We kick off Hall of Fame week today with the first of our tribute articles. Look out for more over the rest of the week. For the first time ever, we decided to let you choose the first of our TJB Hall of Fame inductees for 2014. The winner, with 30% of the vote, just three votes ahead of Chad Pennington and six votes ahead of Vinny Testaverde was Ken O'Brien.

My first introduction to NFL football was a Jets-Dolphins game in 1986 that just so happened to be one of the finest performances of Ken O'Brien's career. O'Brien out-duelled Dan Marino that day, as me and my Dad - who had been in North America when Joe Namath won the Super Bowl - rooted for the Jets. Who knows where I'd be without that performance?

At the time, I knew nothing of the way Marino's shadow was destined to always hang over O'Brien, following the decision of the Jets to draft him over Marino in 1983. Jets director of player personnel, Mike Hickey, was a man with a reputation for over-thinking picks and trying to hard to outsmart everyone. True to form, he had decided to take the relatively unknown 6-4 kid from a small school in California rather than the golden boy from Pitt who had somehow fallen into the Jets' laps at 24 amidst unsubstantiated rumors of recreational drug use and a poor wonderlic score.

Marino would go to Miami three picks later, with the Jets bearing the brunt of the media's criticism for letting him slip through their fingers. While many other teams had passed on him too - including his hometown Steelers, who needed a replacement for Terry Bradshaw and five other teams who drafted first round quarterbacks - it was the Jets that were the easiest target, especially after O'Brien sat out all of his rookie season and most of year two. With Marino already setting records by that stage, albeit while making the most of being able to join a top team with a Hall of Fame coach, the Jets unsettled quarterback system made missing out on him even worse. The fact he was lighting it up with a divisional rival would add further fuel to the fire.

However, O'Brien would finally get his chance and went on to enjoy a successful career with the Jets, where he currently sits in second place in virtually every passing category (apart from interceptions, where he is third). He would attend two Pro Bowls, lead the league in passer rating and get the Jets into the postseason three times over the course of a Jets career that saw him pass for over 24,000 yards and 124 touchdowns.

While he would play his entire career with Marino's sceptre looming over him, facing off against Marino typically brought out the best in O'Brien, who won more times than he lost (8-7) against Marino with the Jets. That included some of the better performances of his career and - with Marino being one of the most enjoyable opponents to beat in franchise history - that's as good a reason as any to pay tribute to O'Brien today.

While many Jets fans originally thought the Jets had drafted "some hippy from California," O'Brien actually grew up in New York and rooted for the Jets (and Namath) as a child. O'Brien was excited to come to New York, but spent his rookie year warming the bench as the Jets went a disappointing 7-9 in Richard Todd's last season.

In 1984, O'Brien was named as the starter in preseason, but was forced to relinquish the starting job to Pat Ryan after he missed a load of practice time due to a court case that dragged on for three and a half weeks. O'Brien and defensive end Mark Gastineau had been charged with misdemeanor assault following a nightclub incident. O'Brien was acquitted, but Gastineau did end up being found guilty on one of the charges against him, although both players maintained his innocence. In any case, the time wasted on that definitely was a setback in O'Brien's career development.

As the Jets fell out of postseason contention, O'Brien got the chance to start the final five games of the year. In just his second start, he'd end up facing Marino on Monday Night Football, but he handled the big stage well. While Marino's Dolphins won the game this time, 28-17, O'Brien impressed by throwing for 267 yards and a touchdown. He also had six passes, including another potential touchdown, dropped. The following week, he threw for over 350 yards against the Giants and then the week after that he led the Jets back from a 17-7 halftime deficit to beat the Bills 21-17 on Tony Paige's fourth quarter touchdown run. Hopes were high that he could carry this momentum into his first full season as a starter.

In 1985, O'Brien actually exceeded hopes, reaching the Pro Bowl, earning recognition as the AFC Player of the Year and leading the NFL in passer rating. They won 11 games that year - only three teams won more - but unfortunately the Patriots (eventual AFC champions) and Dolphins (12-4 and the only team to beat the Bears all year) were strong too. The Jets split with both during the regular season, but lost to New England in the wild card round. O'Brien was an efficient 13-for-17 with a touchdown pass and an interception, but found himself benched for Ryan in the third quarter as head coach Joe Walton tried to give the team a spark when they fell behind.

