At 3-6 things look like they are only getting worse for the New York Jets, as they have looked inept on offense and continue to shoot themselves in the foot on Special Teams. The question probably at the forefront of most fans minds is "how could this happen?" How the mighty-looking have fallen after back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances and looking competitive for most of last season, the Jets have looked just abysmal and now according to various reports the locker room is once again fracturing. I have a theory so play along and let's see if we can't come up with some answers:

Big Bets Going Bad:

Organizationally, the Jets have made some pretty big gambles on certain players and even seasons, many of which were very short-sighted. The first of which was the bet that the organization made on the 2010 season, coming off of an improbable AFC Championship Game run, Mike Tannenbaum and Company, hamstrung by the quirky final eight plan rules surrendered a number of draft picks in order to bring in some big name talent in Antonio Cromartie and Santonio Holmes, both of whom were in the final years of their respective contracts.

Going into 2010, almost a quarter of the roster were on one-year contracts or in walk-years a la Cromartie, Holmes, and Braylon Edwards. The Florham Park "think tank" put all their chips in the middle on a Super Bowl run in 2010 and for a while it looked like it was going to pay off until the defense suddenly forgot how to tackle against the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. The gamble failed: No Super Bowl and a roster destined for some serious turnover (more than the organization even expected). Oh, that's right, there was also a little lockout that truncated the whole free agency process.

This is not an allusion to my post from last week but mere matter of fact: The 2011 off-season was a matter of simple math for the Jets. They had "x" amount of guys that were set to be free agents and only "y" amount of cap room with which to work with. There were decisions to be made and make them they did, allowing Braylon Edwards to walk in favor of Santonio Holmes, unsuccessfully courting Nnamdi Asomugha and giving Cromartie a long-term deal. In addition they re-signed David Harris to a long-term deal. These were all moves that seemed like the right decision at the time.

However, the Jets allowed some key contributors to walk including special teams ace and wildcat quarterback, Brad Smith who, in all fairness, did receive a contract offer that far outweighed his value from the Bills. Instead of opting to draft a "number one" type wide receiver or court a younger one like Steve Breaston via free agency, they opted to scour the New York penal system and signed the recently incarcerated Plaxico Burress, who hadn't played a down in almost three years to that point. The most egregious move was signing the almost-40 Derrick Mason who proved to be a locker room cancer. All the flux at the wide receiver position is believed to have been what prompted one of the key character guys and sure-handed YAC machine in Jerricho Cotchery to ask for his release.

For all of the aforementioned moves, none was worse than re-signing career backup Wayne Hunter to take over for one of the best Right Tackles in the league, Damien Woody, who sailed off into retirement following an Achilles injury. I don't feel the need to tell you how last season turned out for Hunter and yet, the organization saw enough in him to bring him back for another season and then promptly jettisoned him when they found what they already should have known - he isn't good enough. The protection was abysmal and the weapons around then third-year starter, Mark Sanchez decreased markedly in terms of talent.

The gist of this recap is that instead of building through the draft and opting to construct a team built for long-term success, the Jets put most of their eggs in the 2010 basket and it backfired. In fact, the Jets have made the fewest draft picks out of any team in the league since 2006, instead trading them away for guys like Braylon Edwards who was essentially a two-year rental. When you have fewer draft picks, you need to hit on a higher number of said picks in order to not set the team back while continuing to build depth, which leads me to my next point.

The Draft:

Like most teams the Jets have had their ups (2006, 2007) and their downs (2008, 2010) when it comes to the draft but it has been exacerbated by the dearth of draft picks they've had. Bill Polian's philosophy when it comes to drafting is that the top 12 teams in the league will hit on about 64% percent of their draft picks whereas the bottom 20 teams will typically hit on about 57% of their respective draft picks when given a full complement of picks. Well, unfortunately the Jets have rarely had a full complement of picks since 2006 and as such have had to "hit" or be right on a higher percentage of them.

