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Oct 10, 2015; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive tackle Tarow Barney (91) during the fourth quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Indiana 29-7. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports (Matthew OHaren)
Oct 10, 2015; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive tackle Tarow Barney (91) during the fourth quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Indiana 29-7. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports (Matthew OHaren)

This year, I've again been breaking down each of the Jets' rookies in detail and we're now looking at the undrafted free agents. Yesterday, I looked at North Carolina running back Romar Morris but now I move on to look at Penn State defensive lineman Tarow Barney. I've been conducting research and watching game footage to try and assess what he brings to the table.

The 21-year old Barney is listed as 6'1" and 306 pounds and played for Penn State for the past two seasons after being recruited as a junior college transfer from Northwest Mississippi Community College. In two seasons with the Nittany Lions, he played in 25 games with one start and recorded 16 tackles, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He turned heads with an impressive performance at his pro day.

Note: Some stats from this article are exclusively provided by Pro Football Focus.

Who is Tarow Barney?

After having played just one season of football in high school, Barney attended Northwest Mississippi CC where he played in 10 games and recorded 20 tackles as a freshman and then became a full-time starter as a sophomore and piled up 36 tackles and 3.5 sacks in nine games. He was rated as a four-star JUCO recruit before committing to attend Penn State for the next two seasons.

In two years with Penn State, Barney was stuck behind two future NFL draft picks, Anthony Zettel and Austin Johnson. He registered just seven tackles as a junior, but 3.5 were for a loss, including two sacks, as he made an early impact with a strip sack against UMass.

In his senior year, Barney's playing time increased, but he still only had nine tackles (one for loss) and a half-sack. He added one fumble recovery.
Despite this low production, Barney established himself as a possible NFL prospect with a strong showing at his pro day and was signed by the Jets soon after the draft ended.

Let's move onto some more in-depth analysis of what Barney brings to the table, based on my research and film study. In the gifs featured below Barney wears number 91.

Measurables

Barney's pro day performance included a 5.02 40-yard dash, 31 bench press reps and a 113" broad jump. Those numbers are excellent and his 30.5" vertical jump is also above average for his position. However his agility numbers were not as impressive as he had a poor short shuttle (4.75) and was unable to do the three cone drill.

How does that compare with the two other 300-pound rookie defensive linemen the Jets brought in though? On the whole, he was better than both, although Helva Matungulu ran a better short shuttle (4.62) and Claude Pelon had a 32.5" vertical and 33 bench press reps. Barney did achieve 34 bench press reps at a pre-season fundraising event last year though.

While all three are athletic and, based on these numbers, Barney might be the most athletic of the three, it seems like this athleticism didn't seem to show up on film quite as clearly as it did for the others. In terms of size, Barney is also a few inches shorter than both, although he was in between them in terms of his weight.

Barney was listed at 245 pounds when he left high school and 285 when he joined Penn State in 2014. He does look a lot more dynamic on his junior college film, which comes from before he bulked up to his current weight.

Usage

In two games charted, Barney played 59 snaps, most of which were as a 4-3 defensive tackle. 18 saw him shading the center and eight directly over the center as a pure nose tackle. He played on both sides of the formation.

At the NFL level, he could potentially fit as a defensive end but I wonder if he has the frame to be looked at as a nose tackle prospect. He has played some reps as an edge rusher in the past.

Motor

Playing behind two big prospects, Barney only played more than 30 snaps once in his college career, with 44 snaps in the Michigan State game at the end of the regular season. That was his only start, in a game where defensive end Carl Nassib was hurt so Zettel moved to end. All of the gifs below are from that game. As he's only had a starter's workload once, it's difficult to know how well-equipped he would be to take on a handle a bigger snap count.  

Barney seems to play hard and with good effort and did make some plays deep into the fourth quarter in that Michigan State game.

Run defense

While Barney didn't even reach double digits in terms of his tackle numbers in either season, he certainly made the most of the tackles he made in his senior year as only one of them wasn't a stop close to the line of scrimmage.

There were times, especially in his senior year, where Barney struggled to hold up at the point of attack. He got driven off the line badly by some double-teams. Here was an extreme example of that

He also found it difficult to cope with the higher caliber of offensive lineman he would face in the Big Ten. On this play he gets roughed up by center Jack Allen, an undrafted free agent signing for the Saints.

If you watch his junior college highlights, Barney looks like a different player, overpowering people at the point of attack, exploding to the ball and moving well laterally. He did make some positive contributions in the Michigan State game, albeit late on and against back-ups.

On the play below, he holds up well at the point of attack and manages to slip off the block just in time to stuff a runner in the hole, then also manages to help strip the ball loose and come up with the recovery.

via GIPHY

This play sees him penetrate and then get off the block to get in on the stop, although he was helped by the fact that the runner was slowed up in traffic.

Tackling
Most of the plays Barney made at Penn State made saw him bottle up a run, so he didn't show much in terms of tackling in space or pursuing across the field. From his JUCO film, you can see that he does a good job of wrapping up a ball carrier and hauling them down and that he was capable of pursuing outside runs all the way to the sideline. He was 20 pounds lighter there, though.

Barney had one missed tackle against Ohio State when he shot a gap in the backfield to blow up a jet sweep, but that play was still stuffed for a loss after the runner initially escaped from him. That was his only missed tackle in two seasons though.

On this play, Barney initially gets knocked off balance and, although he is able to get up off his knees to get into the backfield, he can't quite finish as the runner is able to change direction and get downfield.

Pass rush
Barney didn't have a lot of production as a pass rusher with the Nittany Lions. After his strip sack against UMass in the second quarter of a game that Penn State led 13-0 at the time, he would only have 1.5 more sacks in the next one and half seasons, along with just a handful of pressures.  

When rushing the passer, Barney's skills are obviously still pretty raw. He often would get nowhere near the quarterback and, despite the strength he showed in his bench press, doesn't get much of a push.  

In the Michigan State game, he had one pressure but that came as he was unblocked on a quick dump-off and otherwise was unable to beat his man.

At times, Barney will try to spin away from his blocker, but he wasn't agile enough to use this method to get a free run at the quarterback. However on one play, he span off the initial block but then followed it up with a bull rush to get a hit on the quarterback.

Two of his three sacks at junior college came as he was completely unblocked up the middle. The other was a coverage sack after a powerful bull rush that collapsed the pocket.

Batting passes

Barney did not bat down a pass over the past four seasons and did not drop into coverage at all while at Penn State. He did have one play in junior college where he hit the quarterback's arm and forced a bad throw.

Special teams

I can't find any details of Barney making any special teams contributions and doubt it would be a major factor in his longer-term future.

Instincts/Intelligence

Much of Barney's role at Penn State required him just to take on blocks, so it's not easy to get a handle on how sharp his instincts were. There were a few plays where he was fighting to get penetration into the backfield and perhaps located the football a beat late.

Injuries

It seems that Barney was able to remain healthy throughout his college career. He did pull a hamstring at his pro day though.

Attitude/Demeanor

It seems like the coaches were impressed with Barney in practice, although it was suggested that he perhaps doesn't realize how good he can be.

Barney was selected to be on Penn State's leadership council prior to his senior year and seems to be a popular and fun-loving character. He also won a team's Quarterback Club Award as a student-athlete deserving special recognition.

He had one penalty at Penn State, when he jumped offside on a play at the goal line against San Diego State in September.

Scheme fit

As suggested above, I wonder if the Jets would see Barney as a development prospect at the nose tackle position. Despite his athletic numbers, he is less dynamic and doesn't have the same kind of length that Pelon and Matungulu do, so I suspect the Jets may look to bulk him up to see if he can hold up at nose.

His primary experience has been as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense, which the Jets would use from time to time but not necessarily as a primary set.

Current Jet Deion Barnes is a former teammate of Barney's so perhaps that will help ease the transition from Penn State's system to that of the Jets.

Conclusions

I'm sure what attracted the Jets to Barney was his measurables, but his film shows that he's still somewhat raw technically and doesn't yet make the best use of his strength and athleticism in practice. Maybe these are things that could be improved upon over time, which could lead to him being a good mid-to-long term prospect.

It seems Barney struggled with the jump from JUCO-level to the Big Ten, as he was not as readily able to overpower or beat an opponent using his athleticism, suggesting that he was able to get away with using his superior strength and/or athleticism at that level, but perhaps didn't have the technical skills to produce in the same fashion against more established players.

