MOBILE, Ala. — Unlike last year, the entire Jets coaching staff didn’t directly work with the players during this year’s Senior Bowl.
But Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas, assistant general manager Rex Hogan, and team scouts have been eyeing talent for the last few days.
Gang Green officials have been on the move this offseason from the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl to the East-West Shrine Bowl to now at the Senior Bowl looking for talent who can help the team win and reach the postseason in 2023. Not only have the Jets been observing daily practices, but they have also met with each position group to get to know the players personally.
“It is not as much high-end compared to years past,” Hogan said. “It is some really good players overall. But I would say it is more spread out throughout the draft as opposed to here is your dominant No. 1 overall or top five, top 10 type guy.”
The Jets have some needs to fill this offseason, including on the offensive line, at safety, while also needing a wide receiver and possibly another running back to help compliment Breece Hall once he returns from an ACL injury he suffered last October.
There have been several stand-out players in Mobile this week, but here are five who could help the Jets immediately.
JOHN MICHAEL SCHMITZ, C, MINNESOTA
Connor McGovern will be a free agent next month and the Jets could decide to move on from the veteran. If Gang Green does head in that direction, Schmitz is a player that would instantly produce as a rookie.
On Wednesday, Schmitz showed intelligence, football acumen and ruthlessness on the field. All characteristics of a great offensive lineman.
Schmitz has excellent technique as he held his own against some of the best defensive tackles in the nation. He also was extraordinary opening up lanes for running backs to plunge through consistently. Schmitz’s best play on Wednesday was decapitating a defender 15 yards down the field.
At 6-foot-3, 306 pounds, Schmitz showed he could regularly handle speed rushers and power defensive tackles. Not only has Schmitz shown he is one of the best players at the Senior Bowl this week, but he is also making a strong case to be the first center selected in the draft.
KEION WHITE, DE, GEORGIA TECH
The Jets don’t exactly need help at defensive end. But as the saying goes, you can never have too many pass rushers.
White has been turning heads during the Senior Bowl with his explosiveness off the ball, as he is a natural pass rusher and a player who can disrupt rushing plays in the backfield. White also showed the versatility to play as a defensive end and inside at defensive tackle. He also has the size (6-foot-3, 293 pounds) and strength to do both.
Not only did White perform well during 11-on-11 action, but he regularly won during one-on-one drills.
TYJAE SPEARS, RB, TULANE
Spears has been one of the best players in Mobile this week. Whenever he has gotten opportunities, Spears has shown he can be a big-time playmaker whenever he has the ball.
Spears has excellent instincts and explosiveness when he reaches every level of any defense at all levels. His best attribute is his vision to see the open lane and burst through it quickly.
Hall is expected to make a full recovery, but who knows how long it will take him to get back to 100%. The Jets rushing attack struggled after Hall’s ACL injury, so having an option like Spears makes a lot of sense.
KEEANU BENTON DT, WISCONSIN
Quinnen Williams was arguably the best defensive tackle in the league in 2022. But the Jets might need to get younger at the spot opposite Williams as Sheldon Rankins is an upcoming free agent.
Benton has shown this week during practices that he can be a menace in the run game as he has regularly overpowered offensive linemen. Benton is also very athletic for a man that checks in at 6-foot-3, 312 pounds.
Benton’s stock will only increase after his performance during the Senior Bowl.
SYDNEY BROWN, S, ILLINOIS
The Jets have a clear need at safety and Brown is a guy that can cover receivers, tight ends and running backs in the secondary.
Brown displayed his speed by shadowing receivers in the passing game, tracking the ball well and disrupting plays. He is also instinctive as Brown has the ball skills to be a Pro Bowl safety in the NFL.
Some safeties enter the league as a run defender, but Brown is not. He can be used in the nickel as a cornerback, along with being a single high safety. Brown would make an immediate impact on a Jets defense that struggled with pass plays in the middle of the field.
Source: Berkshire mont
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