MOBILE, Ala. — Before heading to Miami for Super Bowl 2020, the NFL world will invade this coastal city for a few days to dissect draft prospects at the Senior Bowl.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas and his scouting staff will be here trying to find players with which to upgrade the team’s talent in April’s draft. The practices begin Tuesday and go through Thursday and the game is Saturday.
This game usually does not feature the top players in the draft since they are typically underclassmen. But there are players who elevate their draft stock every year and players who end up being major contributors to their respective teams.
Douglas and the Jets have plenty of holes to fill. Here are a few players the Jets will be eyeing this week:
This 6-foot-5, 325-pounder is rated as the No. 1 guard in this draft by ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper. He is known as a powerful blocker who projects as an immediate starter in the NFL. Jets starters Alex Lewis and Brian Winters have uncertain futures with the team. Lewis is a pending free agent. Winters is expected to be a cap casualty. The offensive line rebuild could start with a player like Bredeson.
The Jets may end up using their first-round pick on an edge rusher, a position they have struggled to fill for 15 years now. If they don’t take one in the first round, though, Baun could be a target on Day 2. He made a huge leap from 2018 to 2019 when he had 12.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss. Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams manufactured pressure on the quarterback in 2018. He needs someone who can win up-front on his own this year.
The Jets may be looking for two new tackles in 2020. Both Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell, last year’s primary starters, are scheduled to hit free agency. Jones is not as highly rated as underclassmen such as Andrew Thomas and Tristan Wirfs, who the Jets could choose at No. 11. The intriguing thing about Jones is his size. He is 6-foot-7 and 310 pounds. If you’re looking for length on the outside, he’s your guy. The reports are that he is raw and will need some coaching before he is ready to play in the NFL, though, so he may not be a player you can expect to contribute immediately.
An ankle injury limited Zuniga in his senior year for the Gators and he ended up with just three sacks. He has the athletic traits to get a long look during the draft process. The Jets got burned a year ago taking a pass-rusher out of Florida with Jachai Polite not even making the opening day roster. That should not hurt Zuniga, though, with the Jets.
Douglas has to get Sam Darnold some targets to throw to, so why not one of his old ones from college? Pittman played with Darnold in 2016 and 2017 before Darnold went pro. This season, Pitman caught 101 passes for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Jets have an uncertain situation at receiver with Robby Anderson scheduled to be a free agent and Quincy Enunwa’s future with the team up in the air. Wide receiver is another position loaded with underclassmen, but Pittman is one senior to watch.
For more on the Jets, listen to the latest episode of the “Gang’s All Here” podcast: