Brandt: Milliner appears ready for break-out season

On NFL.com, senior analyst Gil Brandt lists out his top ten candidates for a break-out season from the 2013 draft class. The Jets picked cornerback Dee Milliner No. 9 in last year’s draft and Brandt notes that after a rocky start, things got better down the stretch:

[He] really showed something toward the end of the season, specifically in Weeks 16 and 17. In those two games, Milliner broke up 10 passes — that’s practically unheard of, the equivalent of having four interceptions in one game — and snagged three picks … Being viewed by many as the replacement for Darrelle Revis didn’t make Milliner’s rookie year any easier. While I don’t know if you can ever truly replace Revis, Milliner has turned it around, and I think he has a better-than-average chance of making the Pro Bowl within the next two years.

Bonus Link: On the subject of cornerbacks, PFF takes a look at the numbers for slot corners, with Kyle Wilson in among the league leaders.

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

As I’ve already mentioned this year, I’ll be writing about Dee Milliner in detail soon, hopefully in May. While we always anticipated he would make a slow start, as is usually the case with cornerbacks that played for Nick Saban, it cannot be understated how startling the difference in his performance was between the start and end of the season. Milliner barely got close to making a play on the ball in the first half of the season as he struggled to adjust to the nuances of the pro game following a disrupted offseason campaign. However, down the stretch he was consistently breaking up passes, as noted by Brandt in his comments above.

Milliner is not the finished article yet, but held his own well in December as the light-bulb appeared to come on for him. If Milliner can continue to improve at the same rate, then Brandt’s pro bowl prediction has a good chance of coming true.

As for Wilson, his numbers are certainly good, although there were admittedly a few times where he got lucky. However, this does put into perspective how his performance stacks up with other slot cornerbacks around the league. It will be interesting to see whether his role expands this year and whether the Jets intend to keep him in their plans with his rookie contract set to expire at the end of the season.

The most incredible stat of the season from Wilson was that he was penalty-free in 15 of the 16 games. The only exception was the Bills game in week three where he had five total penalties, including four on consecutive plays. That brings us neatly back to Milliner who had zero penalties – the only cornerback in the NFL to play more than 600 snaps without getting flagged.

Daily Links: You Decide

  • How close are New York Jets to making playoffs? [NFL]
  • Jets’ preseason finale could pit Vick vs. Sanchez [NY Post]
  • Dolphins may cut WR Brandon Gibson [Palm Beach Post]
  • Brandon Spikes predicts two wins over Patriots in 2014 [PFT]
  • Ranking the top quarterback draft classes of the last 10 years [SI]

Jets re-sign Garrett McIntyre

The Jets have re-signed OLB Garrett McIntyre (Allen, April 9).

In 13 games last season, he made 19 total tackles (10 solo). He had two sacks.

McIntyre was a non-tendered restricted free agent.

Jets announce preseason schedule

The Jets will play the Colts, Bengals, Giants and Eagles during the preseason.

They will play at home against Indianapolis and the Giants, and away in Cincinnati and Philadelphia.

Link: PFF Profiles Chris Johnson

It doesn’t sound like anything is imminent in respect of Chris Johnson, who is reportedly in New York today, but with no plans to visit the Jets.

Over at PFF, they profile Johnson’s career so far in detail, giving an insight into what he might still be capable of. Here’s part of their conclusion:

If Johnson’s breakaway ability is declining, then the smart play would appear to be pairing him with a powerful runner to wear the opposition down, bringing Johnson in when they are tired and more likely to make a mistake. Not an unreasonable thought process, but the question becomes how much does Johnson rely on those poor plays by opposing defenses?

Multiple sources continue to claim that the Jets are “interested” in Johnson “at the right price”, but it remains to be seen whether they will make a move for him.

Summarizing the Jets moves in free agency

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

As we move into the lead up to the NFL draft, here’s a summary of the moves the Jets have made in free agency.

