The New York Jets continue to load up on offensive linemen. Joe Douglas has reiterated his desire to build through the trenches and this pick continues to do that. Cameron Clark was a 1st Team All-Conference USA recipient last season and two year Captain for Charlotte, and now the formidable leader and solid offensive lineman joins the Jets.
Who is Cameron Clark?
Cameron Clark joined the Charlotte 49ers in his Sophomore year and made an impact at left tackle. Clark won team MVP for how he stepped up and made a difference. Then, in the past two years, heâ€™s been a durable left tackle whoâ€™s started every game for the team. Clark is a very good run blocker who can assert his presence on opposing defenders. He likes to throw guys around. He didnâ€™t get much time against high-level competition except for one incredible performance against Clemson.
He threw Clemson defenders around like rag-dolls. Clark is likely going to transition to the interior and become a guard. Having played left tackle, he could move to left guard and compete with Alex Lewis right away. Quite frankly, if he can develop into a formidable offensive guard, he would form a nasty combo with Mekhi Becton. Although he has flaws and will need development, I like this pick and itâ€™s probably my favorite pick so far on Day 3.
The 2020 NFL Draft should be clear-cut for the New York Jets, and they must remain simple if they wish to walk away a better team.
Understanding the positional value of players is a significant part of constructing a quality team with low cap allocation toward high priced positions.
There is no question that Jets quarterback Sam Darnold could use another premium wide receiver, after allowing Robbie Anderson to walk in free agency. Anderson was never considered a top wide-out in the NFL, and Darnold could certainly use an explosive receiver to maximize his talents.
However, having a great wide receiver doesnâ€™t amount to much if Darnold doesnâ€™t have time to throw the football. Constructing the offensive line has been a priority for general manager Joe Douglas this off-season, signing tackle George Fant, guard Greg Van Roten, and center Conor McGovern. Aside from McGovern, Fant and Van Roten are both fringe starting players. Solidifying positions of need with shaky talent isnâ€™t the best way to ensure your quarterback is protected and has the time necessary to maximize his offensive weapons.
With that being said, the NFL draft presents an easy opportunity for Douglas to draft a tremendous talent at tackle. Players like Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs, Mekhi Becton, and Andrew Thomas will be available at the 11th overall pick for Gang Green. This should be an easy decision for Douglas, who must understand that his quarterback is going into his third season and has been sacked 63 times over the last two years.
Mind you, he hasnâ€™t played a 16-game season in either, missing six total games.
On average, Sam has been sacked about three times per game. He did see incremental growth in other categories last season, but the Jets need him to break out finally, and the only way he can do that is if he has time in the pocket to throw the football. With Tom Brady leaving the AFC East, the Jets have a tremendous opportunity to gain hold of the division for the foreseeable future. Ensuring their offense is playing at a high-level must be a priority, as we saw in 2019, offense-centric teams can be hugely successful. The Kansas City Chiefs are a prime example of that.
Taking a look at how the New York Jets can win the draft in their own respect:
The Jets sit pretty with the 11th overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, and toying with the idea of selecting a wide receiver is a perilous path to follow. The reality of the situation is clear-cut — Sam Darnold needs protection, and he needs to show significant improvement in year three.
Living up to his potential is a must at this point, and he doesnâ€™t have much time before his rookie contract crawls to a finish. Proving is worth in 2020 should be a priority, but it is only possible if general manager Joe Douglas gives him the resources to do so.
Darnold only played in 13 games last year, similar to 2018, but he saw his completion percentage increase by 4%, and every single category improved slightly. He recorded two more touchdowns while decreasing his interception total by two; he also saw his QBR improve by seven.
However, the only negative category that saw an increase was his sack percentage, rising from 6.8 in 2018 to 7.0 in 2019. At just 22 years old, the young quarterback has plenty of time to reach his potential and solidify himself as the future for Gang Green.
