New York Knicks: Devin Vassell Could Be The Perfect Plug and Play Draft Pick

New York Knicks, Devin Vassell

The New York Knicks will be participating in the NBA Draft Lottery on August 25th, 2020. That event is approximately four weeks from today and there’s a possibility of the Knick franchise luckily jumping into the top three in the draft lottery. There’s also the possibility of the Knicks sliding into the ninth, tenth, or eleventh spot in the first round on draft lottery night. If the latter happens in which the Knicks fall in the draft lottery, there are some interesting prospects to choose from. One prospect that’s intriguing is 6’6″ 195lbs shooting guard by the name of Devin Vassell out of Florida State University. With Tom Thibodeau taking over the reins as head coach of the Knicks, Vassell could be the perfect plug and play draft pick.

The 6’6″ shooting guard is a defensive menace who knows how to use his 6’10” wingspan to anticipate opposing offensive attacks, block shots and play passing lanes on defense. Vassell is an elite perimeter defender.

The point of release on Vassell’s jumper is ridiculously high, therefore, he really could shoot over anybody without getting his shot blocked due to his above-average wingspan. His high defensive IQ and motor are two key attributes in his game Tom Thibodeau would love. In addition to his other valuable offensive skill which is his three-point shooting, Vassell also flashed his ability to finish above the rim. The New York Knicks can’t lose drafting a talent like Vassell. He’d fit right into Thibodeau’s defensive schemes. Plus, offensively he’s a catch and shoot threat with potential to eventually become a deadly overall shot maker.

In college Vassell averaged 12.7-points per game along with 5.1-rebounds and 1.6-assists during his 2019-20 campaign at Florida State University. He shot nearly 42% from three and 49% from the field. He averaged 1.4-steals and a block per game during the 2019-20 season. The defensive-minded shooting guard put up these stats while playing 28.8- minutes per contest.

Overall, Devin Vassell is an athletic piece that’ll fit into the Knicks young core from the jump, and Coach Tom Thibodeau would have a field day in bringing him along and showing him the ropes. Defense and three-point shooting is needed on the Knicks. Devin Vassell is a two-way player and the Knicks must pounce on him if the situation is right.

New York Jets #MockDraftMonday: April 20, 2020

ESM’s New York Jets experts present their final seven-round mock drafts as a big trio of days for Gang Green approaches.

The date of a full-on return has yet to be placed. But live sports are slowly working their way back into our lives. Friday saw the WNBA Draft staged in a virtual setting. NASCAR’s nationally televised virtual races returned over the weekend.

Football fans will get their fix starting on Thursday night, as the NFL Draft will likewise conduct their selection proceedings in a virtual arena (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC/NFL Network).

How will things shake out for the New York Jets? ESM’s experts weigh in and prognosticate in their final 2020 mock drafts…

Geoff Magliocchetti

1st Round (11th overall): OT Jedrick Willis, Alabama
2nd Round (48th overall): WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
3rd Round (68th overall): CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah
3rd Round (79th overall): S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
4th Round (120th overall): EDGE Kenny Willekes, Michigan State
5th Round (158th overall): WR Joe Reed, Virginia
6th Round (191st overall): RB Patrick Taylor Jr., Memphis
6th Round (211th overall): K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

The debate between a receiver and an offensive lineman has been more tightly contested battle amongst New Yorkers than the preference of Seinfeld or Friends as their favorite local 90s sitcom. But the Jets are in the enviable position NBC was placed in during that lucrative era: they’re placed in a situation where there is an endless supply of talent in the category.

Premiere picks are dedicated to filling both of these needs. Willis was the darling of the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, earning strong praise for his strength and athleticism. A deep receiver class would also yield the talents of Aiyuk, who tore apart the man coverage of the Pac-12 and developed a strong reputation as an earner of yards after the catch. Defensive needs are taken care of with the middle picks. Johnson and Chinn add depth in the secondary, while Willekes (18 sacks over the last two seasons) will raise the pressure on a division that will feature competitions against the multi-talented Josh Allen (and, possibly, Tua Tagovailoa if the Patriots or Dolphins opt to find their franchise quarterbacks).

This day three set would allow the Jets to not only address another offensive need, finding a spell option for Le’Veon Bell. The powerful Taylor could become a goal-line and short-yardage steal, especially if teams are still wary about an ankle injury that cost him a portion of his senior season. But day three could also afford the Jets an opportunity to bolster their special teams. The Georgia staple Blankenship could finally end the post-Jason Myers kicking carousel, while Reed could be the answer to Andre Roberts’ departure. Reed can also serve as a slot receiver, having earned 14 touchdown receptions over the last season seasons.

