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Top draft prospects NY Jets fans need to watch at NFL combine

Olu Fashanu
Olu Fashanu

The NFL scouting combine will feature plenty of draft prospects on the New York Jets’ radar

We’re only a few days out from the start of the annual NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. With the rest of the league having joined the New York Jets in offseason mode, it becomes all the more crucial for Joe Douglas and company to hone in on their favorite prospects — the combine is a great place to do just that.

The Jets have long been connected to the top offensive line prospects in the 2024 draft — even dating back to last offseason in the days following the 2023 draft. Considering they pick 10th overall, however, the consensus is that there does exist a chance for the board to fall in such a way that they either have to trade back or pivot to their next-biggest need: another pass catcher.

With combine drills set to begin next Thursday, are some of the top draft prospects the Jets will presumably have their eyes on in Indianapolis.

First Rounders

Given the top-heaviness of this year’s loaded draft class, it makes picking in the top ten even more valuable than in most years.

Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Landing Alt — arguably the top tackle in this year’s draft — would be a dream scenario for the Jets, albeit an unlikely one. Even so, prospects fall down the board every year, so Douglas will certainly be doing his homework on the three-year starter all the same.

Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Considered the top pass protector in the draft class, Fashanu would be another slam dunk pick at 10. Recent concerns about his run blocking and ability to hold up against power rushers have hurt his stock in recent months, but he’s still a high-ceiling prospect with a chance of making it to the 10th pick. Everyone who knows him raves about his outstanding character, so along with the athletic testing — which he’s likely to knock out of the park — there’s a good chance his stock starts to rise again following the combine.

Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

Fuaga was a steady riser over the course of the college season, and nothing’s changed as we inch closer to the draft. He’s already surprisingly polished and plays with the violent demeanor you love to see in trench players. Oh, and there’s also the fact that he didn’t give up a single sack in his collegiate career.

J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama

A few poor snaps on the biggest stage have ultimately hurt Latham’s stock, but he has a huge sample size of high-level tape as well. The 360-pounder is arguably the strongest player in the draft physically and he, like Fuaga, did not give up a sack in his collegiate career.

Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

Guyton boosted his stock considerably at the Senior Bowl, holding his own against top competition and displaying a clear passion for the game. At the moment, he’d be a bit of a reach as a top-10 pick, but his athletic traits are sure to help boost his stock even further at the combine. If the Jets are at all considering a trade-back in the first round, Guyton may very well be on their radar.

Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

There does exist a scenario where the top three receivers and top three tackles are gone by the 10th pick and the Jets pivot to drafting Bowers. Who knows? Maybe they even like him enough to draft him over some of those guys. Regardless, as one of the draft’s top overall prospects, all eyes will be on Bowers at the combine.

Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

All eyes will then move right on over to Odunze, another one of the draft’s top overall prospects. If the Jets do opt for a receiver with the 10th overall pick, there’s a good chance it would be this guy. A height/weight/speed freak, he’s likely to test incredibly well in Indy.

Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Nabers is neck-and-neck with Odunze for the WR2 spot behind Marvin Harrison Jr. and they’ll likely be stacked differently, depending on the team. Again, if the Jets opt for a receiver at 10, there’s also a good chance it would be this guy. Nabers is a supreme athlete, his explosiveness being his best calling card, so he’s one of the safest bets to be a top tester at the combine.

Day 2 Guys

Thanks to the Aaron Rodgers trade last offseason, the Jets don’t hold a second-round pick in this year’s draft. Following their pick at 10th overall, they don’t pick again until Round 3. But considering this is an all-in year for the Jets, it does stand to reason that they may ultimately wind up picking in the second round after all when it’s all said and done, via the trade market.

Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

Once viewed as a potential top-10 pick, the consensus on Coleman has slipped a bit in recent months as people get eyes on his tape. As the freakiest of all freak athletes though, the combine is Coleman’s chance to absolutely shine. Expect eye-popping numbers across the board for the 6-foot-4 specimen, and keep an eye on him in one-on-one drills.

Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

Worthy has a chance to run the fastest 40 of all prospects — not just receivers — at the combine. While speed is certainly his calling card, Worthy is more than just a one-trick pony, getting open at an impressively high rate. The 20-year-old could be a legitimate draft target for the Jets on Day 2, although it could take a trade-up.

Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington

Playing at Washington, Polk may have been overshadowed by Rome Odunze at times, but as someone with inside/outside versatility, a big catch radius and polished route-running, he could be another ideal target for the Jets. His 40-yard dash will be something to watch, as a lack of top-end speed is one of the question marks to his game.

Roman Wilson, WR, Michigan

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has compared Wilson’s game to that of Jayden Reed, who’s coming off a nice rookie year for the Packers. The 22-year-old Wilson is a dynamic playmaker and was a Senior Bowl standout.

Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida

Speaking of Senior Bowl standouts, Pearsall was another massive riser coming out of Mobile. He has a wide array of releases, runs precise routes and wins downfield in a variety of ways. He has a solid floor.

Brenden Rice, WR, USC

The son of the greatest receiver in NFL history, Brenden Rice has a big name to live up to. He isn’t quite his dad, but it’s clear he’s grown up being taught to do all the little things right. While not an incredible athlete, he is a savvy route runner with great size and body control.

Zach Frazier, IOL, West Virginia

Frazier is a plug-and-play starter at center if the Jets wanted to draft him and keep Joe Tippmann at guard to solidify the interior once and for all. It’s unclear whether or not Frazier will be able to test at the combine — he had to sit out the Senior Bowl with a leg injury he sustained in the Mountaineers’ regular-season finale.