Three years out is the standard barometer to determine whether or not a draft pick is a productive player or a bust. Using that formula (and I guess this may be subjective as to whether a player is productive or not), I calculated that the Jets from 2006-2010 have only "hit" on about 48% of their draft picks. This has undoubtedly hurt them because that is how you build depth and how you build sustained success and, for as awesome and great as 2009 and 2010 have been, two years is not sustained success. The Jets had three consecutive drafts from 2008-2010 where they had less than a full complement of draft picks and the mistakes they made in those drafts have been exacerbated.

Regardless of what your current opinion of him is, Mark Sanchez has arguably been one of the Jets biggest draft miscues. The Jets traded up to get him and paying him like a top-flight quarterback when he has performed closer to the bottom third or fifth. I mean the team hasn't done him any favors, in fact they even wrote the book on how to not develop your franchise quarterback and that's a huge factor we'll get to later. That said, in year four - as I know Bassett will agree - I think we have seen enough of him to know that he will never live up to both his draft position and salary. Couple that with the fact that they drafted a colossal bust in Vernon Gholston, two consecutive years of over-drafting players in the top-six will set any team back, especially the Jets.

The last point I'll make about the draft is the fact that despite their lack of picks, the Jets have still decided to draft less-finished, raw, project players in hopes that their raw skills will ultimately develop them into a first-round type talent. Well, anyone who has ever seen Vlad Ducasse play will probably agree that it has yet to work out for them. Perhaps it does take longer for guys like Ducasse and Stephen Hill to develop into NFL-caliber players but that means you also need to draft more finished talent to play key roles while the others develop.

Ruining the Quarterback:

Yes, it's the elephant in the room. Mark Sanchez, the guy they drafted to be the team's franchise quarterback, has been an enigma wrapped in a riddle and it has frustrated most of us when he wasn't going out and winning playoff games. In his first season, the Sanchize looked every bit like the guy who would have a bigger NFL learning curve after only playing for a season in college but he had his moments. Oh and he also played pretty well in the playoffs especially in the AFC Championship Game against Indianapolis.

Year two was the one that gave us all hope, he showed such an improvement that it conjured up visions of what could be a long and fruitful career of sustained success. In 2010, he had arguably one of the best receiving corps in Jets history with "The Flight Boys" (Cotchery, Holmes, Edwards, Smith, and Keller) and a formidable running attack led by a rejuvenated LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene. Sanchez cut down the turnovers dramatically, was diligently going through his reads, and was performing in the clutch, leading a number of come-from-behind victories. The then second-year quarterback went into Peyton Manning and Tom Brady's houses and outperformed them en route to another AFC Championship Game where they fell short. After the loss in Pittsburgh, the future looked bright for Sanchez but things would change in a hurry.

In years three and four the Jets systematically stripped Sanchez of any and all offensive weapons, replacing reliable play makers with aging headcases in 2011 and neophytes and journeymen in 2012. Oh, and I almost forgot, they brought in another quarterback to siphon away snaps from him and mess with his head. 2011 hurt his confidence and the acquisition of Tebow coupled with perhaps one of the worst supporting casts in all of football seems to have officially ruined him past the point of no return. At this point there is no turning back and I'm afraid nothing will fix it and it is unfortunate but he is making self-described rookie mistakes and is statistically among the worst QB's in the game.

In Closing:

When you think about it, the Jets recent struggles aren't much of a surprise if you take a close look back at it but the question now is who to blame. Unfortunately for us we will never know which personnel moves were perpetrated by the people whose job it is to do such things (Tannenbaum) or whether Woody has had a larger hand in all of this than we realize. Here's the bottom line: If this gets any worse (which, although it doesn't seem possible, it probably will) then someone will be held accountable but who it will be is really anyone's guess.

When the post-mortem of this season is written the specter of Tebow will loom large but as we've seen the problems go way deeper than that.

