Crunch time for Mekhi Becton, Denzel Mims and the New York Jets’ 2020 draft

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FLORHAM PARK, NJ – A look at what’s happening around the New York Jets:

Disappearing draft: As they line up to face the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 11, the Jets are likely to have only one member of their 2020 draft class in the starting lineup – tackling Mekhi Becton.

One starts out of nine choices. Ouch.

The Jets are hoping that others, most notably broadband receiver Denzel Mims and security Ashtyn Davis, will escape their freshman and sophomore hibernation to become viable contributors. The next few months are absolutely vital for them and other bubble players, such as defensive Jabari Zuniga and running back La’Mical Perine, who have lost weight.

It says a lot that the Jets have already made higher draft picks at the same positions as four players from the ’20 class: wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore over the Mims; defensive end Jermaine Johnson over Zuniga; running backs Breece Hall and Michael Carter over Perine; and cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner over Bryce Hall, who leads the draft class with 24 starts.

Sometimes the draft is hard to explain. The Jets have hired the same day-to-day manager, same human resources department and the same scouts in the last three drafts. The early returns in 2021 and 2022 are frightening. For 2020, not so much. What changed was the coaching staff, which means that schemes changed – factors that can not be rejected.

Two of the nine 2020 picks are already gone – quarterback James Morgan (cut) and guard Cam Clark (retired / injured). The organization still has high hopes for Becton, but injuries and a weight problem have clouded his long-term future.

Mims is the most confusing to the organization because of his exceptional size and speed, but he has struggled with injuries, illness and the playbook. Right now, he’s no better than WR5, which means he’s not a lock that can get on the team. The Jets are talking him up, perhaps to increase his trade value.

Coach Robert Saleh said Mims is “much further ahead than he was a year ago,” noting that he is working to improve his catch point and efficiency on competing balls. A year ago, Mims tried to regain his strength after battles with food poisoning and COVID-19.

“Denzel is better off,” Saleh said. “[It’s his] the second time, he’s in great shape, looks really good. “

Davis (16 starts) is a former college track star with excellent speed, but he is a shaky tackle with questionable instincts for the safety position. It’s crowded out there and he too is facing a battle to stay on the team. The cut-off day may not be friendly to the 20th grade.

2. Music line men: The Jets have 16 defensive linemen on the roster – 16! They expect to carry at least 10, and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich says the goal is to have so much depth that no one plays more than 30-35 snaps per game. match.

Wait what?

This is not breaking news – there was a big rotation last season – but Ulbrich said they expect to do so more subbing because the depth is better than last year. This is a big part of the Saleh-Ulbrich philosophy. Ulbrich called it a hard and fast rule, saying that “asking them to play more than 35 snaps, I think, is detrimental to their health and to the quality of the game.” No exceptions, he said, not even if they had stars like Aaron Donald or Nick Bosa.

It’s a dubious tactic – why put a player in a box? – but that’s probably a controversial point because the Jets do not have any of that kind. For the record, John Franklin-Myers (43 snaps) and Quinnen Williams (39) led the series in snaps per game in 2021. It is worth noting that Bosa averaged 46 as a rookie in 2019 under Saleh, the former San Francisco 49ers ‘defensive coordinator.

3. Buddy system: Carter, the team’s leading rusher last season, has embraced the idea of ​​sharing carries with Hall – a great attitude. Carter said he learned to appreciate the benefits of a timeshare during his time in North Carolina, where he shared the workload with Javonte Williams (Denver Broncos).

“For the first time in my life,” Carter said, “it showed me that we can all eat.”

4. Left, right: The Jets have not shaken hands with regard to their plans for Becton and George Fant, neither of whom are participating in volunteer training. One thought: Keep Becton on the left tackle so he can play alongside the stable and experienced Laken Tomlinson. Move Found back to right tackle so he can help groom Alijah Vera-Tucker, who plays right guard for the first time since college.

5. Three to the ring: After five years of hibernation, the Jets record D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold and Darrelle Revis in the Ring of Honor – all deserved. Ferguson and Mangold, in particular, should be celebrated because they could be the last of a dying race – cornerstone players who spent their entire careers with the Jets. They came together in 2006 and played until 2015 and 2016, respectively. Unfortunately, the Jets have not had any star “livers” since them.

6. Did you know that? Revis, who also spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, played 108 games with the Jets. Only two of the 19 players in the Ring of Honor played fewer games in a Jets uniform. Can you name them? Answer below.

7. GM’s sleepers: In an interview with ESPN, Joe Douglas highlighted tight-end Tyler Conklin and defensive tackle Solomon Thomas as potential surprises among their free agents.

Douglas said Conklin “looks like he could be a good find under the radar. I think CJ [Uzomah] and Conklin is going to form a pretty strong duo in this offensive. “He said Thomas is” a guy who brings incredible intensity and effort every day. I feel he is a strong addition to an already solid defensive line. “

8. No waffle: French toast is not DJ Reed’s thing for breakfast. Have never tried it, probably never will. As he explained: “If I have a cheat day, I never say, ‘Oh, the French toast looks good’.” For the sake of good order, he is more of a waffle and pancake. Maybe it’s a business thing; cornerbacks do not like to be associated with the word “toast”.

Reed is not afraid to move up in his diet. In an effort to improve his time at 40 yards in college, he gave up chicken and steak for four years and became vegan at one point. That changed in 2020 when he developed minor injuries with the Seattle Seahawks. He was introduced to Russell Wilson’s chef, who suggested it would be healthier to go back to eating chicken and steak.

He took the advice, enjoyed a strong 2021 and got a $ 33 million three-year contract in free agency. There are many pancakes.

9. Trivia answers: Matt Snell and Al Toon played in 86 and 107 games for the Jets, respectively. Both had their careers interrupted due to injuries.

10. The last word: “Press, no. Urgent, yes.” – Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur on whether he feels pressured to bring quarterback Zach Wilson to another level

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