Dylan Price

1st Round (11th overall): OT Jedrick Willis, Alabama
2nd Round (48th overall): WR Michael Pittman Jr., USC
3rd Round (68th overall): CB Damon Arnette, Ohio State
3rd Round (79th overall): EDGE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
4th Round (120th overall): DT Larrell Murchison, NC State
5th Round (158th overall): OL Michael Onwenu, Michigan
6th Round (191st overall): WR John Hightower, Boise State
6th Round (211th overall): K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

Wills is the only pick that has remained consistent in this final mock draft, Wills becomes the anchor of the future. Pittman has familiarity with Darnold and could be the next steal from USC like JuJu Smith Schuester. Arnette is a talented outside corner who can be the next good OSU corner.

Greenard and Murchison have received a lot of interest from the Jets and would be ideal targets here to add defensive depth. Onwenu and Hightower provide size and speed respectively. Both could develop into could pieces but will begin as depth guys. Rodrigo Blankenship becomes the kicker for the future and rounds out a solid class for Joe Douglas.

Brendan Carpenter

1st Round (11th overall): OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
2nd Round (48th overall): WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
3rd Round (68th overall): EDGE Bradlee Anae, Utah
3rd Round (79th overall): WR Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
4th Round (120th overall): CB Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame
5th Round (158th overall): DE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
6th Round (191st overall): LB Mohamed Berry, Nebraska
6th Round (211th overall): K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

Taking a receiver with the first pick is tempting, but the Jets instead choose to sure up their offensive line. At 6’7″ and 364 pounds, Becton is a monster on the line. A flagged drug test at the combine has raised some questions and may make him available outside the top-10. I have gone back-and-forth between Reagor and Tee Higgins in the second, but I don’t see Higgins lasting to this pick. The Jets sure up their line in the first round and get Darnold a fresh target here. After acquiring the third pick from the Giants in the Leonard Williams trade, the Jets could look to add a new pass rusher. In 14 starts this past season, Anae recorded 13 sacks. His knack for finding the quarterback is the deciding factor here.

Edwards, at 6’3″ and 212 pounds, would be a solid target for Darnold. However, there are question marks. He missed his final two games with a knee injury and broke his foot while training for the combine. After taking Reagor in the second round, Edwards is another addition that could have decent upside. Cornerback is also a position of need for Gang Green. With Jeff Okudah most likely going in the top-five in the draft, there is no need to reach for one after that. Getting Pride Jr. in the third round would satisfy a need the Jets desperately need to address. He would slide in to play alongside Pierre Desir and Brian Poole in the secondary. He falls back past the original round three pick I had him at, so the Jets get their guy, just later.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets #MockDraftMonday: April 6, 2020

New York Jets

After Joe Douglas’ public comments, this week’s New York Jets mock draft from our experts gains position unanimity with the 11th overall pick.

With a healthy haul of veteran blockers, one would expect the New York Jets to use the 11th overall pick of the upcoming NFL Draft on a so-called “exciting” pick. Perhaps a receiver could be called to replace Robby Anderson. A depleted pass rush could use a sack threat. Even the secondary could use a bit more help, even with some big names lined up.

To paraphrase Jets general manager Joe Douglas…not so fast.

In his first public comments of the offseason, Douglas seemed to hint that the Jets’ offensive line renovation might not be completed just yet.

“I think there’s a real shortage of quality offensive linemen in the NFL,” Douglas said in a Wednesday afternoon conference call, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. “We’re going to do our best to get as many quality ones as we can because you can never have too many.”

Geoff Magliocchetti

1st Round (11th overall): OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
2nd Round (48th overall): WR K.J. Hamler, Penn State
3rd Round (68th overall): EDGE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
3rd Round (79th overall): CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
4th Round (120th overall): S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
5th Round (158th overall): RB AJ Dillon, Boston College
6th Round (191st overall): LB Mohamed Barry, Nebraska
6th Round (211th overall): K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

The flexibility we thought the Jets would have at the 11th pick seems to have gone by the wayside with Douglas’ apparent commitment to a blocker. But that flexibility can present itself in new ways on draft weekend. With the depth and imperative transactions the Jets have gained and made via free agency, the Jets have plenty of freedom with their remaining seven picks. The wiggle room could be especially advantageous when it comes to their three picks in the Friday session.

Douglas is apparently intrigued by the deep blocking class available on the first day. Even if Thomas goes within the first ten picks, Mekhi Becton, Tristan Wirfs, and Thomas’ SEC compatriot Jedrick Wills should be readily available. Day two would allow the Jets to fill one of their biggest remaining needs: receiving and defensive depth. Hamler is a Friday gem that would immediately contribute to any offense, while Okwara would fill the necessary pass rush void in order to start giving Josh Allen nightmares. The trend of immediate depth contributors extends into day three. Chinn can work alongside the established strong duo of Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, while Dillon becomes a much-needed spell option for Le’Veon Bell.

