Welcome to another offseason at New York Jet Fuel. With team scouts meeting with future draftees, free agent rumors floating around, and a coaching shuffle ongoing, there is plenty to cover in the 365-day-a-year league.
Every Saturday morning in the Jet Fuel Rundown, we’ll address the top headlines from around Gang Green and the NFL. Let’s start by discussing a quarterback (I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we do that…).
1. Baker Mayfield meets with the Jets
At the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, Heisman winning quarterback Baker Mayfield reportedly had “extensive meetings” with four teams, including the Jets. The other teams include AFC East foes Buffalo and Miami, as well as New Orleans.
Mayfield is one of about four quarterbacks many draft pundits project to be top 10 picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. His mobility, accuracy and sensational playmaking ability are extremely attractive to scouts, but he also comes with some baggage. Mayfield was criticized for making obscene gestures in Oklahoma’s win against Kansas this year and was also charged for public intoxication and resisting arrest before the season.
Still, Mayfield appreciated the opportunity to meet with NFL teams, sharing with MMQB’s Robert Klemko that he enjoyed the chance to prove “how I’d do anything to win.”
2. Jets find a new offensive line coach
Less than 48 hours after New York announced it had “parted ways” with offensive line coach Steve Marshall, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the team had found a replacement.
The Jets are expected to hire Rick Dennison as their run-game coordinator and offensive line coach. Dennison has held a multitude of roles during his decades-long coaching career, most recently as the Buffalo Bills’ offensive coordinator in 2017. Before that, he was the Broncos’ offensive coordinator for two seasons and the Ravens’ quarterback coach for one.
Gang Green’s line has a few talented players, but was still one of the weaker units in 2017. Center Wesley Johnson, who is an unrestricted free agent, struggled immensely, as did left tackle Kelvin Beachum. New York handed out nice paychecks to guards James Carpenter and Brian Winters, who both had decent seasons. Right tackle Brandon Shell was a bright spot in his first season as a full-time starter.
3. Senior Bowl standouts
While Mayfield has unsurprisingly stolen the show in Mobile, the Jets have also expressed interest in a few other players. According to reports, they have met with Washington State quarterback Luke Falk, Army offensive tackle Brett Toth and Western Kentucky tight end Deon Yelder. They have also shown interest in Iowa running back Akrum Wadley.
Falk will not play in the actual Senior Bowl game on Saturday, as he will attend the funeral of his teammate Tyler Hilinski, who tragically committed suicide last week. It is unknown if Mayfield will play in the game, and Toth has a two-year military commitment that the NFL will have to address.
Some other notable names from the practices: UCF’s Shaquem Griffin, a one-handed versatile defender whose inspiring story has been masked by his dominance on the gridiron; Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn; and UTEP guard Will Hernandez. It will also be worth watching Josh Allen, another potential top 10 quarterback that has been mocked on occasion to the Jets.
4. Interest in wide receivers?
Yahoo! NFL writer Charles Robinson suggested that the Jets could be interested in wide receivers, either in the draft or in free agency. It’s an idea that our Matt Barbato floated earlier this week after Robby Anderson’s arrest, although Barbato noted that the Jets’ need for wide receivers is not only because of Anderson’s issues.
Miami’s Jarvis Landry is regarded as the best free agent wide receiver, but there are a few talented names on the list. Seattle’s Paul Richardson and Jacksonville’s Marqise Lee both eclipsed the 700-yard mark while fellow Jaguar Allen Robinson is a free agent after he missed all but one game in 2017 due to a torn ACL.
In the draft, taking a wide receiver with the sixth-overall pick may be a bit of a reach, as the top three prospects (Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, SMU’s Cortland Sutton, Oklahoma State’s James Washington) are projected to be mid- or late-first round selections. But keep in mind the Jets have two second-round selections, and players such as Maryland’s DJ Moore or Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown could be potential options.
5. Eric Wood to announce retirement
Lastly, Buffalo Bills center Eric Wood — who did not miss a snap the entire 2017 season — will announce his retirement after it was revealed that he had suffered a career-ending neck injury. Wood was a staple of a really solid Buffalo front and is 31 years old.
In a statement, Wood said, he was “diagnosed with a neck injury as part of my season-ending physical with the Bills” and was “no longer cleared to play football, even with surgery or further treatment.”