Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Former scout on potential Jets pick at 23 – ‘His movement stuff is phenomenal’ 04.22.21

The Jets need a player at this position, and could address it at 23, and this player’s name has been speculated.

Talking about Northwestern CB Greg Newsome, who some think would be a good pick for the Jets with their second first-round pick.

“He’s a really loose, fluid athlete so you start there – his movement stuff is phenomenal,” said former Ravens, Eagles and Browns scout Daniel Jeremiah, now with NFL Network. “He’s got incredible ball skills. He can find and play the ball, which to me is like the number one non-negotiable for me at that position. You’ve got to be able to find and play the ball. He does that really well.”

Watching his game action the last couple of years, Jeremiah wondered about his speed.

“The only knock when you watched him on tape, I questioned just how much pure juice does he have, how much top speed – he wasn’t really challenged vertically in any of the games I studied, so I was curious about that and he goes and runs 4.38,” Jeremiah said. “So he answered the bell on that one.”

But now the part that could scare off some teams:

“The one thing in talking to teams, they have concerned about, you put it in the negative column, he’s missed a lot of games,” Jeremiah said. “He’s missed some games in just about every year, so from a durability standpoint he gets dinged a little bit. But everything else checks out. Everything I’ve heard about the kid, he’s a great kid. You’re in good shape there.”


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The challenge – New Jets coaches and existing scouts getting on same page 04.21.21

With five picks in the first 87, Jets GM Joe Douglas needs to hit this draft out of the park.

And with about a week of draft prep to go, they continue to turn over every stone possible on the prospects.

“We will have updated spring reports from our scouts to discuss what has happened since the end of the season, how their opinions might have changed about players since the end of the season,” Jets Director of Personnel Operations Dan Zbojovsky told newyorkjets.com on April 16. “We will hear how those players fit our schemes according to the coaches, which this year is specifically is huge for us.”

Douglas and the Jets’ scouting department had to change some of the criteria for what they are looking for in players, based on changes to the team’s offensive and defensive scheme, under a new coaching staff.

The team’s personnel department, and the new coaching staff, had extensive meetings this off-season to get on the same page.

“We spend a lot of time in February getting familiar with the new schemes, making adjustments to what we are looking for, which players fit us a little better than they did previously,” Zbojovsky said. “The more we can be together and discuss those things, hear our coaches, discuss players, how they fit, and what traits they are looking for, the better for all of us.”

You see, in the NFL, it’s not just about picking talented players, but landing players who are good scheme fits.

And if the Jets play their cards right, they could perhaps land 3-5 starters with five picks in the first 87.


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Jets added a couple of good players at this spot, but need more 04.20.21

The Jets added two solid free agents at the position who will likely be the starters . . .

in Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry.

While both are very good defensive ends, with great motors, who will get their share of sacks, neither has registered a double-digit sack season in the NFL. So look for the Jets to draft a player to compliment them, ideally a loose-hipped cat with great first step quickness.

At pick 23, Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari is a possibility, and Miami’s Jaelen Phillips could be a good fit, but his injury history is a concern. Another possibility at 23 is Washington’s Joe Tryon, but his limited film makes scouting him a little bit of a challenge. He started one year in 2019, and then opted out in 2020. If Michigan’s Kwity Paye slips to 23, he’s somebody they would need to consider.

Somebody in the building who could help them moving forward is Bryce Huff, who showed a lot of potential as a rookie. It will be interesting to see what the new staff can do with Jabari Zuniga, a 2020 third-round pick, who has good raw skills to mold, but had a somewhat quiet rookie year.

But as they say, you can never have enough good edge-rushers, so look for the Jets to add one early in the draft.


You don’t want to miss the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine. It’s filled with page after page of great info on the Jets without the snark. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A JC subscription makes a great gift for a Jets fans. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Could help the Jets’ passing game if used more 04.19.21

This I never understood.