Brendan Carpenter

1st Round (11th overall): OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
2nd Round (48th overall): WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
3rd Round (68th overall): EDGE Bradlee Anae, Utah
3rd Round (79th overall): WR Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
4th Round (120th overall): CB Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame
5th Round (158th overall): DE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
6th Round (191st overall): LB Mohamed Barry, Nebraska
6th Round (211th overall): K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

Taking a receiver with their first pick is tempting, but the Jets would opt to go the safe route to solidify the remaining spot on their offensive line. I originally had the Jets selecting Jalen Reagor out of TCU on day two, but at 6’4″ with a long frame, Higgins would be tough to pass on. He knows how to show up in big games as well. The receiving trend continues with the 6’3, 212-pound Edwards, but there would be some question marks. He missed his final two games with a knee injury and broke his foot while training for the combine. Despite these setbacks, Edwards is another addition that could have a decent upside. Appropriately, the Jets would use the pick earned from the Leonard Williams trade to Anae (13 sacks in 14 starts last season).

Cornerback is a position of need for Gang Green. With Jeff Okudah most likely going in the top-five in the draft, there is no need to reach for one after that. Getting Pride Jr. in the third round would satisfy a need the Jets desperately need to address. He would slide in to play alongside Pierre Desir and Brian Poole in the secondary. Greenard could immediately contribute on the defensive line, especially if Quinnen Williams is suspended.

Dylan Price

1st Round (11th overall): OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama
2nd Round (48th overall): WR KJ Hamler, Penn State
3rd Round (68th overall): EDGE Joshua Uche, Michigan
3rd Round (79th overall): CB Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame
4th Round (120th overall): OT Ben Bartch, St. John’s (MN)
5th Round (158th overall): RB Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State
6th Round (191st overall): TE Colby Parkinson, Stanford
6th Round (211th overall): OL Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon

In our last mock, I projected Andrew Thomas would be the pick. This time he was off the board, so Wills becomes the key offensive lineman of the future. He, Bartch and Throckmorton are all incredibly versatile offensive linemen. Bartch and Wills can be starters quickly, while Throckmorton provides depth. Hamler has elite playmaking ability and immediately becomes an excellent weapon for Sam Darnold.

Parkinson also becomes a good weapon, with high potential, who could fight for some reps at tight end. Uche and Pride both can develop behind the starters this year and be groomed to take over in 2021. Evans was a pick in my last mock draft who could be the future back for this team.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets #MockDraftMonday, March 23, 2020

New York Jets

ESM’s staff gives their full New York Jets mock drafts after the team’s eventful first week of free agency.

The New York Jets didn’t get the things they truly wanted in free agency…pricy gifts like Jack Conklin and Dante Fowler went elsewhere.

But the first weekend of free agency was a lot like, say, a pair of socks or school supplies in your stocking. It’s not exactly what you want, but it’s just what you need.

That’s what the Jets had in mind when they added three linemen from elsewhere, as well as re-upping with 2019 contributor Alex Lewis. For the first time in quite a while, the Jets have a plan for an offense built on the success of two explosive backfield weapons, Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell.

How did the movement affect our experts’ mock drafts?

Geoff Magliocchetti

1st Round (11th overall)-WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
2nd Round (48th overall)-G Shane Lemieux, Oregon
3rd Round (68th overall)-T Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
3rd Round (79th overall)-EDGE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
4th Round (120th overall)-S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
5th Round (158th overall)-WR Quintez Cephus, Wisconsin
6th Round (191st overall)-RB Mike Warren, Cincinnati
6th Round (211th overall)-K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

With the additions of Connor McGovern, George Fant, and Greg Van Roten, the Jets opened up some flexibility up with the 11th overall pick. Thus, they added some protection for Darnold. Now, they need to get him weapons. With Robby Anderson’s situation still in limbo, the time is right to use such a pick on a receiver. Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy will probably be gone, but Lamb is certainly a desirable consolation prize.

Having said that, the Jets can’t fully turn away from the offensive line just yet, hence the additions of Lemieux and Cleveland. Thus, their third pick on day two can be used to fill yet another need, that of the pass rush in the form of Greenard, who would certainly be welcomed by fellow SEC alums Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. Day three saw the Jets find unexpected help in the secondary last year (Bless Austin) and that trend could repeat itself in the form of FCS standout Chinn. The depth of the 2020 receiver class would also be on display with the fifth-round selection of Cephus. Things are capped off, as they were in the original mock, by the kicker selection Blankenship, to at least provided Brett Maher some competition in camp. Prior to that, the Jets would add a compliment to Bell, as both Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery are up for free agency.

