Chuma Edoga Jersey

FLORHAM PARK — The Jets may have found their starting offensive tackle of the future on Friday night, when they traded up one spot to draft Chuma Edoga with their second pick in the third round of the NFL Draft.

That’s the ceiling for Edoga, a 6-foot-3, 308-pound offensive lineman out of USC, who has the length and athleticism to become an NFL starter and a number of positions.

“We saw a lot of potential,” general manager Mike Maccagnan said. “We think he has some position flexibility, both on the left and the right side and to swing inside to guard.”

But it’s also fair to wonder if Edoga will ever reach that potential after a frustratingly inconsistent college career.

Here’s the dream scenario for the Jets: Edoga impresses in training camp and beats out Brandon Shell, who is in the final year of his contract, for the starting right tackle job — the same position he played in college. Edoga could also eventually become the replacement for starting left tackle Kelvin Beachum, whose contract also runs out after this year.

His presence could add comfort for quarterback Sam Darnold, who played behind Edoga in 2017 at USC. It would also give the Jets some versatile depth.

If everything goes right, Edoga has the potential to be a fixture on the Jets’ offensive line for years to come, either at guard or at tackle.

Even if Edoga doesn’t become a starter, his physical skills, size and versatility gives him a chance to be a key depth piece for the line. This pick makes a lot of sense in a lot of ways, if Edoga holds up his end of the bargain.

But that is a considerable “if.”

Most scouting reports tout Edoga for his physical skills, but there are questions about his focus and desire to become a better football player. He also missed several games in college because of a variety of injuries.

If Edoga loses focus or becomes disinterested, his stay in Florham Park could be short.

It’s a high risk, high reward pick. And it makes some sense for the Jets, who badly needed to address their offensive line depth.

What doesn’t make as much sense: the Jets trading their early seventh-round pick (No. 217 overall) to Minnesota for the right to move up just one spot.

But if Edoga reaches his potential, it will have been well worth it.The Jets have only two picks on Saturday in the final four rounds of the draft. They’re scheduled to pick early in the fourth round (105th overall) and late in the sixth round (196th overall).

Their biggest areas of need? They still don’t have a starting-level center, and are unlikely to find one now. Two potential options: Ohio State’s Michael Jordan and Georgia’s Lamont Gaillard. The Jets also need to add cornerback depth: Notre Dame’s Julian Love, Texas’ Chris Boyd and Penn State’s Amani Oruwariye are all options.

Blessuan Austin Jersey

The Jets’ final pick of the 2019 NFL Draft this afternoon is cornerback Blessuan Austin from Rutgers.

Austin (6’1″, 198) hails from Queens, NY. The true junior reinjured his knee in the Scarlet Knights’ 2018 season opener that short-circuited his final season.

He played in 24 games In his first three seasons on the banks of the Old Raritan, with his best season coming as a true sophomore in 2016 when he totaled 43 tackles, an interception and 14 pass defenses. For his RU career Austin racked up four INTs, 18 PDs, two sacks and five tackles for loss.

Austin is the fourth Rutgers player drafted all-time by the Jets and the first out of RU taken since flanker Jack Emmer was selected in 1967. C Alex Kroll is the best-known Rutgers player drafted by the franchise, taken 13th overall in the 1962 AFL Draft and playing 14 games for the Titans of New York that season.

The Jets’ last pick of this draft came in the trade package they and the Raiders put together six weeks ago in which G Kelechi Osemele came east to the Green & White.

One other name recognizable to Jets fans was taken with the 196th pick. That was when C Roger Duffy was plucked in the eighth round out of Penn State in the 1990 draft. Duffy went on to play in 123 games with 70 starts for the Jets.

With three trades this year, Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has executed 15 in-draft trades in his five drafts as GM.

Barring any unexpected Round 7 developments, the Jets’ 2019 draft is now one for the books. Unlike in recent years, the Jets under new head coach Adam Gase will not hold a rookie minicamp. Instead, the six rookie draft choices plus undrafted free agents will participate in a rookie orientation from Thursday through Sunday, May 9-12.

Then the rookies will be integrated into Organized Team Activity practices in late May and the first half of June. And they will join the veterans for a full-squad minicamp at the Atlantic Health Training Center from June 4-6. Then all the players will get their last free time until the start of Gase’s first Jets training camp starting up in late July.