Douglas has to remain simple in the upcoming draft, using the 11th overall on an offensive tackle. Having avoided the rebuild of the line, drafting Quinnen Williams last year and signing mediocre starters in free agency this year, aside from center Conor McGovern, the Jets are not out of the woods just yet.
With their first-round pick in the draft, they can land a top tackle with ease. It is possible that one of the following tackles could be available at no. 11 â€” Andrew Thomas, Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills, or Mekhi Becton.
The idea of drafting Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, or CeeDee Lamb is exciting, but if Darnold’s protection is ignored, it doesnâ€™t matter how good his receivers are.
The New York Jets attacked free agency in a unique manner that I didnâ€™t expect. Rather than spend on Conklin or any other premier guys, they signed their guys to short term prove it deals. In our final edition of Roadmap To A Ring, this is the draft, who do the Jets take with all their picks, including a major trade to add more depth. This draft is not what Joe Douglas will do, itâ€™s what I would do in his spot.
Jets TRADE Pick #11 to Buccaneers for Pick #14 & Pick #76 and select Andrew Thomas OT, Georgia
A whole lot to unload here, the Jets trade down with two of the top offensive tackles on the board. The Buccaneers then take Wills, with the Raiders and 49ers both taking receivers, Thomas is still on the board at 14. The Jets then get their future tackle and an extra pick. This would be a dream scenario for the Jets.
Pick #48 Zack Baun EDGE, Wisconsin
Baun is a high IQ pass rusher. Excellent leader and a great playmaker on defense. I liked him from the first time I saw him play. Heâ€™s shot up draft boards and he has become a great steal at this spot. Baun is immediately going to bolster the pass rush and is a GREAT value pick at 48.
Pick #68 Laviska Shenault Jr WR, Colorado
Shenault has a sketchy injury history. This raises some injury question marks. I donâ€™t see many other obvious flaws than that. With that said, Laviska is going to fall. Maybe not to this spot, but hopefully heâ€™s available for the Jets at some point. Shenault is dynamic, quick and an absolute game-breaker with the ball in his hands. At one time he was a top 3 WR in this class. As other guys rose, he fell. Now Laviska would be an excellent selection here.
Pick #76 from TB Cameron Dantzler CB, Mississippi State
Dantzler is an aggressive press corner. Heâ€™s efficient and could develop into a solid outside corner. Heâ€™s a â€œdawgâ€ and would fit well in Gregg Williams’s defense. Heâ€™s a sneaky solid pickup with a few concerns about penalties.
Pick #79 Donovan Peoples-Jones WR, Michigan
Joe Douglas is dedicated to adding playmakers, boy oh boy would this be a pickup. Jones is an electric receiver. Heâ€™s a force in the return game. Heâ€™s also a deep threat. He and Shenault would be a dynamic combo and accomplish Douglasâ€™s goal for adding playmakers.
Pick #120 Tyler Biadasz IOL, Wisconsin
Tyler Biadasz has had his stock drop for some reason. Heâ€™s likely to be a day 2 pick, or early day 3. Heâ€™s a great center and could be a great pick for the Jets to play guard and develop alongside McGovern and potentially take Van Rotenâ€™s spot at some point. If Biadasz isnâ€™t the guy, look for Matt Hennessy in the 3rd round.
Pick #158 Geno Stone S, Iowa
Stone is a solid safety. A good option to be a backup for the future. Where he excels is special teams. Stone would fit the Rontez Miles role and has the potential to be better than him already in year one. Stone also has great tackling ability and is a good depth piece overall.
Pick #191 Rodrigo Blankenship K
The Kicker position would finally have its answer. â€œHot Rodâ€ Rodrigo Blankenship, is the top kicker in the draft. Heâ€™s been the top kicker in college football. Heâ€™d immediately take over the Jets kicking role. Those missed kicks wouldnâ€™t be an issue with Hot Rod. Thereâ€™s potential that the Jets can draft their franchise kicker here.
