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Looking at the candidates . . .
Considering their top three tackles, Mekhi Becton, Duane Brown and Max Mitchell, and their top guard AVT, are all coming off medical issues, there is a good chance the Jets will pick an offensive lineman in the first round.
A name you hear a lot is Northwestern offensive tackle Peter Skoronski, a terrific prospect with really good footwork, technique and football IQ.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik says the Wildcat is “a beast.”
“He works out of a really good base,” Dominik said. “And I think he’s very strong in terms of both his upper and (lower) body. I really like his pass sets also. I think he plays very much under control when he gets out in space.
“He doesn’t give a narrow base which is the thing you’re always worried about when you’re trying to shuffle back and forth. And that allows you to get knocked over a lot more. He is very good with his wide base, and he is very patient with his hands.”
Skoronski seems like a Joe D kind of player, so fundamentally sound and smart, he will likely give you a rock-solid starter for a decade.
Perhaps the only concern is his short arms (32 1/4’’), which might make him a guard candidate.
“He may not have the longest arms – I think that’s where people are trying to beat him up (over that),” Dominik said. “Even though he may not have the ideal arm length, he is very technically sound. He is still a good athlete. And that’s why I think people were talking about him possibly moving inside as well, and I think he could do that.”
What about Tennessee’s Darnell Wright?
“I don’t like him as much as Skoronski,” Dominik said. “Obviously, you can tell by my little bit of hesitation in terms of talking. I still think he’s a first-round pick. I still think he’s a guy that is going to certainly go really high in the draft. I don’t think he’s –– I think he’s got a chance to still be in the first round. He’s so young, though.”
You have to read the tea leaves in an answer like that. Guys like Dominik are concerned, and rightfully so, that if they are too critical of players in their answers, it could go viral on social media, where people are often traumatized by facts.
I get it. It’s like NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah when asked yesterday on a media conference call, why Ohio State C.J. Stroud seems to have “fallen out of favor” with some teams picking high in need of a QB.
“Well, I don’t know that he really has,” Jeremiah said. “I think sometimes everything gets taken with and ran with on the media side of things.”
This isn’t a media thing. Some teams don’t love the personality. One former GM said, “He’s not the easiest guy to coach.”
Look, Stroud’s still going to go in the first round, but there is a tangible reason he’s slipping. However, Jeremiah knows he can’t go there and have his comments explode on social media.
So Dominik was clearly trying to say he likes Wright, but doesn’t love him, but you have to parse your words these days.
Paris Johnson might be an ideal prospect for the Jets to draft, because he might not be a starter immediately if Becton, Brown and Mitchell are all healthy.
The 21-year-old is a heck of a prospect, but needs an NFL strength program to go to the next level, which is common for line prospects.
“I think if you’re trying to find what needs to work on it, I think that Paris is going to continue to work on his overall strength at the next level and see what he can do in that capacity,” Dominik said. “I think he’s got the footwork to handle the speed guys. It’s just, can he handle the heavier-handed, the Cam Jordans of the world? That’s going to be [what] watch for me.”
So you sit him initially, if the other three tackles are healthy, and you work like crazy with Johnson in the weight room, and then if there is an injury at OT a month or two into the season, you have a heck of a replacement. And if you end up with a Becton-Johnson combo down the road – wow.
April 21, 2023
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