That season had some notable performances, not least of which was against the Bucs, where he threw for five touchdowns and the Jets scored a franchise-best 62 points. He also threw a 96-yard touchdown pass to Wesley Walker, another team record, in a win over the Bills and an 88-yarder to the same player in an overtime win over New England. He had also found Walker for the game-winning score in a come-from-behind win over Seattle and led the team to a playoff-berth clinching blowout of the Browns on the last day of the season.

Entering 1986, hopes were high that O'Brien would continue to ascend. Sure enough, that's what happened. With five games to go in the season, the Jets were 10-1, on a nine-game winning streak and had O'Brien looking like a lock for the MVP as he had a rating of 111 with nobody else over 100.

The win streak had commenced with that Jets-Dolphins game, which happens to be the first NFL game I ever saw. I wrote in detail about it here, but the short version is that it was a wacky shootout that saw O'Brien best Marino again with 479 yards and four touchdowns, including one as time expired to send the game to overtime and another to win the game in the extra session. The combined 927 yards for the two quarterbacks was an NFL record until the Packers and Lions broke it in a meaningless late season game (that game where Matt Flynn threw six touchdown passes) in January 2012.

O'Brien also made history in a big win over the Seahawks that November. He threw for 432 yards and four scores, ending up with a perfect QB rating. Nobody has ever thrown for that many yards and had a perfect rating. In fact, until last season when Nick Foles did it, nobody else had gone over 400.

O'Brien wasn't done there though, as the following week he completed 23 of his first 25 passes against the Falcons, including a franchise record 17 in a row, just three short of the NFL record at that time.

The Jets had suffered a scare in week six, with O'Brien's late touchdown to Mickey Shuler being required to earn them a one-point win, but since then had been winning in routine fashion every week, starting with a 22-10 win over the then-unbeaten Broncos, who had been the league's highest scoring team. O'Brien had been unable to start that game due to a sore knee, but ended up coming off the bench to lead the win. The streak extended to nine with a routine 15-point win over the Colts, but -- as the Jets prepared for another meeting with Marino and the Dolphins -- that's where it all started to unravel.

As a rookie Jets fan, here would be my introduction to the "Same Old Jets" mantra. A 45-3 drubbing kick-started a five game slide to culminate the regular season that almost saw the Jets miss the postseason altogether despite their incredible start. Injuries were the main reason for the slide, with O'Brien struggling over the last five weeks as he dealt with the effects of a broken finger.

Ryan would lead the Jets to a win in the wildcard round, but O'Brien would have to relieve him during the divisional round matchup in Cleveland. He played better than he had in any of those last five games and had the Jets in position to win - up 20-10 with four minutes to go. It wasn't to be and the Jets would miss out on a chance to face another quarterback from the vaunted "Class of '83" in the AFC title game: John Elway.

Elway would eventually lead the Broncos to the Super Bowl and, while they would fall short against the Giants, that would still represent the third year in a row that someone from that class would lead their team to the big game. Elway would make it four the following year and, although all four had been losses, this continued to pile pressure on O'Brien. As it turns out, someone from the Class of '83 would be the losing quarterback in nine of the ten Super Bowls from 1984 onward. None of them won one until Elway finally did in 1998 (and again the year after).

1987 began in promising fashion for O'Brien and the Jets as they were 2-0 with O'Brien boasting a quarterback rating of well over 100. Unfortunately, fate intervened with the player's strike taking all the momentum out of the season. The Jets' replacements lost two games and then - thanks to Ryan breaking the picket lines to lead them to an overtime win - edged Miami to move to 3-2 on the year. After 10 games, all five teams in the division were tied at 5-5 and the Jets won their next game, on a blocked field goal return by Rich Miano, to move to 6-5 but lost their last four to drop out of contention again.

1988 ended in similar disappointment, although the Jets did win their last three to end up with a winning record and had some memorable moments, not least of which was O'Brien leading a game winning drive on the final day of the season. O'Brien would hit Al Toon for a last minute score to eliminate the Giants from playoff contention. Two weeks earlier had been another classic Jets-Dolphins shootout. O'Brien hadn't started this one, but when he came off the bench with the Jets down by 10 in the fourth quarter, he found Mickey Shuler and Walker for touchdowns to once again top his old adversary, 38-34.

With 1988 finishing on a high, the Jets were unable to carry that momentum into 1989. They won just four games and then followed that up by winning just six in 1990. At least in 1990 he was able to start all 16 games for the first time since his pro bowl season in 1985. It was also the first time since then that his quarterback rating had improved upon the previous season. While there weren't too many memorable moments over those two seasons, he did once again beat Marino in another forgotten Jets-Miami shootout, throwing a late touchdown pass to Roger Vick to lead the Jets to a wacky 40-33 win. That was the third time the teams had combined for over 750 passing yards and 70 points with the Jets victorious in all three.