This draft would be a very very good one. Stone is depth. Biadasz is a future IOL piece. Blankenship is the kicker of the future. Jones and Shenault are excellent playmakers. Dantzler is an immediate depth player with high potential at corner. Thomas is the left tackle of the future. All great assets, all would make for a great draft class.Â
The Cowboys went down to the wire with the Jets at the trade deadline in negotiations for star safety Jamal Adams. The New York Jets wanted a 1st Round Pick and 2 Seconds. The Cowboys wouldnâ€™t budge on their offer of a 1st and a day 3 selection. The Jets kept Jamal and after briefly being a cause of unrest among the Jets faithful, he went right back to bringing the energy to the defense and team as a whole.
Now, the New York Jets are in an offseason where theyâ€™ve spent a small amount of money on short term deals. Theyâ€™ve invested in the offensive line and are seemingly going to invest a bulk of their draft picks into the offense as well. The Jets are preparing to rebuild this team into a contender in the future, not next season. This means they need to keep the talent they do have on defense for the long haul, so the Jets need to either lock up Jamal for the future or trade him and get compensation for him.
What Could A Deal Look Like?
I and many Jets fans would prefer he remains in Green and White, but the Cowboys are reportedly monitoring the situation between the Jets and Jamal and may be prepping to attempt a trade again. If the Cowboys did make an offer, it would likely include their 1st rounder, their 2nd or 3rd rounder and maybe another pick. The Jets would hypothetically then have a selection to add one of the top offensive linemen at 11 and add a receiver with the Cowboys selection. This would give them much more flexibility and help build for the long term with more guys on less expensive deals.
Is It Really Worth It?
Although some people discredit Jamalâ€™s impact because of how the safety position is valued, heâ€™s more than just a typical safety. Adams is an absolute monster on defense. He led the team in sacks last year with Jordan Jenkins. Heâ€™s also masterful in coverage and tackling. Adams is not just a force on the field but also in the locker room. Adams actively recruits players, is the voice of the team and the captain of the defense. Heâ€™s well regarded within the Jets community and the league as a whole. The Jets struck gold with Jamal Adams. No matter who they could add with the Cowboys picks, those players couldnâ€™t have the same impact Jamal has had. Jamal Adams needs to remain a Jet, not just for now, but for a very long time.
The NFL is preparing to embark on a virtual representation of the Draft, and it’s going to be a wild experience. Especially for the New York Jets and Giants!
The 2020 NFL draft will be different than any other draft for the New York Jets and Giants and the NFL. Roger Goodell wonâ€™t be shaking Joe Burrowâ€™s hand and taking a picture as he holds up the Bengals jersey. There wonâ€™t be a war room filled with GMs, scouts, and coaches; instead, Joe Douglas and Dave Gettleman will likely be on Zoom with their staff. This is a drastic change, but with the current state of the world, itâ€™s not the least bit surprising.
The NFL Trudges On
League personnel and many NFL analysts believe the decision to go forward with the draft is a heavily controversial one. Adam Schefter even said on ESPN that, â€œThey are determined to put this on while there is carnage in the streets.â€ The league is determined to move forward and adapt to the continually changing conditions of our world and put on the draft. Now this yearâ€™s draft is less spectacle and more Fantasy Football. Letâ€™s just hope nobody auto picks their draft.
In all seriousness, the NFL is providing a distraction for the country in these wild times, but at what cost? The players donâ€™t get to celebrate with the commissioner and enjoy the recognition theyâ€™ve fought for so long to earn. The players canâ€™t even enjoy the moment with extended family without disobeying CDC guidelines. The players are being deprived of the joy associated with achieving their childhood dreams of being drafted. It leads many to wonder if there would be more joy associated with the draft had it been postponed.
In the end, thereâ€™s going to be a draft. Thereâ€™s going to be trades and the usual wall to wall coverage. The social aspect of the draft and the festival-like atmosphere that was prominent in Nashville last year is gone. Instead, the world will watch from home as Joe Burrow gets the call to achieve his NFL dreams from home, along with every other prospect asÂ they celebrate while following CDC guidelines.Â
According to The Seattle Times the New York Jets are among the teams to have put in an offer for Edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney. Jadeveon Clowney reportedly also has offers from the Seahawks and Titans. Dianna Russini reported a few weeks ago that Clowney wanted $20 million a year. Judging by the market, Clowney has vastly overshot where his contract will be at. This could lead him to take a cheaper prove it deal. Then, a few days ago, Jeremy Fowler reported the Seahawks are in the lead and the Jets could make the move.
Are the Jets Leverage?
The Jets have often been used as a leveraged team in negotiations in the past. This is likely the same situation. However, the way Joe Douglas has approached free agency has changed that. The New York Jets have struck cheap, short term prove-it deals and are showing they wonâ€™t budge for a player. The Seahawks and other interested teams likely know that and are aware of this. The Jets have proven throughout free agency they will take chances on guys who fit their team and their culture, not just talented players.
Clowney is a force and I donâ€™t even think heâ€™s tapped into his full potential yet. He and his agent had an opportunity to get PAID by the Dolphins and he held out.Â So now, his market has thinned and he overshot the money he was worth. Clowney has three suitors, the Seahawks, Titans, and Jets. The Jets have reportedly done their, â€œdue diligenceâ€ according to Joe Douglas, but they donâ€™t seem to be true suitors. The Jets seem to be more of a ploy by the Clowney camp to drive up his potential salary. If the number does drop to a low number, then the Jets could jump on Clowney, but right now theyâ€™re looking more like a leverage tactic.
General manager Joe Douglas emerged to speak out on the state of his New York Jets, who look very different from when we last saw them.
New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas emerged on Wednesday to give a de facto state-of-the-team conference call. Despite the relative stagnance of the sporting world, the Jets are undoubtedly a different looking team thanks to Douglas’ moves
Here are the main takeaways from Wednesday’s comments…
Expect a lineman at #11
These aren’t your father’s Jets. They’re not your older brother’s Jets. Heck, they might not be your twin brother’s Jets.
The blocking negligence of the Mike Maccagnan era was all but confirmed with the checks Douglas has bestowed this offseason. Funds have been diverted to providing protection for the Jets’ potential pair of backfield saviors, Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell. Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and George Fant have gotten green makeovers. Competition for playing time will ensue, but Douglas is pleased with the established depth he was able to obtain.
“We had a lot of holes to fill. Our plan was to be strategic and disciplined,” Douglas said, per Robby Sabo of Jets X Factor. “I felt like we needed to build a foundation…the best teams in the NFL have a lot of depth.”
The improvements offered apparent flexibility and freedom to the Jets with the 11th overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Perhaps the pick could be used on a playmaking receiver talent like CeeDee Lamb or Henry Ruggs.
Douglas, how, gave a veiled “not so fast”.
“I think thereâ€™s a real shortage of quality offensive linemen in the NFL,” he said per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. “So weâ€™re going to do our best to get as many quality ones as we can because you can never have too many.”
Improving the line has been one of the early hallmarks of the Douglas era. One of his first moves was convincing former All-Pro Ryan Kalil out of retirement for the 2019 season. That one didn’t pan out, but it was perhaps more than Maccagnan had done in years. Prior to taking Chuma Edoga in last season’s third round, the Jets had not taken a blocker within the draft’s first two days since Vlad Ducasse back in 2010. Douglas, it appears, is just getting started.
Receiving help will rise from within
With an apparent dedication to blocking at the 11th, the draft is still relatively deep at receiver. Talented names like Jalen Reagor, KJ Hamler, and Chase Claypool will likely all still be around on day two. That’s big for the Jets after the departure of Anderson.
The newly minted Carolina Panther’s tallies of 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns over the past four seasons are relatively pedestrian in today’s NFL. But the fact remains that the Jets just lost a lot of offensive productions. No other Jets, for example, reached double digits in touchdowns in the same span. As of now, the void of top receiver is set to be filled by Breshad Perriman on one of Douglas’ prove-it deals.