We are talking about a player who runs 4.52 in the 40 and can stretch the seam, but he was an afterthought in the passing game.

Talking about tight end Daniel Brown, who re-signed with the Jets today.

Brown was on the Jets the last two years, and had seven catches in 2019, and two last year.

His main role was on special teams where he got high marks, but it’s baffling why the Jets didn’t throw to the 6-5, 247-pound James Madison-product more. The former college wide receiver has good speed, runs terrific routes and has very good hands.

Look, I’m not making him into Tony Gonzalez, but this is a tight end who can threaten all parts of the field with his speed, so why not use him more in the passing game?

Perhaps this will change moving forward with a new coaching staff.

Under new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, the Jets are installing an offense similar to Kyle Shanahan’s system in San Francisco, a scheme that features the tight ends a lot in the passing game.


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Is Ryan Kalil right? Do we know yet? 04.16.21

A former Jets player, who had a brief stint with the team, thinks the Jets’ offense held back QB Sam Darnold.

Center Ryan Kalil played for the Jets in 2019, but appeared in just seven games due to injuries. He feels that Adam Gase’s offensive system hindered Darnold.

“It was a system that didn’t allow a lot of individual freedom. It was very, ‘You do it this way and that’s it,'” Kalil told The Athletic. “A lot of the scheme was pre-determined (plays) based on what they thought they were seeing from the sideline. It didn’t give Sam a lot of room to grow, in my opinion, to make decisions on the fly. It worked in some instances, but it handicapped him in the long run. It wasn’t a system that allowed him to evolve and make decisions on his own. I think that was the hardest thing. And I think that’s why ultimately the Jets made some (coaching) changes, too.”

That last sentence begs the question – If the Jets made the coaching change because of this, why didn’t they keep Darnold with a new staff?

And you could make an argument that one problem Darnold had in 2019 was having a center thrust on him in training camp, and then that center having issues staying healthy. Darnold had good chemistry with the center from the prior year, who just got a nice signing bonus from the New York Giants.

But the bottom line about his whole debate, is it should be settled after a couple of years of Darnold playing with Carolina in Joe Brady’s system.

If Darnold thrives down there, the argument Kalil, and many others, are making, will have a lot of merit.

If Darnold doesn’t play well under Brady in Carolina, then perhaps the system wasn’t the main issue with the Jets.

We will find out in time.


You don’t want to miss the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, a must-read for Jets fans, with SO much stuff about Gang Green you won’t ready anywhere else. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A JC subscription makes a great gift for a Jets fan!



A look at the first 86 picks in draft and where Jets five picks are positioned: 04.15.21

2021 First Round

1 1 1 Jacksonville Jaguars
1 2 2 New York Jets
1 3 3 San Francisco 49ers from Houston Texans through Miami Dolphins
1 4 4 Atlanta Falcons
1 5 5 Cincinnati Bengals
1 6 6 Miami Dolphins from Philadelphia Eagles
1 7 7 Detroit Lions
1 8 8 Carolina Panthers
1 9 9 Denver Broncos
1 10 10 Dallas Cowboys
1 11 11 New York Giants
1 12 12 Philadelphia Eagles from San Francisco 49ers through Miami Dolphins
1 13 13 Los Angeles Chargers
1 14 14 Minnesota Vikings
1 15 15 New England Patriots
1 16 16 Arizona Cardinals
1 17 17 Las Vegas Raiders
1 18 18 Miami Dolphins
1 19 19 Washington Football Team
1 20 20 Chicago Bears
1 21 21 Indianapolis Colts
1 22 22 Tennessee Titans
1 23 23 New York Jets from Seattle Seahawks
1 24 24 Pittsburgh Steelers
1 25 25 Jacksonville Jaguars from Los Angeles Rams
1 26 26 Cleveland Browns
1 27 27 Baltimore Ravens
1 28 28 New Orleans Saints
1 29 29 Green Bay Packers
1 30 30 Buffalo Bills
1 31 31 Kansas City Chiefs
1 32 32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2021 Second Round

2 1 33 Jacksonville Jaguars
2 2 34 New York Jets
2 3 35 Atlanta Falcons
2 4 36 Miami Dolphins from Houston Texans
2 5 37 Philadelphia Eagles
2 6 38 Cincinnati Bengals
2 7 39 Carolina Panthers
2 8 40 Denver Broncos
2 9 41 Detroit Lions
2 10 42 New York Giants
2 11 43 San Francisco 49ers
2 12 44 Dallas Cowboys
2 13 45 Jacksonville Jaguars from Minnesota Vikings
2 14 46 New England Patriots
2 15 47 Los Angeles Chargers
2 16 48 Las Vegas Raiders
2 17 49 Arizona Cardinals
2 18 50 Miami Dolphins
2 19 51 Washington Football Team
2 20 52 Chicago Bears
2 21 53 Tennessee Titans
2 22 54 Indianapolis Colts
2 23 55 Pittsburgh Steelers
2 24 56 Seattle Seahawks
2 25 57 Los Angeles Rams
2 26 58 Baltimore Ravens
2 27 59 Cleveland Browns
2 28 60 New Orleans Saints
2 29 61 Buffalo Bills
2 30 62 Green Bay Packers
2 31 63 Kansas City Chiefs
2 32 64 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2021 Third Round (Up to Pick 86)

3 1 65 Jacksonville Jaguars
3 2 66 New York Jets
3 3 67 Houston Texans
3 4 68 Atlanta Falcons
3 5 69 Cincinnati Bengals
3 6 70 Philadelphia Eagles
3 7 71 Denver Broncos
3 8 72 Detroit Lions
3 9 73 Carolina Panthers
3 10 74 Washington Football Team from San Francisco 49ers
3 11 75 Dallas Cowboys
3 12 76 New York Giants
3 13 New England Patriots (Choice Forfeited)
3 14 77 Los Angeles Chargers
3 15 78 Minnesota Vikings
3 16 79 Las Vegas Raiders from Arizona Cardinals
3 17 80 Las Vegas Raiders
3 18 81 Miami Dolphins
3 19 82 Washington Football Team
3 20 83 Chicago Bears
3 21 84 Philadelphia Eagles from Indianapolis Colts
3 22 85 Tennessee Titans
3 23 86 New York Jets from Seattle Seahawks

By hitting the reset button, Jets in a great spot for roster building 04.15.21

Last week, Joe Douglas called it hitting the “reset button.”

Talking about the trade of Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for three draft picks, and the Jets’ decision to pick a QB with the second pick of the 2021 draft.

“We felt like this was the best decision for the entire organization moving forward, and hitting the reset button,” said Douglas. “Ultimately, at the end of the day, we felt really good with the value and compensation we were able to get from Carolina. As we’re sitting here now, we have a lot of opportunity in front of us. With that opportunity, we know we have to make the most of it and hit on these picks.”

This hitting of the reset button for the Jets represents an amazing opportunity for them to build a great roster the next few years.

Now, the Jets will reset the QB contract clock, likely with BYU’s Zach Wilson, and will have him locked in for four years at a sensible cost (along with a fifth-year option).

So with a bunch of high draft picks the next two years, and plenty of cap space, and the QB contract set for the foreseeable future, Douglas has a chance to build a really strong roster, without cutting corners at certain positions due to an highly-expensive QB cost.


The monthly Jets Confidential Magazine is a great read for Jets fans. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A JC subscription makes an ideal gift for a Jets fans. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!



Rare interview with Jets scouts 04.14.21

It’s very rare that these guys speak to the press, so the fact that two Jets scouts were quoted recently is newsworthy.

Jets scouts Jay Mondolesi and Dom Green recently spoke to Eric Allen and Ethan Greenberg on a podcast about the challenges of scouting this year, with limited access to evaluate prospects (like no practice access during the season).