Tellingly, even in the Michigan State game, all the positive plays he made came at the end of the game when the Spartans had removed their starters from the line-up. Earlier on, he had been pushed around pretty routinely and spent a lot of time on the ground.

It will be interesting to gauge Barney's performance in camp against those of Matungulu and Pelon. I would be interested to see all three of them get on the field together, perhaps with Barney getting a look at nose tackle. There probably isn't room for any of them on the active roster, but there might be a practice squad spot or two up for grabs, so competition could be fierce.

Up next: We'll take a look at Texas A&M defensive lineman Julian Obioha. How could he fit into the Jets' plans for their front seven? Let us know in the comments who you'd like us to look at after that.


With OTAs in full swing, Corey Griffin is joined by guest co-host Brian Costello from the NY Post. They cover the absence of Eric Decker, the quarterbacks, other names that are MIA, and then take a break from football to discuss life on the Jets beat.


North Carolina Tar Heels tailback Romar Morris (21) runs the ball during the first half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Kenan Memorial Stadium. (Rob Kinnan)
North Carolina Tar Heels tailback Romar Morris (21) runs the ball during the first half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Kenan Memorial Stadium. (Rob Kinnan)

This year, I've again been breaking down each of the Jets' rookies in detail and we're now looking at the undrafted free agents. On Thursday, I looked at Ohio State wide receiver and punt returner Jalin Marshall but now I move on to look at North Carolina running back Romar Morris. I've been conducting research and watching game footage to try and assess what he brings to the table.

The 23-year old Morris is listed at 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, and the Jets signed him earlier this week after he was with the team at rookie camp on a try-out basis. In four years at North Carolina, Morris started 13 games and rushed for just over 1,000 yards at an average of 4.8 yards per carry. He also caught 54 passes, scored a total of 14 touchdowns and averaged 22.1 yards per return on 27 kickoffs. Morris saw his playing time cut in his senior year and had his least productive season statistically with just 130 all-purpose yards and one touchdown.

Note: Some stats from this article are exclusively provided by Pro Football Focus.

Who is Romar Morris?

Morris emerged as an exciting prospect in his freshman year while backing up Giovani Bernard. He racked up exactly 1,000 all-purpose yards while setting career highs in rushing yards (386), receiving yardage (204), yards per reception (17) and in the return game (including a 23.5 yards per kick-off return average). In a breakout performance against Louisville, Morris had 149 receiving yards, two touchdown receptions and over 200 all-purpose yards.

In 2013, Bernard headed to the NFL and Morris was perhaps expected to take on a bigger role, but ended up with a similar workload and less impressive numbers. However, he rushed for a career-best five touchdowns and still averaged 4.3 yards per carry.

The next year again saw him in a rotational role with a similar workload, although he did contribute more in the passing game with a career-high 21 receptions. He also had the most productive rushing performance of his college career in a late season upset over then-No. 25 Duke, picking up 96 yards on 17 carries.

In 2015, his playing time reduced significantly as he only carried the ball 10 times. After the season, he wasn't considered a draft prospect, but did turn some heads when he ran a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day. He attended the Jets' rookie camp on a try-out basis and impressed the team enough that, although they didn't sign him right away, they brought him in just before OTAs began earlier this week.

Let's move onto some more in-depth analysis of what Morris brings to the table, based on my research and film study. In the gifs featured below Morris is No. 21.

Measurables

As noted above, Morris' 40-yard dash time was a big reason he landed himself back on some teams' radars during the offseason after a disappointing senior year. In addition to this, he had a good vertical jump and three-cone drill, but his bench press, broad jump and short shuttle were poor.

It's also worth noting that he measured just 5-foot-8-and-a-half at his pro day, despite being generously listed at 5-foot-10 on the official website.

Usage

I charted one game from 2014 where Morris played 44 snaps. All of these were in the backfield, apart from one in the slot. He was effectively lined up at fullback in an offset I formation on one play but otherwise was at halfback. The Tar Heels operated a fast-paced, no-huddle offense with a lot of two-back sets and he saw plenty of time in passing situations.

In 2015, he did average over six yards on his 10 carries, but the longest gain he had was a 15-yarder on a play where he actually lined up at receiver and ran a reverse.

Running Ability

Looking at some of the action from Morris' early career, he flashes some dynamic rushing ability. He's got the speed to bounce it to the outside, shows an ability to get skinny in the hole and has an ability to change direction or slip out of tackles while retaining upfield momentum.

On this play Morris shows that great speed on the outside and almost manages to dive to the pylon for a touchdown.

As you'd expect for a player his size, he's more of a scatback type than a power back.

Pass Protection

Looking at 2014, Morris had poor pass protection numbers, giving up two sacks and a pressure on just under one of every two pass protection snaps. However, the film seems to show that he's actually pretty good at picking up a blitz.

The Tar Heels' playbook had a lot of designed runs for the quarterback, so Morris was also sometimes called upon to run block, which may have helped him in pass protection. Here is a good example of him throwing a lead block.

Here was one of the two sacks he gave up and, as you can see, he actually made an effective cut block, but the quarterback stepped up and tried to run, which gave Morris' man time to get up and complete the sack. I found that some of the pressure he surrendered came from overload or double-A gap blitzes where he didn't have much hope of preventing pressure.

In 2015, he stayed in to block approximately once a game and didn't give up any pressure.

Receiving Threat

Over the past two seasons, most of Morris' production in the passing game has come on screen passes and dump-offs. He did have a couple of catches on out patterns though.

Earlier on in his career, Morris showed more versatility. In that monster game against Louisville, he caught a long touchdown pass on a wheel route over the top, with a young deep safety called Calvin Pryor just too late to get over. He also had a 50-yard touchdown on a screen pass down the middle of the field.

With the ball in his hands, he shows good open-field running ability. On this play, he catches the ball in the flat on 3rd and short and slips a DJ White tackle and pick up the first down.

Although he wasn't a starter, the team would still look to him in the clutch in passing situations. On the play shown below, Morris again breaks a tackle in the flat and his big gain set up the winning score. Had he been tackled in the flat, the team would have had to try a field goal from outside the range of their kickers that combined to go 0-for-3 from beyond 40 yards for the season.

Hands

Morris caught all nine of his targets in 2015, although eight of those were dump-offs. In 2014, he had a 78-percent catch rate but did have three dropped passes. Here was one of them, as he showed poor concentration, although perhaps the quarterback could have put better touch on his throw.

Fumbles

Morris had one fumble in each of his first three years, but did not fumble in 2015, albeit with a significantly reduced workload. One of the fumbles was in the bowl game loss to Rutgers in 2014 and came after he had caught a short pass.

He also muffed a punt in the 2013 spring scrimmage.

Short Yardage

With his lack of size, Morris wouldn't be an obvious option inside the five, but did use his quickness well to sneak into a gap on a four-yard run against Wake Forest in his freshman year and on this three-yard run against Georgia Tech in 2014. His only touchdown of 2015 was an early seven-yarder right up the middle against Illinois on what would prove to be his only carry.

Special Teams

On arrival with the Jets, the media suggested that his reduction in playing time in 2015 enabled Morris to focus on special teams. However, he didn't really make any contributions last season, fielding just one kick-off. He had a couple of nice kickoff returns in 2014, although his longest was only 28 yards.

Morris made his biggest special teams impact as a freshman, returning 17 kickoffs for 399 yards. He also fielded two punts, made two special teams tackles and had two punt blocks - one of which was in that break-out game against Louisville.

Competing for the kick returner role could be Morris' best chance of actually making the roster, so it will be interesting to see if he can get any work there in preseason.

Instincts

Morris is probably at his best when using his speed to get outside, but on this play he shows that he can be a good one cut runner in a zone-based scheme as he makes a good read and shows burst to gain 10 yards. Morris also displays good open-field running ability.

Injuries

Although his playing time was reduced, Morris still played in 50 games with the Tar Heels, so he didn't miss much time with injuries. He did miss one game with an undisclosed injury during the 2013 season and also suffered a torn meniscus in the spring of 2014, but was back in time for the start of the season.

Scheme Fit

Morris would be ideally suited to a third-down back role, but he's unfortunate to land on a team where most of the backs ahead of him on the depth chart already possess those skills. Had he been on the Jets a couple of years ago, he might have had a good chance of making that role his own. Even so, none of the backs the Jets have are as fast as he is, so he could provide a literal "change of pace."

As noted above, Morris might be best suited to a zone-blocking scheme up front, but Chan Gailey's offense seems to do a good job of allowing its backs to handle the ball in space so that might suit his skill-set.