Blake Cashman Jersey

Blake Cashman has always had to earn everything that has come his way. A former preferred walk-on at Minnesota, Cashman worked his way up the depth chart for the Gophers and became a defensive regular last season. And on Saturday, he became a member of the New York Jets when he was selected in the fifth round, No 157 overall.

“It’s everything I’ve dreamed of and it’s something I’ve always had my eyes set on,” Cashman told Olivia Landis after his selection. “Ever since I walked on, I told myself two things and that was I was going to be a starter and team captain at Minnesota and then have an opportunity at the NFL.”

Cashman, whose father played football at St. Thomas University, was part of four state championship teams at Eden Prairie HS while playing cornerback and linebacker. He was a special teams regular as a freshman at Minnesota before racking up 7.5 sacks his sophomore campaign. He concluded that second collegiate season with a Holiday Bowl Defensive MVP award after tallying 12 stops and a sack in a 17-12 takedown of Washington State.

“I feel like I can be someone that impacts the team day one, whether it be on special teams or defense, or both. I really see myself as somebody in maybe nickel or dime packages, getting after the quarterback or having to dart guys in man coverage, whether that be the quick backs out of the backfield or more athletic tight ends,” he said. “I do feel like I have good athleticism and I have good speed, so just the way the game is going now, it’s kind of a lot of speed on the field. Offenses like to spread defenses out so I think they can plug me in many different areas to wreak havoc a little bit.”

Known as an all-effort performer, Cashman captured the Gary Tinsley Award after both his sophomore and junior campaigns. The honor goes to the Minnesota player who “best embodied the underdog spirit” of the late Gopher.

“I felt like I really dedicated myself to improving each year to set myself up for this opportunity right now,” he said. “It’s amazing, I’m speechless to finally see it all come together. With that being said, I know there’s still so much work to be done and so much more I have to develop as a player. I’m someone that loves to get to work and I cannot wait.”

Last season, the 6’2”, 235-pound Cashman started 11 games and paced Minnesota with 104 tackles in addition to 2.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss.

Then at the NFL Combine in February, Cashman bolstered his draft stock by posting a 4.50 40-yard dash and recording a broad jump of 124 inches. He should provide depth on the inside behind Mike ‘backer C.J. Mosley and also would figure to carve out a prominent roles on special teams under Brant Boyer.

“We spoke once through this,” Cashman said of Boyer. “I mainly spoke with the Jets scouts. They stayed in touch with me from the combine through the draft process and then until now. But I know he (Boyer) has a great plan for me and he’s told me that my film is great and he has a lot of fun things he can do with me just based off of my versatility as a player.”

Trevon Wesco Jersey

The Jets were in position early this afternoon, after restacking their value board for the start of Day 3 of the 2019 NFL Draft, to either uncover their next top Round 4 diamond in the rough or to trade down from that prime real estate for more picks lower in today’s pecking order.

They chose the latter. Twice.

Ultimately, after trading down with New Orleans and then with Tennessee, the Jets made TE Trevon Wesco of West Virginia their fourth pick of this draft at 121st overall.

Wesco (6’3″, 267) was a redshirt senior who started out at junior college, then saw little action in three seasons with the Mountaineers until last year, when he made 10 starts and caught 26 passes for 366 yards (14.1 yards/catch) and a touchdown and was named All-Big 12 first team. For his WVU career he played in 36 games and had 28 catches for 373 yards and two TDs.

Wesco is the 10th player out of West Virginia drafted by the Jets all-time. The three most recent Mountaineers taken were QB Geno Smith (Round 2, 39th overall, 2013), TE Anthony Becht (Round 1, 27th overall, 2000) and RB Adrian Murrell (Round 5, 120th overall, 1993)

Since 1996, Round 4 has been the start of the final day of draft activity and such has been a round in which teams, after taking time to reorder their boards, find some strong talent. For the Jets, the round has produced such gems as RB/KR Leon “The Natural” Johnson in 1997, T Jason Fabini in ’98, WR Jerricho Cotchery in 2004, S Kerry Rhodes in ’05, WR/KR Brad Smith and RB/KR Leon Washington in ’06, RB/KR Joe McKnight in ’10, RB Bilal Powell in ’11 and TE Chris Herndon last year.

Here’s how the Jets shimmied downward in the first hour of Round 4: They sent their own pick near the top of the round, No. 105 overall, to New Orleans for the 14th choice of Round 4 (No. 116), held by the Saints after a trade from Miami, and the Saints’ fifth-rounder, No. 30 in that round (No. 168).