Jordan Morgan, OL, Arizona

The opinions on Morgan are varied. Some think he can stick at tackle in the NFL, while a great many view him solely as a guard. How he tests will be important in that debate, but as a potential Day 2 pick for the Jets, he’s worth keeping an eye on.

Cooper Beebe, IOL, Kansas State

Beebe still needs some development in pass protection, but as a run-blocker, he should be impactful right away in the NFL. He’s another high-floored guard prospect the Jets could target on Day 2.

Quarterbacks

As of the time this is published, the Jets do not have a viable quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers. It appears Zach Wilson is as good as gone, and while Douglas is sure to sign a veteran backup early on in free agency, it still makes perfect sense to spend a draft pick on a stash-and-develop project quarterback to sit and learn for a year or two.

Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

Penix could very well go in the first round, which would take him off the Jets’ draft board, but there does seem to be a wide range of opinions on the 23-year-old. If he does start to slip a la Will Levis last year, that could be a trade-up worth exploring for Douglas. It’s at least worth keeping an eye on him at the combine.

Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

Nix has been talked about as a potential first-round quarterback as well, but that does seem less and less probable as time goes on. Regardless, the Jets will likely meet with him to see if he might be worth drafting and developing behind Rodgers.

Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina

Once a five-star Lincoln Riley quarterback, the narrative is that Rattler has fallen quite far. However, he’s matured a lot at South Carolina and developed into a decent prospect. The arm talent has always been there, but how he interviews with teams will go a long way in where he lands.

Michael Pratt, QB, Tulane

Pratt showed a lot of field general upside at the beginning of the 2023 season before suffering an injury. He wasn’t quite the same when he returned, but he’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Joe Milton III, QB, Tennessee

Milton is arguably the biggest project in this entire draft class. He has an absolute cannon for an arm, but doesn’t yet know how to harness it. Pair that with his top-notch athleticism though, and you’ve got an intriguing quarterback prospect.

Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State

Still recovering from his season-ending leg injury, Travis won’t be able to participate in any physical drills. However, his meetings with teams will be critical in showing off the mental side of his game, which remains very much intact.

The NFL scouting combine begins on Monday, February 26 and runs through the course of the week. Here is the schedule for positional drills:

  • Thursday, February 29th, 3pm ET – Defensive Linemen, Linebackers
  • Friday, March 1st, 3pm ET – Defensive Backs, Tight Ends
  • Saturday, March 2nd, 1pm ET – Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Running Backs
  • Sunday, March 3rd, 1pm ET – Offensive Linemen

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DFargas
DFargas
2 months ago

I am puzzled/frustrated by one aspect of all these rundowns about prospects for the Jets: the media/analysts never talk about what it means for player evaluation that a OL prospect played RT versus LT in college. This is important because, for example, JD might have picked Becton over Wirfs because the Jets needed a LT desperately, and Becton played LT while Wirfs played RT. Some commentators said Wirfs was a better player, but how could that be if he played RT instead of LT, where, presumably, the best tackles play? It’s confusing. When a player is at RT for his whole college career, does that automatically mean he was the second best tackle on his team? In that case, why would any team pick an RT over an LT if presumably you could train an LT to play RT? Are there reasons other than talent that a player is slotted at RT? If a prospect played at RT his whole college career, can he be converted to LT if a team (like the Jets) has a burning need for an LT? Or, is there a poor record of success in doing that? What are the obstacles?
This is supposed to be a good draft for OL, so it is a good time to start addressing these questions. I hope someone in the media can start doing that.

christian herzeca
christian herzeca
3 months ago

travis is an interesting developmental QB pick. bad leg injury so his rehab needs to check out, but might be a steal in later rounds. sitting behind AR will be an education. as for OL/WR, jets need two solid picks, and I think a trade down from 10 to 15-18 still gets you a good OT and a second round pick (or swap second for later round).

Jets71
Jets71
3 months ago

This biggest problem with a “draft and develop” QB is the Jets’ don’t have the right offensive coaches to develop one. Finally, Calabrese is moving on, but they need to fill that spot with a real QB coach or drafting a QB to let Hackett, or Downing develop doesn’t make much sense. I am still hoping to see the, hire someone who can actually develop a QB. Frank Reich, Jay Gruden, Josh McCown (?), Jim Caldwell.

Guyton is a guy to watch, not much buzz about him to the Jets but Ulbrich coached the Sr. Bowl, and Guyton reportedly played well, with lots of upside. If they think he’s got the right mental make-up. I could see them targeting him.

I have seen some comparisons to last years draft with the Jets missing out on an OL, but there are a LOT more OL talent this year. They can get 2 potential starters, all is not lost if they don’t get one of the top 3. There are also some guys not on your list here Troy Fautanu, and Graham Barton who provide position flexibility.

I’m confident the Jets can overhaul the OL AND get a good WR2 this off season.

christian herzeca
christian herzeca
3 months ago
Reply to  Jets71

I’m confident the Jets can overhaul the OL AND get a good WR2 this off season.”

I admire your optimism, but I dont share it re OL. JD has made atrocious choices regarding the OL, from Becton over Wirfs, to Tomilson, McGovern, letting Herbig go etc. AVT is the exception.

when did the jets last have a great OL? good drafting of d’brick and mangold. pre-JD

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