Douglas acknowledged that the Jets aren’t done spending yet. At the same time, he’s looking forward to seeing some of the current roster names rise up in Anderson’s wake. According to Connor Hughes of The Athletic, Douglas invoked the names of Vyncint Smith, Josh Doctson, and Braxton Berrios. Considering the fact that that group combined for 44 receptions and 340 yards in 2019, they’re probably not done adding to the arsenal. It could well strengthen the case for Demaryius Thomas to return.
Brian Winters is probably staying
The veteran blocker Winters has frequently appeared on lists of potential salary cap cuts. Entering the final part of a four-year extension, the departure of Winters would save the Jets just over $7.2 million against the cap. With interior help coming in the form of McGovern, Van Roten, and Josh Andrews, it felt like Winters was on borrowed time, but Douglas appeared to imply the opposite in this bit from SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano.Â
“We love his competitiveness and toughness,” Douglas said. “We should have a really good competition for our offensive line.”
While that’s far from cementing his roster spot, it certainly sounds like Winters will be invited to training camp, whenever that may be. Experience could certainly play in Winters’ favor. Only three members from the 2019 roster have more service in the NFL. Winters is also set to be the longest-tenured Jet in New Jersey should running back Bilal Powell leave in free agency.
Just as New York Jets nation pondered where Joe Douglas and the front office would go next at wide receiver, Douglas made a move. The Jets have signed wide receiver Breshad Perriman. Perriman had a phenomenal end to the season last year and now receives a one-year, $8 million dollar deal with $6 million guaranteed from Gang Green.
How Does Perriman Fit?
Quincy Enunwa is expected to be back next year, but with the injury question marks, he canâ€™t be counted on right now. Jamison Crowder is a slot guy who had 833 yards and 6 TDs last season, but heâ€™s not the outside deep threat. The Jets lost their number one receiver and key outside deep threat to the Panthers earlier today.
Now, that role will be filled by a former first-rounder in Perriman. Perriman was a first-rounder with the Ravens and was drafted while Douglas was there. At 26, heâ€™s hitting his prime. Heâ€™s struggled in the past and ended up joining the Browns before finding a home in Tampa last year.
He had a really strong end to the season and now looks to build on that with the Jets. Perriman statistically produced similar numbers to Robby Anderson last season in 2 fewer games. Anderson had 52 receptions for 779 yards and five scores and played 91 percent of snaps. Perriman had 36 catches for 645 yards and six scores but played 56 percent of snaps. Perriman received a higher volume of targets than Anderson and still produced well.
Well, Perriman must now be counted on to build off the strong finish he had to last season if he can then the Jets will have got a good player on a cheaper deal than Robby Anderson. Douglas said he wanted playmakers, and Perriman can fit that mold.
The Jets can now continue with their plan to target an offensive lineman with their first-rounder, but they need to grab one of the talented receivers in this class in the first three rounds. If the Jets can do that, then they will have a solid receiving corps.
As for other sides of the ball, the Jets finally have the answer to the Anderson question and can now try to add a complimentary piece or two to Jordan Jenkins on the edge. They can add some depth at other spots like corner and running back. They also should look to add a backup quarterback to ensure if Sam misses time they have a quality backup. Matt Moore could be a target.
Joe Douglas’ first full offseason has brought back some familiar faces to the New York Jets. Now, the message is clear: prove you belong.
It’s a tale as old as time: new management takes over a project and changes things to how they see fit. Veterans of the organization in question are often labeled expendable, their years of service only working against them. After all, it was probably their actions that led to the necessity of a new overseer in the first place.
The New York Jets were indeed an organization in need of a makeover. Their playoff drought is nearing a decade and their collective record under the watch of Mike Maccagnan (31-49) was better than only four teams. The midsummer timing of Maccagnan’s eventual ousting could be questioned, but the decision to do so was not. In his place came Joe Douglas, a member of the front office that finally brought a Super Bowl to Philadelphia.