Attitude/Demeanor

Unlike most of the Jets' rookie class, Morris does have some off-field issues in his past. He was reportedly arrested for driving while intoxicated during Nov. 2014 and the team suspended him for a game as a result. Interestingly, he had a career-high 17 carries in his next appearance, so perhaps that wasn't as big of a factor in his reduced playing time as you might think. That was the only time Morris had double-digit carries in his last two years, after it happened eight times in the first two years.

Conclusions

With his most productive year being his freshman season and his least productive being his senior year, it's evident that Morris didn't live up to his early potential with North Carolina. Once again this could be a case of the Jets hoping that other teams have overlooked his potential because of his lack of production over the past few years. On film, there are some impressive plays from him, but his senior year has to go down as a major disappointment.

Clearly the team was impressed enough with him at rookie camp to give him a contract, but it would be a long-shot to expect him to land an actual roster spot. The last two former try-out players to end up on the 53 were Matt Simms and James Ihedigbo, but neither made the roster until their second season.

The kickoff return job is wide open, so perhaps he can get in the mix if he makes some big plays in preseason. However, it would seem likely that he's probably at least a year or two away from cracking the rotation in the backfield.

Up next: We'll take a look at the Penn State defensive tackle Tarow Barney. How does he compare to the other defensive linemen the Jets have brought in? Let us know in the comments who you'd like us to look at after that.


New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) drops back to pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Titans 30-8. (Brad Penner)
New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) drops back to pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Titans 30-8. (Brad Penner)

The Jets have offered free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a three-year contract that would pay him $12 million in the first year, reports Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post

According to Cannizzaro, Fitzpatrick has had the opportunity to take this deal for the last four months but has not done so in that time. Cannizzaro also reports that no other team has offered him as much money or a starting job. 

Fitzpatrick threw for a career-high 31 touchdowns and 3,905 yards last season with the Jets. The Jets have three quarterbacks currently on their roster - Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

It's interesting to see little morsels of information seeping out gradually as we get closer and closer to meaningful offseason preparations getting underway. However, this probably isn't that big of a revelation.  

Even if the Jets had offered a three-year deal at $7 million per season, which would be towards the low end of the previously reported offer parameters, you'd probably expect to see at least $12 million in guaranteed money. Therefore, this isn't exactly an indication that the Jets' offer has been that much more generous than previously thought.

What is interesting is that this is one of the first pieces of information to leak out that doesn't sound like it came directly or indirectly from Fitzpatrick's agent because, for once, the team is being portrayed as the more reasonable party. Of course, Jimmy Sexton can make the same distinction I did above and then we'll be back to the status quo of the Jets being made to look like they're being recklessly thrifty across the local and national media.

As the deadline - whenever that is and whoever imposes it - approaches, the number of reports seem to be intensifying, which could be a sign that negotiations are about to heat up, even if all it really signifies right now is the increasing sense of desperation on both sides.

One last note: If the Jets did get Fitzpatrick to agree to a three-year deal with $12 million payable in the first year, the current year cap hit could, in theory, be less than $5 million if they decided to pay most of it as a signing bonus. That's worth bearing in mind if you're wondering how the Jets would be able to offer such a deal.

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick

New York Jets tight end Jace Amaro (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets tight end Jace Amaro (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports Images)

Jace Amaro was aiming for a big breakout season a year ago.

The New York Jets tight end was coming off an up-and-down rookie campaign and trying to establish himself in new coordinator Chan Gailey's offense.

Instead, his stats line was completely empty - unless you count all the restless days he spent trying to stay patient while rehabilitating from a shoulder injury in training camp that sidelined him all of last season.

"It was tough," Amaro said after practice earlier this week. "It was the longest period of time where I didn't play a sport. But you learn a lot. I watched a lot of film and watched a lot of games. I got healthy really quick and I feel good about it.

"I'm ready to go this year."

New York drafted Amaro in the second round in 2014 out of Texas Tech, where he set the FBS record with an eye-popping 106 catches for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior. With his size - 6-foot-5, 265 pounds - and pass-catching abilities, the Jets expected Amaro to make an immediate impact.

He finished with 38 catches for 345 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie, dealing with some issues with inconsistency and drops, and questions about his blocking abilities in then-coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's system. >> Read more

Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press

Tags: Jace Amaro

Prior to the hiring of Todd Bowles, Woody Johnson reached out to Mike Holmgren to see if the Super Bowl-winning coach had any interest in becoming the head coach of the Jets, according to Bob Glauber of Newsday

Holmgren declined the opportunity to coach the Jets.

"We were being as creative as we could, and we were looking for talent," Johnson said this week at the NFL owners meetings in Charlotte. "Mike has a Super Bowl record, and we wanted to see what he thought about our process, how football had changed, how it had stayed the same, whether he had any advice for us, that kind of thing."

Holmgren had last coached for the Seahawks in 2008. He led Seattle to the Super Bowl after the 2005 season, where they lost to the Steelers 21-10. Holmgren also led the Packers to consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the 1990s, including a Super Bowl victory following the 1996 season with Brett Favre as quarterback. 

The former coach expressed interest in the 49ers head coaching position earlier this year before the team hired Chip Kelly. 

Holmgren last worked in the NFL as the team president of the Cleveland Browns from 2010-2012. He has a 174-122 overall coaching record, including a 13-11 record in the playoffs. 


New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick before the start of the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Thomas J. Russo/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick before the start of the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Thomas J. Russo/USA Today Sports Images)

New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker is skipping the team's organized team activities to express his support for free-agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, whom the Jets have not yet signed after leading New York to 10 wins last season, according to the New York Post's Brian Costello.

Though OTAs are not mandatory, Decker is not attending after he caught 80 passes for 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

"You'd like to have everybody here for everybody to have the opportunity to get better, but at the same time, it is voluntary," offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said on Wednesday.

Fellow wide receiver Brandon Marshall also skipped OTAs, but Costello reports it is not in a protest of Fitzpatrick remaining unsigned. Center Nick Mangold, who was with Fitzpatrick, Decker and Bryce Petty at a Rangers game last month, also skipped OTAs because his wife recently gave birth.

Decker said last week on NFL Network he thinks Fitzpatrick and the Jets will reunite in July.

"Right now, it's a business and they're so far off in dollar amount, but Ryan wants to be back, they want Ryan back," Decker said. "Something is going to happen. It might be before training camp, the day or two before, but I believe that he'll be back on the team come this fall."

Fitzpatrick, 33, said he wants to return to the Jets, but remains a free agent after throwing for 3,905 yards, 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last season, as the Jets went 10-6 and fell one game shy of reaching the playoffs. He and the Jets are reportedly about $7 million apart in contract discussions.

Tags: Eric Decker , Ryan Fitzpatrick

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

This year, I've again been breaking down each of the Jets' rookies in detail and we're now looking at the undrafted free agents. On Tuesday, I looked at defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas from Michigan State ] but now I move on to look at Ohio State wide receiver and punt returner Jalin Marshall. I've been conducting research and watching game footage to try and assess what he brings to the table.

The 20-year-old Marshall is listed as 5'10" and 200 pounds and entered the draft early after his redshirt sophomore year at Ohio State. He caught 76 passes for 976 yards and 11 touchdowns in his two seasons with the Buckeyes and was also in the top-five for punt return average both years. Marshall was considered to be a projected mid-rounder in the draft, with some experts suggesting he could be a day-two pick. However, he ran a slower than expected 40-yard dash at the combine and ended up going undrafted.

Note: Some stats from this article are exclusively provided by Pro Football Focus.

Who is Jalin Marshall?

As was the case with Christian Hackenberg and Lawrence Thomas before him, Marshall is another rookie pickup who was a highly sought-after high school recruit, having impressed as an option quarterback at Middletown, Ohio. However, after red-shirting his freshman year, Marshall played just two years and then opted to enter the draft -- arguably before he realized his full potential. If the Jets coaches have the patience to allow him to continue to develop now that he's a professional, this could be another good find in terms of value.

With several minor injuries and a deep group of skill position players ahead of him, Marshall redshirted his freshman year in 2013, but moved into a significant role as a red-shirt freshman in 2014.

Over the next two years, Marshall's production as a receiver was consistent but unspectacular, with 38 catches for 499 yards and six scores in 2014 and 36 catches for 477 yards and five scores in 2015. However, in 2014 he also carried the ball 25 times for 145 yards and a touchdown. He had just two carries in 2015 but did have his first 100-yard receiving game.