In 1991, the Jets returned to the postseason and O'Brien returned to the Pro Bowl, albeit only as an alternate after two players dropped out. Still, they broke the four year playoff drought in memorable fashion as they won a winner-takes-all final game of the season against who else but Marino's Dolphins in Miami. Although it was Johnny Hector's long run that set up the tying score as time expired, O'Brien put the Jets in position to win in overtime with a perfectly floated long pass on which Rob Moore made an over-the-shoulder catch.

In truth, the Jets should already have been in the postseason, but once again proved to be their own worst enemy. They were 7-5 with four games to go, but then lost their next three to set up the showdown in Miami. That was after they had already thrown four games away that they could - and in a couple of cases should - have won. Despite this, the Jets were not exactly dominant, as Pat Leahy won three games with late kicks and the Jets escaped New England with a seven point win on O'Brien's late scoring toss to offensive lineman Trevor Matich.

The Jets would fail to advance in the playoffs, losing 17-10 in Houston where they had come from behind to win earlier in the year. That was another "one that got away" as the Jets twice turned the ball over at the three-yard line in the second half.

That would basically be it for O'Brien as the Jets starter. The Browning Nagle era began in 1992 with a sensational debut (366 yards and two scores in a narrow defeat) but that proved to be a false alarm as he never threw for more than 200 yards in a game again. O'Brien did start three more games that year and even threw for three touchdowns to beat Marino again in his best game of the year.

His departure from the Jets was somewhat undignified, as the Jets traded for Boomer Esiason - the only losing Super Bowl quarterback from 1984 to 1993 that wasn't drafted in the first round in 1983 - and gave him O'Brien's No. 7, announcing that O'Brien would be traded. He was eventually traded to Green Bay, where he was going to be Brett Favre's backup, but never played for them and ended up with the Eagles where he played one more season, starting four times. Since retiring, he has been a real estate investor and still roots for the Jets.

While O'Brien's Jets career seems like a collection of missed opportunities, his talent was undeniable and when he was on-song, he was able to put up some of the best quarterback performances in franchise history. Unfortunately, when the Jets offense was good, their defense let them down and for much of his tenure the offense wasn't good. That's widely acknowledged as being due to the Jets' porous offensive line for much of his time as a Jet, though. As Walton said in 1989, "Pressure makes great quarterbacks look ordinary".

When they were able to protect him, O'Brien was capable of being great. Walton had some high praise for him in 1986, saying "I've been around a lot of tough, smart guys who won even though they couldn't throw the football that well. Billy Kilmer with the Redskins, Fran Tarkenton with the Giants, they didn't have a lot of physical ability, they did it by being tough and smart. But in addition to being tough and smart, Kenny O'Brien can throw the football." That toughness was a common theme too. Check out this quote from the late Dr. James Nicholas, the Jets' orthopedist: "Ken's the toughest guy I've ever seen. Ken's even tougher than Joe Namath because he gets hit more than Joe did."

O'Brien was also underrated as a leader. Marty Lyons claimed the team rallied round him after a Dolphins player criticized him in 1989. Walker recalled to the New York Times how he was disconsolate over a fumble that he had thought was going to cost the Jets the win in that first Dolphins shootout, but O'Brien calmly told him to forget it and ultimately Walker would go on to catch the tying and winning scores.

In terms of statistics, O'Brien is second in franchise history to Namath in terms of yards and touchdown passes and second to Chad Pennington in terms of quarterback rating. He didn't have the propensity to throw a lot of interceptions that usually accompany big passing numbers, either, three times leading the NFL in terms of lowest interception rate. He's also the only quarterback in franchise history to throw for 25 touchdown passes twice and, as noted, holds several other team records.

Looking back on my childhood, football was new and exciting for me and Ken O'Brien was a big part of that. While the team didn't win as much as we'd have liked, sometimes that can have the effect of enhancing the flaws and masking the strengths when we look back upon those days. O'Brien was painfully slow (he never rushed for a touchdown) and had a hard-headed refusal to throw the ball away when pressured, something he acknowledged himself in 1988. However, he threw a beautiful long ball, showed poise, accuracy and intelligence and had the guts and determination to make tough throws under pressure.

