuel and Anthony Cioffi from Rutgers.

SNY shares the stories of three paths to the NFL Draft: Miami's David Njoku, Ohio State's Curtis Samuel and Anthony Cioffi from Rutgers.

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

The Jets made two deals during the third round of the NFL Draft Friday, giving them two extra picks going into rounds 4-7 Saturday.

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Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (13) before the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (13) before the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Jets selected ArDarius Stewart with the 79h overall pick in the third round of the NFL Draft on Friday. 

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Marcus Maye highlights 00:01:11
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays of the season from the Jets' second-round pick, safety Marcus Maye.

The Jets selected Marcus Maye with the 39th overall pick in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday.

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Daily News Live: NFL Draft 00:06:20
The Daily News Live panel assesses the first-round picks of the Giants and Jets and the needs of each team going into Rounds 2 and 3.

The panel analyzes the first round picks of the Jets and Giants and their needs that have to be addressed going into Round 2.

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Oct 2, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;New York Jets strong safety Calvin Pryor (25) hits Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (89) after a catch in the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports (William Hauser)
Oct 2, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;New York Jets strong safety Calvin Pryor (25) hits Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (89) after a catch in the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports (William Hauser)

The Jets are looking to trade safety Calvin Pryor going into Friday night's second and third round of the NFL draft, according to USA Today reporter Tom Pelissero.

The Jets took LSU safety Jamal Adams in the first round Thursday. Pryor is going into his fifth year with the Jets, who might not pick up his option at the end of the season, which would make him a free agent next March.

Tags: Calvin Pryor
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Jamal Adams excited to be a Jet 00:01:13
First-round pick Jamal Adams speaks to the media for the first time after being selected by the New York Jets in the 2017 NFL draft.

First round pick Jamal Adams speaks to the media for the first time about being selected by the Jets.

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 (James Snook)
(James Snook)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The first round of the Draft couldn't have worked out much better for the Jets. A player atop their board, whom they didn't think they'd get, ended up falling right into their lap. And for the second time in three years, they stood pat at No. 6 and ended up with a Top 3 player.

Could they have a similar stroke of luck in the second round?

It's entirely possible with the Jets slated to pick seventh when Day 2 of the draft resumes on Friday night. They will have three picks over two rounds -- 39th overall in Round 2, and 70th and 107th overall in Round 3 (the latter is a comp pick and the final pick of the night). And there are a whole bunch of players still available that many considered first-round talents...

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 (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

While most of the attention this weekend will be on the top picks, it's those teams that can find some diamonds in the rough who end up having the most productive draft classes. Every team, even the Jets, has seen success with late-round picks and undrafted free agents, and the Jets will be hoping some of this weekend's less-heralded selections will emulate some of those lightning-in-a-bottle type successes from the past.

With that in mind, let's count down my choices for the top draft steals in Jets history...

5. Brandon Moore, OG, Illinois, 2002 (Undrafted)

Having been drafted as a defensive tackle, "Meat" spent over a decade with the Jets, winning the starting right guard spot in 2004 and making it his own, as he ascended to Pro Bowl status by 2011. Moore, who was selected to announce one of the Jets' picks on Friday, sneaks into the top-five ahead of more recent undrafted pick-ups Mike DeVito and Damon Harrison, because he lasted a lot longer with the team than they did.

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Jamal Adams is selected as the No. 6 overall pick to the New York Jets in the first round the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
Jamal Adams is selected as the No. 6 overall pick to the New York Jets in the first round the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets bolstered their secondary by picking LSU safety Jamal Adams with the No. 6 pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday, and the team is high on Adams' potential.

"He is an outstanding player, obviously. Smart, fast, tough, physical, he's an alpha, he's good on and off the field," Bowles said. "He checked all the boxes for us and really, we think we got a real good football player. We had him rated high."

Adams, a 6-foot, 214-pound defensive back, was one of the highest-rated players in the draft -- one whom the Jets originally didn't think would be there at 6, according to ESPN's Jenna Laine.

Tags: Calvin Pryor, Marcus Gilchrist
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GEICO SportsNite: NFL Draft 00:04:36
The Football Night in New York crew analyzes Jamal Adams and Evan Engram, the first-round picks of the Jets and Giants respectively.

The Football Night in New York crew analyzes Jamal Adams and Evan Engram, the first-round picks of the Jets and Giants respectively.