Marshall also made a name for himself as a punt returner, as he finished in the top five for average yards per return in each season. However, he had a costly muff in an upset loss to Minnesota in 2014 and although he bounced back to score four touchdowns in the biggest game of his career the following week, he never completely earned back the trust of the fanbase.

Let's move onto some more in-depth analysis of what Marshall brings to the table, based on my research and film study.

Measurables

Marshall's slide in the draft has mostly been attributed to the fact that he ran a disappointing 40-yard dash during the offseason. We'll focus on why that might be an over-simplification later on, but for someone who looks so fast on film, 4.60 at the combine was disappointing. And when he tried to improve on that number at his pro day, he only ran a 4.69. However, he got off to a much worse start in his pro day run (0.09 slower over the first 10 yards but 0.04 faster over the last 20). That suggests he should be capable of improving his overall time by at least 0.04, which would give him a 4.56 time. Keep that number in mind.

Looking at the rest of his numbers, the suggestion that Marshall displayed disappointing athleticism at the combine is inaccurate since other than that 40-yard dash, his numbers were good across the board. Does a lack of long distance breakaway speed preclude a small, shifty receiver and kick returner from being a productive player at the NFL level? It would seem not -- especially if they show good agility and explosiveness.

The prototypical player to compare Marshall with here is the very guy he'll be trying to replace with the Jets. Jeremy Kerley was a fifth round pick in 2011, but he too posted a slower than anticipated 40-yard dash at the combine (4.67). Kerley was able to improve upon this at his pro day, but only to 4.56, which you'll recall is the exact number I identified as what Marshall should have been able to achieve above.

As for the rest of Kerley's numbers -- with again some of these being improved upon at his pro day -- they ended up very similar (including an identical bench press and vertical jump). Marshall's agility numbers fell short of Kerley's excellent numbers, but were still very good. And he had a better broad jump by three inches. Marshall is also slightly bigger (by one inch and 11 pounds).

Marshall clearly has an extremely similar athletic profile to a player who saw success in a similar role, suggesting his measurables can't be the only reason he slipped in the draft. We'll therefore look into everything else, but we can use the Kerley projection to set our expectations for how Marshall will thrive as a deep threat, a short option or in terms of breakaway speed.

Usage

In his redshirt freshman year, Marshall primarily played the H-back position, which confusingly is nothing like the role denoted by the position of the same name with the Jets. Instead, he would line up in the slot but often motion across the formation for jet sweeps or into the flat. He moved outside for 2015.

As a former high school quarterback, Marshall was sometimes given snaps out of the wildcat in 2014, but the need for him to do that vanished in 2015 with Braxton Miller moving to receiver. He did have a game or two where he was the number two quarterback due to injuries, though, so he was almost called upon for emergency duties.

In three games charted from 2015, Marshall played on the outside most of the time but still had 40 of 163 snaps in the slot. He did not line up in the backfield. When lined up in the slot, Marshall had a lower yards per catch average and was less productive in terms of pass catching in 2015.

Deep threat

Marshall did make some plays downfield, but I didn't see many examples of him blowing by a defender to catch a long pass. Instead, many of the deep balls he caught saw him run downfield but then go up to get it in over a defender. In fact, he went up over two defenders for a touchdown in the end zone against Michigan.

Marshall scored a 48-yard touchdown on a long ball against Maryland in 2015 and it was a big one, breaking a 21-21 tie with seven minutes left in the third quarter. The defense was in zone coverage on that play, though, and he was wide open on a deep post route down the middle.

Routes

Marshall is somewhat raw as a route-runner, tending to get sloppy at the end of a route by rounding it off or drifting. However, he does show some promise. He can make crisp cuts and shows good technique when he breaks down for a hitch route.

It seemed like there was a lot of late or inaccurate throws to Marshall, which might suggest he was getting separation but the quarterback was letting him down. That was particularly apparent on the quick hitch routes. However, it can also mean that the receiver's route is imprecise and that the timing of the throw was fine but the receiver broke too early or at the wrong depth or angle.

While some of it happens off-screen, you can see that he does a good job of getting open on the outside here, presumably with either a sharp break to the outside or by deceiving the defensive backs by leaning inside first.

CLICK to watch.

Hands

Marshall didn't have major issues with drops in college, as he totalled just four in each of his two seasons. However, he did also have some issues catching punts and there were times where he juggled catches or made a catch with his body rather than his hands.

He does display some good pass catching ability, though. He can go up to get it in a crowd and is capable of hanging on in traffic or when absorbing a hit, as he does here:

CLICK to watch.

Marshall has a flair for the spectacular sometimes and one of his four touchdowns against Indiana in 2014 was a one-handed catch. However, I wonder if he tries to go for the spectacular too often, as there were at least two plays where he failed to make a one-handed catch on a play where it looked like he could get two hands to the ball. Here was one:

CLICK to watch.

Yards after the catch

Marshall's open field running is obviously an asset after the catch, as it is when he was used as a runner or in the return game. He's an exciting player to watch with good elusiveness and acceleration. He makes good use of the spin move in the flat, stops on a dime and fights for yardage.

In 2014, Marshall yards after the catch per reception average was higher than most of the top receivers in this year's class, but it dropped off in 2015. In any case, those numbers can be misleading because quite a lot of his catches saw him come in motion and run underneath the formation to catch a short toss, which is really more akin to a running play.

Where Marshall was carrying the ball regularly in 2014, that was mostly on wildcat snaps and end-arounds. His two carries in 2015 both went for 15 yards and one of those was an end-around in their bowl game.

Here's one play where Marshall gets in the open field and shows off his acceleration, but fails to protect the ball in space and loses a fumble:

CLICK to watch.

Blocking

Marshall is a willing enough blocker on the line or downfield, but from what I saw, he doesn't contribute much. His lack of size is perhaps a factor in this but he also seemed to miss a few assignments where he whiffed on a block in space.

Physicality

Marshall's move to the outside in 2015 was partially to help him learn how to deal with press coverages, according to coaches. If he is able to master that, perhaps he could become more of a downfield threat against bump-and-run coverage.

One thing that has been praised is Marshall's toughness and fearlessness when going over the middle.

His only penalty over the past two years was in the win over Minnesota this year where he was flagged for being an ineligible receiver downfield. Presumably that was some kind of trick play that went awry.

Instincts/Intelligence

Although he's young and inexperienced, you can find some good examples of football IQ from Marshall, whose understanding of the game was perhaps helped by the fact he was a quarterback in high school. In the play above where he fumbled, he obviously did a good job to find some open space as the play was extended, for example.

One place where he could display better decision-making is in the return game. There seemed to be too many examples of him fielding punts unnecessarily inside the 10, taking a fair catch when it was unnecessary and failing to take a fair catch when under pressure. Obviously he was determined to make plays, but at times needed to be more selective.

Here's an interesting play where Marshall motions across and takes the pitch, fakes a pass and then cuts back to score. Having already caught a forward pass, Marshall could not throw the ball otherwise he'd have been flagged for an illegal second forward pass. So, was this a mental error or was he actually being extremely smart and always intended to use the threat of a pass as a fake to open up the middle? You decide:

CLICK to watch.

Scheme Fit

It's perhaps not a great sign that Marshall's former teammate, Devin Smith, struggled to adjust to the Jets' system, although he did miss most of camp through injuries.

As noted above, there seemed to be a disconnect between Marshall and his quarterback at times in respect of the timing or placement of throw. That was the case with Smith last year too, so it could be a pattern to keep an eye out for.

Also, with the comparison to Kerley mentioned above, it's worth remembering that Kerley was basically just a return man last season and they didn't really have a role for him on offense.

Special Teams

Special teams is where Marshall has the best chance to make his mark. The punt return role is wide open and Marshall's open field running skills make him a dynamic return option:

CLICK to watch.

You have to take the rough with the smooth, though, as he did have some fumbles and mental errors with the Buckeyes.

Could Marshall also return kickoffs effectively? Kerley didn't have much success with those, perhaps due to his lack of top-end speed, so maybe that would be an issue with Marshall too. But he returned each of the three kickoffs he fielded in college for more than 25 yards, including a nice 36-yard runback in the bowl game. Marshall didn't contribute in coverage at OSU, but could be an option there with the Jets. He had six special teams tackles in high school.

Attitude

Marshall was suspended by the team for the 2015 season opener for marijuana use. Indications are that maybe this was a one-off mistake, but it will have raised concerns over his maturity.