Dylan Price

1st Round (11th overall)-OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
2nd Round (48th overall)-CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
3rd Round (68th overall)-WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
3rd Round (79th overall)-EDGE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
4th Round (120th overall)-EDGE Kenny Wilekes, Michigan State
5th Round (158th overall)-RB Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State
6th Round (191st overall)-LB Justin Strnad, Wake Forest
6th Round (211th overall)-OL Gage Cervenka, Clemson

This draft would be a haul for the Jets. Thomas immediately bolsters the offensive line and becomes the anchor of the line for the future. Diggs is a corner with room to grow who’s thrived in man coverage which is what Gregg Williams likes. He could start right away alongside Desir and give Bless Austin a year to sit behind Desir before becoming the starter. Aiyuk is familiar with Darnold (they train together), and he’s a freak athlete. He’d be a great weapon for Sam and he was a great value in the third round.

In the fourth and fifth, I doubled dipped with talented edge rushers. Greenard and Wilekes would be great picks, both are talented on their own. As a duo, they could grow together and develop into a formidable duo. Evans would be a change of pace back with potential. Strnad is a value pick who could be a nice backup and special teams guy for the Jets. Cervenka is low-risk with good potential, likely at guard. He could compete for reps with Lewis.

Brendan Carpenter

1st Round (11th overall)-OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
2nd Round (48th overall)-WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
3rd Round (68th overall)-EDGE Bradlee Anae, Utah
3rd Round (79th overall)-CB Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame
4th Round (120th overall)-WR Collin Johnson, Texas
5th Round (158th overall)-EDGE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
6th Round (191st overall)-LB Mohammad Barry, Nebraska
6th Round (211th overall)-K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

The Jets have certainly addressed the offensive line with their free agent signings, but could still look for another starting-caliber tackle. At six-foot-five and 315 pounds, Thomas is capable of playing both right and left tackle. He would most likely slide into the right tackle spot with recently signed George Fant at left tackle. There are some options for a flashier pick here, but Thomas is the safe pick.

Wide receiver is a position of need and the Jets could add a weapon or two. Reagor’s ability to track the ball in the air and move downfield would be an instant boost for Sam Darnold. Though he dealt with injuries, Johnson’s size (6’6, 222 lbs.) on the outside is a must. Defensively, the Jets would look to bring in new pass rushers, especially with the pick obtained in the Leonard Williams deal. Anae’s speed and athleticism aren’t premier, but he knows how to get to the quarterback, while Greenard could be a plug-and-play piece for the Jets in the short-term and a nice rotation guy in the long-run, if nothing else.

Sebastian Vela

1st Round (11th overall)-OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
2nd Round (48th overall)-CB AJ Terrell, Clemson
3rd Round (68th overall)-WR Michael Pittman Jr., USC
3rd Round (79th overall)-EDGE Bradlee Anae, Utah
4th Round (120th overall)-RB Anthony McFarland, Maryland
5th Round (158th overall)-OL Yasir Durant, Missouri
6th Round (191st overall)-CB Lamar Jackson, Nebraska
6th Round (211th overall)-OT Trey Adams, Washington

The 11th pick should be simple for the Jets. Andrew Thomas has dominated the SEC for the past three years and was essential in Jake Fromm’s success at Georgia.  Thomas has an extremely high floor and is arguably the most NFL ready tackle in the draft. If he falls to 11 the Jets should be sprinting towards the podium with their card ready.

Terrell would be a terrific fit for the Jets as he is a big lanky corner that excels in man coverage and press coverage which is essential in a Gregg Williams defense, while Anae would immediately provide the Jets with a much-needed pass-rushing presence on the edge. On offense,t he Jets desperately need wide receivers and who better to get than Sam Darnold’s old buddy from USC? McFarland is a quick and twitchy running back that has good hands and a knack for homerun plays. Durant is a developmental lineman with a lot of potential he’d be worth the risk in the fifth round, while Adams could be the same if he’s able to stay healthy.

 

 

New York Giants: The Ideal Three-Round Mock Draft (With Trades)

The 2020 NFL Draft might be get delayed, but that will only give us all a bit more time to break down prospects and create mock drafts. The New York Giants will need all the time they can get to prepare for this crucial draft. They hold the fourth overall pick this year and will need to hit a home run in order to turn this team around. But what would that home run, ideal draft look like for New York?

Round One, Pick Four: Chase Young, Edge Rusher, Ohio State

In the ideal mock draft for the Giants, they will land the best player in the entire 2020 NFL Draft class. Chase Young out of Ohio State University is exactly that. The 2020 Heisman Trophy finalist recorded 16.5 sacks in 12 games this past season. In order for this to happen, quarterbacks will have to be selected with each of the first three picks in the draft.

The Bengals will select Joe Burrow, pretty much everyone believes that to be true at this point. But what will the Redskins do? Easily, they could take the best player in the draft, Chase Young, and move forward with Dwayne Haskins as their quarterback. However, there is growing speculation that Washington will either trade the second overall pick to a quarterback-needy team (like the Dolphins) or spend it on a quarterback of their own. That quarterback would be Tua Tagovailoa.