“There’s only one shot for these kids to perform on Pro Days,” said Green. “In the past, the kids had the Combine, all-star game opportunities. This year, for a lot of these guys, it was all boiling down to one day.”

Mondolesi did a lot more work at home this year than in the past via phone and Zoom. So he saw his kids a lot more than a normal scouting year.

“This year one of the benefits has been being able to be a dad a little more,” said Mondolesi. “I can take my kids to school, which I’m usually not able to do. At same time I have a job to do. It’s like a radio station, when doors shut I’m on the air. At the end of day I still have a job to get done.”

Both added they feel the Jets’ new coaching staff gave them a clear vision for the kind of players they are looking for.

“The coaches did a tremendous job of letting us know what they like,” Mondolesi said. “We have a better feel for what fits in to their systems, and now we go back to find the type of player our coaches want. They showed us the traits they really like. They’ve been really active in letting us know their standards.”

“We have a clear, concise vision of who they want to build with on both sides of ball.,” Green said. “Our job is to find out what players can do and what they can’t do.”


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Joe taking the high road 04.09.21

He doesn’t govern by public opinion polls.

And he’s not afraid to say things that other GMs might not say, like he believes the QB he just traded is going to be successful with his new team.

Joe Douglas was asked by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer if he’s afraid he will look bad if Sam Darnold plays well for Carolina.

“Whether I look bad or not (for trading Darnold) I could give two [expletive] about that,” Douglas told Breer. “I know that he’s gonna have success. The timing didn’t really work out for him here. We couldn’t turn this around fast enough for him. And that’s not his fault. I root for good people, and that dude’s a good man, and he’s gonna do good things. I believe that.”

This quote made a lot of news. After all, why would he trade him if he’s going to “good things” and “have success” with Carolina? Why not keep him?

Because Douglas is taking the high road, and he probably does believe it, to a degree. Darnold should have “success” and do “good things” with Carolina, just like he did with the Jets, at times. The issue with Darnold is consistency. Can we have consistent “success” and consistently do “good things?”

But the bottom line is Douglas obviously thinks Zach Wilson is an upgrade over Darnold, and that is why he made the move.

However Douglas has no problem saying he’s okay looking bad if Darnold does well in Carolina.

Because Douglas is a leader who isn’t afraid of his own shadow.


Don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, a must-read for Jets fans, with so much stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A JC subscription makes a great gift for a Jets fan!

While it was a need, Jets avoid crazy spending at this position 04.08.21

Jets spent a lot of money in free agency, around $90 million, but not at this position of need.

Talking about signing a cornerback.

They did sign Lamarcus Joyner, who has played some slot corner, but plan to play him at safety. They also added cornerback Justin Hardee, but that was mainly for special teams.

But the Jets probably did the right thing not spending big bucks on any of the free agent corners to fill their cornerback need.


Because it wasn’t the best free agent class, so they probably would have overpaid for mediocrity, which they have done repeatedly at the position in the past.

Some of the headliners of the free agent cornerback class, like William Jackson and Shaq Griffin, are solid players, but not elite, so why throw big bucks at them like other teams did? Players like Patrick Peterson and Xavier Rhodes probably aren’t who they used to be, so why go there?

As philosopher George Santayana once said: “Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”

The Jets have wasted at tremendous amount of money on free agent corners in recent years, so perhaps it was a good idea to avoid doing that this year.

It was probably best this year for the Jets to wait until the draft to address corner. The Jets have five picks in the first 87, so perhaps they can grab two corners with a couple of these selections.

Maybe at 23, they could consider Northwestern’s Greg Newsome or Georgia’s Tyson Campbell as potential targets.

Kentucky’s Kelvin Joseph and UCF’s Aaron Robinson are second round possibilities, and maybe consider Ohio State’s Shaun Wade or Georgia’s Eric Stokes in the third round.


