The Jets this week announced the signing of tight end Shawn Nelson to the active roster. Unlike the Eron Riley signing, he was a free agent when they picked him up, so there is no requirement for them to keep him on the roster for a minimum of three weeks. Some have therefore suggested he’s only been signed to gain information on the Jets’ next opponents, his former team - Buffalo. However, the Jets have been looking at tight ends since Jeff Cumberland was injured and, with Matt Mulligan struggling, there might be an opportunity to stick. I have therefore been looking at game footage to get a feel for what he brings to the table.

Shawn Nelson was a 6-foot-5, 240 pound blocking tight end, drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 draft by the Bills. I say “was” because he bulked up during the lockout and the Bills were already listing him at 273 pounds back in August. However, he was 240 when the games I analyzed were played, so adjust your expectations in terms of speed, strength and mobility accordingly.

Nelson got plenty of playing time for the Bills in 2009 and although his 2010 season was eaten into by injuries and a suspension, there is plenty of regular season footage to analyze, unlike for the likes of Baxter, Schlauderaff and Riley, who only really played against backups in preseason.

However, I first became aware of Nelson back in 2005 when he caught six passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns to win MVP honors as Southern Miss beat Arkansas State in the New Orleanns Bowl. Back then, he was a 225-pound receiver, but they were already moving him around and using him in a variety of ways. By 2007, he had converted to tight end, although he was still considered more of a pass catching threat than a blocker. In a game against Boise State, he stayed in to block a lot early on, but later got open downfield for a 31-yard catch and scored a 22-yard TD on a screen pass as he ran untouched to the endzone. He could have had another touchdown, but badly dropped an over-the-shoulder catch in the endzone.

At the start of his rookie season, Nelson missed an entire week of OTAs due to “personal problems”. This is perhaps not a big deal, especially since the activities were not mandatory, although it was the first of many occasions where Nelson was not available. He made it into the rotation, even scoring a touchdown in his first game, but then injured his shoulder in week two and missed the next game. After returning to the lineup, he played in the next three games, before missing the next three with migraine issues.

In 2010, he injured his groin in preseason and had to have surgery. Then, it was announced that he had violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy and would be suspended for four games. He returned to the lineup in week seven and played the next five games, only to suffer more migraine issues and end up on injured reserve.

In 2011, he showed up 30 pounds heavier, which he had said was to help him with blocking. However, when the Bills surprisingly cut him, the media reported that it was because he showed up overweight. He hadn’t participated in any camp activities due to an undisclosed injury and the emergence of Scott Chandler obviously made him surplus to requirements.

Clearly, Nelson hasn’t been particularly reliable so far, although much of that probably isn’t his fault. Hopefully he’s spent the last two months getting in shape and re-dedicating himself to the game. Let’s now get a sense of how he performed when he DID play.

2009 Season

Week One – New England

Nelson caught two passes for 13 yards and (his only) NFL touchdown. He also dropped a pass and was called for two penalties.

An interesting sequence of plays late in the first quarter saw him line up on the right hand side and pull to the left three times. On the first one, he made a great seal block on the outside linebacker coming off the edge. This opened up a huge hole for a 17-yard gain. On the next one, a couple of plays later, the outside linebacker read the play and pinched in. Nelson couldn’t really find anyone to block and the run was stuffed. On the play after that, he pulled left again, but this time, as the linebacker avoided him, it was a play-action pass and he leaked into the flat to catch the ball and dive in at the pylon for a nine yard touchdown.

He also showed an ability to run block in space, sustaining his block well on Adalius Thomas on the edge for an 11-yard run that was negated by an illegal formation penalty and again on a 3rd and 3 conversion. However, on one similar play the linebacker battled with him to get outside leverage and in his efforts to allow the runner to turn the corner, Nelson grabbed his man’s arm and was called for a hold. The runner did get to the edge for a 12-yard gain, which was obviously called back. Nelson’s other penalty was a false start in the first quarter.

He was targeted another two times, with a pass in the flat being thrown too high so he had to jump to catch it and was held to a 4-yard gain. On another, he got good downfield separation going across the field on a square-in route, but the pass was thrown behind him and he dropped it.