For the record, coaches have said that he practices well. In particular, he showed good mental toughness and work ethic following that costly fumble in the Minnesota game, spending extra time catching punts in the snow and bouncing back with a four-touchdown performance that included the only punt return touchdown of his college career.

Injuries

Having red-shirted the 2013 season due to a series of minor injuries, Marshall didn't miss any time due to injury in 2014 or 2015. However, he did suffer a torn meniscus and cartilage damage in the spring of 2014 and had to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery.

Conclusions

When initially assessing the undrafted free agent class each year, the moves that tend to get the most attention are the ones where a high profile player was expected to be a pretty high draft pick. Marshall fits right into that category. Vontaze Burfict is a good recent example of someone who most people expected to be a high pick that went undrafted (in his case, due to off-field concerns) and then ended up being a productive contributor.

However, what you'll often find is that the undrafted free agents who make more of an immediate impact are the less-heralded pickups. In a way, this stands to reason. If a guy everyone was aware of was passed on by 32 teams, clearly they didn't feel he was worth drafting. In the case of a guy like Burfict, that can prove incorrect, but often the reason teams pass on a potential pick proves to be the reason why they don't make it at the pro level.

On the other hand, if a team picks up a less-heralded player, then many of the teams who drafted other players instead didn't even have him on their radar. So it's not like all 32 teams have looked at him in depth and gone in another direction due to his flaws.

The prevailing narrative on Marshall was that his combine performance led to teams questioning his athleticism and perhaps that was a factor, especially after he was unable to improve upon his 40-yard dash time at his pro day. However, his combine performance was actually pretty good other than the 40 time. So reviewing the film on Marshall leads me to believe his going undrafted has more to do with his lack of experience, questionable instincts and ball security, perhaps coupled with concerns over his maturity.

That doesn't mean teams would be writing him off, just that they didn't feel comfortable spending a pick on him. Having already drafted a wide receiver in the seventh round, the Jets were obviously keen to bring Marshall into the mix too, as evidenced by them giving him $12,500 in guaranteed money -- the third most out of all their undrafted signings.

Marshall is young (still only 20), with good measurables and comes from a top program -- all attributes that many of this year's rookie class share. Where he differs from most is in the off-field concerns. But given his age, it could be a good gamble to hope this was a one-off mistake he has since learned from. He's certainly an exciting player, capable of making things happen, but he'll need to show discipline, maturity and consistency because he won't last very long if he makes the same kind of costly mistakes that he sometimes made in college.

Up next: We'll take a look at the newest undrafted free agent addition, North Carolina running back Romar Morris. Could he be another in the mix for a special teams role? Let us know in the comments who you'd like us to look at after that.


New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles addresses the media after OTAs on Wednesday, and discusses the quarterbacks in camp, the latest on Ryan Fitzpatrick, the early development of the rookies, the state of the defense, and more.


New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg working through drills at OTA's.  (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg working through drills at OTA's. (Noah K. Murray)

New York Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey spoke with the media following Wednesday's OTA. Here is what we learned from Gailey, who is in his second season running the Jets offense:

  • "We've improved our roster from top to bottom on offense. We took baby steps last year, it's time to take longer steps now," Gailey said.
  • Regarding rookie QB Christian Hackenberg: "He's a work in progress, as we all are."
  • "Every rookie quarterback would benefit from sitting and learning," Gailey said on the notion of Hackenberg playing in his rookie season. "His upside is very good, in our opinion."
  • Geno Smith is "mentally" ahead of where he was last season.
  • When asked if he is comfortable with Geno as the Jets starting QB, Gailey responded: "We're comfortable with whoever wins the job."
  • He won't try to figure out how RB Matt Forte fits into his system, but rather how he can adjust the offensive scheme to use all of his abilities.
  • "You'd like to have everybody here for everybody to have the opportunity to get better, but at the same time it is voluntary," Gailey said regarding the absence of WR's Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall on Tuesday and Wednesday
  • When asked about free agent QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Gailey responded "I coach who walks through the door."

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

Gailey's answer on incorporating Matt Forte into the offense perfectly encapsulates the way he approaches football. Gailey would rather use the system to enhance his players rather than the players to enhance his system. Personally, I see Forte as an upgraded version of Bilal Powell. Forte can run between the tackles but his best work has been done in the passing game much like Powell demonstrated in 2015.  

Gailey got cute in his answers on Geno Smith and his role in this offense, but he's right. He can't speak to players who aren't on the team nor should he. The Fitzpatrick situation will resolve itself sooner or later, but let's all hope it's sooner.

Tags: Tim Reilly

New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

New York Jets Defensive End Sheldon Richardson showed up today for day two of Jets OTAs according to New York Post beat writer Brian Costello.

The Missouri product caused a small controversy last offseason with his spotty attendance during the non-mandatory Organized Team Activities, criticism to which he responded on Twitter.

Richardson's fifth year $8 million contract option was picked up by the Jets this April after recording 35 tackles, 5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in 11 games played last season. 

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

Sheldon Richardson has to realize that if he can keep his nose clean he could be in a very favorable position in the next year or two. After getting off on the wrong foot with his new coach and GM through some imprudent off-field incidents, Richardson's position can be made less tenuous with some extra effort demonstrated to his coach on and off the field.


Should the Jets and Muhammad Wilkerson might not be able to come to terms on a long-term contract extension, Richardson is the disruptive player who could benefit long-term from that impasse. The Jets might be willing to give Richardson a generous contract while Leonard Williams plays out his rookie deal as the eventual role-replacement to Wilkerson's. In other words, a dutiful Richardson and an absent Wilkerson means a New York payday for the former Mizzou star.


Jun 9, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) and New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) during New York Jets minicamp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Jun 9, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) and New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) during New York Jets minicamp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

The Jets will hold their second of 10 organized team activities (OTA) on Wednesday, and the first open to reporters.


Their first practice was Tuesday, but it was closed to media.


Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg are expected in camp, along with wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Head coach Todd Bowles is scheduled to speak with reporters around 2 pm ET.


The Jets will hold practice Tuesday through Thursday this week and next week, with Wednesday again open to media.


North Carolina Tar Heels tailback Romar Morris (21) runs the ball during the first half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Kenan Memorial Stadium. (Rob Kinnan)
North Carolina Tar Heels tailback Romar Morris (21) runs the ball during the first half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Kenan Memorial Stadium. (Rob Kinnan)

The Jets have signed undrafted free agent RB Romar Morris and have waived TE Jerome Cunningham, the team announced on Tuesday

Morris played in 50 games with 13 starts over his four years at North Carolina. He racked up 1,024 yards on 214 carries and 12 touchdowns in his career with the Tar Heels, while adding 54 receptions for 499 yards and two touchdowns.

As a redshirt senior, Morris saw his offensive touches reduced. The running back focused on special teams, an area in which he saw an opportunity for himself in the NFL.

Morris showed great speed at his UNC pro day, with 40 times reported at 4.30, 4.35, and 4.36.

After being invited for a tryout at the Jets' recent rookie camp, Morris impressed the team enough to earn a spot on the 90-man roster.

Cunningham was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Giants in 2014, and caught eight passes for them last season. He was signed as an exlusive-rights FA this March before being waived earlier this month and becoming a Jet on waivers.


GEICO SportsNite: Willie Colon 00:00:41
Former New York Jets guard Willie Colon hosts his annual charity golf outing for Lupus research.

 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

Free agent QB Ryan Fitzpatrick said he wants to return to the Jets but wouldn't elaborate on the contract negotiations.

"I would like to be back," Fitzpatrick said, according to the New York Post.

Fitzpatrick also said he wasn't considering retirement, noting that he's "playing football next year."

The Jets and Fitzpatrick have reportedly been far apart in negotiations, though both sides have remained open to a reunion throughout.

The Jets currently have three other quarterbacks on the roster -- Geno Smith, Bryce Petty, and the recently-drafted Christian Hackenberg.

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick

Westhoff talks punters, changes 00:04:18
Former Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff discusses the battle between the punters and advice for the current coaching staff.

The New York Jets line up against the Tennessee Titans for a field goal at MetLife Stadium. The Jets won, 30-8. (Vincent Carchietta)
The New York Jets line up against the Tennessee Titans for a field goal at MetLife Stadium. The Jets won, 30-8. (Vincent Carchietta)

The Jets have the second-toughest schedule in the NFL for the 2016 season, reports Michael Salfino of the Wall Street Journal

Salfino cites Sharp Football Analysis, which looks looks at every team's projected win total for the upcoming season rather than the past year's records. According to this system, the Jets' opponents are averaging 8.6 wins, which is only second to the 49ers' opponents at 8.7 wins. 

