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NFL Draft and Free Agency Interview with scout Frank Coyle

NFL Draft 2019

NFL Draft and Free Agency Interview with scout Frank Coyle of DraftInsiders.com for GreenRewind.com

  Analyzing the NY Jets strategy for NFL Free Agency and NFL Draft 2019
by Frank Coyle of draftinsiders.com

#1 Knowing the Jets have $99+ million in cap space and their weaknesses, where and on who would you spend the money on?

Jets have many needs going forward. GM Mike Maccagnan did a good job cutting cap problems in recent years to put them in the current situation. Their top priorities are edge pass rushers, a true feature back and #1 receiver, offensive tackle, defensive linemen and cornerbacks. They need to add a few top starters prior to the NFL Draft 2019. Most FA additions will probably come on the offensive side of the ball with selected defensive additions. With tags starting being used this week, edge defenders like DeMarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney, Preston Smith, Dante Fowler, Dee Ford, Trey Flowers and Shane Ray could come off the FA board soon. All these edge rushers are just entering their prime. Lawrence, Clowney, Smith, Flowers, Fowler and Ford will be expensive, but they bring the hot commodity the Jets need – edge pass pressure. Smith may not get the publicity of the others, but is an emerging impact edge defender that can make a difference. Flowers would be a coup to wrestle away from the Patriots. Always around the ball and makes plays. Jets will have to compete for the top FA prospects here or use a high draft selection. With no #2 pick currently, they may have their choice of any edge prospect other than Bosa. Josh Allen of Kentucky is a stud and the most complete edge defender in this draft class. The Jets will entertain moving back in top ten for a #2 selection. I love DE/LB Montez Sweat from Mississippi State. He strikes and brings explosiveness and power and has impact talent. He figures off the board by the middle of the first round. With $99 million in free agency available and the #3 overall selection, the Jets could address this area with two edge rushers and elevate this unit significantly with premier defenders like DL Leonard Williams and safety Jamal Adams inline already.

I also like free agent OTs, JaWuan James, Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Fisher or Donovan Smith. Tackle pickings are generally thin after a few prospects with several teams have already resigned before the FA period even starts. There could be a few released veterans, but that is usually limited at best. That might put the burden on the NFL Draft 2019 where LT Jonah Williams, Greg Little and Andre Dillard are expected to be off the board probably by middle of first round. Quality offensive linemen get gobbled up quickly with 6 prospects in each of the first two rounds last April, including 10 of the first 39 selections. In the top 100 selections in the NFL Draft 2018, twenty draft choices were used on offensive linemen.

Jet corners Morris Claiborne (29) and Buster Skrine (30) are up as free agents. At $7 million for Claiborne and $6+ for Skrine, both would be costly to resign especially with veteran Tremaine Johnson (29) signed for a $12 million cap charge with an $8 million cash layout. Jets might want to resign one of the veterans with Skrine more versatile. Johnson signed a $72 million dollar contract thru 2023 with $34 million guaranteed. Veteran corners Jimmie Ward, Darqueze Dennard, Ronald Darby and Bradley Roby are second contract defenders will NFL starting skills to couple with Johnson and form a top tandem. Ward is a high-quality starter and though an expensive fit, capable of being a key missing piece almost immediately. Jets might also look to couple their starters with a developed rookie addition with starting talent.

#2 The talk here in NY is that the Jets may pursue Le’Veon Bell in free agency. Is this a good move?

Bell would be a good addition but only on certain terms and conditions. Does he sign for anything near his $14 million former contract that he refused to sign through the fall of 2018. The Steelers will not tag him with Franchise or Transitional labels. He is a complete back who is only 27 years old and coming off sitting out the entire 2018 season. He should be primed for a big 2019 performance and an excellent compliment to young Sam Darnold. His presence takes pressure off Darnold and could convert the Green offense a 60-40 run to pass. Bell makes Darnold and the Jets defense 20% better just by his annual average production. I think he probably costs at least a 3 year deal for in the $50 million area.

#3 Is this year a strong NFL Draft?

This NFL Draft class is very strong on defense especially the line and top edge defenders. GM Maccagnan faces a key question at the 3rd overall pick. Select premier defenders, LB Josh Allen, DL Quinnen Williams or Rashan Gary or corner Greedy Williams. Moving back in the first round may allow them to address two positions with the addition of a #2 draft choice. Maccagnan wisely retained the #1 pick this year by refusing to part with it in the move up last April in the first round. Jets moved from the 6th overall pick to the 3rd overall selection for three #2 selections, a month before the NFL Draft 2018. The trade closed the Bills, Dolphins and Cardinals out of the top three selections. Maccagnan put them in position for the 2nd QB and they were pleasantly surprised to land Sam Darnold with the selection. Darnold can be the franchise QB missing for the Green for decades.

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#4 The Jets have tons of holes to fill especially at: offensive line, edge pass rusher, wide receiver and cornerback. How do these positions rank as far as strength in this year’s draft?

There is high quality and depth along defensive line while cornerback and offensive tackles will be positions where top talent will fall quickly. OT begins to slide after the top 4-5 prospects especially on the leftside. FA is also weak at LT. Edge rushers is always a critical but dicey position and a top priority for the Jets. The top edge rushers may be tagged in FA. Prospects, Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, Jachai Polite and Brian Burns will probably fall in that order after Nick Bosa goes before the Jets 1st round selection. I love both Allen and Sweat and think they are great fits for the Jets and rookie starters.

