During the offseason, I’ll be looking back at certain aspects of the Jets’ season by analyzing data compiled from all nineteen games, rather than watching film. I will be tackling as many diverse topics as possible, but welcome your suggestions or requests in the comments.

This week, I am going to look at the screen pass. A staple of the Chad Pennington/Vinny Testaverde eras, the screen pass is a weapon which many Jets fans feel should be used more. Some state that the Jets don't use it enough, but is that accurate? Others have said that the Jets are incapable of running this play, but does that come down to coaching, execution or personnel?

After the jump, I look at the data from the past three seasons to try and determine how successful the Jets have been in running this play compared with other teams and if there are any obvious trends linked to the personnel changes over the past couple of years.

Once again, I have used data provided by ProFootballFocus.com in researching this article and we thank them for providing us with exclusive access.

Note: In defining a "screen pass" I have used any pass where the ball was thrown to a receiver behind the line of scrimmage. Although this may eliminate some screen passes where the ball was caught beyond the line of scrimmage or where the pass travelled laterally and the play was therefore classified as a run, I consider these to be rare, so it is the simplest and most convenient way to ensure I am comparing equivalent data sets.

Why Do They "Never" Run a Screen Pass?

One common complaint is that the Jets never even tried to run a screen pass last season. Before we consider the reasons why this might be, is it justified? Let's look at some numbers from last year and compare how often teams threw screen passes when they did pass the ball. For simplicity, I will only consider the numbers for the main starting quarterback.

Jets - 8.1% of all throws were screen passes

Miami - 16.4%

Indianapolis - 11.1%

New England - 9.3%

Green Bay - 12.9%

Pittsburgh - 14.8%

Philadelphia - 15.7%

Buffalo - 12.9%

Detroit - 16.6%

Chicago - 10.8%

NY Giants - 13.0%

That's just a random sample of teams, but you can clearly see that the Jets threw less screen passes than any of them - significantly so, in some cases. You may be surprised to note that New England is the only other team that threw beyond the line of scrimmage over 90% of the time.

So, there does seem to be some truth to the complaint that the Jets don't run the screen pass as often as most other teams. What could be the reasons for this? Here are some suggestions. As always, we welcome your alternative theories in the comments.

1. Is it a strategic decision?

2. Is the quarterback incapable of running one successfully?

3. Are the receivers incapable of making the play work?

4. Are the blockers incapable of blocking capably on such plays?

5. Is the offensive co-ordinator incapable of running one successfully?

6. Has it been overlooked or forgotten in lieu of some other play?

Let's tackle these one at a time.

Strategic Decision?

A screen pass usually works best when the defense rushes the quarterback with several guys, leaving them outnumbered downfield by potential blockers. Early in the season, teams started approaching the Jets by dropping linebackers into coverage and flooding short to intermediate routes. The result of this is that the screen pass may not have been effective, because you are simply throwing a pass underneath and several would-be tacklers will have a chance to keep the play in front of them. This was a common tactic employed by opposing defenses, so it may have been a conscious decision to run fewer screen passes based on the assumption that it would not be a high-percentage play.

The Jets wouldn't be the first team to decide that running a screen pass was a low percentage play and remove it from their gameplan. After their loss to the Jets in Week Two of 2009, Bill Belichick was asked why he didn't counter the Jets pressure by running screen passes and he admitted that this would be a low-percentage and risky option because the Jets man-blitzes often accounted for the back out of the backfield. This underscores the fact that sometimes, the screen pass is an option that might not work and the fact this comes from another team that don't run very many is perhaps thought-provoking.

It's certainly possible that the Jets ran fewer screen passes than everybody else because they didn't think the play was likely to work, but that may not necessarily have been for strategic reasons.

Can Mark Sanchez Execute a Screen Pass?

The decision not to use the screen pass much may instead be born of a lack of confidence in Mark Sanchez' ability to execute the play. We'll get to exactly how successful the screen passes the Jets did run in 2010 were in due course, but the decision to not run many may simply reflect what critics of Sanchez have been saying since he was drafted. His accuracy is not very good.

Pinpoint accuracy is vitally important when throwing the screen pass. The most accurate quarterback in NFL history (in terms of completion percentage) is former Jet Chad Pennington and Jets fans will remember how successful he was in the short passing game because his receivers were able to catch the ball without breaking stride. If you throw slightly behind a receiver, or force them to stretch for the ball, they can lose all upfield momentum and the timing of the play is thrown off. If Brian Schottenheimer lacked confidence in his ability to make the throw accurately, then he might have considered a different pass to be a higher percentage option.

Do They Have the Receivers to Make a Screen Pass Work?

