The Senior Bowl is this weekend and the players have all been gathered in Mobile, Alabama this week for practices but because this game is meant as a scouting showcase, with team scouts and general managers in attendance, as much as it's an "All-Star" players and teams can begin meeting on a limited basis before the combine and Pro Days start.
The Senior Bowl tends to lack much of the top end talent in the draft because, as the name suggests, it's the "Senior" Bowl so any underclassmen aren't invited, exceptions are often made for players who already earned the degree, and many of the top picks decline the invitation because they know they're top picks and can't have their stock raised much more while they would certainly be risking lowering their stock by a great deal if they suffered an injury. So while the top quarterbacks in the draft won't be there, or the top players at most positions there are still a few, more accurately at least one, first-round talents there, but this week is a great place for GMs to get a head start on meeting with a number of mid-round options.
NJ Advanced Media's Darryl Slater is in Mobile this week and has put together a list of all the players the Jets have already met with and those that they have plans to meet with and we'll start with the most intriguing name(s).
Alabama TE O.J. Howard - The Jets haven't had a quality tight end since... um, yeah does Dustin Keller even count? Tight end has been a weak spot for the Jets since tight ends started contributing in the passing game, fortunately this year's tight end class has a lot of talent, none better than Howard. Howard's talent and big-play ability often got lost in Alabama's offense because of the heavy run game and not exactly efficient quarterback play, but he is an absolute physical specimen and a play-maker. He dominated Clemson in the National Championship the first time they played and while obviously no one, not even Gronk, puts up numbers like that every week, if Howard found himself in a high-functioning offense, granted that would mean more like the Packers than the Jets, you could expect his numbers to be closer to total domination more often than not.
Troy OT Antonio Garcia - Brandon Shell played well enough to think he might be able to be the Jets right tackle of the future, but the Jets still need an upgrade at left tackle and could use more depth. I haven't watched many Troy games so I haven't seen any film on Garcia yet but he's projected to be a second or third round pick. This year's tackle class isn't deep or top-heavy but, as the next two names on this list will tell you, the Jets will be focusing on the line to see if they can find some more talent.
UCLA OT Conor McDermott - McDermott is also projected to be a second or third round pick.
Western Kentucky OT/G Forrest Lamp - Lamp was a tackle at Western Kentucky but most expect him to slide inside to guard when he gets to the NFL. He's projected to be a late first/second-round pick, with the Jets having James Carpenter and Brian Winters set as their guards it's a good bet that the Jets are looking at Lamp and wondering if he could be an NFL tackle with the worse case scenario having him as depth at guard.
Alabama OLB Ryan Anderson - Like Howard, Anderson was often lost in the shuffle of all the talent on Alabama's defense. Not so much in playing time or production, but in simply getting attention. Anderson isn't the pure pass-rushing talent like his teammate Tim Williams but he's a three-down player and has a more well-rounded game. The Jets obviously need a dominant pass-rusher and Anderson is not that, but he's a damn good all around linebacker, think Calvin Pace, who does everything well and all teams like players like him. He's currently projected to go in the second round,
South Alabama TE Gerald Everett
Houston OLB Tyus Bowser
West Virginia C Tyler Orlosky
Baylor C Kyle Fuller
Miami G Danny Isidora
Lamar CB Brendan Langley
Arkansas TE Jeremy Sprinkle
Texas A&M S Justin Evans
Clemson ILB Ben Boulware
Mississippi TE Evan Engram
California QB Davis Webb
TCU OLB Josh Carraway
Wisconsin RB Corey Clement
Kansas State DE/OLB Jordan Willis
Mississippi State WR Fred Ross
San Diego State RB Donnel Pumphrey
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (email@example.com)