This most unusual offseason is Douglas’ first at the helm and he has had no qualms about changing the scenery. Several Maccagnan staples have been bid farewell, be it through expiring contracts (Brandon Shell, Brandon Copeland) or cap-freeing releases (Trumaine Johnson, Darryl Roberts). His additions have been a stark reminder that these aren’t your father’s Jets or your older sibling’s Jets. Heck, they might not even be your twin sibling’s Jets at this rate.
Contrasting Maccagnan’s negligence of blocking (i.e. one offensive lineman chosen in the draft’s first three rounds), Douglas has added offensive linemen from elsewhere during the first week of free agency. Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell, the supposed franchise saviors, are going to need some help to benefit the Jets in the long-term. The plan is for Connor McGovern, George Fant, and Greg Van Roten to provide that assistance over the next several seasons, evidenced by the multi-year deals offered to them.
But also along for the ride are several familiar faces. The offensive line renovations were completed by adding August acquisition Alex Lewis back on a three-year deal. Such a move was necessitated by the dire need for protection. That’s not the case for several other returnees and newcomers, who have their New York stays extended, by only a short while.
Cornerback Pierre Desir wasn’t on the unemployment line for long, granted a one-year deal by Douglas less than 24 hours after his release from Indianapolis. Joining him in the secondary will be one-year extension receivers Brian Poole and Arthur Maulet, each of whom provided bright spots where the overpaid Johnson could not.
The Jets undoubtedly hope C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson (the latter of whom appears to be staying despite a possible release saving $6.5 million) stay healthy but they were impressed enough by Neville Hewitt and James Burgess’ exploits in substitution to offer matching one-year invitations to stay. Jordan Jenkins seemed to be a goner at the start of the offseason but the Jets began the week with yet another one-year deal, bringing back the starting linebacker on a bargain of $5 million after he posted a career-best eight sacks.
Any veteran Jet asked by Douglas to stay shouldn’t take the honor lightly. Douglas, after all, was the same general manager who dealt Maccagnan’s first-ever draft pick (Leonard Williams) further down the MetLife Stadium tunnel to the Giants just over a quarter of a year into his tenure.
Douglas saw value in these remnants of Maccagnan, outliers that could further flourish with the proper support around them. But with the summoning back comes a stern message: prove it.
Those who earned one-year deals have proven themselves valuable during relatively hopeless times for the Jets. Over the past two seasons, the Jets haven’t even come close to reaching the playoffs. These players have provided a glimmer hope in the dark times, even if victory wasn’t always to be.
With the long-term blocking additions, ones that are expected to accentuate the performances of their backfield mavens, this latest iteration of Jets’ neverending rebuild is perhaps the most hopeful rendition yet. That hope only grows with the unveiling of an additional wild card slot to the NFL playoff system.
What Douglas has done with these one-year deals is offer a tryout period. With prosperous times possibly ahead (with good times potentially rolling soon upon Tom Brady’s New England and AFC departure) and big contracts likely due to franchise pillars soon (i.e. Darnold and Jamal Adams), Douglas’ offer comes with an intriguing ultimatum: you’ve been here for the bad times, now prove you’re worthy of sticking around for the good.
The case of Desir defines Douglas’ offer and ultimatum perfectly. Desir has accomplished a lot in the pros. The ex-Colt has risen from his Division II origins to become a reliable corner. It was he, after all, who kept DeAndre Hopkins from swaying the 2019 AFC Wild Card playoffs (Hopkins put up a mere 37 yards on five receptions as his Texans fell 21-7 to Desir’s Colts). But he has to earn his spot in this potential revolution of New York football. A long-term deal could well be in the cards, but he must first earn it in 2020.
The one-year men aren’t the only ones in this position. Projected 2021 free agents include Williamson, Brian Winters, and Marcus Maye, all of whom have put in consistent time for the organization. They too must prove that they are part of the team’s long-term plans. Otherwise, they could be looking for new settings.
It’s been a long, long time since the Jets have engaged in playoff football. But under the Douglas regime…some players, ones with the potential to be key contributors for years to come…every week now becomes a personal postseason.