When the 2021 scouting combine was canceled, this raised the importance of pro day workouts in the pre-NFL Draft process. With restrictions also having been placed upon in-person interviews and workouts, this could be the best chance for teams to form an accurate picture of the athletic makeup of most prospects.
Pro day results are often met with skepticism, though. Some schools traditionally report suspiciously good numbers across the board, so they tend to be taken with a pinch of salt. This offseason, some teams will disregard the numbers altogether while others will take them at face value. Whichever group the Jets fall into, the results could affect the stock of some players that might interest them.
From the pro days that have taken place so far, we’ve already seen some players who could be options for the Jets with the No. 23 or No. 34 pick post standout performances. Let’s review some of these:
Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman
The pre-draft process got underway two weekends ago with EXOS running an event, which some had billed as an “unofficial combine." However, although results were sent to all 32 teams, there weren’t many numbers leaked to media sources, so it hasn’t received a lot of attention. But one thing that got people talking was a report that Bateman ran a sub-4.4 time in the 40-yard dash.
Bateman, who opted out of the 2020 season after catching 60 passes for over 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019, has a good all-round skillset, although The Draft Network referred to him as “not a true burner."
If teams believe this time is legitimate, this will solidify him as a first round prospect who the Jets may consider if he drops to 23.
Oklahoma G/C Creed Humphrey
Back in 2006, the Jets used a late first-rounder on Nick Mangold and it proved to be one of their best picks since the turn of the century, as it shored up the center position for the next decade. Could Humphrey be headed for a similar future after an impressive pro day workout that saw him run 5.09 in the 40-yard dash with 29 bench press reps?
The incumbent starter at center, Connor McGovern, played well in the second half of 2020 after a slow start, so the Jets won’t automatically be looking to upgrade. However, the pair could theoretically play alongside one another, adding flexibility to the unit.
Clemson RB Travis Etienne
Etienne has already been mocked to the Jets at 23 by a few draft analysts and he solidified his stock at Clemson’s pro day by reportedly running a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash despite having added 15 pounds to his listed weight. Etienne also posted an impressive 128-inch (10.6-foot) broad jump.
The bigger question here is whether the Jets will be prepared to use a first-round pick on what many consider to be a luxury position, especially considering the fact that most of the NFL’s top running backs were not first-rounders.
Texas OT Sam Cosmi
Cosmi has experience at both tackle positions, and is the sort of player the Jets could draft for depth and then groom to eventually take over from George Fant at right tackle. The Jets’ offensive system requires linemen to be athletic and Cosmi proved himself in this area during his pro day workout.
He ran an impressive 4.85 in the 40-yard dash at 314 pounds and also showcased his strength by posting 36 bench press reps.
Northwestern CB Greg Newsome II
Newsome is a player whose stock is reportedly soaring and he could be another potential first round consideration after an explosive pro day performance that saw him run a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash and post an impressive 40-inch vertical leap.
While his playmaking abilities may be called into question because he only had one interception in his college career, Newsome was considered a shutdown corner that opposing quarterbacks were reluctant to test. He plays a position of obvious need for the Jets, too, so would get a chance to contribute from day one.
Texas EDGE Joseph Ossai
There are some raw aspects to Ossai’s game but his measurables are tantalizing. He has good size and length and ran a 4.63 at his pro day workout with outstanding numbers for vertical leap (41.5 inches) and broad jump (131 inches).
Like Newsome, Ossai didn’t put up massive numbers in college, with just 11.5 sacks in three seasons. However, his career-high 5.5 sacks in 2020 came in just nine games and he once again would fill an important need area for the Jets as he is capable of rushing the passer but also has some experience of dropping into coverage and playing off the ball.