Week Two – Tampa Bay

Nelson caught one pass for 13 yards, but left with a shoulder injury.

Nelson’s only target in this one saw him leak to the outside where he was wide open for a 13-yard catch and run.

As a blocker, he had mixed results. Early on, he drove DE Jimmy Wilkerson back five yards as the runner gained five up the middle. Later, he met an OLB in space and drove him out of the play as the Bills gained four more. After that, he did a good job of making a block at the second level, but then did not sustain the block and his man was able to get to the runner. That ended up being a six yard gain. Finally, a linebacker diagnosed the run and got to the hole before Nelson could make the block, beating him inside to stuff the run for a loss.

Week Four - Miami

Nelson made his return from injury but was not targeted.

An interesting sequence here saw him blocking Jason Taylor on the outside. On the first play, he met him on the edge and made a good kickout block to set up a nine yard gain. On the next play, he lost outside leverage and Taylor was able to string the play out for a loss.

Week Five - Cleveland

Nelson was targeted four times, but caught just one pass for no gain. He was in the game for a career high 67 snaps (85% of the time).

In this game, Nelson’s only catch saw a cornerback come off his man to tackle him in the backfield. This was almost a safety. As a blocker, he had problems sustaining his blocks on a couple of occasions. On one, his man got off his block on the outside and missed the tackle in the backfield before recovering to make the tackle for a loss with his second effort. On another, his man got off his block on the inside and held the run to a three yard gain.

Week Six - Jets

Nelson caught two passes for 34 yards and was called for one penalty. After this game, he missed three weeks with migraine issues.

This must be where Nelson first found his way onto Rex Ryan’s radar screen. Entering the game, the Jets were hitting the opposing quarterback five times per game on average and the Bills were not regarded as a strong pass-protecting team. However, in this game, they thwarted the Jets’ overload blitzes by leaving extra guys in, moving the pocket and generally being extremely well-organized in pass protection. Nelson was one of these guys, as he stayed in seven times and did not allow any pressure. Overall, the Jets blitzed 14 times, but had just one sack and one QB hit.

As a pass catcher, he had a 25 yard gain on a seam route and a nine yard reception on his only two targets.

In the running game, he threw a good early block to set up a 12-yard run, but was beaten on two runs that were stuffed either side of the end of the first quarter. He also had a false start. In the third quarter, he made three consecutive good blocks as the Bills gained nine yards on three straight runs. The first saw Terrell Owens gain nine on an end around as Nelson made a pulling block. Nelson also made a good pulling block on the third of those runs.

Week Ten - Tennessee

Nelson made his return and caught three passes for 13 yards and was also called for a hold on a kickoff. In addition, he recovered a fumble early in the second half.

His most important catch was a five yard gain as he leaked out into the flat on 2nd and 3. As a run blocker, he had a good early block where he blocked the first guy, then peeled off to block a second guy on the edge. The run went for seven yards. Later on, he tried to make a pulling block, but Kyle Vanden Bosch diagnosed the play and avoided him to make the tackle, albeit downfield for a five yard gain, so at least he did enough to enable the runner to get through the line. As a pass blocker, William Hayes got a step on him to the outside and used his strength to pressure the quarterback. This is the only pressure Nelson has given up so far in his career, having stayed in to block 79 times.

Week Eleven - Jacksonville

Nelson was thrown at three times and caught one pass for 25 yards. He also had a costly penalty.

His one catch, late in the second quarter saw him leap over a linebacker to make the grab downfield. On one of the other two targets, he was well-covered and the pass was broken up.

Late in the first quarter, he lined up in the slot and made a cut block on the defensive end to spring an outside run for a 9-yard touchdown. Unfortunately, blocking below the waist is illegal if you are lined up outside the tackle box, so the touchdown was negated.

Other than that, he had mixed results as a run blocker. He made a good second level block on an outside run for 11 and combined with a fullback to seal a run-blitzing linebacker on the inside as a run went outside. He also made two good pulling blocks, cutting his man to the ground on one. Unfortunately, those last three plays netted just seven yards as his linemates didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. Another run went for four yards, but this time it was Nelson’s man who made the stop as he pulled but did not sustain.

Week Twelve - Miami

Nelson was in for 58 snaps, but caught just one pass for 22 yards. Overall, he was targeted four times and had one drop.