Then as the Green & White were going on the clock at 116, GM Mike Maccagnan executed another tradedown, this time with Tennessee, his second tradedown of the day and third trade in less than 24 hours. For going down seven slots, from 114 to the Titans’ 121, the Jets swapped that fifth-rounder from the Saints with the Titans and moved up 11 rungs, from 168 to 157.

The trade with New Orleans was Mike Maccagnan’s second of the draft, with the first a flipping of Round 3 picks with Minnesota and the Jets sending their seventh-rounder to the Vikings in exchange. It was also the Jets’ second trade with New Orleans in less than a year, after they sent QB Teddy Bridgewater to the Saints last August for the third-rounder that ultimately turned into Friday night’s selection of Southern Cal T Chuma Edoga.

At the moment the Jets’ 2019 draft will conclude today with a single pick in Rounds 4 (Wesco), 5 (from the Titans) and 6 (from Chicago through Oakland in the trade for Raiders G Kelechi Osemele). They will then have spent six selections in this draft.

Jachai Polite Jersey

For months, Jachai Polite hasn’t been able to do anything right. The pre-draft process has been a nightmare for the 20-year-old defensive end.

Never mind that he logged 11 sacks in the SEC in 2018. Never mind that he had 17.5 tackles for loss while forcing an absurd six fumbles, batting four balls and racking up 45 tackles. Never mind that he was a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the best defensive player in college football.

Those successes have gone somewhat forgotten as the Florida Gators prospect seems to make a mistake – or get bad breaks – at every opportunity he has to convince an NFL team that he’s worth a multi-million-dollar salary.

Polite’s pre-draft process has been like that moment in movies where the protagonist announces, “This couldn’t get any worse,” and then it starts raining. But for Polite, it’s been a mix of hail and ash from a nearby dumpster fire.

But that’s why I’m rooting for the guy. The pre-draft process can tell NFL teams a lot about a player. It can also lead to an enormous misrepresentation. Media members – myself and my co-workers included – and teams pile criticism on these young adults, who are intent upon making a better future for their family. Some teams trash a player because they want to draft him after other teams to pass on that player.Here’s one example of misunderstanding the youngster: Polite wants to give his mother an early retirement with his first NFL contract. She’s a supervisor of housekeepers at a hotel while also doing hair-styling out of her house.

Sounds like a terrible kid, huh?

But that’s not what people are focused on. Let’s run down the no-good, very-bad sequence of events the seem to have knocked Polite out of first-round contention.

He ran a 4.84 40-yard dash at the combine in Indianapolis. That’s very slow for a defensive lineman, even if there’s video of Polite running down a receiver from behind after 40 yards. (Admittedly, he made the wrong read on the play, largely because he flew off the ball so quickly. But he made up for it by flying to the ball with impressive effort.)

He jumped 32 inches at the combine. Again, that’s very low for a defensive end – and yet he batted four passes in 2018. Also, who cares about how high a pass-rusher can jump? Looks like he jumped too high in this case.

Those were the only workouts he did at the combine. A question followed: What else is he hiding?

During interviews in Indianapolis, he left scouts concerned about his maturity. He then met with reporters and explained that he was surprised to receive so much negativity from scouts about his game. That negativity was, no doubt, a test – he said he knew that at the combine. He failed that test – he later admitted thatWhile that’s partially his fault, it’s also the fault of the people around him. Why didn’t his agent properly prepare him for the criticism he’d face? Why wasn’t he coached on how to handle those challenging questions? Everyone could (and should) have anticipated them. Because of his naivety, the media ran with the young man’s honesty about the process. (Honesty is a rarity at the combine, where everything – from a throwing routine to a meeting with reporters – is rehearsed, practiced and scripted.) And the transcript of his comments seemed a lot more harsh than the comments themselves in person and on video. Here’s some context for what was actually a fairly harmless interaction, which seemed to spiral out of control.

During his pro day, a moment when he could have righted the screwy process, he showed up looking less-than-ripped. (This league is all about the jacked-up, twitchy players who pass the eye-test.) Then, Polite injured his hamstring and had to end his day early.

