Jets Nation: Mo Wilkerson Off Season Work – 4/6/14

Here’s a longer clip from last night’s Jets Nation – Mo Wilkerson takes SNY inside his off season workouts, and also stops by the studio for a chat with Jeane Coakley.

Where will RB Chris Johnson play next?

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Running back Chris Johnson is expected to pick his new team within the next week.  So where will he end up?  From the chatter on the internet, here’s some unlikely and likely spots.

Saint Louis Rams — Johnson’s former coach Jeff Fisher is now in Saint Louis but it sounds as if the Rams coach won’t be reuniting with his old player.  While it’s classified as “not impossible” but there’s little interest … understandable what with Zac Stacy firmly entrenched with the Rams poised for a big season. — HIGHLY UNLIKELY

chrisjohnson.jpgDallas Cowboys — Despite early reports to the contrary, it looks as if the Cowboys are not serious about pursuing Chris Johnson according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  – HIGHLY UNLIKELY

Buffalo Bills — The Bills were considered “top suitors” in trade talks prior to his release by the Titans, but now that is being refuted. The Bills were called to make the Titans look better, according to Tim Graham the level of interest wasn’t all that high.  Regardless, now that he’s been released it would seem an odd move for Johnson to go to Buffalo with CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson already in the backfield.   Now that the Bills have traded for troubled Bucs WR Mike Williams, the team might not have the bandwidth to consider adding Johnson as well.  – HIGHLY UNLIKELY

Miami Dolphins — The Dolphins were also in on trade talks, so could they be serious about adding him now that he is a free agent?  The Miami backfield is a mess and while the team has signed Knowshon Moreno, is the matter settled?  While Knowshon will compete for touches, Johnson seems able to step into the team as a starter.  Beyond Moreno, the problem of course is the offensive line.  Despite the complications, could the allure of all that is South Beach entice Johnson to head to Florida? – LIKELY

New York Jets — The Jets were said to be interested in adding CJ but were slow to contract Johnson’s people, if at all.  There’s a lot of silence around the Jets dealings with Johnson which is hard to interpret.  The Jets could do well to add a durable playmaker like Johnson to the team but don’t seem to be in a rush to do it. – LIKELY

Atlanta Falcons — The Falcons discussed trading for Johnson and adding him would increase the depth of the Falcons backfield exponentially and give the Falcons a 1 / 1A situation between Steven Jackson and Chris Johnson.  While both are aging players, there’s still some gas left in the tank and when Jackson inevitably has to sit, Johnson would be right there.  The Falcons have a solid offense all around with one of the best players in the game in Julio Jones … Johson could make himself a part of a resurging Falcons team at the right time. – VERY LIKELY

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Jets Nation: Muhammad Wilkerson

SNY’s Jeane Coakley sits down with Jets defensive tackle Muahmmad Wilkerson on the season premiere of Jets Nation.

For the entire feature on Wilkerson, tune into the season premiere of Jets Nation this Sunday at 7 p.m. on SNY.

Can we project Eric Decker’s 2014 production?

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

Once this year’s free agency signing period got underway, the Jets moved fast to secure their top target, wide receiver Eric Decker. The addition of Decker bolsters the Jets’ much-maligned receiving corps, as he was one of the most productive receivers in the NFL over the past two seasons. However, most experts agree that it’s going to be difficult for him to replicate that kind of production now that he won’t have future hall-of-famer Peyton Manning throwing him the ball.

So, we can probably expect some kind of drop-off in terms of his statistical production. However, can we use statistical data from previous seasons to try and quantify the scale of the drop-off?

The answer, of course, is no. There are far too many variables at play that any numerical data analysis can’t account for. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t look at what these variables are and what will have the biggest influence upon how close he can get to the anticipated numbers. That’s what we’ll do after the jump.

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The Rundown: Fallout of the Mike Williams Trade

After the 2013 NFL season, it was evident that the Jets needed to update their roster on the offensive side of the ball.

NFL Network’s Kurt Warner summed it up well on SNY for the Jets and Geno Smith in 2013:

“I don’t think [the Jets] had many pieces around Geno Smith last year.  So he was asked to do a lot for a rookie quarterback.  I think we saw times where he did some really good things, made some impressive throws that make you say ‘wow this guy has got a chance’, but he also pressed a lot.  Or there were timing issues and there were times when it didn’t seem like he knew what he was looking at.  Which again a lot of rookies go through.  It’s just accentuated a little bit when you don’t have a very good team around you.”

The team might have made some strides in that department this offseason, but there’s still more work to be done.

While jettisoning Santonio Holmes last month was something of an addition by subtraction, the team went out and added Eric Decker near the outset of free agency.  Still, the team would be wise to add one of the talented young receivers in this year’s NFL Draft class, which is among one of the most talented receiver classes in many years.