Moreover, he was capable of piling up points and, since that time, the Jets offense has never been as exciting as it was when O'Brien was at his peak. As a result, O'Brien brought Jets fans plenty of memorable moments over the years.

I'm pleased to be able to honor O'Brien and welcome him to the TJB Hall of Fame as the first inductee of the Class of 2014. It's nice to finally be able to associate him with a different class as, for once, we can consider O'Brien's merits in his own right.

Note: Information contained in this article was compiled from the New York Times archives. Picture credit: Getty Images, via ESPN.

Tags: avsny, bentdouble, NYJets, Bent Double

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

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- After months of rumors, reports and lies -- a lot of lies -- here is my final best guess about how the first 10 picks of the 2018 NFL draft are going to play out on Thursday night.

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Darnold talks Giants and Jets 00:01:27
Sam Darnold talks about meeting Eli Manning, his visits with the Giants and Jets and advice he received from fellow Trojan Mark Sanchez.

USC QB Sam Darnold didn't get to meet with Eli Manning during his visit with the Giants, but got to see plenty of Jets during his visit with them.

"I saw him from a distance and he was working, so I didn't want to bother him," Darnold said about Manning. "We had a chance to meet at the Manning Camp, which was awesome."

Regarding the Jets, Darnold said he got to see a bunch of players he was familiar with.

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UCLA QB Josh Rosen (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
UCLA QB Josh Rosen (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

UCLA QB Josh Rosen, who is expected to be taken early in the first round during the NFL Draft on Thursday night, had fun with reporters who were asking him on Wednesday about the potential of being selected by the Jets at No. 3 or Giants at No. 2.

"You're trying to catch me," Rosen playfully told SNY's Ralph Vacchiano when asked about the media spotlight in New York.

Rosen also discussed his visits to the Jets and Giants. Hear his full comments below...

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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)

The Cleveland Browns could be deciding between Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield and Wyoming QB Josh Allen with the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday night's NFL Draft, reports Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

The Browns had been linked most recently to USC QB Sam Darnold as their likely choice at No. 1, with Mayfield's name first thrown in the mix on Tuesday. Now, the Browns are reportedly "cooling" on Darnold.

If the Browns are legitimately interested in Mayfield at No. 1 and take him, it would throw a wrench in the Jets' reported plan to tab Mayfield at No. 3.

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Willie Colon picks Josh Rosen 00:01:03
SNY Jets Analyst Willie Colon thinks the Jets will select quarterback Josh Rosen with the third pick in the NFL Draft.

Former Jet and current SNY analyst Willie Colon thinks the Jets will tab UCLA QB Josh Rosen with the No. 3 pick in Thursday's NFL Draft in Dallas. 

"I think [GM Mike] Maccagnan is at the point where he's okay with a kid being an outward thinker -- that's the label, so to speak, with Rosen," Colon said Tuesday on The Jet Stream Podcast on SNY. "But I think he understands he's an extremely polished quarterback."

Along with Rosen, the Jets have been connected to Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, who SNY's Ralph Vacchiano and Peter Schrager of Fox Sports believes will be the Jets' pick. ...Click below to listen to the Jet Stream podcast with Colon, Schrager, and Jonas Schwartz...

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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)

Peter Schrager of Fox Sports would be "shocked" if the Jets pass on Baker Mayfield if he's available when they pick at No. 3 during Thursday's NFL Draft, he said during Tuesday's Jet Stream Podcast on SNY.

Schrager spoke of "glowing reports" he received from the dinner Mayfield had with team brass a few weeks ago, and thinks the Jets are all-in on Mayfield -- even if Sam Darnold is available at No. 3.

"Everything I've been listening to for the last two, three months has been that Baker Mayfield -- if he's on the board -- is going to be the pick for the Jets," Schrager said. "That might include Sam Darnold as well -- if Darnold somehow falls. I think that they have been in love with Mayfield for this entire time. I'd be shocked if they went with one of the other guys."

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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon are finally ready to see who the Jets select in this year's NFL Draft! Will it be Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, or Josh Allen? To get their answer, they welcome the NFL Network's Peter Schrager to the show for his take on each quarterback, and discuss why Rosen is the guy and why Mayfield is mostly definitely not.

Click below to listen

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Jets' third-round options 00:05:01
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano and SNY NFL Draft Expert Rich Cirminiello discuss who the Jets will take in the third round of the draft.

The bulk of the attention has been on who the Jets will do with the No. 3 overall pick in Thursday night's NFL Draft.

It will be a quarterback. But which one? At least two of Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, and Josh Rosen will be available when the Jets pick.

