With the Jets' new coaching staff mostly finalized, attention now turns to preparations for the offseason. This week is Senior Bowl week in Mobile, Alabama, marking the first major event in this year’s pre-draft process.
While many of the top draft prospects are early entrants and therefore ineligible to participate, there’s still plenty of draftable talent on display. And with a conventional scouting combine not taking place in 2021, this event could be more important than ever for teams looking to evaluate players closely.
While some of the best prospects may opt to sit out the game itself, which kicks off on Saturday afternoon, several players have impressed scouts and analysts and could further raise their stock with a solid display in the game.
Let’s consider some that could represent logical targets for the Jets...
Demetric Felton, RB, UCLA Bruins
While Felton was listed as a running back, he’s been impressing with his speed and route-running as a wide receiver in practice so far. He played both running back and receiver at UCLA, with 55 catches in 2019 and more than 600 rushing yards at over five per carry in 2020. Felton lacks size at 5-foot-8 and 189 pounds, but he could be the kind of versatile weapon who fits well within a system like the one the Jets are expected to run.
Nico Collins, WR, Michigan Wolverines
Collins is a more traditional type of receiver, but very different to Felton at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds. His natural size and catch radius have made him a tough cover in one-on-one and red zone drills. Collins needs to remind scouts of who he is after opting out of the 2020 season to concentrate on his draft preparations. He averaged almost 20 yards per catch and scored seven touchdowns in 2019.
Ade Ogundeji, EDGE, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Ogundeji turned heads before practice even began by measuring in with a wingspan of over 85 inches. If he can use that length to his advantage more often, he could build on a solid 2020 season that saw him generate plenty of pressure and record six sacks in 10 games. Practice footage indicates that he’s making progress in this area, as he’s displayed some good pass-rushing technique and lateral quickness.
James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati Bearcats
Hudson, a converted defensive tackle, is another good player with decent length. He’s an interesting prospect because he didn’t start his first game until Cincinnati’s bowl game at the end of last season. Hudson put together a solid season in 2020 as a full-time starter for the first time and has looked surprisingly comfortable in pass-protection drills during the week. Hudson would be a good fit for a zone-blocking system.
Jabril Cox, LB, LSU Tigers
Cox had established himself as a top prospect at North Dakota State, but he transferred to an LSU team that struggled in 2020 and his stock took a hit. However, he’s been consistently good in coverage throughout his collegiate career and these skills have been on display during the week in Mobile. The Jets will need linebackers who can cover to enable Robert Saleh to mix up his coverages in his defensive system, so Cox could be someone they take a close look at.
Keith Taylor, CB, Washington Huskies
One position where the Jets will definitely be looking to add some young depth is at cornerback, but the talent pool at this position hasn’t been as deep as some others this week. The 6-foot-2 Taylor is doing his best to establish himself as a potential starter with his physicality in coverage. His ability to handle press coverage assignments and hold his own against bigger receivers could be vital to Saleh’s defensive strategy.
Quinn Meinerz, IOL, UW-Whitewater Warhawks
Finally, one small school prospect analysts have been raving about this week is the 320-pound Meinerz, who has mostly been working at the center position. Meinerz has displayed some aggression, nastiness and finishing ability in the running game but also held up well in pass-protection drills. He’s obviously raw but with impressive power and seems to be someone who has benefited from the coaching he’s received this week.