The New York Jets are speed dating, trying to find some matches to settle down with. Who is on this exclusive list? We have the answers…This was the first time fans got to hear from New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles this offseason. He covered a lot of topics during his 12 minute interview.
One of the most popular topics surrounded the beginning of the NFL Scouting Combine:
“Fifteen minutes of speed dating doesn’t get that done,” Bowles said. “You try to ask certain questions to get a feel for the player. Obviously this is part of the process. The visits, pro days, workouts and sitting down with these guys at lunch or dinner. You get a better feel that way, but whatever you can try to get at them from a character standpoint here, you do.” (Via NewYorkJets.com)
That’s the nature of the beast, as NFL teams are only allowed to talk with 60 out of the 300+ prospects in 15 minute intervals. It’s exactly as Bowles described, a quicker NFL version of speed dating.
It’s hard to analyze a prospect and ask the correct questions in 900 seconds. But here are some of the Jets hottest candidates they got a chance to talk too.
Easily the biggest name they talked to was All-ACC star in running back Dalvin Cook out of FSU.
A huge concern this offseason has been if the Jets do end up taking a running back in the first round, what offense will they be playing in.
ESPN Jets’ Reporter Rich Cimini has questioned “scheme fit.”
Although, that was another point that Bowles addressed in that press conference earlier.
It was widely expected when the Jets hired former WR coach from the New Orleans Saints, John Morton, that he’d be running a West Coast type system.
Bowles said in response to that very question that, “He’s not a system guy, whether it’s West Coast or anything else. He can kind of fit guys into what they do best, so he’ll have his scheme that he puts in, but he can adapt to things real quickly. His understanding of relating to players and getting across to the players what he wants is what really put it over the top.” (Via NewYorkJets.com)
So now that scheme fit is no longer a question, it becomes a lot more feasible for the Jets to possibly trade back and nab Cook as their guy. Trading back in round one for Gang Green is a possibility seen as recently as in Todd McShay’s newest mock draft, as Cook was available with the No. 17 overall pick.
He will, however, have to pass the medical evaluations at the combine for the Jets. Cook has had a history of shoulder problems and he’s had over 680 carries in his career. There’s a lot of tread on those tires, which makes him a risky pick and it’ll be a tough decision for the Jets to invest a first round pick in a guy who has some wonky shoulders.
Plus, as we discussed on The Jets Zone, the Jets have the second highest payroll at the RB position in the league. Matt Forte isn’t going anywhere and Bilal Powell just got a new deal. So there may be a bit of a “cluster” at the position, but we’ve seen the Jets ignore that and take the best player available.
On top of Cook, the Jets also met with another 11 offensive linemen. It seems like the Jets are finally taking diligent notes thanks to my Elite Sports Video infomercial yesterday.
That’s going to be the key for the Jets in this apparent rebuild. Start in the trenches. They’ve already done that on the defensive side of the ball. Now can the Jets do that with some young blue chip blocks on the offensive side?
The most prominent name out of that group is Western Kentucky OT Forrest Lamp. Right now, according to scouts I’ve talked to, he has a late one, early two grade.
He’s got a solid frame — 6-foot-4, 300+ pounds — but his money will be made with his versatility. He can play all five positions along the line, which is a rare quality. While he played left tackle all four years, he’ll be better suited inside at the next level.
The Jets are covered at the guard spots — health pending — so he could slide in at center. But having guard depth would be a nice additional luxury to possess. The highlight of Lamp’s career was his impressive performance against one of the best defenses in college football history against the Alabama Crimson Tide this past season.