After Joe and Tua will have to go Justin Herbert. The Lions hold the third overall pick and it seems likely that they will trade down. The Chargers, Colts, Dolphins, Buccaneers, and Panthers are all teams that might be willing to move up for the opportunity to select the Oregon gunslinger. If these three quarterbacks get drafted all in a row, Giants fans will be filled with joy as Gettleman sprints to get the card in and proudly draft Chase Young.

Round Two, Pick Thirty-Six: Austin Jackson, Offensive Tackle, USC

It is no question that the New York Giants have holes all over their roster. The defense is especially talentless. However, New York desperately needs to upgrade their offensive line as well. Nate Solder has seen his play decline in recent years and the Giants’ 2019 right tackle, Mike Remmers, is a free agent and is unlikely to receive an extension.

It is time for the Giants to invest draft capital into their offensive line. In 2018, they secured starting left guard Will Hernandez in the second round. Now, in this ideal mock draft, the Giants will secure their starting right tackle in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Austin Jackson out of USC might not be there by the time the Giants are on the clock in the second round. However, the same was said about Will Hernandez in 2018. In the Giants’ ideal 2020 mock draft, Austin Jackson slides just a few more spots and falls right into New York’s lap.

Round Three, Pick 84 (Via Trade): Troy Dye, Linebacker, Oregon

It would be easy to mock select wide receiver Chase Claypool to the Giants here. Whether it would require them to trade up or not remains to be seen. However, recent reports indicate that the Giants will be prioritizing wide receivers in free agency. They plan on focusing their draft picks on the defense. After stealing Chase Young with the fourth overall pick and securing an offensive tackle in round two, ideally, New York will shift its attention back to the defense in round three.

Also, in an ideal world, the Giants would still own the sixty-eight overall pick. However, after trading for Leonard Williams in 2019, they do not own that pick anymore. So, instead, the Giants will use trade up from their compensatory ninety-ninth draft selection in order to select an athletic coverage linebacker.

Many fans will be hoping and praying that the Giants’ first pick is Isaiah Simmons. I believe it should be, as long as Chase Young is not available. But this year’s draft class is rich in linebackers, and Troy Dye would be a solid option for the Giants in the third round.

Troy Dye is an Oregon linebacker with excellent athleticism and coverage-skills. He is the right player to pair with David Mayo, the Giants’ run-stopping linebacker that just received a contract extension. But New York would likely have to trade up to secure this linebacker.

The New York Giants have limitless options and possibilities heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. The class has depth in positions that the Giants need. If all goes well, New York should be able to secure a multitude of core players to build this team around in the future.

New York Jets #MockDraftMonday, March 9, 2020

New York Jets, Jedrick Wills

With the NFL Scouting Combine having come and gone, ESM takes a first look at what the New York Jets will do in April’s Draft.

The ultimate question…well, at least one of several…when it comes to the NFL Draft ponders whether a team should draft based on need or simply go with the so-called best player available.

The New York Jets, part relieved and part sickened, don’t have to waste time on that.

Picking the best player offered to you, regardless of his position, is a luxury afforded only to the NFL’s wealthy. Such a strategy doesn’t cater to teams working a playoff drought approaching a decade, which the Jets may well hit this season if they’re not careful.

There’s a chance, however, the Jets could position themselves in an opportunity to snag such flashy “BPAs”. A faithful offseason awaits Joe Douglas and company, as NFL free agency is on the horizon, a better sign of spring than the groundhog ever could.

But, at this moment, the Jets are drafting solely on need, a necessary task to end the franchise’s futility at this point. Who will be available? ESM answers this question with the first Jets mock of 2020, shortly before the free agency negotiations begin….

NOTE: This mock draft was made on FanSpeak.com, using a Big Board from CBS Sports.

Round 1: T Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama

There’s potential for a flashy receiver prospect (i.e. CeeDee Lamb, Henry Ruggs) to go in this slot. But, while important, adding receivers is not the Jets’ top priority at the moment. The theme of this offseason should be hiring protection for Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell. With current outside starters Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell slated to be free agents, the Jets should use their current top pick on replenishing that area.

Wills was relatively consistent during the Combine proceedings. While his height (6’4) is a bit troubling, his raw strength and power more than makeup for it. NFL.com scouting expert Lance Zierlein recently compared Wills to Jason Peters.

If the Jets are able to re-up with Beachum, Shell, or both, they’re afforded some flexibility with their top selection. Further wiggle room can be found if they’re able to add marquee blocking free agent Jack Conklin to the mix. But, at this time, Wills is the way to go at 11th overall.

2nd Round: WR Jalen Reagor, TCU

The Jets partially prepared for the potential losses of Robby Anderson and/or Demaryius Thomas by adding former Horned Frog and first-round pick Josh Doctson. Adding his fellow TCU alum would help soothe the blow if one or more departs this offseason.