Nelson’s one catch here came on a crossing route. Aside from his drop, he also ran a poor route to allow Yeremiah Bell to jump in front of him and intercept a pass. He didn’t have much of an impact as a blocker.

Week Thirteen - Jets

Nelson was not targeted in this game, but again had an important role in pass protection, staying in to block on 12 snaps and helping limit the Jets to just nine QB disruptions.

Nelson’s best block here came on special teams as he met James Ihedigbo head-on and turned him around. You may remember Fred Jackson’s 36-yard run where Kerry Rhodes seemed to be running away from the ball carrier downfield. That play came about because Calvin Pace was blocked on the edge and David Harris got caught in traffic. On that play, Nelson was looking for someone to block at the second level, but there was nobody there. Bart Scott came from the opposite side and was almost able to blow the play up, but Nelson just saw him in time and got enough of him to spring the runner. Later on, despite the fact that the play only went for a two yard gain, he had a very impressive block on Shaun Ellis on the edge. Ellis couldn’t get off the block and was unable to drive Nelson off his spot as he did a good job of standing his ground and sustaining the block until after the whistle.

Week Fourteen – Kansas City

Nelson caught two passes for 19 yards, but also fumbled once.

Nelson had a nice downfield catch on a square-in route, showing soft hands as he got his hands to a high ball and then pulled down a juggling catch. His other catch in the flat, saw the ball stripped away from his grasp for a turnover.

As a run blocker, he did a good job of turning and driving a DE out of the play and forcing his man to the inside to create a small seam behind him. Both plays gained just four yards.

Week Fifteen – New England

Nelson was targeted five times and made a career high four catches, but for just 17 yards. He did recover a muffed punt on special teams, though.

On one of his catches, he was tackled for a loss and on another, he was hit for a short gain and fumbled the ball out of bounds. As a run-blocker, he did a good job of forcing Tully Banta-Cain to the inside, so that the runner could get to the edge for six yards, then made a second level block on another run for eight. However, he was beaten to the inside on a run that was stuffed for a one yard gain.

Week Sixteen - Atlanta

Nelson was not targeted in this game, but performed well as a blocker.

As a run blocker, Nelson did a decent job on DE Chauncey Davis, driving him five yards off the line on one play and turning him out of the play on a short yardage conversion. He also had a good block to drive a safety out of the play on a screen pass for an eight yard gain.

2010 Season

Week Seven - Baltimore

After missing the first six weeks due to injury/suspension, Nelson returned to the lineup and caught two passes for 16 yards on three targets. However, he also lost a fumble.

Nelson was targeted in the endzone late in the first quarter and seemed to have a size mismatch, but the pass was off-target and out of his reach. He did make a great first down catch where he made contact with his man downfield and then broke off his route to the outside. He used his size well on that one. His other catch was less promising as Ray Lewis was able to stop him for a short gain and then ripped the ball away from him as he fought for extra yardage. This was a crucial turnover in overtime that ended up costing the Bills the game.

As a run blocker, there were three runs for 32 yards where Nelson was involved in a key block. On the first, his man shed his block, but luckily Eric Wood was right behind him to block the guy anyway and the play went for 11. Early in the second quarter, he was matched up with Haloti Ngata, who shot the gap and beat him to the inside. However, Nelson used Ngata’s momentum to ride him out of the play and the runner cut back to where they had come from to gain 13. I don’t think that was by design, but if it was, Nelson did a great job. It’s more likely he got badly beaten, but made a good recovery and the back made a good read. Another run to the outside picked up eight as Nelson drove his man back and slowed him up enough to allow the runner to turn the corner.

Week Eight – Kansas City

Nelson was in for just six snaps and was not targeted. He did have a special teams tackle.

Week Nine - Chicago

Nelson was only in for one snap.

Week Ten - Detroit

Nelson was not targeted and was only in the game for 11 snaps.

In this game, Nelson did have one good block, meeting safety Louis Delmas on the edge and springing a huge run with a solid kickout block that he made look easy because of the size difference (six inches, 40 pounds).

Week Eleven - Cincinnati

Nelson was in for nine snaps, catching one pass for nine yards. He left the game with migraine issues and was ultimately placed on injured reserve.