Tags: NYJets, Editorial Aside

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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The Class of 2017: Quarterbacks 00:05:06
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano and draft analyst Tony Pauline take a close look at the quarterbacks available in the 2017 NFL Draft

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

After not doing a Mock Draft in about a decade, I've now done two versions in less than three weeks - with a third (and final) version still to come. So with eight days to go until the draft, here's my SNY Mock Draft, version 2.0. The information comes from NFL sources, draft experts, and in some cases my own mind:

1. Cleveland Browns - Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

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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.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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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California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)
California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Jets will meet with former California Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb this week, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan.

Webb, 22, threw for 4,295 yards, 37 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his senior season with Cal. In his four-year college career, which includes three seasons at Texas Tech, he threw for 9,852 yards, 83 touchdowns and 34 interceptions.

Webb, a 6-foot-5, 229-pound quarterback, has drawn comparisons to Brock Osweiler, according to his NFL.com draft profile page.

"He obviously is going to need coaching after being in those offenses at Texas Tech and Cal," one AFC scout told NFL.com. "I think he has enough between the ears to unlearn some of his bad habits and start to get things right. I see another Nick Foles if you give him time to develop."

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Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley intercepts the ball intended for Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams during the first quarter in the 2016 CFP semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)
Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley intercepts the ball intended for Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams during the first quarter in the 2016 CFP semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Jets will meet with former Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley this week, according to the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta.

Conley, whom Scouts Inc. rates as the No. 21 prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft, totaled four interceptions and eight passes defensed in 13 games with the Buckeyes last season.

A 6-foot, 195-pound junior, Conley ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash, had a 37-inch vertical leap and recorded a 6.68-second three-cone drill time at the NFL combine.

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

The Jets have terminated the contract of LB Julian Stanford.

In 2016, Stanford notched 15 solo tackles and assisted with 7 more across 9 games. He did not record a sack or interception. His lone season with the Jets, which began on the practice squad, ended when an ankle injury landed him on injured reserve.

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 (Scott Galvin)
(Scott Galvin)

Jets CB Nick Marshall has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2017 season for violating the NFL's performance enhancing substances policy, the league announced Friday.

Marshall is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

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Corey Griffin and Brian Bassett are joined by Jets and NFL Draft writer Jeff Lloyd as Draft Season is in full swing, and this week they take a close look at the offensive options in the draft, even if they don't love what they see.

Click below to listen!

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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.

The Jets are bringing in North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky for a visit today, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.

Trubisky is widely regarded as the top quarterback prospect in this year's NFL Draft.

The Jets have made their interest in Trubisky known over the last month. New York sent a large contingent of scouts for the quarterback's pro day, and followed it up with a private workout in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
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Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Wesley Johnson (76) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Wesley Johnson (76) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Center Wesley Johnson has signed his restricted free agent tender for $2.75 million to return to the Jets, according to multiple reports

Johnson started the final four games with the Jets last year when Nick Mangold was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury. 

During his three seasons with the Jets, Johnson has started in nine games, with eight of those coming in 2016. 

 

Tags: Wesley Johnson

QB Pat Mahomes highlights 00:01:22
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays from former Texas Tech quarterback Pat Mahomes II.

Latest Update (April 12)

10:00AM: Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes is visiting with the Jets today, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Mahomes would have hired Jeremy Bates to be his private QB coach this offseason, but was unable to once the Jets hired Bates as the team's QB coach, Schefter added. The two have mutual respect for each other.

With the draft 15 days away, the Jets are reportedly looking hard at the quarterbacks available.

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Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)
Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Jets held a workout with former Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports.

Knight, 23, threw for 2,432 yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 11 games with the Aggies last year.

In three prior seasons with the Oklahoma Sooners, Knight threw for 3,424 yards, 25 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.

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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field following a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field following a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Jets will play three preseason games at MetLife Stadium this year.