Receiving personnel is another key consideration. While Testaverde and Pennington had guys like Curtis Martin and Richie Anderson to dump the ball off to, the Jets lacked that type of player once Leon Washington went down in 2009. With the arrival of LaDainian Tomlinson in 2010, the Jets were better equipped to throw screen passes, but the loss of Washington removed a dynamic playmaking option from the equation.

Also, when the Jets replaced small, quick, receivers such as Chansi Stuckey, Laveranues Coles and David Clowney with the likes of Braylon Edwards and Patrick Turner, they again lost some of the shiftiness and acceleration that lends itself to a successful screen play.

Can They Block a Screen Pass Effectively?

Although the Jets made a conscious decision to beef up the offensive line by moving on from Alan Faneca and replacing him with Matt Slauson, they still have plenty of downfield blocking ability. Nick Mangold has always excelled at getting out in front and D'Brickashaw Ferguson has also made tremendous progress in that area. Slauson and Brandon Moore might not be as athletic as Faneca was at his peak, but they are no slouches, and - despite what their rankings say - the Jets have some capable blockers at the wide receiver position.

Although the Jets had many screen passes that failed to work this season, an inaccurately thrown pass can prevent a screen pass from working even if the blocks are set up well. In fact, there were a number of occasions where the intended receiver appeared to have blockers out in front, only for the pass to fall incomplete.

Does the Offensive Co-Ordinator Know How to Design a Screen Pass?

Once again, we are thrust headlong into an Execution v Coaching debate. Any of the personnel issues listed above may or may not be the reason that the screen pass was often overlooked last season. Or are they just excuses? Fortunately, we can get some valuable insight from further research here, because Schottenheimer was also the offensive co-ordinator before many of the personnel changes took place. Will there be a marked improvement in the numbers from a few years ago, or is Schottenheimer the common denominator in the failure of Jets to run a screen pass effectively? Keep reading to find out.

Has the Screen Pass Been Forgotten?

The final question is whether the Jets reluctance to use the screen pass is a conscious decision or has it merely been overlooked because the Jets have so many weapons that they need/want to try and get involved. Maybe they haven't decided it won't work - whether that be because of the defensive alignment, or their inability to execute it well due to personnel or coaching - they've just stopped trying for whatever reason. This sounds plausible, but based on how successful the play was over the last couple of seasons, the alternative possibilities would appear more likely.

How Successful Were the Screens They DID Run?

Sanchez completed 81% of his screen passes, for just 4.0 yards per catch. Based on that, they might have been better off just running the ball, but those numbers are pretty meaningless unless you put them alongside those of his peers. Here are some pertinent examples:

Chad Henne - 87%, 6.4 ypc

Peyton Manning - 95%, 6.4 ypc

Tom Brady - 80%, 8.2 ypc

Surprisingly, Brady had a lower completion percentage, but the plays gained over twice as many yards. Again, that comes down to how accurately the ball is thrown. Just for fun, these were Chad Pennington's numbers in 2008:

Chad Pennington - 91%, 6.4 ypc.

As you can see, the Jets were not nearly as successful as these other teams. Of course, that isn't necessarily on Sanchez, although PFF did rate him negatively on ten short passes to running backs in 2010 - seven overthrows and three underthrows. In contrast, Brady had just two - one of which was David Harris' interception - and Peyton Manning had just three. Therefore, there is some evidence to suggest that Sanchez was a major part of the reason why the screen passes were not quite as effective as they might have been.

How did the team fare in Sanchez' rookie year, then? They actually ran fewer screen passes, but they also passed less overall, so as a percentage, they ran screen passes 11.8% of the time, which is comparable to a few of the examples from earlier. In 2009, Sanchez only completed 72%, so you can begin to see why they started to go away from it. However, the improvement to 81% in 2010 is a positive sign. Hopefully this suggests that Sanchez is improving in that area and the screen pass will eventually become a more reliable option. Also in 2009, the play was pretty successful when it was completed, gaining 7.5 yards per catch. However, when you consider yards per attempt, the low completion percentage drops that figure below that of Miami, New England and Indianapolis from the list of 2010 examples above.

Why Was the YPC so Low in 2010?

First it should be noted that the sample sizes are small enough that a big play could have a huge impact on the numbers. For example, Jerricho Cotchery had a 33 yard gain on a WR screen called back for a holding penalty. Had that stood, the YPC number would have risen from 4.0 to 4.7. As another example, you'll recall Tom Brady pitching to Danny Woodhead on what was ruled a 50 yard catch against the Jets. Had that been classed as a run, New England's YPC would have dropped by over a yard and Woodhead's would have almost halved.

Looking at the individual splits, one major reason is that LaDainian Tomlinson was pretty inefficient on screen passes. He averaged under three yards per catch and if you remove him from the equation, the rest of the screen passes thrown in 2010 averaged a more respectable 5.2 ypc.