Wide receiver is a deep group with a few top prospects considered true #1 receivers. I like N’Keal Harry best with AJ Brown and DK Metcalf next, though none belong before the mid first round or later. Cornerback is a quality group with Greedy Williams and Deandre Baker the top two prospects who are expected to come off the board in the top selections. Corner will be a high priority for Jets especially if two FAs leave in the offseason. Greedy Williams would be an excellent fit and probably comes off the board in the top 5 picks. The corner class is deep and should see many future starters come from the middle round.

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#5 Things may change but right now, give Jets fans 3 players in each round that the Jets should consider knowing where they pick?

1st round (#3 overall) – LB Josh Allen, DT Quinnen Williams, DL Rashan Gary, CB Greedy Williams

2nd round (no pick)

3rd round (two picks, own & New Orleans)
OLB DeAndre Walker, CB Rock Ya-Sin, WR Riley Ridley, LB Germaine Pratt, CB Kendall Sheffield, RT Kaleb McGary,  OL Elgton Jenkins and RB Benny Snell.

4th round
LB Ben Banogu, OT Max Scharping, WR Emanuel Hall or DT Dontavius Russell,

5th round
DT Daylon Mack, CB Alijah Holder, DE Jonathan Ledbetter or CB David Long

6th round (no pick)

7th round
CB Sean Bunting, WR Preston Williams, OT Derwin Gray or RB Wes Hills

#6 Everyone is looking for the next Brady situation getting a steal in the late rounds. What players are teams overlooking who are slated as late round picks or un-drafted free agents?

RB Rodney Anderson of Oklahoma and OLB Porter Gustin of Southern California were rated higher but have fallen off injury concerns. If they check out medically, late steals with definite upside potential. Linemen, OT Derwin Gray of Maryland and OG Lanard Bonner of Arkansas St are falling through the cracks and both carry starting NFL grades in time. Gray is very intriguing for the outside. Wideouts DaMarkus Lodge of Mississippi and Emmanuel Butler of Northern Arizona have talent to compete for the possession receiver role. Both have size and starting talent, though need to settle into a system. Definite late steals with real upside.

#7 I am hoping that the Jets trade back with one of the teams looking for a quarterback. What do you see the chances of that happening and how do you rate this year’s QB class?

Trading back in top half of first round keeps Jets in range of top defensive players and probably earns a #2 pick. It would be a wise move. This years’ QB class is not equal to last year. Two high prospects Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray are only one year starters. Teams like the Jaguars, Bengals, Giants, Redskins and Dolphins are interested in moving up. Broncos appear out after the trade for Joe Flacco. Redskins hold the 15th overall pick in first round and want to land a top QB. Jets would certainly have to get a #2 pick plus future high picks to move to middle of the round.

Raiders could be a Wild card here with three #1 picks including #4 overall plus two late #1 picks. Moving back to the Jaguars would be ironic moving from the 3rd overall to the 6th overall choice after doing the opposite last year to move up with the Colts to land Darnold. Maybe Jaguars Tom Coughlin is willing to part with three #2 picks like the Jets did last year. Great dream for Jet fans.

#8 Are there any division 2 or 3 players the Jets should look at?

CB Corey Ballantine of Washburn (Ks) and RB Wes Hills of Slippery Rock (Pa) are two D2 prospects I like. Both showed well at the All-star weeks and helped their cause. They both need to follow up with strong NFL Combine workouts.

#9 Do you see any players especially QBs that might have a chance at another position in the NFL?

Murray is definite wild card – QB, running back and wideout like Tyreek Hill. Limited other QBs, but maybe Eric Dungey of Syracuse could apply his athleticism to a deluxe role weapon.

#10 When do you think Kyler Murray will be picked? Round and what # pick?

Murray is a wild card. The game has changed and several teams will value him high, probable top ten pick. His size leaves a lot of questions for taking 60+ snaps a game at QB. I would have real difficulty taking him in the first round without a super plan in an offense. He came in today at over 5’10” and 207 lbs. Game is changing and he probably goes early like top 10 selections maybe higher.

Optional:Add any thoughts on the NY Jet situation and how they should proceed?

With the 3rd overall pick, a few hot prospects will emerge and give the Jets a few options moving back in the first round. Jacksonville with 6th overall pick is a natural landing spot, just a question of the price Maccagnan can extract from the Jaguars. That would be the best situation for Jets. At 6th pick, they still get a blue-chip defender and probably their pick of any offensive linemen or skilled position players. Teams build on top 100 draft choices and adding a few this year could be vital to any turnaround, especially if their FA strategy lands 3 to 4 prime additions.

#11 Additional for you Frank:
What are your thoughts on the coaches that Adam Gase hired?

I really like the signing of HC Adam Gase. It wouldn’t be the first coach who failed in his first assignment. He is an excellent fit for young QB Sam Darnold and I would expect his career to take off with strong coaching from Gase. New offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains reunites with Gase after time in both Chicago and Miami. Loggains is a fine addition to staff. It is important in a few key areas, experience together and success in many respects. It’s important also that Gase does not have to coach the coaches on offense. That helps Darnold immensely.
New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will bring his aggressive approach to the game and will give this unit a definite boost. He has made impact at several stops and can give the Jets defense new life. He does need some edge rushers and good cover man to implement his system.  He brings a tough mentality that was slipping recently despite some highly regarded prospects.

Frank Coyle is a long-time scout with nationwide ties with NFL and college coaches, scouts and player agents. He has published draftinsiders.com for 28 years including a 250-page NFL Draft Yearbook with over 250 in-depth scouting reports. Long-time scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game and member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards – Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 25+ years. 

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