Had his pre-draft process gone well, perhaps he’d be in the discussion to go in the top 15 selections, with NFL.com’s Lance Zuerlein comparing him to Falcons’ Vic Beasley, the eighth-overall pick in 2015. Instead, media members are suggesting Polite has slipped into the second round of the draft. If that projection bears out, the fall from 15th overall to 40th overall is a costly one. After this year’s draft, the 15th overall pick will sign a deal worth roughly $15 million with $8.4 million guaranteed while the No. 40 selection will sign a $7 million deal with $3.2 million guaranteed, per spotrac.While job interviews are important, it’s easy to imagine an unprepared 20-year-old struggling through his first round of them – especially ones as rigorous as those taking place at the combine. While measurements are important, so is the game film and the production a player puts together on the football field. Perhaps the bust label will prove prescient. Perhaps Polite will flunk in the NFL, just as he has failed during the pre-draft process.

But here’s hoping that he serves as a caveat for those that put too much stock into the combine, into the 40-yard dash and into everything silly about the pre-draft process, which has become overemphasized largely as a promotional effort by the NFL. The league never wants you to stop thinking about football, so they promote the heck out of the combine. Polite is a gifted football player, and hopefully he puts up 16 sacks in 2019 to prove that his first impression was his worst impression and that there’s more to him than he presented in Indianapolis and at this pro day.

Quinnen Williams Jersey

It was 40 years ago when the Jets last drafted a defensive lineman out of Alabama in the first round. It was Marty Lyons, who went on to play 10 years for the Jets and become a star with the “Sack Exchange” defense.

Forty years later, the Jets hope they have drafted another defensive lineman out of Alabama who can be a mainstay on their defense for the next decade or more in Quinnen Williams.

“It’s exciting to have another Alabama guy come in 40 years later,” Lyons said Friday afternoon. “I’m excited for him.”

The Jets took Lyons 14th overall in 1979 and then took Mark Gastineau a round later in one of their best drafts.

Lyons, who also serves as the color analyst on the Jets’ radio broadcasts, has seen Williams play for Alabama in person and on TV and watched him practice last fall, when he spent some time with Nick Saban during the week leading up to a game.

“Anytime you watched Alabama play, and they were on TV quite a bit, his number always popped out,” Lyons said. “He wasn’t taking a play off. He wasn’t one of those guys you’d see make a play every five or six plays. He was involved in every single play. He can definitely play three downs. You don’t need to substitute for a pass rusher. He’s got enough quickness that he can play over the center or play in the A gap between the guard and the center. It’s going to be interesting to see how they use him.”

• Jets’ NFL Draft tracker: Live round-by-round picks and analysis

That will be up to new Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Lyons was part of a great defensive line in the early 1980s along with Gastineau, Joe Klecko and Abdul Salaam. The Jets can only hope this group compares to that one. Along with Leonard Williams, Henry Anderson and Steve McLendon, the Jets feel Quinnen Williams can give them a formidable line.One question, though, is how the Jets will get all of them on the field at the same time. Lyons suggested the Jets could use Quinnen Williams like his Jets used Klecko and move him around the line, including lining up at nose tackle, but shading to one side, like Klecko famously did, to occupy not just the center but also a guard.

As for the idea the Jets should have drafted an edge rusher instead, Lyons said getting pressure up the middle is just as important.

“I think if you can push the pocket and you can tie up three guys and you can get a guy on the edge that’s going to be matched up one-on-one, you have a good chance of getting to the quarterback,” Lyons said. “You just don’t want those guards to pull out and double team those guys on the outside because then it’s hard to get to the quarterback. You’ve got to make the quarterback feel uncomfortable, and sometimes the only way to do that is to push the pocket from the inside rather than the outside.”Quinnen Williams wore No. 92 at Alabama, but Leonard Williams wears that with the Jets. Lyons is hoping Quinnen could end up in his old No. 93.

“Is he going to go up a number or down a number [from 92]?” Lyons asked. “It would be nice to see him go up a number. I’d be happy to see him wear 93. That would be something special for both him and me. We’ll see what happens.”

Whatever number Williams wears, Lyons knows the two already are linked.

“I’m going to try to have a bond with him,” Lyons said. “Coming out of Alabama there’s a certain foundation built, and it’s built through tradition. Even though there’s a 40-year gap from when I came out and he came out, that tradition goes back 100 years. That’s what makes Alabama so special. He played for coach Saban. I played for coach Bryant. I think both of the coaches prepare their athletes for the game of life. When you hear Quinnen speak, you know that he’s more than just a football player. That’s the part that impresses me the most.”