OTA Notebook

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A few observations from the open Jets OTA practice . . .

One of the concerns from some scouts about Sauce Gardner is his height – 6-3.

On the surface, some might think that is ridiculous – Why would you be concerned about a cornerback having great height? After all, that will allow the player to match up with the myriad tall receivers across the NFL landscape.

However, one problem many long-legged corners have is changing directions with smaller, quicker receivers, who can cut on a dime.

“I think one of the things that makes us a little nervous about Sauce is there are not a lot of 6-3 corners out there playing and if you watched his workout – it came with a little stiffness,” said former NFL GM Randy Meuller, on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

But so far in the spring practices, it doesn’t look like a huge problem.

“He’s a high cut guy, longer guy, which you typically don’t get the change of direction in the foot speed, which it looks as though, and it’s early, it looks as though that he has that,” said Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich.

Ulbrich did offer the caveat, “it’s early,” but watching him in the OTA practices the media gets to attend, he looks like he cuts pretty smoothly for a long-legged guy.

We will see what he does in games against opponents, but there is no doubt he cuts smoother than your typical 6-3 corner . . .

Speaking of corners, the D.J. Reed signing should help the Jets. He is coming off two solid seasons for the Seattle Seahawks, with four picks and 19 PDs. Robert Saleh likes what he’s seen so far in meetings and on the practice field in Florham Park.

“He has been awesome – really excited that we have him,” Saleh said.

But one slight concern with the player might be his speed. He’s a very good player, but not a burner, running 4.51 at the Combine. which isn’t great cornerback speed, and one reason he went in the fifth round of the 2018 draft to San Francisco (where he played for Saleh for a couple of years).

And there was a play in Wednesday practice where this slight concern might have reared its head, when Elijah Moore pulled away from him on a sideline route, getting open, and hauling in a pass from Zach Wilson.

However, Reed’s a very good zone corner, and the Jets play a lot of that, so he should help them a great deal.

You just don’t want to ask him to hold up on an island against a speed merchant for too long, but you know what, that probably applies to most corners . . .

He might be a long shot to make the team in a crowded running back room, but in Wednesday’s OTA practice, La’Mical Perine showed one of the attributes that made him a good prospect in the 202o draft (where the Jets picked him in the fourth round) – he has soft hands and is a very good route-runner.

Zach Wilson hit him on a quick out on the left side. He cut away from a defender with ease, and hauled in the pass effortlessly.

Remember, when he was coming out of Florida, scouts raved about him as a receiving back.

Look, running backs get nicked all the time, so while things might not look great for Perine now in the numbers game, scenarios can change fast at that position.

June 2, 2022

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeldhttps://www.jetsconfidential.com
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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