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If the Jets need a veteran backup, should they consider this guy? 04.07.21

If the Jets add a veteran backup to their rookie QB (who hasn’t arrived yet), this player could be a candidate.
Talking about Nick Mullens, who spent the last four years with the 49ers, playing in the same system the Jets are installing under coordinator Mike LaFleur, a former San Francisco assistant.
Mullens started 16 games during his time in San Francisco, so he has real NFL game experience, which is always a good thing to have in a backup – somebody who has played in games.
But signing Mullens would probably have to wait a few months because he’s still rehabbing from late season elbow surgery.
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo announced on January 26 that Mullens should be ready for training camp:
“49ers QB Nick Mullens underwent successful elbow surgery in late December, according to a source. Per the source, the damage was not as extensive as initially feared and did not require Tommy John surgery. Mullens is expected to be 100% recovered for the start of training camp.”
Once Mullens’ elbow is cleared by doctors, he could be an ideal backup to a Jets rookie signal-caller since the Southern Mississippi-product is well-versed in the Jets’ new playbook, making him a great resource for the young QB.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, a must-read for Jets fans, with so much stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). Get it, you won’t regret it!

Did he not “take the next step?” 04.06.21

During the Jets’ loss to New England in their 2020-21 season finale, CBS sideline reporter Jay Feely said about QB Sam Darnold:

“They moved up to pick him third in the draft (in 2018), and they have been waiting for him to take the next step, and it never happened.”

Some might argue that statement there sums up why the Jets traded Darnold to the Carolina Panthers on Monday for three draft picks.

Over his 38 starts for the Jets in three seasons, Darnold competed 59.8 of his passes and had a 78.6 QB rating.


To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F 12-4). A must-read for Jets fans, with so much stuff you won’t ready anywhere else. A JC subscription makes a great gift for a Jets fan!


Darnold to Carolina – Was it a good or bad trade? 04.05.21

ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced this afternoon the Jets traded QB Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers.

In exchange for Darnold, the Jets received a 2021 sixth-round pick (No. 226) plus second- and fourth-round selections in the 2022 draft.

This is a nice haul for a quarterback who was somewhat up-and-down over his three years with the Jets. As they say in the football world, “The film doesn’t lie.” Other teams saw the same film as the Jets did. Darnold has a lot of natural ability, but needs to improve his mechanics and footwork, along with going through his progressions better. With the Jets he too often had a tendency to fixate on his first read.

Obviously a big factor in the Darnold trade to Carolina is the presence of WR Robby Anderson on the Panthers. So Darnold will arrive in Carolina with a strong chemistry already with one of the Panthers’ top wide receivers, a former Jets teammate.

Also, the Panthers have an innovative young offensive coordinator in Joe Brady, who did an incredible job as the LSU offensive coordinator during their national championship season two years ago, helping Joe Burrow have perhaps the greatest QB season in college football history.

Darnold needs to play for an erudite, cutting-edge offensive coordinator who can consistently dial up brilliant first reads, so he can go out there and do this thing.

So Darnold and Joe Brady could be a good marriage.

And now the Jets likely move on to BYU QB Zach Wilson with the second pick of the 2021 draft, a QB considered pretty good at going through his progressions.


To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). An unfiltered look at Gang Green that is a must-read for Jets fans.

Will be fascinating to see how this Jets free agent signing works out 04.05.21

The New York Jets entered free agency in dire need of help in this area.

Talking about a speedy linebacker who can make plays sideline-to-sideline.

Enter Jarrad Davis, who ran a 4.56 at his Pro Day at the University of Florida in 2017.

That is the speed of many safeties.

Davis likes to run around the field and make tackles like a heat-seeking missile.

“When I’m on the field, it’s like, ‘See ball, hit ball,'” said Davis.

Davis was the Detroit Lions’ 2017 first-round pick, picked 23rd overall.