Five of the Jets' first six opponents are averaging at least 9.6 wins, per this metric.

The Jets will open up their season on Sept. 11 against the Bengals at MetLife Stadium. 

 


With free agency and the draft in the rear view, Corey Griffin and Brian Bassett take a big picture look at the entire offseason, covering the moves made and not made, and where the Jets stand between now and training camp.


 (Brian Spurlock)
(Brian Spurlock)

Jets personnel director Brian Heimerdinger thinks highly of recently-drafted QB Christian Hackenberg.

"I think we have high hopes for Hack," Heimerdinger said Thursday, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. "He had a tough time in college, but he's an unbelievable kid. He's real smart. I've really enjoyed him so far since he's been in the building. We'll see how he progresses over the next couple of years."

Heimerdinger also discussed whether the selection of Hackenberg is a reflection on fellow QB Bryce Petty.

"Personally, our opinion is you don't draft on what your roster is," he said. "We like to fill our needs in free agency and draft the best available. In regard to Bryce, that's not really a slight at Bryce anymore than drafting a linebacker is a slight at David Harris in that regard."

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

You can probably file Heimerdinger's comments in the "well, what did you expect them to say?" file. And it does seem like he's mostly talking about this from a standpoint of why they drafted Hackenberg rather than anything he's shown in limited practice time so far.

Perhaps more noteworthy are his comments on Petty, who he assures us is still part of the team's plans, while suggesting that adding Hackenberg to the mix seems to be part of an ongoing philosophy of bringing in as many options as possible rather than a slight on the incumbent group. Whether Heimerdinger actually believes this or is just saying what's best for each candidate's confidence (or even trade value) is anyone's guess, though.

 

Tags: Bryce Petty

New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (Danny Wild/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (Danny Wild/USA Today Sports Images)

New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, one of the NFL's highest-paid players among non-quarterbacks the past several years, has fired his longtime agents.

ESPN first reported Thursday that Revis had parted ways with Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod, the cornerback's agents since his rookie year in 2007.

Schwartz and Feinsod negotiated a few huge deals for Revis, who has made $101 million in his career, according to Spotrac.com. He is due to make $17 million in guaranteed money this season.

Both agents confirmed the split in emails to The Associated Press, but the reasons for Revis' move was not immediately certain. "Jonathan and I wish him the best of luck," Schwartz wrote in an email.

Revis returned to the Jets last year after two seasons away, and signed a five-year, $70 million deal that included $39 million in guarantees.

Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press

Tags: Darrelle Revis

 (Thomas J. Russo)
(Thomas J. Russo)

New York Jets WR Eric Decker believes QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will be back with the team by late July, the wide receiver said in an interview on the NFL Network. 

"Right now, it's a business and they're so far off in dollar amount, but Ryan wants to be back, they want Ryan back," said Decker. "Something is going to happen. It might be before training camp, the day or two before, but I believe that he'll be back on the team come this fall."

While it is unknown if the Jets have given Fitzpatrick a hard deadline, the team has dropped strong hints about wanting to have a resolution to their quarterback situation by the start of training camp in late July, as reported by Rich Cimini of ESPN.

However other reports say there is a deadline for the two parties to agree on a deal. May 24th, the first day of Jets OTAs, is the first legitimate deadline that both sides want a deal to be done if Fitzpatrick is to remain with the team, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

As of now, the Jets are Fitzpatrick's only suitor. That is unlikely to change unless another team's quarterback suffers an injury over the next couple of weeks, meaning this staring contest between the Jets and Fitzpatrick could potentially go on for another two months. 

"All I can say is we have to move on without him right now because they are stuck where they are with the business decision, where they want to go with the money, who's going to break," Decker told reporters. "But, again, we have a job to do and that's to be the best football team, field the best football team, of who we have in the locker room right now."

Tags: Eric Decker , Ryan Fitzpatrick

 (Logan Bowles)
(Logan Bowles)

The Jets have signed OLB Jordan Jenkins, the team announced.

Jenkins, who was selected in the third round (83rd overall) in the draft, had 59 tackles and five sacks last season for Georgia, where he served as the defensive co-captain.

He had 205 tackles and 19 sacks during his career at Georgia.


 (Logan Bowles)
(Logan Bowles)

The Jets have signed two more of their draft picks, second-round QB Christian Hackenberg and seventh-round WR Charone Peake, the team announced today.

Hackenberg's deal is for four years, $4.7 million, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. His cap number for 2016 is $847,000.

Hackenberg started 38 games at Penn State, and became the only QB to ever pass for 8,000 yards. The QB also set school records for touchdowns (48), completions (693), and total offense (8,215). In 2015, Hackenberg passed for 2,525 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Peake had his best season for Clemson last year as a redshirt senior. The wide receiver had 50 receptions for 716 yards and five touchdowns. For his Clemson career, Peake made 99 catches for 1,172 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Jets now have four of their seven draft picks signed. The team announced the signings of fourth-round CB Juston Burris and seventh-round P Lachlan Edwards last week.


Jun 9, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) and New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) during New York Jets minicamp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Jun 9, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) and New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) during New York Jets minicamp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Jets WR Brandon Marshall has confidence in QB Geno Smith if he's the starter this season, writes Darryl Slater of NJ.com

"A hundred percent confident in Geno," Marshall said, according to Slater. "I think he's grown so much from the first conversation I had with him, before I got traded [from Chicago last offseason], and also since [early] last year when we were roommates."

"He's an ultimate pro right now," Marshall continued. "I don't know if that's always been the answer [about him]. But I'm just so proud of the kid, because the areas where he's been challenged, he's grown and gotten better."

In addition to Smith, the Jets have Bryce Petty and the recently drafted Christian Hackenberg on the roster.

The team also remains interested in re-signing free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

Marshall did the right thing by sticking by the team and his (current) starting QB. There is absolutely nothing to gain by Marshall saying something inflammatory. He's stumped for his guy (Fitzpatick) and his guy hasn't come to terms with the Jets -- at least not yet.

Marshall showed the same support last year when Geno was the presumptive starter. Sure, Fitzpatrick's surprise 2015 season changed the perception of the situation, but it hasn't changed how Marshall will carry it in front of the New York media.

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

This could be seen a bad sign, since Marshall saying this now could mean he sees Fitzpatrick's return as less likely than he did a few weeks or months ago. When Marshall made similar comments last year, I was suspicious as to how genuine that sentiment was because it almost seemed like he was trying to dupe Smith into believing he was good enough.

Clearly, by the end of the season, Marshall had come to the conclusion that Fitzpatrick was the right man for the job, so perhaps the timing of these comments should be seen as troubling. Of course, that's assuming he wasn't simply blindsided by a "how confident would you be in Geno if he ended up as the starter?" question. If that was the case, what else was he going to say?

Tags: Brandon Marshall , Bryce Petty , Geno Smith , Brian Bassett

Joe Namath on Jets, Fitzpatrick 00:01:00
Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath chats with SNY's Michelle Yu about the Jets' QB situation.

Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath chats with SNY's Michelle Yu about the Jets' QB situation.

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick

 (Jim O'Connor)
(Jim O'Connor)

The Jets have added TE Jerome Cunningham and have waived RB-KR Dri Archer, the team announced on Monday.

Cunningham signed with the Giants as a rookie free agent in 2014. He spent time on their practice squad in 2014 before being active for the final two regular season games. The tight end appeared in nine games for the Giants in 2015 and finished the year with eight receptions for 59 yards.

Archer signed a reserve/future contract with the Jets in February. A third-round pick of the Steelers in 2014, Archer played in 20 games for the Steelers and had 23 kickoff returns for a 22.4-yard average. Archer also had 17 offensive touches for 63 total yards in 2014. 


 (Melina Vastola)
(Melina Vastola)

The Jets have signed CB Bryson Keeton and waived TE Adrien Robinson, the team announced.

Keeton, 23, played for Montana state the last two seasons and had participated in the Jets' recent rookie minicamp.

Robinson, 27, had signed a reserve/futures contract with the Jets in January.

He played with the Giants from 2012 until he was waived this past September.

 

 


Utah Utes punter Tom Hackett receives a snap during the second half against the Colorado Buffaloes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. (Russell Isabella/USA Today Sports Images)
Utah Utes punter Tom Hackett receives a snap during the second half against the Colorado Buffaloes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. (Russell Isabella/USA Today Sports Images)

Lachlan Edwards and Tom Hackett are two laid-back guys from Down Under trying to get a leg up in the New York Jets' punting competition.