Conclusions

It’s not difficult to see why the Bills cut Shawn Nelson. When you’re a rebuilding team, you don’t want to rely on someone who has proven to be unreliable. However, Nelson showed flashes of being an emerging talent over those first two seasons, so if the Jets can nurture that, they may have found themselves a productive player.

Without knowing what kind of shape he’s in, it’s difficult to know how indicative of what we can expect from him this footage will prove, but Nelson showed that he can get downfield, catch the ball and run after the catch. He also showed that he has good strength and an ability to drive people, including defensive linemen, off their spots and to sustain blocks. Perhaps most importantly of all, he didn’t seem to make many dumb mistakes as a blocker and it was rare that he was cleanly beaten.

If this provides a realistic assessment of what Nelson is likely to be able to provide the Jets, then I would say he has more to offer as a pass catcher and blocker than Matt Mulligan does, based on current form. His consistency as a pass blocker has been much more reliable – although he only stayed in to block seven times in 2010. As a run blocker, his strength is impressive and he appears better at finding a man in space and at sustaining blocks than Mulligan. Drops and fumbles are always concerning, but less important if he's been brought in primarily as a blocker.

Even if he has worked his way back into shape, the question is how much effect will that extra 30 pounds have on his speed – he ran a 4.56 at the combine – and will it improve his blocking? If Nelson is ready to re-dedicate himself as his former teammate Aaron Maybin seems to have, then perhaps he is ready to turn his career around. If not, the Jets haven’t lost anything by trying – and, who knows, maybe they’ll pick up some useful information along the way.

Check back tomorrow for a midseason "Expendables" update!
Tags: BGA, Bent Double

New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams on the sidelines during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams on the sidelines during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets have officially picked up DL Leonard Williams' fifth-year option, keeping Williams with the team through 2019 at least. 

Williams, 23, the sixth overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, will make $14.2 million in 2019, assuming he's considered a defensive end. If they try to say he's a defensive tackle, the contract will be $11.4 million, according to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano. The contract becomes fully guaranteed next March.

"It's definitely time to step up and take it to the next level," Williams said last week via Vacchiano. "That comes with a lot. It's just not my play on the field. It comes with my leadership, how I approach work, how much time I'm putting in outside of the mandatory hours into my craft, into my game."

Tags: Leonard Williams
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Who will the Jets select #3? 00:05:13
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano and SNY NFL Draft Expert Rich Cirminiello discuss who the Jets will select third overall in the NFL Draft.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

In less than a week, Jets GM Mike Maccagnan will make the most important draft pick of his tenure with the team, the one that surely will define his legacy.

No pressure, right?

Tags: Eli Manning, Josh McCown, Ralph Vacchiano
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Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Over the last few weeks, we looked at some of the players who have been invited to attend an official pre-draft visit with the Jets. With the visits ending earlier this week, let's take a final look at a selection of the players New York brought in.

Parry Nickerson, CB, Tulane

Nickerson is a four-year starter who was a constant standout on the Tulane defense. During his career, he recorded 16 interceptions, broke up another 31 passes and scored two defensive touchdowns. He turned heads at the scouting combine when he ran a 4.32 40-yard dash.

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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon are ready to open their present that is the #3 pick in the NFL Draft. The guys discuss the possibility of the Jets trading up, yet again, and the crazy idea of selecting a non-QB (can someone say Bradley Chubb) with the 3rd overall selection. Plus, former NFL QB Dan Orlovsky calls in to give his insight into the top four quarterbacks.

Click below to listen

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 (Tim Fuller)
(Tim Fuller)

The Jets will open the 2018 season in Detroit against the Lions on Monday night football, and finish things in Week 17 on the road against the Patriots.

Their entire 2018 schedule has been confirmed by SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, and is below...

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Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Former QB Dan Orlovsky thinks the Jets are targeting Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield with the No. 3 pick in the Draft, and one of the reasons is very specific.

Orlovsky, who played under Kyle Shanahan, noted that Jets OC Jeremy Bates is from the Mike Shanahan coaching tree. And that one of the traits Shanahan loved about John Elway is that he would screw his back foot into the ground when he threw -- adding that Bates loves that trait in quarterbacks as well. 