So deep is the receivers’ talent pool in this draft that several talented names are going to be left waiting on day two. Reagor, a two-time All-Big 12 nominee, might be left behind by the first 32 due to a struggle to create separation. But the Jets would be wise to pound if he emerges in the second round. Reagor has earned acclaim for his athleticism and managed to carve a strong career in Fort Worth despite repeated problems at quarterback. In a stable situation, Reagor could truly flourish and immediately step up in a relative emergency where the reigned top receiver departs.

3rd Round: G Solomon Kindley, Georgia

By the end of this mock, it’d be fair to call the Jets’ focus on offensive line help overkill. But the reality is that they’d be making up for lost time. Prior to their selection of Chuma Edoga in last year’s third round, the last blocker dialed by the Jets within the draft’s first two days was second-round tackle Vlad Ducasse in 2010. With Mike Maccaggnan’s negligence gone, a new era can officially begin.

Kindley’s size and aggressiveness flashed in the SEC would help in a smooth transition to the pros. Technique has been a common criticism of his game, but he’s certainly worth a gander in the latter stages of day two.

3rd Round: C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan

The Jets are literally still looking for a replacement for Nick Mangold at center. New York hasn’t drafted anyone at the position since going with Mangold in late stanzas of 2006’s first round. With the Ryan Kalil experiment failing to pan out and the free agency pickings relatively light, the Jets should probably give Jonotthan Harrison some competition.

Enter Ruiz, a Camden, NJ native and powerful blocker and two-time All-Big Ten nominee in Ann Arbor. His biggest knock has his frame, but he made himself valuable on the Wolverine line by showing flexibility, working in at both center and guard. With the potential to contribute immediately and the Jets looking for a jolt at both spots, he could certainly be worth one their third-rounders.

4th Round: DL Alton Robinson, Syracuse

Tom Brady may depart, but the Jets’ problems with opposing AFC East quarterbacks aren’t over, as the dual-threat Josh Allen has begun his reign in Buffalo. Thus, the Jets (23rd in sacks last season) could use some help on the edge.

Robinson can provide that day three depth after making a name for himself at the Carrier Dome as a strong pass rusher (a la Robert Mathis). There are concerns about his prowess in stopping the run, but with the Jets desperate for a rush of any kind (they’ve been 20th or worse in sacks in three of the last four seasons), an unfinished Robinson could stem the bleeding.

5th Round: CB Harrison Hand, Temple

Ideally, the Jets will be able to keep Brian Poole, but still need some depth help in the secondary. They were able to find a hidden developmental gem in Bless Austin last season and lighting could strike again in the form of hand. The Cherry Hill, NJ native could drop with mobility questions, but his prowess in the zone defense could bolster his case. Speed has been cited as an issue for Hand, especially in coverage.

6th Round: LB Mohamed Barry, Nebraska

The Jets may have to replenish their linebackers with outside man Jordan Jenkins up for free agency alongside inside men Neville Hewitt and James Burgess. Avery Williams could also be let go in an effort to save $6.5 million in cap space. An interior name, Barry would be a project, especially in his coverage, but has earned accolades for his quickness.

6th Round: K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia 

Since the departure of Jason Myers, the Jets have gone through four different kickers. The team did sign Brett Maher to a reserve/future contract, but Maher was the embodiment of a Jekyll and Hyde kicker, converting 50+ yarders one minute and missing from 40 the next. Working with an offense that’s still having trouble reaching the end zone on a regular basis, having a reliable kicker is a must. Blankenship is the best prospect of the bunch, ending lucrative career in Athens with the 2019 Lou Groza Award.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

 

New York Jets: Mock Draft Scenarios

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching (weird to realize that the Super Bowl is only a week away), speculation is running rampant across every NFL team on who will pick who, including the New York Jets. Much is already known about the Jets’ immediate/most dire needs that will be addressed in free agency AS WELL as the draft, so let’s take a look at the current speculation surrounding the New York Jets draft picks.

ESPN Mock Draft

Mel Kiper Jr. sees the Jets going for Jedrick Wills Jr. of the Alabama Crimson Tide with the 11th pick in the first round. He addresses a very obvious need as an offensive tackle, but the biggest slight against him is his inexperience at left tackle. But, known for his strength in run defense, and showing drastic improvement in pass protection, the Jets may have to trade up to get their hands on Wills. Other mock drafts have Wills going 9th overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and some as high as 6th to the Los Angeles Chargers.

NFL Mock Draft

The NFL Network has the Jets selecting LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson at 11. It adds some depth to an already strong defense. Clocking 6.5 sacks last season, 94 combined (forced and solo) tackles, and a forced fumble, he could be the choice the Jets go with if they decide to trade Jamal Adams.

New mock drafts will be rolling out every week from every possible entertainment source. The closer we get to the draft, the more likely these draft picks will be who the team goes with. We’ll see what happens in the coming months/weeks, especially when we get to free agency.

