New York Jets: Sam Darnold Could Be a Two-Sport Star

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

Beginning over the next few weeks I took a deep dive into the 53 man roster in order to identify a few guys who could make a transition to another sport. Not because it’s realistic, but because fun hypothetical scenarios can make the carry over to football a lot easier.

Sam Darnold: Basketball

Every diehard Jets fan has seen the video of Sam draining threes in California last offseason. His basketball career goes way beyond the smooth as butter jump shot. Growing up Darnold said he dreamt of playing basketball. Darnold’s dreams of basketball were directly tied to the late Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Darnold dreamt of repping the purple and gold long before the green and white.

The dreams were close to becoming a reality. Although Darnold was a stud on the gridiron, he also lit it up on the court. Looking back at his stats from San Clemente high school, they’re actually very impressive. Darnold played 49 games with 13.7 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per games, 2.6 assists per game and a 41% FG percentage. Darnold was a sharpshooter used all over by coach Marc Popovich for the Tritons. Darnold displayed leadership on the Tritons in route to a league MVP award in his Sophomore year of High School.

So where would Darnold have gone. Although he had dreams of being the next J.J. Reddick, Darnold chose the right sport. In high school, Darnold was a good enough basketball player to have likely played college basketball, but his highlights and his skill set likely wouldn’t have translated to much more success than that. His athleticism and build is much better suited for hurling the pig skin. Although Darnold may wonder what could have been, I’d say he’d have to be pretty damn happy to be a franchise QB for an NFL team as any consolation. 

One New York Jets Receiver Enters A Make Or Break Season

New York Jets, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold

The New York Jets lost Robby Anderson this past offseason. The loss was one that set the Jets back at wide receiver. Anderson was the go-to target for Sam Darnold. He was a deep threat who could stretch the field and add another layer to the Jets passing game. The Jets return Jamison Crowder, a safety net for Darnold and a dynamic slot piece. They also added a presumed steal in rookie Denzel Mims. Mims brings a big red zone presence with his size and catch radius. Although he brings speed, he will be trusted to grow with Darnold and be groomed into a do it all number one receiver. The Jet receiver trusted to bring the deep threat presence and fill the void of Robby Anderson is Breshard Perriman.

Perriman Needs A Big Year

When Perriman signed with the New York Jets, just hours after Anderson inked a deal to defect to Carolina, I broke the news here at ESM. I touched on his inconsistencies in his past, but one thing I harped on was his recent successes. In 3 years, Perriman had 55 receptions for 916 yards and 5 TDs. Last season, he had 36 receptions for 645 yards and 6 TDs. In the final quarter of the season, Perriman didn’t have a game with less than 70 yards. Perriman was on fire and flashed the potential that got him picked by the Ravens with the 26th pick in the 2015 draft. Perriman parlayed those flashes into a 1 year deal with Gang Green. The Jets will give him the opportunity to start and earn meaningful reps. If Perriman can put up solid numbers, he could revitalize his career.

Perriman fits into the model Douglas is trying to build “prove it deals”. Perriman must put up a quality season in order to become a true fixture in this league. With all the speed in the world, if Perriman can continue to develop his route tree this offseason, similarly to what Anderson did last season. At 26, the best could be ahead for the Breshard Perriman.

Can the New York Jets extract the best from former CFL star Anthony Cioffi?

New York Jets, Anthony Cioffi

Can the New York Jets find gold in CFL standout Anthony Cioffi?

Anthony Cioffi was just your typical Jersey boy. Except he’s a freak athlete. Oh, and he was a 2012 state champion in the 100-meter dash, excelled at football, and earned honors there. Ultimately, he ended up at Rutgers and, you guessed it — excelled there with 122 tackles, eight interceptions, and 2.5 sacks in 122 games. Surprisingly, he went undrafted and signed with the Raiders following the 2017 draft. Cioffi didn’t make the team out of training camp and ended up in the CFL. While there, he made a name for himself.