"There's one guy in the Draft who has that trait," Orlovsky said earlier this week on SNY's Jet Stream podcast. "And it's Baker Mayfield. He does the same thing when he throws. And I just think that those coaches fall in love with traits of guys that remind them of players that they had success with in the past. I think that they're looking at Baker Mayfield and going 'that's our guy.'"

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Projecting trades in a Mock Draft is a futile effort. There are too many variables and rumors. It's mostly speculation. And really, it's just an exercise in fantasy football.

But … well, who doesn't love fantasy football?

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Oct 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold. (Kirby Lee)
Oct 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold. (Kirby Lee)

In his latest mock draft, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer has the Jets taking Sam Darnold as their quarterback of the future at No. 3. 

Many experts believe Darnold could be the first overall pick by the Browns, and if he doesn't land with Cleveland, then the Giants would scoop him up at No. 2. However, with Josh Allen as Breer's No. 1 pick and the Giants electing to go with Saquon Barkley over a quarterback, Darnold drops in the Jets' lap. 

So, there is no need for the Jets to choose between Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield...

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Mangold's Hall of Fame chances 00:04:59
Dan Graca and Jon Hein debate over Nick Mangold's chances at making the Hall of Fame and the Devils' chances at beating the Lightning.

After a year out of football, No. 74 is officially hanging up the cleats. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: On the lists of favorite players and all-time greats, you'll rarely find a center. They're buried in the trenches, often noticed only when a bad snap happens or a defensive tackle breaks through.

The same was probably true for Nick Mangold during his 11 NFL seasons - rarely noticed from the outside and incredibly underappreciated game to game. Yet somehow he still emerged from his long career as a fan favorite. And he definitely emerged as one of the Jets' all-time greats.

Tags: Nick Mangold
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New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams gestures while jogging on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams gestures while jogging on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan made it clear he had no worries about the state of the Jets' defensive line heading into the offseason. Sure, they've lost a lot of talent in recent years, trading Sheldon Richardson, cutting Muhammad Wilkerson and not re-signing Damon Harrison.

But they still have Leonard Williams, the sixth pick of the 2015 draft, and despite a down season last year, the Jets have huge expectations for him.

Tags: Damon Harrison, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Los Angeles Chargers kicker Nick Rose attempts a field goal during an NFL game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Nick Rose attempts a field goal during an NFL game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets were awarded kicker Nick Rose on Monday after the Los Angeles Chargers placed him on waivers, the team announced.

Rose made 11 of 14 field goals in 10 games with the Chargers and Washington Redskins last season and converted on 23 of 26 extra points. He went 1-for-3 as a member of the Chargers in Weeks 16 and 17, and 10-for-11 in eight games with Washington. His longest make last year was 55 yards.

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Brian Winters remembers everything about the moment his 2017 season went off the rails. He remembers the time, the place, the play, and without question, the pain.

"It was second quarter in Oakland (in Week 2) with five minutes to go before half when we were driving in to the north end zone. I still remember it like it was yesterday," said the 26-year-old guard. "It was an outside zone play and (running back) Bilal (Powell) was trying to stretch it outside of me, so I went to continue to push my guy through. And as soon as I pushed through I felt like a pop."

Tags: Brian Winters, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jeff Badet catches a touchdown pass against Texas Longhorns defensive back Kris Boyd in the second quarter at the Cotton Bowl. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jeff Badet catches a touchdown pass against Texas Longhorns defensive back Kris Boyd in the second quarter at the Cotton Bowl. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Last week, we looked at some of the players who have been invited to attend an official pre-draft visit with the Jets. More names have leaked out over the past seven days, so let's break down some of the more interesting ones in detail.

Jeff Badet, WR, Oklahoma

Badet spent most of his collegiate career at Kentucky, but saw some high profile action last year after transferring to Oklahoma. He wasn't invited to the scouting combine, but if he had been, his pro day numbers for the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump would all have ranked first or second at the receiver position.

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: It's not quite crunch time yet, but there are less than three weeks until the start of the first round of the NFL draft, which means draft boards are in their final stages all around the league. It also means that the truth about which players are being targeted by which teams is starting to leak out -- albeit slowly.