New York Giants Full 7 Round Mock Draft

New York Giants, Kaden Smith

The New York Giants once again find themselves picking in the Top 10 in the NFL Draft for the third year in a row.  For Giants fans, the practice of wondering which of the more elite-level talent in this pool of players will suit up for Big Blue.  

With a coaching staff starting to take shape, things begin to get a little more clear on the types of players that could be sought after.  Here is an early look at what the New York Giants could do with their 7 rounds in April’s 2020 NFL Draft.

Round 1 – Pick 4

Isaiah Simmons, LB/S Clemson

Versatility has been a word Giants fans have seen a lot since the hiring of Joe Judge.  Big Blue Nation has been clamoring for a game-changing linebacker for years and may finally get its wish.  

Isaiah Simmons is that answer for the New York Giants.  We have seen how game-changing sideline to sideline defenders can be.  Simmons is built like a linebacker but has the athleticism you’d see in a defensive back.  A guy that can play at nearly any level of the defense, Isaiah Simmons is a true 3-down hybrid that will force opposing offenses to take notice.

Round 2 – Pick 36

Mekhi Becton, OT Louisville

Many believe offensive tackle is where the Giants could and should go in April, but the defensive talent is too good for them to pass up.  Mekhi Becton may not be one of the top tackles in the class, but he has the length, flexibility, and strength to be an immediate NFL starter.  

Round 4 – Pick 100

Bradlee Anae, EDGE Utah

This is where I think the New York Giants will have to have some fortune.  Not having their 3rd round pick that they gave up in the Leonard Williams trade could be missed.  They are scheduled to, and will likely receive a 3rd round compensatory pick due to the departure of Landon Collins, but for now, let’s keep that off the table. 

Bradlee Anae is a name we may begin to see more of as the draft process carries on.  The Giants having the chance to take him with the 100th pick in the draft seems unlikely.  In the very slim chance he is available, they should have that pick at the moment the clock starts.

New York has got to address the pass rush this offseason.  It is absolutely something they could do in free agency, but Anne is a prospect that would be worth taking regardless.  He tied a Utah record with 29.5 career sacks, notching 12.5 in his senior season. He has strength and good footwork off the edge.  What makes him impressive is his evolving skillset of pass rush moves, making him a young artist at the position.

Round 5 – Pick 132

Michael Pittman Jr., WR USC

Considering the lack of experience and injuries at the receiving position, continuing to build weapons for Daniel Jones is important.  One upgrade I think that would be beneficial is a red zone target that could compliment this receiving group. 

Michael Pittman Jr. does not have the speed or burst off the line you’d want in a WR, but he makes up for it.  At 6’4” and roughly 220 lbs, Pittman has the size and hands to go up and get the football. He can be physical and isn’t afraid of contact, which shows up in his crossing routes.  Apart from his red-zone presence one area that Pittman could really benefit the New York Giants is in his run blocking ability. Pittman and Sterling Shepard leading the way for Barkley? Yes, please.

Round 6 – Pick 163

Patrick Queen, LB LSU

Still no official word on whether or not Queen has declared for the NFL Draft, but if he does, someone may get a sleeper.  The New York Giants need linebackers that can cover, and Patrick Queen can do just that. This season, he allowed only 165 total yards in 355 coverage snaps, according to PFF.  Queen can not only cover the field, but he rarely misses tackles. Something the G-Men could really benefit from.

Round 7 – Pick 195

Antonio Gibson, WR Memphis

Hear me out.  Gibson is an explosive player that can also generate yards with power and contact.  He’s a weapon that may benefit from a move to running back. This is where that popular New York Giant word comes into play yet again. Versatility.  Antonio can line up at WR, RB and can even return kicks. This is the kind of weapon you take a chance on with these late-round picks.

Round 7 – Pick 215

Jaron Bryant, CB Fresno State

If you’re still with me, thank you.  Your passion to read into the 7th round of a mock draft in January matches mine.  You have a sense of what the New York Giants need to address this offseason, and a lot of that is in the defense.  Jaron Bryant may be able to help and again… he’s versatile! He has a great physical frame but could benefit to add a bit of muscle.  Bryant is a solid tackler but lacks the speed you’d like to see in a true cover corner. This could all mean a transition to safety in the NFL.

Iowa and Indiana pull major upsets: Big Ten basketball week in review (1/29-2/3)

Another fun week of Big Ten hoops is led by Iowa dominating Michigan, Indiana upsetting Michigan St., and Wisconsin with two big wins. Six teams hit the Top 25 this week! There were 12 games, so let’s dive into it!

