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NY Jets hosting 2-day visit with potential No. 10 draft target

JC Latham
JC Latham, Getty Images

The New York Jets are meeting with one of the top tackle prospects in the draft

As the NFL Draft draws closer, the New York Jets have begun to ramp up their top-30 visits. After meeting with Georgia tight end Brock Bowers, the Jets are bringing in another prospect whom they could draft: Alabama right tackle J.C. Latham.

While Latham is No. 21 on the NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board and is going No. 18 to the Bengals in their consensus mock draft, some believe he is the top tackle prospect in the draft. Jet X’s Joe Blewett ranks Latham at the top, citing his general nastiness and finish, power and core strength, strong technique, and pre-snap recognition. In the national media, NBC’s Chris Simms has gone out on an island pounding the table for Latham.

Jets fans concerned about Latham see shades of Mekhi Becton. However, it’s worth noting that not only is Latham over 20 pounds lighter than Becton was at the Combine (342 vs. 364), but he is also far more nimble on his feet. Furthermore, Latham is more technically sound than Becton was coming out of Louisville. He utilizes snatch and trap, cuff, and circle techniques, among others, as well as latching and lifting defenders to finish blocks rather than trying for a knockout shove.

Perhaps a more significant concern is the NFL track record of tackles coming out of Alabama. Evan Neal is the most recent bust, but Jedrick Wills, Jonah Williams, and D.J. Fluker also performed significantly below their draft stock.

The fact that Latham plays on the right side could also make him less valuable to the Jets. Their most desperate need is a backup for left tackle Tyron Smith. Joe Alt, Olu Fashanu, and Troy Fautanu could therefore be more attractive candidates.

Still, if the Jets want to go tackle at No. 10, Latham should be on their radar. With the team’s likely switch to a gap-heavy scheme, he would fit right in as a mauler. If the timing of Bowers’ visit was auspicious, perhaps there’s something to be read into Latham’s meeting with the Jets.

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