Still, there are a lot of variables, especially in the first two picks. But at the moment there aren't many changes to my latest Mini-Mock Draft. The Browns are still taking a quarterback at 1. The Jets are still definitely taking one at 3. And I still think the Giants will take one -- assuming the right one is available -- at 2.

Here's a full look at my new Top 10, with some updated inside information...

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Former Jets QB Mark Sanchez has been suspended four games after violating the performance-enhancing drug policy, the league announced Friday. 

Sanchez, who last played for the Jets in 2013, was the Bear's third-string quarterback last season. He claimed that "unknowing supplement contamination" was the reason for his drug test to turn up positive. 

The 31-year-old took to Instagram to explain the whole story...

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 (Kamil Krzaczynski)
(Kamil Krzaczynski)

The Jets have already begun condensing their roster for next season as the team announced several cuts on Friday. 

Among them was former Bears RB Jeremy Langford, who signed a reserve/future contract with the Jets worth $630,000 this offseason. The 26-year-old spent time jumping through practice squads last season, and though he was promoted to the Ravens' 53-man roster, an injury pushed him to the IR the same week he joined the team. 

Langford was released following his IR placement, and the former fourth-round pick wouldn't see time for the rest of the season.

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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) greets Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) during warmups before a game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) greets Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) during warmups before a game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

WR Dez Bryant was released by the Cowboys on Friday afternoon, with Bryant reportedly hinting afterwards that he might be staying in the NFC East.

Bryant, 29, had a down year in 2017, with 69 receptions for 838 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games.

"I let a lot of things get in the way that bother me mentally," Bryant said late last season. "I feel like, if anything, I need to deal with in the offseason - is that. Like I said, there's only certain things I can control."

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are taking a quarterback with the third overall pick in the draft. They know it. Everyone knows it. And they know everyone knows it. "I mean, you'd have to be out of your mind to think otherwise," was how one team official said it. The only lingering question is: Which one?

The Jets have had or will have had private meetings and workouts with all of the top four, and GM Mike Maccagnan has made the rounds at their Pro Days. When they traded up to No. 3 they were convinced that they'd be happy with choosing from whichever two (or three) fell to them. And obviously at least two of the Big Four -- USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Wyoming's Josh Allen -- will still be there...

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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon take their deepest dive yet into the NFL Draft. They discuss the latest with the four quarterbacks, as well as look back at Willie's draft process with the Steelers in 2006. Later, Brian Costello of the New York Post joins the show to give his take on the draft and the possibility of Mike Maccagnan signing defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

Click below to listen

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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) gestures after thrown a touchdown pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson, not pictured, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) gestures after thrown a touchdown pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson, not pictured, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

The Jets' preseason schedule has been officially released for the 2018 season. 

The Falcons will be Gang Green's first opponent of the new year on their home turf. Then, they will hit the road to face the Redskins on Aug. 16 at 8 p.m.

The annual Snoopy Bowl at MetLife Stadium between the Jets and Giants will be the Week 3 matchup, with the Jets getting home field advantage.

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Top QB prospect Josh Rosen 00:01:13
Former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is expected to be taken as one of the top QB's in the 2018 NFL Draft.

In his latest mock draft, ESPN's Mel Kiper sees the Jets grabbing UCLA QB Josh Rosen with their third overall pick -- as SNY's Ralph Vacchiano projects in his Mini Mock Draft 3.0. 

The Jets clearly traded up to the No. 3 slot to take one of the highly touted quarterbacks. With Wyoming's Josh Allen and USC's Sam Darnold going to the Browns and Giants respectively, Rosen appears the best option for the Jets in Kiper's mind. 

CLICK BELOW TO READ KIPER'S ANALYSIS

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Oct 22, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets tight end Eric Tomlinson (83) hurdles Miami Dolphins strong safety Nate Allen (29) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Oct 22, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets tight end Eric Tomlinson (83) hurdles Miami Dolphins strong safety Nate Allen (29) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Having opted to let Austin Seferain-Jenkins leave in free agency, the Jets are relying on a group of young tight ends to replace his production, recently adding two more options to the mix.