Cioffi Controlled the CFL

In 33 games, Cioffi had 97 tackles, 4.0 sacks, 3 FFs, and 2 INTs. Cioffi was a hybrid defensive back and was used all over the field. His impressive speed allowed him to be used just about anywhere on the field.

Cioffi built a reputation as one of the best defensive players in Canada. He succeeded in a hybrid role, as a linebacker, he had great sideline to sideline ability. As a safety, he was dominant in coverage and tackling. Cioffi projects as a safety with Gang Green mainly because he’s undersized to be a linebacker at the pro level.

Cioffi’s Fit With the Jets

Cioffi could play a few roles for the Jets. The Jets could use more special teams depth, and his speed would make him an immediate asset. As a gunner, he could use his speed to make the tackles which he’s also good at. As a safety, he could make the roster because of his upside. With the Jets’ current safety issues in regards to Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye needing a new deal soon, if a trade occurs or a surprise move, Cioffi could gain some playing time.

The more reps Cioffi gains, the more he could shine. Looking at his playstyle, Cioffi could be an attractive scheme fit under Gregg Williams’s defense. However, his fit within special teams will likely be his best selling point to make the roster.

What are the New York Jets getting in UDFA CB Lamar Jackson?

New York Jets

The New York Jets signed Lamar Jackson! No, not the electric QB/RB that’s coming off an MVP campaign. Instead, the Jets got a corner (who played QB in High School) who was projected to be a late-round pick. Lamar Jackson, a CB from Nebraska adds versatility and continues to add more depth to the secondary. He could be a solid pickup, so let’s breakdown his skill set.

Strengths

Lamar Jackson adds a few key things the Jets like. Durability and leadership. He was the defensive MVP in 2019 after a breakout season. Besides that, he was a 3-year starter. Jackson is an accountable corner capable of being left on the island. He has an excellent size which makes him a very physical press corner. Do you know who likes corners like those? Gregg Williams. Lamar Jackson will fit very well in Williams scheme and has the potential to be an impact player at some point. He played his best football last season when he put up 40 tackles, 4 TFLs, 3 INTs, and allowed a 55.7 passer rating. Lamar is capable of being left on an island and is a player overall capable of being a starter at some point at the next level.

Weaknesses 

As much as I raved about Lamar, he does have weaknesses. Although he’s a lockdown corner against physical receivers and in the red zone, in the vertical game he leaves much to be desired. He lacks speed to hang with some of the speed threats at the next level. He lacks a strong football IQ as well. He’s a more matchup specific player who would excel in 1v1 matchups. If he can’t prove his worth on special teams and doesn’t draw the eye of any of the higher-ups, he won’t stick on the roster.

Overall Outlook

Lamar Jackson has some of the most potentials of not just the UDFAs, but even some of the draft picks. The issue is, he also is flawed in his game. Ultimately, the scheme fit is going to benefit Lamar’s chances of sticking on the roster, but he’s still going to need to develop his IQ and speed if he wants to be a long term NFL player.

NFL Draft Watch: Top 5 OL Rankings

With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, over the next few days, I plan on breaking down the best and brightest talents in this year’s class. This offensive line class has a lot of good players. The core four have stolen a lot of the headlines, but how do they rank in my eyes and is there a surprise 5th guy who could join the party?

1. Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

Pro Comparison: Ronnie Stanley

Wirfs is the top guy in this class in my opinion. Wirfs has the most upside and the least downside. Wirfs has a few technical flaws and he needs a little more coaching and refinement. Aside from that Wirfs is a great prospect. Wirfs has incredible athleticism, size, and durability. Wirfs comes from an offensive lineman factory and he’s going to be a stud at the next level. Ronnie Stanley is an All-Pro tackle and projects to be the best-case scenario for Wirfs.

2. Jedrick Wills, Alabama

Pro Comparison: Jason Peters

Jedrick Wills is a great prospect. Good run blocker, excellent pass protector and a good resume. Wills has competed against the best of the best in the SEC, and now Wills is heading to the next level. Wills showed one technical issue, lack of effort. Wills is a superb talent, but there were a few plays where you can see he gives up after a spin move that he doesn’t adjust to. That can change at the next level. Wills biggest downfall for me is the move he’ll have to make. Many see Wills as a left tackle, but he’s typically played on the right side. If Wills has a smooth transformation, he can be a damn good player. Wills reminds me of Jason Peters. Peters is a quiet and steady lineman who does his job at a high level and gets it done consistently.

3. Andrew Thomas, Georgia

Pro Comparison: Laremy Tunsil

I like Andrew Thomas a lot. He is the safest offensive lineman. He’s proven against SEC completion that his transition should be smooth. He’s a good run blocker and good pass blocker. He’s a special player, but he doesn’t have a singular standout trait. Thomas is just a simple and good player. That’s all you can ask for an offensive lineman, Thomas is a steady player and I think his transition will be similar to Tunsil’s. Tunsil had success fairly quickly and provided stability on the left side for the Dolphins, Thomas can do that wherever he gets picked.

4. Mekhi Becton, Louisville

Pro Comparison: Jonathan Ogden

Becton is a monster. At 364 lbs, the man ran a 5.10 second 40 yd dash. Becton is superhuman and an absolute bully on the offensive line. Becton has the most upside of these prospects. If his athleticism translates to the NFL, he’ll be unstoppable. There was just a lot of inconsistency to me in his tape. Some plays he bullied edge rushers, other plays, simplistic stunts threw him off. Becton also is a scary prospect on the physical side. At 360 plus pounds, moving around quickly could cause wear and tear over time. Durability could be a question. If Becton proves to be durable and gains some more knowledge on preventing those stunts and spin moves from killing him, Becton could be the best of these top 4 guys. Jonathan Ogden brutalized defensive linemen, just like Becton has the potential to do.

5. Ezra Cleveland, Boise State

Pro Comparison: Nate Solder

Ezra Cleveland has shot up draft boards. Rumors are swirling he could end up as a first-rounder. Cleveland, Josh Jones, Cushenberry, Ruiz, and Austin Jackson are the tier 2 of offensive linemen. Cleveland has the most upside of all of them if he can gain some more mass. At 310 that sounds unreasonable to ask him to gain more weight, but Cleveland just needs to fill out physically. Cleveland has some flaws, but if coached properly, he can be a franchise cornerstone at the tackle spot. 

New York Jets Could Pursue CB Logan Ryan (Report)

New York Jets, Logan Ryan, Tennessee Titans

The New York Jets reportedly have interest in cornerback, Logan Ryan:

The Jets have four pressing needs — offensive Line, cornerback, wide receiver & edge rusher. The Jets need another corner; however, they could really use a development guy to build around alongside Bless Austin, which makes the latest rumblings a bit confusing.

Per Manish Mehta, the Jets have internally discussed making a run at CB Logan Ryan. Manish has had his fair share of stories be debunked, so this can be taken with a grain of salt. Still, this is an interesting player for the Jets to have a case in.

Who is Logan Ryan?

Logan Ryan is a New Jersey kid who attended Rutgers University. After a stable career there, Ryan was drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. When Ryan debuted, he immediately carved himself a role with the Pats.

Ryan was a very solid corner with them until he left in 2016. He then joined the Titans, where Mike Vrabel has coached him. The now-former Titan comes from an excellent background of coaches, and he holds a championship pedigree with two rings under his belt. Ryan is also 29 years old, so it’s fair to assume he still has a few years of good football left, so being unsigned has been a bit perplexing.

How Would Ryan Fit?

Logan Ryan has always been a stable corner. Last season he had one of his best seasons yet — 113 tackles, 4 INTs, and 4 TFLs. Ryan had an awe-inspiring season and was overshooting his potential market value.