So with the news that the Tampa  Bay Buccaneers traded Mike Williams change the dynamics for a team like the Jets who will draft behind the Bucs in the first round?

SI’s Chris Burke certainly believes so:

Even before trading WR Mike Williams to Buffalo for a sixth-round pick Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers figured to consider drafting at receiver at No. 7 overall if one of the top two options — Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans — happened to be on the board.

Now, Tampa Bay is an obvious landing spot for either player, with the Williams trade leaving Vincent Jackson and a whole bunch of nothing on the receiver depth chart.

[...]

We’re deep into free agency at this point, leaving little in the way of impact players on the market. So, all the signs definitely point toward the Buccaneers heavily considering drafting a receiver in the top 10.

CBS Sports does a nice job of laying their mock drafts side by side.  So quickly scanning the WRs drafted in prior mocks (before the Bucs trade) reads as if the Jets are (generally) the third team that would be drafting a WR.

With the Bucs trade though, they get rid of Mike Williams and put themselves squarely in the fray for one of the draft’s top two receivers.  Of course that means that there are teams drafting behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who will be faced with the dilemma of drafting wide receiver that might not marry up with their ranking of draft picks.

Just this week, the Jets were reported to have interest in Kelvin Benjamin, a massively framed receiver (6’5″ 240 lbs) with decent wheels (4.61 40 yard dash) to match.

You can’t coach 6’4″ either and that doesn’t seem to have done Stephen Hill many favors in two years with the Jets.

I know, I know  … it’s a totally unfair comparison, but left in a vacuum that statement about coaching size begs for criticism.  Not always, but Mike Tannenbaum had an affinity for athletic players with good metrics who could jump out of the gym (Vernon Gholston, Vlad Ducasse, Stephen Hill) but whose skills didn’t always translate on the football field.

The difference of course with Benjamin that decouples him from comparisons to players like Hill is that he comes battle-tested from a Florida State program that just won the BCS over Auburn and he accumulated over 1000 yards and 15 touchdowns in his final college season.  His crowning performance came in one of the biggest games of the year in which Florida State routed SEC powerhouse Florida.  Benjamin posted 212 yards and three touchdowns.  Benjamin compares much more closely with a player like Plaxico Burress or Braylon Edwards because of his size, athleticism and willingness to play tough.  Even so, he’s not a polished route runner and can drop too many passes.  It should at least be some cause for concern.

Other players that the Jets are matched up with at receiver are Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham Jr. and to a lesser degree Marquise Lee.  Each player offers different attributes that the Jets could greatly benefit the Jets.

I for one would love it if the Jets drafted a wide receiver in the first round.  That said, drafting wide receiver just for the sake of doing it is never the right move and wholly depends on what talents fall to them at varying positions should they stay with the 18th pick.  The good news here is that there are plenty of players at receiver who might not even be drafted in the first round, but are extremely talented, nevertheless.

With two or now potentially three receivers off the board by the time the Jets pick at 18, what it might boil down to for the Jets is their willingness to draft a player that offers them a more specific level of talents to their offense.  While there still will be plenty of quality receivers for the Jets to draft at 18 or into the second and third round, they are going to have to be more selective about the type of receiver they are bringing in for the longer term.  Will it be a small and speedy deep threat?  Will it be a powerful brickhouse?  Will it be less splashy receiver who might be ready-fit for the NFL?  The Jets have some big decisions ahead.

Link: Jets much improved on offense

Are the Jets one of the most improved offenses so far this offseason?

Earlier this week, Chris Wesseling of NFL’s Around the League stated that he believes the Jets to be the third most improved teams.

Vick adds legitimacy to Marty Mornhinweg’s offense. The QB’s injury history is less of a concern with Geno Smith as a capable backup with potential. Don’t be surprised if Decker produces the best statistical season by a Jets wide receiver since Laveranues Coles’ glory days. Ford is an intriguing flier if he’s finally over foot and knee injuries. I can’t get this dominant 2010 performance out of my mind, when Ford racked up 306 all-purpose yards in an overtime victory — followed up by 316 yards two weeks later.

The next step is adding speed in the form of Chris Johnson, who is expected to be released by the Titans on Friday or very early Monday morning. The Jets widely are viewed as the favorites for his services.

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

We do think that Eric Decker is going to be a major boost to this offense, but with the Draft still ahead, the Jets would be wise to add an early pick at the receiver position.  2010 is one thing, but that was in Ford’s rookie season and he’s struggled to build on those early returns.

The Mike Williams trade changes the landscape of the Draft.  Now there’s one more team serious about adding a receiver that is well ahead of the Jets.  Mike Evans will likely move off the board sooner than expected and if the Jets are looking at receivers it could change the availability of players by the time their turn to pick comes.