But Davis’ was a kind of victim of Murphy’s Law in Detroit, in other words, whatever could go wrong, did.

Like when he landed on the COVID-19 list in November, 2020, forcing him to miss time. 

In the 2019 preseason, he was carted off the field during an August 24 preseason game against the Buffalo Bills with a severe high ankle sprain, and the injury was a problem all year. He tried to play on it throughout that season, and suited up for 11 games, but the injury clearly hurt his effectiveness.

Some believe that Davis, who was picked before Matt Patricia arrived as Lions coach in 2018, was a bad fit for that coach’s defensive scheme.

With his run-and-hit style, and rare linebacker speed, Davis seems like an ideal fit for the system Robert Saleh and coordinator Jeff Ulbrich are installing with the Jets, that allows great athletes to run around and make plays.

The Jets certainly hope so, and are banking on it, giving him a one-year deal for $5.5 million with a chance to earn up to $7 million with incentives.

It will be really, really interesting to see how this signing turns out.


The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out, and loaded with good stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. It’s our draft preview issue, but also has a ton of great info on all the team’s free agent signings. To subscribe to this monthly must-read for Jets fans, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A subscription makes a great gift for a Jets fan.

11 Rule Change Proposals Submitted to NFL Owners 04.02.21

2021 Playing Rule Proposals Summary

1. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 16, to eliminate overtime in the preseason.

2. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 3, for one year only, to establish a maximum number of players in the setup zone.

3. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 12, Section 2, Article 4, to expand the prohibition on blocking below the waist by offensive and defensive players on scrimmage downs when contact occurs beyond five yards on either side of the line of scrimmage and more than two yards outside of either offensive tackle, by Competition Committee.

4. By Competition Committee, Coaches Subcommittee, and Baltimore; to amend Rule 15, Section 3, Article 9, and Rule 19, Section 2, to permit the Replay Official and designated members of the Officiating department to provide certain objective information to the onfield officials.

5. By Chicago; to amend Rule 11, Section 3, Article 3, to ensure the enforcement of all accepted penalties committed by either team during successive Try attempts.

6. By Los Angeles Rams; to amend Rule 8, Section 1, Article 2, to add a loss of down for a second forward pass from behind the line and for a pass thrown after the ball returns behind the line.

7. By Kansas City Chiefs; to amend Rule 5, Section 1, Article 2, to expand jersey number options for certain positions.

8. By Baltimore and Philadelphia; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, to change the options for winner of an overtime coin toss, and create a true sudden death format.

9. By Baltimore; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, to change the options for winner of an overtime coin toss, eliminate sudden death format, and eliminate overtime in the preseason.

10. By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1, to permit a team to maintain possession of the ball after a score by substituting one offensive play (4th and 15 from the kicking team’s 25-yard line) for an onside kickoff attempt.

11. By Baltimore; to amend Rule 19, Section 1, Article 1, to add an eighth official who is positioned somewhere other than the playing field, with full communication to on-field officials and access to a television monitor.

Who’s better – Farley or Surtain II? 04.01.21

Most scouts consider Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II the draft’s top two cornerbacks.

So who is better?

“I gave them both the same grade,” said NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout.

But who has the slight edge?

“I ended up with Farley over Surtain,” Jeremiah said. “I thought Farley was just a little better in short area quickness. When you have to match up with some of the smaller guys, I thought [Farley] was just a little more dynamic in those short areas.”

But Jeremiah loves both prospects.

“Both guys are really good in press (and) both guys can really find and play the football down the field,” Jeremiah said. “For Surtain at Alabama, you saw him go up against tremendous competition throughout his career. He’s really been tested and he’s played at a high very level.

“I know there’s some teams that have that order flipped, that have Surtain over Farley. I think it’s a good debate, and I think at the end of the day you’re going to be happy with either one of these kids because of the size, speed, toughness, and ability to play the ball they both have.”


The draft preview issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out! So much stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else! To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4).

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