It's possible the Jets could look to add to the group via the draft but, for now, let's consider what each of the tight ends currently on the roster brings to the table, and consider how they might be used in 2018...

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Top QB prospect Josh Rosen 00:01:13
Former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is expected to be taken as one of the top QB's in the 2018 NFL Draft.

With the NFL Draft a little over two weeks away, the Jets continue to get their last live look at the top prospects they could select with their third overall pick. 

After Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield wraps up his private workout with the Jets Tuesday, UCLA QB Josh Rosen will visit the team, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

After Rosen's visit, USC QB Sam Darnold is expected to be next on the list at some point later this week. Wyoming QB Josh Allen is also expected to visit at a later date.

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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

The Jets continue to bolster their defense with another addition at the second tier in vetearn LB Kevin Minter, the team announced Monday. 

Minter most recently played for the Bengals in 2017, where he tallied 32 tackles in nine games. 

He was a second round draft pick by the Cardinals back in 2013, and he would spend four seasons in Arizona before heading to Cincinnati. He totaled 175 tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble, and six passes defended over 61 games (37 starts). 

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Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson (12) runs after the catch in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)
Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson (12) runs after the catch in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)

The Jets continue to stack their wide receiving corps for next season as former Vikings WR Charles Johnson signed a deal with the team on Monday. 

Johnson, who was waived by the Panthers in July 2017, sat out all last season due to surgery on his right knee. He played for the Vikings from 2014-16, where he totaled 60 receptions for 834 yards and two touchdowns over 39 games. 

The Grand Valley State product was a Packers' seventh-rounder back in 2013, and after joinging the team's practice squad following camp that year, the Brown picked him up to join their 53-man squad. He dressed but never saw action with the Browns. 

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The Jets' free agency strategy 00:12:52
The Jets Nation panel analyzes the Jets' recent free-agent additions, including former Vikings franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Here is the most up-to-date information on whom the Jets have added and lost during free agency, including contract details and salary cap information. Be sure to bookmark this page and check back for frequent updates.

JETS SALARY CAP SPACE

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Dec 27, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley (25) rushes against Boston College Eagles defensive tackle Noa Merritt (94) during the second half of the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Dec 27, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley (25) rushes against Boston College Eagles defensive tackle Noa Merritt (94) during the second half of the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

While the Jets are reportedly hosting Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen for official Draft visits this week, we've also been keeping an eye on who else is reportedly scheduled to attend. Last year, both Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye took official visits before being selected with the Jets' top two picks.

Aside from the quarterbacks, most of this year's names that have leaked so far would be players the Jets might be hoping will drop to day three of the draft or maybe even be available as a priority free agent if they go undrafted. Let's look at some of the more interesting prospects...

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Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

With the NFL Draft just 17 days away, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield is scheduled to meet with the Jets in Florham Park on Monday and Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

The Jets have already met with Mayfield on multiple occasons -- including at the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine -- and the team held a private workout with him. 

The 22-year-old Mayfield, who is expected to be selected early in the first round, threw 119 touchdowns in three seasons with Oklahoma and capped it off by throwing 43 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2017 when he started a career-high 14 games...

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell is pursued by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell on a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter during an NFL football game at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell is pursued by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell on a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter during an NFL football game at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Despite the retirement of Matt Forte, the Jets have bolstered their depth in the offensive backfield with a couple of veteran additions. Let's give consideration to what each back brings to the table and how they might find a niche in the Jets' offense this season.

Bilal Powell...

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Sep 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Indianapolis Colts nose tackle Al Woods (99) and Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) wait to take the field before the Colts game with the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)
Sep 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Indianapolis Colts nose tackle Al Woods (99) and Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) wait to take the field before the Colts game with the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)

Free agent DT Johnathan Hankins visited the Jets on Thursday, reports Dan Graziano of ESPN. Hankins, who was cut by the Colts earlier this offseason, has also visited the Redskins.

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Giants, Hankins agreed to a four-your deal with the Colts worth $30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets were obviously looking for an upgrade at defensive tackle when they made their brief -- and ill-advised -- pursuit of Ndamukong Suh. Thankfully, they pulled the plug on that before it happened. Johnathan Hankins could turn out to be a much better fit...

Tags: Johnathan Hankins
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