(picture via Max Henson on Twitter)
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comPro Day season began this week and after spending Monday at Ole Miss, it seems that Jets Senior Director of College Scouting popped over to Auburn on Tuesday before being spotted in South Carolina Thursday at Clemson’s Pro Day. While that is interesting in and of itself, it seems that Bradway was joined by Jets General Manager John Idzik and Head Coach Rex Ryan, thanks to a TJB tipster on hand for the proceedings.
Ryan’s son, Seth, walked on for the Clemson football team and attends the school so while the Jets head coach might be double-dipping both business and pleasure in South Carolina, it’s worth noting that Ryan was met by two of the highest ranking members of the team’s front office.
Sammy Watkins (Projected pick: Top 10) — For this much Jets manpower to attend a Pro Day of potential draftees who fall well ahead or well behind their 18th pick, it has to be taken into consideration that the Jets are taking a good long look at Watkins. Watkins is the best of an incredibly deep class of receivers and projects by many to be an immediate impact maker at the pro level. With smooth acceleration and a good top speed coupled with sharp footwork, excellent body control and improving ball skills, wrapped up in an NFL veteran’s presence at playing the ball and defender … he could be a very special player in the NFL. With multiple gears at multiple levels of the field, Watkins is the type of player that will likely make any NFL quarterback better. Are the Jets taking a serious look at the draft’s top receiver to see what it would take for them to move up to acquire such a player? With the triumverate in Clemson today, it’s hard not to think they are considering the cost … is the proverbial squeeze worth the juice?
Brandon Thomas (Projected pick: 2-3 round) — Thomas played well at the collegiate level and projects well to the pros as an interior linemen. The value of guards seems to be on the rise in a counter-move to the number of interior defensive linemen who are increasingly capable of creating damage in the NFL. Thomas would be a good fit and might slide into the spot left by Willie Colon, but are the Jets full up on the line after drafting three linemen last year?
WR Martavis Bryant (Projected pick: 2-3 round) — During the Clemson Pro Day, the Jets showed active interest in Bryant. This to me is interesting, but might it be a smokescreen for their interest in Watkins? Bryant is a raw athlete who Dane Brugler compares to Stephen Hill. Whether ahead or behind at this point, it’s hard to say, but so far the Jets have already invested two years into Hill and would drafting a player like Bryant move them back to square one? While Bryant is tall and has a good frame (6’4″ 211 lbs) to play receiver in the NFL, he needs to tighten up a lot of his technique to hope to have much of an impact at the NFL. At Clemson, Bryant benefited from Watkins, didn’t run a full route tree and double-caught more balls than many would like to see from a player with NFL aspirations. There might be something there for the Jets coaching staff to work with, but any expectations of early contribution in the NFL seem unlikely.
CB Bashuad Breeland (Projected pick: 3-4 round) — While he doesn’t have the best timed speed and he might have benefited from staying one more year in school, Breeland has family on his mind and at age 22 the corner was ready to take on the NFL. He was smooth in positional drills at the Combine and has the fluidity NFL coaches like to see in defensive backs regardless of timed speed. Breeland is 6’0″ tall and has long arms, a trait many press man coverage teams like in their corners (like the Jets).
QB Tajh Boyd (Projected pick: 4-7 round) — Boyd was considered a top prospect last season, but after a lackluster 2013 his prospects have seemed to drop him. Boyd is said to have good ball placement and velocity on his passes and has demonstrated poise in the pocket. Boyd is also classified as having a “compact” body type with lateral agility that provides him elusivity on the run. For all these reasons, he’s positively compared to Russell Wilson, but there are some concerns around his game. He’s said to have too long a wind-up and he can drop his eyes in favor of scrambling too often. Rex has been complimentary of Boyd in the past … but is he the right fit for the Jets?