Lost in the shuffle a bit has been the fact that the Jets have a third round pick (72nd overall) as well. And SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano and SNY NFL Draft Expert Rich Cirminiello recently discussed who the Jets could take with that pick.

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Top QB prospect Baker Mayfield 00:01:01
Former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is expected to be taken as one of the top QB's in the 2018 NFL Draft.

What is NFL Draft week without some drama over the No. 1 pick?

With reports circulating Monday that Wyoming QB Josh Allen is no longer in consideration for the Browns' No. 1 pick, ESPN's Adam Schefter is now reporting that Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield is "definitely" in the conversation. 

Schefter continues by saying the Browns may have their choice in mind for their first overall pick, and before that decision was made, Mayfield was a player in the mix.

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Nick Mangold retires from NFL 00:02:30
After spending eleven seasons with the Jets, Nick Mangold announces his retirement from the NFL.

Nick Mangold, who spent 11 seasons with the Jets, announced his retirement at the team's facility after signing a one-day contract on Tuesday. 

Tags: Nick Mangold
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:01:07
Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan discusses the team's strategy for its No. 3 overall pick with the draft just a few days away.

New York Jets' Jamal Adams (33) and Los Angeles Chargers' Sean McGrath (84) fight for control of the ball during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets' Jamal Adams (33) and Los Angeles Chargers' Sean McGrath (84) fight for control of the ball during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets own the third pick in this year's draft, their highest since 1996. How have they drafted in the first round over the past five years?

2017: Safety Jamal Adams, No. 6

It's too early to tell how Adams' career will pan out, but the signs so far have been promising. He started every game in his rookie year as the Jets' secondary definitely played better than it had in 2016. On the field, Adams had his ups and downs, but he showed flashes of brilliance in a versatile role. Off the field, he's played a big part in the ongoing culture change that has galvanized the team and has also been a useful tool in player recruitment.

Tags: Calvin Pryor, Damon Harrison, Darron Lee, Dee Milliner, Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, Sheldon Richardson
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Nov 18, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold (right) and UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) shake hands after their game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports (Kelvin Kuo)
Nov 18, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold (right) and UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) shake hands after their game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports (Kelvin Kuo)

It will be an absolute stunner if the Jets don't take a quarterback after trading up to No. 3 in the NFL Draft, which takes place on Thursday night in Dallas.

So, who will it be?

At least two out of the group of Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, and Josh Allen will be available for the Jets. 

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Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Michael Conroy/AP)
Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Michael Conroy/AP)

The Browns' choices for their No. 1 pick seem to have come down to two choices just three days away from the NFL Draft: Sam Darnold or Josh Allen?

Yes, there is always the prospect of the Browns going with RB Saquon Barkley with their first overall selection, knowing they have the No. 4 pick later on. However, experts including SI's Peter King see Cleveland getting their quarterback first before addressing anywhere else. 

Recently, rumblings about Allen going No. 1 have gained some steam. But King's most trusted source says Allen is too much of a risk, and the Browns don't want to get another quarterback pick wrong.

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 (Kevin Jairaj)
(Kevin Jairaj)

Broadway Joe loves Broadway Baker. Or at least that's what could be Baker Mayfield's nickname if the Jets were to select him with their No. 3 overall pick. 

Hall of Famer and former Jets QB Joe Namath loves what he has seen from Mayfield over the years of watching him play. He recently watched the Georgia-Oklahoma College Football Playoff matchup at the Rose Bowl on New Year's Eve, and after his daughter asked if he had seen anything like the back-and-forth bout, he responded saying he wouldn't want to be going up against Mayfield...


Everything you need to know about the Jets and No. 3 >> Read more

Vacc's Mini Mock Draft has Jets tabbing Mayfield >> Read more

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 (Dennis Wierzbicki)
(Dennis Wierzbicki)

The Jets have not stopped looking for help on their defensive line as they hosted numerous free-agent linemen on Monday. 

Former Bears DT Lamarr Houston and former Patriots DT Chris Jones were among those looking to impress the Jets. Houston split time with the Bears and Texans last season, totaling five sacks over 10 games. A former second-round pick by the Raiders back in 2010, Houston is entering his ninth season in the NFL this year. 

Jones played for the division-rival Patriots in 2013 and 2014, where he finished with nine sacks and 79 tackles over 28 career games. He most recently played for the 49ers in 2016, where he had 17 tackles over six games. He did not play for an NFL squad in 2017. 

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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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