New Additions
Decker, Eric WR
Ford, Jacoby WR
Giacomini, Breno T
Patterson, Dimitri CB
Vick, Michael QB

Analysis: The team upgraded at two crucial offensive positions.  By removing Santonio Holmes and adding Decker, the team has gotten better and shaved cap space in the process.  While Decker can be a productive player with the Jets, the team is likely not done yet at the position with the draft approaching and 12 draft picks.  Mike Vick’s addition provides the Jets the best available quarterback from the market and allows the team to play the man who can best help the team this year.  In a perfect world that player would be Geno Smith, but he’s going to have to earn it.  The winner of the QB competition will likely be the man who can hold onto the football … no small feat for either Geno Smith or Mike Vick.  Giacomini is a lateral move at best from Austin Howard but the team saved themselves a lot of money in 2015 and beyond.  The Jets had every opportunity to truly upgrade their cornerback position if they wanted to but the team chose to pass on players like Vontae Davis, Alterraun Verner and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie … but let’s not believe that bringing back Darrelle Revis was more than a remote possibility at best.  Instead, the team went with a risky prospect in the aging Dimitri Patterson.  When he played in 2013, Patterson was impressive but his injury only allowed him to see six games all year.  Between Patterson and Kyle Wilson the team will sort out the second starting cornerback position, but the team would be wise to look to longer-term improvement through the NFL draft.

RE-SIGNED
Colon, Willie G
Douzable, Leger DT
Folk, Nick K
Pace, Calvin OLB To read more of this story, click here

Pro Day Buzz: Keith Lewis

Jake Steinberg, TheJetsBlog.com

With the draft exactly one month away, we’ll be looking at some of the under-the-radar names I’ve been hearing that the Jets are interested in.

First up is Keith Lewis, a CB from Virginia University of Lynchburg. Due to the fact that he attended such a small school, Lewis had two Pro Days, one at Lynchburg on March 4, and the second at Richmond on March 18. The Jets attended both, with the sole purpose of seeing and working out Lewis. They spent time meeting with him after both Pro Days, showing immense interest.

Lewis absolutely tore it up, posting a 4.41 40 time, 3.9 short shuttle, 6.4 three cone drill, 14 reps at 225, and 10’6″ broad jump.

At 5-11, 194, Lewis is an example of the way social media is changing the landscape of the NFL. Heading into his senior season virtually unknown by NFL agents, Lewis had to fend for himself and work to get his name out there. As such, he took to Twitter to send out his tape to as many agents as he could. Most didn’t even take the time to watch. However, Donte Robinson of Elite Sports Agency wasn’t one such agent. About two minutes into watching his video, Robinson knew this was a kid he needed to get. Immediately after signing him, Robinson went to work and got Lewis’ name out to teams.

With Robinson’s help and exposure, Lewis went from no shot at the NFL to a potential Jets seventh-round pick. The sky is the limit, and this is a kid you need to keep an eye on as May rolls around.

Critiquing the B/R 1000 Project: Inside Linebackers

Bloggers, media and sport fans used to heap scorn on Bleacher Report, mainly due to some questionable user-generated content that damaged the site’s reputation in its infancy. However, since their big money deal with Turner 18 months ago, they’ve added some talented and respected names as featured writers and a great deal of their content is now well worth checking out.

One of the featured writers they added to their roster was draft scouting guru and former TJB Podcast guest Matt Miller, who – along with several other film junkies – is spearheading the B/R NFL 1000 project, where they attempt to rank the NFL’s top 1,000 players. The project is now into its third year and they’ve just started releasing this year’s results. For more on how the project works go here.

In our ninth installment, we look at their rankings for inside linebackers. To look back at the previous updates go here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

In their top 60 inside linebackers list, Miller and his colleagues rank David Harris 23rd and Demario Davis 55th.

Here’s what they said about Harris:

Harris is one of those guys who will seem to always be around. He still provides the Jets just enough of everything that he’ll find his snaps, although his reputation still continues to exceed his play.

Read Bent’s thoughts after the jump.

To read more of this story, click here

Daily Links: Can we all get along?

  • Fans petition SUNY Cortland to block Vick from training camp [NY Post]
  • More talk of Jets’ interest in Chris Johnson [PFT]
  • Daily draft dish: Time to play Hyde and seek [ESPN NY]
  • The 2014 New York Jets Defensive Roster: Better or Worse? [The Jet Press]
  • Rams GM Les Snead in talks with teams about trading No. 2 pick [CBS]