The Australian-born players are squaring off this offseason for a job in the NFL after successful college careers in the United States.

"It's the Aussie showdown in New York City, I guess," Hackett said with a smile during Jets rookie minicamp.

Across town, the Giants have their own Australian punter in Brad Wing, who is from Melbourne, like Hackett. Australian punters are becoming increasingly more common in the NFL. The Jets had Ben Graham a few years ago, and Wing, Darren Bennett, Sav Rocca, Mat McBriar and Chris Bryan have all kicked in the league.

"The Jets got jealous," Hackett joked. "So, I guess they'll end up with one, too. Me or Lach will win the job and hopefully have a good year."

Edwards was a seventh-round pick of the Jets last weekend after playing three years at Sam Houston State, where he never had a kick blocked while establishing himself as one of college football's most powerful punters. Before New York drafted him, it had no punters on its roster after letting incumbent Ryan Quigley sign with Philadelphia as a free agent after three mostly inconsistent seasons.

"I just want to be the new guy," said Edwards, who's from Hastings, Australia. "I know the Jets have struggled recently with their punting, so I'd like to be that new guy coming in to fix that problem."

Jets coach Todd Bowles said the competition will "definitely" go into training camp.

"Obviously, you have two young guys that haven't done it in the league before," he said. "We will see what they do when they get under pressure and we get to rush a little bit and see if they can boom them out of there." >> Read more

Tags: Brad Wing , Ryan Quigley

Jets Nation: Hackenberg 00:02:13
Kerith Burke catches up with Christian Hackenberg and talks about his career at Penn State and getting accustomed to New York.

Jets coach Todd Bowles got a chance to look at the team's rookies this weekend. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Jets coach Todd Bowles got a chance to look at the team's rookies this weekend. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

What coach Todd Bowles said Sunday as the Jets wrapped up their third and final day of rookie minicamp. The focus was on the competition at punter and linebacker:

  • On the punting competition that includes seventh-round pick Lachlan Edwards and undrafted Tom Hackett: "Yeah, it's definitely going to go on into training camp. Obviously you have two young guys that haven't done it in the league before. One has a very strong leg, the other is a very good directional punter. We will see what they do when they get under pressure and we get to rush a little bit and see if they can boom them out of there."
  • On putting 2015 draft pick Lorenzo Mauldin at Will (weakside) linebacker and '16 pick Jordan Jenkins at Sam (strongside): "(We did it to give them a chance to be) on the field at once, plus (Jenkins) played (the strong side more) in college. He was (more) use to playing over the tight end a little more. They (move) the tight end so much they are both going to be interchangeable. You say Sam and Will by alignment, but what they do on offense dictates who is the Sam and who is the Will."
  • On why Jenkins did not get more sacks at Georgia: "I can't really explain that. I was looking more at the player. Sometime schemes differ in college than they are in the pros. When you play over the tight end side, generally, they slide the protection that way quite a bit. I'm not saying he should have had more or shouldn't have had more. We just know he is a good football player. But I can't speak for them schematically."
  • On Erin Henderson: "Erin was a tough player before he got put out of the league. He missed a year and when he came back he did everything the right way. He was a good team p layer for us, he knows how to play the position inside and he was just one of those players, not so much a knock on Demario (Davis') play, but Erin was getting better and we wanted to put him on the field."
  • On comparing the number of sacks undrafted Freddie Bishop had under CFL rules to the NFL:" I don't know that you compare the number, but 11 sacks is 11 sacks. I was in Miami when Cameron Wake got there and we took him from Canada. Sometimes it takes guys time to develop and you can develop over there and come back over here and be good players or can develop over there and have a career over there. We saw some things in Freddie, not just the sacks, but as far as him playing the position and knowing how to play the position that made him appealing to us and made us want to sign him."
  • On when he expects wide receiver Devin Smith to return from an ACL injury for practice and if he'll be ready for camp: "I'm not sure. Coming off an injury like that we will just have to wait and see. I just have to listen to what the trainers and doctors tell me and see how he progresses."

Corey Griffin and Brian Bassett put their wrap and reaction on the NFL Draft. 

Eric Galko from Optimum Scouting joins the show for a full breakdown of Christian Hackenberg, Darron Lee, and where the Jets stand heading into rookie minicamp.

Following Mets postgame on Sunday, Jets Nation will air, looking at the team's mini-camp and newly-drafted players. Tune in this Sunday on SNY!

Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field. (Logan Bowles)
Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field. (Logan Bowles)

Christian Hackenberg is used to all the scrutiny, the varying opinions about his skills and what he can and can't do on a football field.

Forget all that.

The New York Jets' second-round draft pick is in the NFL now, and he just might be a future franchise quarterback. For now, though, Hackenberg is simply ready to move on from an up-and-down career at Penn State that made him one of the most polarizing players in the draft.

"I think you're defined by how you react to adversity and how you're able to get back up," Hackenberg said before his first rookie minicamp practice Friday. "So, I think ultimately having to go through that at a young age and doing it through college is only going to help me in the long run. That's how I compartmentalize that. It's really been a stepping stone for me moving forward. I think it's only going to help."

His path was a bit uncertain for a while, especially depending on who you asked.

As a standout in high school at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, ESPN ranked him as the best pro-style quarterback recruit. He turned down several schools, such as Alabama, Florida and Tennessee, to go to Penn State - and maintained his commitment despite the NCAA sanctions against the Nittany Lions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.

Hackenberg had a terrific freshman season, throwing for 20 touchdowns and 2,955 yards under then-coach Bill O'Brien. But he seemed to regress after O'Brien left to become coach of the Houston Texans. He threw 28 TD passes, but also had 21 interceptions over the next two years, and was sacked a whopping 104 times in three seasons. >> Read more


Terron Beckham has bright blue hair, huge muscles and an even bigger NFL dream.

The colorful and confident cousin of Odell Beckham Jr. is getting an opportunity from the New York Jets to show he belongs here - even though he hasn't played in an organized football game since high school in 2010.

"I hope to show them that I'm a reliable back," said Beckham, a running back in rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. "I can do it all as far as catching, running, be powerful, be explosive, use my strength. Everybody knows that I'm a strong guy."

No doubt about it.

The 23-year-old Beckham is listed at 6-foot and a powerfully built 225 pounds. He became a bit of an internet sensation in recent months with his eye-popping workouts. Beckham has been a personal trainer and fitness model for the last few years, but had always had the desire to play in the NFL.

In April, he had an NFL combine-like pro day at TEST Sports Club in New Jersey. According to published reports, Beckham ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds, had a 44 1/2-inch vertical jump and bench-pressed 225 pounds 36 times in front of scouts from a handful of teams, including the Jets and Giants.

After the draft last weekend, the Jets called and offered him a chance to try out.

"I definitely think I'd be a big fit," Beckham said. "Matt Forte's here, but Chris Ivory just left (as a free agent), and I see myself as kind of that Chris Ivory-type of back, how he runs."

That would be a physical, aggressive running back who routinely pounds defenders. At the very least, Beckham looks the part. >> Read more...

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.

GEICO SportsNite: Jets mini-camp 00:01:41
SNY reporter Kerith Burke reports from Jets rookie mini-camp where coach Todd Bowles spoke about expectations for Christian Hackenberg.

Syracuse Orange offensive tackle Sean Hickey (60) blocks Wake Forest Demon Deacons defensive end Tylor Harris (36) during the fourth quarter of a game at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse won the game 13-0. (Mark Konezny)
Syracuse Orange offensive tackle Sean Hickey (60) blocks Wake Forest Demon Deacons defensive end Tylor Harris (36) during the fourth quarter of a game at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse won the game 13-0. (Mark Konezny)

The Jets have waived offensive tackle Sean Hickey, the team announced Friday

Hickey, 6-foot-6, had signed a future/reserve contract with the team in late January. 

The 24-year-old Hickey went undrafted in 2015, but spent time as a practice squad member with both the Patriots and Saints last season. 

Hickey started 38 consecutive games to end his career at Syracuse, and was named third team All-ACC in his final year with the Orange. 


Laremy Tunsil is selected by the Miami Dolphins as the number thirteen overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at Auditorium Theatre. (Kamil Krzaczynski/USA Today Sports Images)
Laremy Tunsil is selected by the Miami Dolphins as the number thirteen overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at Auditorium Theatre. (Kamil Krzaczynski/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Jets made an offer to the New York Giants on the first night of the NFL Draft so they could trade up for Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, according to the New York Daily News' Gary Myers.