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Jets Nation: Jamal Adams 00:00:42
Jeane Coakley goes one-on-one with Jamal Adams, talking to the Jets' newest member about how it feels to be drafted in the first round.

The Jets selected Jamal Adams with the sixth overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft.

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Jets Nation: Maccagnan on draft 00:02:07
Jeane Coakley goes one-on-one with Mike Maccagnan to learn about his mindset heading into the 2017 NFL draft.

Jeane Coakley goes one-on-one with Mike Maccagnan and discuss his mind set heading into the 2017 NFL draft.

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Vacchiano joins Loud Mouths 00:05:39
Ralph Vacchiano joins Loud Mouths to discuss the NFL Draft and the players the Jets are considering with the sixth overall pick.

Ralph Vacchiano joins Loud Mouths to discuss the NFL Draft and the players the Jets may be looking at with the 6th overall pick.

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 (AP)
(AP)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When a team is picking in the Top 10, it should be a lot easier to predict who they're going to take than it has been for the Jets at No. 6 this year. There usually aren't a lot of variables. In this draft, though, there are a ton.

The big one, of course, is the Quarterback Question: Will the Jets pick one or pass? There's also the question of whether they'll make the pick at all (word is that GM Mike Maccagnan is listening to offers to trade down). And if they stay put, it's also not completely clear which players will go in the Top 5.

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Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Many people around the NFL consider this to be one of the hardest first rounds to project in years. That's at least partly due to the uncertainty about where the quarterbacks will go, but also because of deep top tier of talent (perhaps 10 or 11 picks deep) and because many scouts don't see much of a difference between players ranked in the 10-15 range and those they rank down near 25-32.

After consulting with many NFL sources and experts (and my own imagination), here is my final answer on the first round: My SNY Mock Draft 3.0. I feel pretty good that the Cleveland Browns will indeed make the first overall selection. Other than that … no guarantees and I reserve the right to change my mind:

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Oct 23, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A New York Jets helmet on the bench displays a sticker with the number 90 in memory of former New York Jet Dennis Byrd who was killed in a car accident last week. The Jets face the Baltimore Ravens today at MetLife Stadium. The Jets are wearing Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Oct 23, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A New York Jets helmet on the bench displays a sticker with the number 90 in memory of former New York Jet Dennis Byrd who was killed in a car accident last week. The Jets face the Baltimore Ravens today at MetLife Stadium. The Jets are wearing Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

The Jets waived unning back Brandon Burks, wide receiver Darius Jennings, long snapper Josh Latham, linebacker Jeff Luc and defensive lineman Julien Obioha on Wednesday, ESPN.com's Richi Cimini reports.

 

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Jets eye DE, QB in late rounds 00:04:51
Ralph Vacchiano and Tony Pauline discuss which players the Jets could choose in the later rounds of the NFL Draft.

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They are coming off a miserable 5-11 season, released many of their most recognizable players, and they are beginning what looks like a complete rebuilding job.

So yes, the Jets need pretty much everything.

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GEICO SportsNite: NFL Draft 00:01:05
Jets GM Mike Maccagnan discusses the final days of preparation leading up to the NFL Draft on Thursday.

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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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Jets or Giants draft QB first? 00:03:14
Daily News Live predicts which New York football team is more likely to take a quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Daily News Live predicts which New York football team is more likely to take a quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft.

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

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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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GEICO SportsNite: Jets Draft 00:02:39
Jeane Coakley and Willie Colon discuss if the Jets should take a TE, the QB situation and the offensive line ahead of Thursday's draft.

Boom or Bust: Jabrill Peppers 00:01:50
Jon Hein and Marc Malusis debate if the Jets would be smart to use their first-round pick to select Michigan's Jabrill Peppers.

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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)
(Bill Streicher)

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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...

Tags: Bryce Petty, Calvin Pryor, Christian Hackenberg, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants, Jets eye tight ends 00:05:01
Ralph Vacchiano and Tony Pauline discuss whether the Giants or Jets will select a tight end in the NFL Draft.

Ralph Vacchiano and Tony Pauline discuss whether the Giants or Jets will select a tight end in the NFL Draft.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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 (Kelley L Cox)
(Kelley L Cox)

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

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

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

 (Brian Spurlock)
(Brian Spurlock)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

JETS SALARY CAP SPACE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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