Results & Mini-Recaps

Ohio St. vs. 5 Michigan: Michigan 65, Ohio State 49

Zavier Simpson’s triple-double with 11 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds helped Michigan cruise past Ohio State. Four different Michigan players got into double-figures, including 12 points off the bench for sophomore Isaiah Livers. Kaleb Wesson led Ohio State with 12 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks.

Northwestern vs. 21 Maryland: Maryland 70, Northwestern 52

Bruno Fernando’s 22 points and 10 rebounds helped lead Maryland to a convincing win over Northwestern. Maryland held Northwestern to just 31 percent from the field. Jalen Smith had 14 points and nine rebounds to support Fernando. Anthony Gaines had 18 points and seven rebounds to lead Northwestern.

24 Wisconsin vs. Nebraska: Wisconsin 62, Nebraska 51

Wisconsin held Nebraska to just 28 percent from the field to beat Nebraska, despite being out-rebounded. Three Wisconsin Badgers were in double figures, including Ethan Happ who also had nine rebounds. Isaiah Roby had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead Nebraska.

Indiana vs. Rutgers: Rutgers 66, Indiana 58

Rutgers strong effort on the boards helped them beat the struggling Indiana Hoosiers. Three Scarlet Knights were in double-figures, and they held Indiana to just 35 percent shooting. Romeo Langford led Indiana with 20 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Illinois vs. Minnesota: Minnesota 86, Illinois 75

Five Minnesota players were in double-figures as they beat Illinois by 11. Minnesota shot a strong 50 percent in the win, compared to 45 percent from Illinois. Trent Frazier had a huge 30 point performance for Illinois in the loss, and two Fighting Illini were in double-figures off of the bench.

17 Purdue vs. Penn St.: Purdue 99, Penn St. 90 (OT)

Purdue shot the lights out at 55 percent, and survived the last-place Penn State in overtime. Conference scoring leader Carsen Edwards exploded for 38 points, and teammate Ryan Cline added 20. Lamar Stevens had 24 points for Penn State, and the Nittany Lions hit 30 free-throws to counter their poor 39 percent shooting.

5 Michigan vs. Iowa: Iowa 74, Michigan 59

Iowa jumped out to a 13 point halftime lead on their home floor and used that to knock off the number five team in the country. Luke Garza and Joe Wieskamp had 19 and 16 points, respectively for the winners. Iowa held Michigan to just 32 percent from the field. Three Wolverines made it into double-figures.

21 Maryland vs. 24 Wisconsin: Wisconsin 69, Maryland 61

Wisconsin used a dominating second half after trailing at halftime to beat Maryland at home. Brad Davidson had 21 points for Wisconsin, and Ethan Happ had an 18 point, 11 rebound double-double as well. Bruno Fernando had a double-double to lead the Terrapins.

Indiana vs. 6 Michigan St.: Indiana 79. Michigan St. 75 (OT)

Despite losing Juwan Morgan in the first half to a shoulder injury, Indiana ended their skid with a huge road upset over Michigan St. Romeo Langford led the winners with 19 points, and Justin Smith had 13 points and 10 rebounds with the game-sealing block. Cassius Winston had a huge night for the Spartans with 26 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.

Rutgers vs. Ohio State: Ohio State 76, Rutgers 62

Ohio State shot the ball 53 percent to lead to a victory over Rutgers. Kaleb Wesson had 27 points and five assists, and C.J. Jackson had 20 points and seven rebounds. Despite the win, they trailed -11 in the rebound margin.  Eugene Omoruyi had 19 points, eight rebounds, and six rebounds for Rutgers in the loss.

Nebraska vs. Illinois: Illinois 71, Nebraska 64

Illinois balanced scoring and strong defense led them to a win over Nebraska. Kipper Nichols had 18 points off the bench, while Illinois held Nebraska to just 36 percent from the field. James Palmer Jr. had 22 points and eight rebounds for Nebraska, and Tanner Borchardt had 12 points and 18 rebounds.

Minnesota vs. 17 Purdue: Purdue 73, Minnesota 63

Purdue had five players in double-figures and shot the ball 48 percent in a win over Minnesota. Carsen Edwards led Purdue with 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists, and Nojel Eastern had 11 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals in an all-around effort. Amir Coffey had 22 points for Minnesota, and Daniel Oturu had 19 points and nine rebounds off of the bench.

Standings & Rankings

7 Michigan, 20-2 (9-2 )

9 Michigan St., 18-4 (9-2)

15 Purdue, 16-6 (9-2)

19 Wisconsin, 16-6 (8-3)

24 Maryland, 17-6 (8-4)

20 Iowa, 17-5 (6-5)

Minnesota, 16-6 (6-5)

Ohio State, 14-7 (4-6)

Rutgers, 11-10 (4-7)

Indiana, 13-9 (4-7)

Northwestern, 12-9 (3-7)

Nebraska, 13-9 (3-8)

Illinois, 7-15 (3-8)

Penn St., 7-14 (0-10)