The Jets offered the Giants their first- and second-round picks, Nos. 20 and 51 overall, to the Giants for the 10th pick, according to Myers, for a chance to draft Tunsil, regarded as a top-three player in the draft before he fell on draft night in part due to a video of him smoking from a bong attached to a gas mask that surfaced immediately before the draft began.

Tunsil said his social media accounts, including his Instagram account that posted alleged messages between him and members of the Ole Miss athletics department that showed him asking for money, an NCAA violation, were hacked. He did not deny that the video of him smoking from the gas mask was him, though said it was old and added that he did not fail any recent drug tests.

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan had "strongly considered" trading with the Dallas Cowboys for the No. 4 pick and had previously expressed interest in trading up for Tunsil, a player he called a "good kid" when asked about him after the draft.

The Giants coveted cornerback Eli Apple and felt they didn't want to risk another team between No. 11 and 19 picking him, so they declined the trade. The Jets ended up drafting linebacker Darron Lee with the 20th pick and quarterback Christian Hackenberg with the 51st pick.

Tunsil ended up falling to No. 13, where the Miami Dolphins drafted him.


 (AP)
(AP)

Updated Thursday, 10:48 p.m.: The Jets confirmed Thursday they have signed 13 undrafted free agents and have invited more 22 players to try out for the rookie minicamp that runs Friday through Sunday (comments by Bent of TheJetsBlog.com): 

Robby Anderson, WR, Temple: Regarded as a possible mid-round pick after posting superb pro day numbers coming off a near-1,000 yard season.

Tarow Barney, DT, Penn State: Another athletic 300-pounder who did 31 bench press reps at his pro day.

Quenton Bundrage, WR, Iowa State: Regarded as a potential draft pick a year ago but had just 41 catches in ISU's run-first offense coming off a 2014 knee injury.

Kyle Friend, C/G, Temple: Starting center the last few years but also saw some time at guard and did 41 bench press reps at his pro day.

Tom Hackett, P, Utah: Two-time Ray Guy award winner who can compete with 7th round pick Lac Edwards.

Ross Martin, K, Duke: Pro Football Focus called Martin the most accurate kicker available in the draft and both could provide competition for Nick Folk.

Jalin Marshall, WR/KR, Ohio State: Electric receiver and punt returner who slid after his workout numbers weren't as good as expected.

Helva Matungulu, DL, Western Carolina: Matungulu grew up in Kenya and was another small-school prospect whose stock was said to be rising prior to the draft. 

Doug Middleton, S, Appalachian State: Heavy hitter who has played both safety positions and also some cornerback.

Julien Obioha, DE, Texas A&M 

Claude Pelon, DT, Southern Cal: 310-pound tackle who came on strong at the end of last year and did 33 bench press reps at his pro day.

Lawrence Thomas, DL, Michigan State: could play inside and out and shows promise against the run.

Jason VanderLaan, QB/TE, Ferris State: Athletic small school QB who the Jets are apparently going to convert to tight end.

Tryouts

Terron Beckham, RB:  Cousin of Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.  did not play in college, but has become an internet phenom with his workouts. At a pro day workout he ran a 4.47 40-yard dash, did a 44-inch vertical jump, an 11-foot broad jump and 36 reps on the bench.

Romar Morris, RB, North Carolina: Didn't play much last year, but ran a 4.36 40-yard dash at his pro day.

Dahon Taylor, OL, Virgina Union: Taylor is an athletic small-school prospect with good size from nearby Florence, NJ.

Other tryout invitees: 

LS Winston Chapman, Mississippi State   

LB Trent Corney, Virginia  

RB Roderick Davenport, St. Augustine   

OT Mathu Gibson, Wingate   

LB Ben Goodman, Kansas   

K Ryan Hawkins, Northern Arizona   

WR Montario Hunter, Elizabeth City   

CB Bryson Keeton, Montana State  

LB Hunter Kissinger, Louisiana Monroe   

OL Damian Love, Alabama State   

LB Taylor McDonnell, Newberry 

 QB Liam Nadler, Gannon   

LB Jake Payne, Shenandoah   

TE John Quazza, Colgate

K Daniel Sobolewski, Albright

S Peni Vea, UNLV  

S Alex Wells, Temple  

OL Hayden Wilks, Newberry   

DT Darren Wilson, Elizabeth City


OL Brandon Shell highlights 00:01:20
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays of the season from South Carolina offensive lineman Brandon Shell.

The Jets announced Thursday night that they have signed three of the players taken in last week's draft: cornerback Juston Burris, tackle Brandon Shell and punter Lachlan Edwards. Their four other picks remain unsigned.

Burris was taken in the fourth round. He was a three-year starter at North Carolina State, with six career interceptions and 31 pass breakups. Last season, he was targeted 44 times and only allowed 15 completions and one TD. >>More on Burris here.  

Shell, the great nephew of Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Shell, was picked in the fifth round out of South Carolina. He played on the right side for three years before moving to the left last season. He played 52 games, started 48, and started the last 47 the second-longest consecutive-starts streak in school history. >>More on Shell here. .

Edwards, from Sam Houston State, went in the seventh round. He posted averages 42.3, 44.1 and 41.5 yards in his three seasons. Last year, 31 of his 74 punts landed inside the opponents 20-yard line. >>More on Edwards here. . .


The Jets have waived WR Joe Anderson, the team announced.

Anderson, 27, had been signed to the practice squad in December.

He originally signed with the Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2012.

His story went national last year when he stood outside the Houston Texans facility with a sign that read: "Not homeless...but STARVING for success!!! Will Run Routes 4 food."

A video posted by Joe Anderson (@_joeanderson) on

 

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

With a number of newly drafted players about to get signed, there is only so much room on the Jets roster namely a spot for seventh rounder Charone Peake. I'm sorry to see that Anderson won't get a chance to compete with the team in training camp this summer, but if the team really likes Anderson's potential as a special teamer or practice squadder they might yet bring him back should something else not work out for Anderson between now and training camp. Credit to Anderson for doing everything he could to latch on with a team ... I hope he gets another shot soon.


Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg points to Michigan State Spartans defense during the second half of a game at Spartan Stadium. (Mike Carter/USA Today Sports Images)
Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg points to Michigan State Spartans defense during the second half of a game at Spartan Stadium. (Mike Carter/USA Today Sports Images)

... And NEEEWWWWW TJB Annual Draft Picks Projection Contest Champion:

carlhungus

Congratulations to Carl, who was one of three contestants to correctly identify two selections. He won the tiebreaker because he was just one off on his guess for where Cardale Jones would be drafted.

Commiserations go to our runners-up, Pablo Bruno and Dimps5790. who also each named two correct selections. Pablo even correctly stated that Jones would go to the Bills, only to miss the correct pick number by 119 slots.

For the record, a lot of you called the Christian Hackenberg pick, but only five people predicted the Jets would draft Darron Lee, and the same number correctly called the Jordan Jenkins pick. Michael Hunter was the only person to correctly name a Day 3 pick when he included Brandon Shell in his list.

As for the rest of the Day 3 picks ... nobody saw those coming. There were a ton of you that thought the Jets would draft Tom Hackett, but unfortunately undrafted free agents don't count.

Give carlhungus your congratulations in the comments!


 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan won't rule out the possibility of the team carrying four quarterbacks this season.

The Jets currently have Geno Smith and Bryce Petty under contract and recently drafted Christian Hackenberg.

Meanwhile, the team remains open to re-signing free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick.

"In a perfect world, I think if it's in the best interest of the team at the end of training camp that we carry four quarterbacks, then we carry four quarterbacks," Maccagnan said on WFAN radio, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. "It's not unprecedented in the NFL. It's been done before. To me, it's a position where you have to take some time to really invest, grow, and develop players."

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

The Jets could conceivably keep four QBs on their roster for the 2016 season but it would be a waste of roster space. The Jets are playing coy with their quarterbacks because maybe they think they can get a little something for one of them in a trade should they bring Ryan Fitzpatrick back via free agency.

The truth is someone is going to give; Geno Smith could be their starter or he could be on the street. The Jets could also be willing to part ways with Bryce Petty now that they've drafted a quote-unquote more expense and more recent version of Petty in Hackenberg.

Tags: Bryce Petty , Geno Smith , Ryan Fitzpatrick
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