Now the Jets are discussing how he’d fit financially and within the team. Ryan and Pierre Desir would be a great duo to pair with Poole, but it seems like more of a win-now move. If Ryan is cheap, and they believe it gives them more draft flexibility, than it’s a solid decision. You can never turn down a good player, but Ryan would likely pull some reps away from Bless Austin, and unless they don’t have much faith in Austin, this move would be a strange one.

I like Ryan, and I think adding him would make for a solid secondary, but he’s likely in the market for a multi-year deal. At the same time, teams are a bit concerned with his ability to hold up in coverage, allowing a dismal 66% completion rate against him in 2019. Also, the move may take opportunities away from younger guys like Austin and a potential draft pick at a time where their development is more crucial than adding a veteran with inconsistent coverage abilities. 

Salary cap: Where the New York Jets stand

New York Jets, Joe Douglas

The New York Jets have not had the most exhilarating free agency this month. With multiple signings addressing the offensive line, re-signings of a few players and the not-so-flashy signing of current number-one wideout Breshad Perriman, the team hasn’t expended a ton of money.

Connor McGovern agreed to receive $18 million guaranteed, which is the most of their signings. Following that is George Fant‘s $13.7 million guaranteed. Brian Poole agreed to return with $5 million guaranteed.

Now, the team has the second-largest amount of cap space in the NFL as of March 30, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

These numbers don’t include deals that have been agreed upon but not finalized yet. Many deals have not been finalized across the league due to the coronavirus, and may not be for some time since teams cannot meet with the players. Regardless, the Jets have a surplus of dispensable money.

There are still numerous free agents available that could bolster the Jets’ roster. Ezekial Ansah and Jadeveon Clowney are looking for new homes and places to attack opposing quarterbacks. Although, Clowney seems unlikely at this point. Veteran receivers are hoping to find new places to reel in catches, and Sam Darnold needs those. However, drafting one seems more likely.

If the organization and GM Joe Douglas decide to splurge on some players, there is a surplus of options to choose from. If not, the amount of money available next offseason will surely be substantial, to say the least.

 

 

 

Tom Brady on the New York Jets?

The New York Jets would breathe a collective sigh of relief with the rest of the AFC East should Tom Brady leave the only team he’s ever played for. But speculation is still running rampant about where the 6 time Super Bowl champion will end up. He says he wants to play till he’s 45, and will be 43 when the season starts. 11 teams are reportedly interested in acquiring Tom Brady. Including, the New York Jets.

How Plausible is Brady to the Jets?

According to SI.com, we’re talking very slim odds that Brady will leave the Patriots for the Jets. 20/1 odds put the Jets in the bottom 10 teams of the league likely to get the GOAT, tied with their neighbors, the Giants.

However, it doesn’t change the fact that WEEI broadcaster, Dale Arnold, reports that the Jets have at least “some interest” in Brady.

How Legit is This Info?

“Some interest” doesn’t mean a whole lot. However, the Jets will have $60 million in cap space. If the Jets can acquire enough pieces during the draft, and Brady is willing to sign a 2-year deal that will allow the Jets to plug in extra holes using free agency, why wouldn’t they jump at it?

Crazier things have happened in sports. Tim Tebow was riding high with the Denver Broncos in 2011. He helped the team to the playoffs, including an overtime win. He was only 2 years into his career as a quarterback, and it was only logical that the Broncos would keep him around. Then Peyton Manning came back from neck surgery.

I believe that Sam Darnold should be the team’s QB for the foreseeable future. He’s improving in all the right ways and should be up there with the likes of Jimmy Garopolo and Josh Allen by 2020/2021 easily. But this is like the Mets or Yankees being presented with the opportunity to sign Mike Trout to a team-friendly deal tomorrow. You have to assume the interest is more than just mild from Gase and Douglas.