Tomlison was a reliable checkdown option over the middle, but perhaps his lack of speed and inability to break tackles relative to someone like Leon Washington obviously limited his ability to make much ground when catching the ball behind the line. Let's compare Tomlinson's 21 catches for 57 yards (with four incompletions) on screen passes with some of the other backs around the league.

Ray Rice (league leader in receiving yards for RBs) - 31-309 (five incompletions)

Danny Woodhead (league leader in yards per catch for RBs) - 8-96 (four inc.)

Jamaal Charles (PFF's top rated overall RB) - 20-118 (three inc.)

LeSean McCoy (league leader in receptions for RBs) - 54-408 (five inc.)

Darren McFadden (big play specialist) - 26-253 (no inc.)

While there may be some evidence that the Jets' ability to run a screen pass was hampered by the effectiveness of their receiving personnel, the accuracy of passes thrown to Tomlinson or possibly the play design may also be a factor in his low relative success rate. Maybe these factors had a material effect on his ability to break tackles. Certainly, if you look back to Tomlinson's numbers on screen passes with Phil Rivers throwing him the ball in 2008 and 2009, his production far exceeds the 21-57 he achieved in 2010. In 2009, he had 15 catches for 77 yards (with two incompletions) and in 2008 he caught 29 for 190 yards (with seven incompletions). While Tomlinson's overall numbers have dipped since 2008, there was no discernable drop-off between 2009 and 2010, which again suggests that his numbers on screen passes should have been similar and therefore must be lower due to either the passer or the system.

How Did the Jets Fare Before Sanchez?

Unfortunately, I do not have the data available to appraise the efficacy of screen passes thrown while Chad Pennington was at the helm. However, we do have data for 2008. Brett Favre may not have been that accurate as a Jet, but with Leon Washington as an option and a smaller, shiftier crop of receivers, would his numbers throwing the screen pass be significantly better than those of Mark Sanchez, or would they be similarly hampered by Brian Schottenheimer's perceived inability to design a screen play properly?

The first thing to note is that they ran the screen pass 18% of the time - more than any of the teams in the previous examples. Clearly the screen pass was more of a staple of the offense back then and they had more confidence in it. Given that he threw screens about twice as often, how did Favre's numbers stack up with Sanchez' two year totals of 77% completions, 5.5 yards per catch and 4.2 yards per attempt?

Percentage - 89.4%

Yards per Catch - 5.7 ypc

Yards per Attempt - 5.1 ypa

Clearly these numbers were significantly better than those for Mark Sanchez, which suggests that any contention that Brian Schottenheimer doesn't know how to use a screen pass can be shot down and the reason they have used it less with Sanchez at the helm must be because they expected it to be less effective. For a further comparison, let's look at what Favre did with screen passes over the last couple of years in Minnesota.

Threw a screen 13.5% of the time

Completed 85%

Yards per catch - 6.8

Yards per attempt - 5.8

A slight improvement, but not significant enough to suggest that Favre was significantly better off throwing screen passes in Minnesota.

Having reached the conclusion that LaDainian Tomlinson's effectiveness was impacted by joining the Jets, we can also consider whether any of the other Jets were more effective on screen passes before Sanchez took over at Quarterback.

- Leon Washington - 2008: 26-228 (4 incompletions), 2009: 3-25 (3 incompletions).

Already you can see how Sanchez' accuracy had an effect. Obviously, Leon was hurt early in the season, so the sample size is small, but already you can see that the play was used less and was less effective per attempt. Critics of Brian Schottenheimer might point to this as evidence that Leon was under-utilized, but it was actually just a sign that they were choosing to get the ball to him in ways other than via the screen pass. He still averaged over 14 touches a game (not including kick and punt returns) in those first six games, well ahead of his 2008 pace - under eight touches per game.

- Thomas Jones - 2008: 21-121 (3 incompletions), 2009: 5-22 (4 incompletions).

Once again, you can see a significant drop in terms of usage, accuracy and yardage per attempt. For what it's worth, Jones caught all five screen passes for 19 yards in 2010, but the Chiefs tended to use the speedier Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster for that play and Jones' numbers for accuracy and yards per attempt were still better than in 2009.

- Jerricho Cotchery - 2008: 12-50 (one incompletion), 2009/2010: 16-123 (one incompletion)

Here we start to see a pattern develop. Sanchez was just as good, if not better, in terms of throwing screen passes to his receivers. That seems to apply across the board, but I've used Cotchery to illustrate this because he is the main target and the one who seems to have the most success per attempt (Brad Smith, Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes have a combined 11 catches for 18 yards over the last three years). When you throw the ball to a receiver in the flat, it's more of a fast pass, whereas Sanchez seems to struggle with a soft dump-off to his backs. In other words, touch is as much of a problem for him as accuracy. Of his 10 incomplete screen passes in 2010, none went to wide receivers and of his 12 incomplete screen passes in 2009, only three did.