New York will open its preseason slate at home against the Tennessee Titans between Aug. 10 and Aug. 14, then face the Detroit Lions on the road in Week 2, played between Aug. 17 and Aug. 21.

The Jets will be the road team when they face the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in Week 3, played between Aug. 24 and Aug. 28, then end their preseason schedule at home against the Philadelphia Eagles on Aug. 31.

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GEICO SportsNite: Willie Colon 00:01:32
Willie Colon calls it quits for his career in the NFL and hosted a retirement party Friday attended by friends and teammates.

 (Seth Wenig/AP)
(Seth Wenig/AP)

The Jets added free agent cornerback John Ojo on Friday. The 6'3, 205 lb former Edmonton Eskimo has spent the past three years in the Canadian Football League.

His CFL run was highlighted by a 41 tackle, five interception season in 2015. 

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Corey Griffin and Brian Bassett deliver a new podcast, as they dive into the potential trade market for Sheldon Richardson (if there is one), and start prospecting for new Jets recruits as the NFL Draft approaches.

Click below to listen!

 

Tags: Sheldon Richardson
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Malik Hooker highlights 00:00:35
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays from former Ohio State safety and NFL Draft prospect Malik Hooker.

Ohio State S Malik Hooker and Missouri DE Charles Harris are among the defensive Draft prospects the Jets will visit with on Thursday and Friday, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

The Jets have the sixth overall selection in the Draft, which takes place April 27-29 in Philadelphia.

Hooker was a First Team All-Big Ten selection this past season.

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 (Ron Chenoy)
(Ron Chenoy)

The Jets have signed TE Brian Parker, the team announced Thursday.

Parker, who played in nine games for the Chiefs in 2015 (making one reception), initially signed with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2015.

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RB Leonard Fournette highlights 00:02:11
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays from former LSU running back and NFL Draft prospect Leonard Fournette.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

I don't remember doing a mock draft any time in the last 20 or so years (though I did find internet evidence of one in 2010). I'm still interpreting my record in all the other years to be perfect -- no misses. But, as they say, "No guts, no glory". It's time to put that streak on the line with my first Mock Draft for SNY. It won't be my last, either. I'll be revising this up until Draft Week. So keep checking back. This is simply version 1.0:

1. Cleveland Browns - Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Yeah, they need a quarterback, but he's the best player in the draft and they have a decent young QB on the roster. Plus they have the No. 12 pick (so stay tuned).

2. San Francisco 49ers - Solomon Thomas, DE Stanford
They need a quarterback too, but they have a new coach and GM on long-term deals. They can wait until there's a better QB crop.

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Should Jets trade for Sherman? 00:01:57
Dan Graca and Jon Hein discuss if the Jets should make a trade for Richard Sherman.

Dan Graca and Jon Hein discuss if the Jets should make a trade for Seahawks CB Richard Sherman.

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RB Leonard Fournette highlights 00:02:11
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays from former LSU running back and NFL Draft prospect Leonard Fournette.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When Leonard Fournette, the star running back at LSU and a possible target for the Jets with the sixth pick of the draft, weighed a surprising 240 at the NFL scouting combine in early March, he blamed it on drinking way too much water.

Apparently, all that water weight is now gone.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Calvin Pryor, Marcus Gilchrist, Matt Forte, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets center Nick Mangold (74) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets center Nick Mangold (74) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Former Jets center Nick Mangold is making his first known free-agent visit to meet with the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday, according to a report.

The 33-year-old, who was released by the Jets in February, was expected to arrive in Baltimore late Tuesday night, according to ESPN. The Ravens traded their starting center, Jeremy Zuttah, to the San Francisco 49ers last month but did not bring in a replacement.

They do have two in-house candidates - John Urschel and Ryan Jensen, both of whom are 25. If healthy, the 33-year-old Mangold could conceivably compete for that job, or at least provide a veteran mentor to help the young centers.

Tags: Nick Mangold, Ralph Vacchiano
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