Just to underline this, let's compare Favre's 2008 numbers for RB screens only, to those of Sanchez in 2009/2010:

Favre - 47 for 54 (87%), 349 yards (6.5 ypc, 7.4 ypa)

Sanchez - 36 for 53 (68%), 134 yards (2.5 ypc, 3.7 ypa)

That's pretty illuminating.

Is Blocking the Problem?

To answer this question, we can again look back to 2008, when the Jets had more success with the screen pass. The offensive line was the same in 2010 as it was back in 2008, apart from the fact that Matt Slauson replaced Alan Faneca. Looking at PFF's ratings for screen blocking in 2008, all five graded positively. Ferguson and Woody were 3rd and 6th in the league for screen blocking among tackles, Faneca and Moore were 6th and 14th respectively among guards and Mangold was 10th among centers. So, all five were capable of doing a good job. None have factored in the leaders for screen blocking since then, due to the Jets not running many screens and having limited success when they do so.

Maybe Alan Faneca was better at blocking in space in 2008 than Matt Slauson is now, but otherwise, the line should still be able to perform up to that level. In fact, any downgrade from the left guard position can perhaps be offset by Ferguson's improvements in that area. One minor concern might be that Brandon Moore was graded as the worst guard in the NFL on screen passes in 2009. However, he was back in the middle of the pack in 2010, so that's probably just an aberration due to the small sample size. Overall, I think the linemen are equipped to block screen passes effectively and are not the reason for the play not being as successful as it might have been.

One other underrated aspect was that Laveraneus Coles was an surprisingly effective blocker on screens. In 2008, he ranked behind just Jabar Gaffney for screen blocking among wide receivers, despite having a negative blocking grade overall. Having said that, Coles had a negative grade for screen blocking in 2009 with the Bengals and overall I consider the current crop of Jets wideouts to be about as good at blocking as that 2008 group.

Looking Ahead

Although the yards per attempt and the percentage of throws that were screens dipped in 2010, the Jets did throw more screen passes overall and Sanchez was able to improve his completion percentage from 72% to 81%, which is hopefully a sign that he is growing in that area. If the Jets get younger at the Right Tackle position, that may improve their ability to get out in front. There is evidence to suggest that Brian Schottenheimer and Bill Callahan have had success with the screen pass in the past, so that shouldn't hold them back. The final question is whether they have the personnel at running back to make the screen game work.

LaDainian Tomlinson did not produce well on screen passes last year and is not getting any younger. However, with a reduced role and better ball placement, he can perhaps replicate his 2009 numbers which would represent a big improvement. Shonn Greene is developing as a receiver, catching two screen passes for 14 yards last year, but also seeing five fall incomplete. Again, better accuracy from Sanchez should see an improvement there. It would seem that Joe McKnight is well equipped to make an impact in this area, although he - perhaps surprisingly - only had 13 catches for 66 yards in three years at USC. Then again, Sanchez was his Quarterback for some of that time. One other option might be John Conner, who caught 25 passes for 193 yards in college, so should represent an upgrade over Tony Richardon (4-for-17 on screen passes over the last three years) in the passing game.

Conclusions

Maybe Brian Schottenheimer could draw up better plays or call them at better times. Maybe the blocking could be better. Maybe the playmaking abilities of the Jets' skill position players leave a lot to be desired. However, on this occasion, the evidence points overwhelmingly to the fact that Mark Sanchez is the weak link at the moment in the Jets' screen game. When throwing the ball to his backs, Sanchez' accuracy is statistically well below that of his peers. Furthermore, even when he completes the pass, his ball placement is inconsistent, reducing the effectiveness of the play. The statistics and my recollections from film study during the season both bear this out.

The fact that he improved his completion percentage on screen passes in 2010 is a positive sign that hopefully this is an area that he will contnue to grow in. If the screen pass is a weapon they can use more effectively over the next few seasons, it will make the offense all the more dynamic.

Tags: BGA, Main Page, Bent Double

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)

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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)

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

Former Jets WR/DB and Super Bowl champion, Bill Rademacher, has passed at the age of 75, the team confirmed on Tuesday. 

Rademacher came out of Northern Michigan undrafted, and ending up joining the Jets as a receiver in 1964. He would play in New York for five seasons that included a Super Bowl title in 1968. 

After getting released in 1969, he joined the Boston Patriots where he played just two seasons before retiring. Radebacher, then, became the head coach of Norther Michigan, where he owned a 37-16-1 career record. 

Overall, he played in 58 games totaling 24 receptions for 282 yards and three touchdowns.

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