Helpful, but only with certain picks

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The Jets coaching at the Senior Bowl last week should help their draft preparation. However . . .

it likely won’t impact who they pick with their two first-round picks, at #4 and #10.

Because while the Senior Bowl had a lot of quality prospects, there likely weren’t any prospects who are going to be picked in the Top 15, aside from perhaps QB Kenny Pickett.

And that is nothing new, that has been the case the last several years.

When Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich played in the game in 2000, as a linebacker prospect out of Hawaii, the game had all the elite prospects.

“Definitely, the highest-rated guys, the guys who could potentially go in the first round, not as many of those guys (now), for whatever reasons, maybe it’s agent influenced,” Ulbrich said in an exclusive interview with the Jets website. “Whatever the case may be. but a little less of the premier first-round, the most hyped-up prospects, aren’t necessarily here.”

In other words, guys like offensive tackles Evan Neal (Alabama) and Ikem Ekwonu (N.C. State) or defensive ends Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan) or Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon), didn’t attend the event.

So the Jets coaching at this event won’t impact what they do at #4 and #10 in the first round.

But, those two valuable picks they have at the top of the second round, where it’s possible they could land two potential starters, that is where you could see a couple of guys who were at the Senior Bowl, as well at their pick in the third round, and two selections in both the fourth and fifth-rounds. That is where you could see the benefit of the Jets coaching at the event.

Ulbrich feels the Jets coaching so many guys in Mobile will benefit them in the evaluation process.

“I think in the build-up to the draft, there are going to be all these opportunities to assess players,” Ulbrich said. “We go to the Combine run, we see them jump, the whole deal, and obviously the scouting department has four years of evaluating character and what they are all about. But [The Senior Bowl] is a real football and an opportunity to access the football part and run football drills, run an NFL defense, get our hands on them. In my opinion, this is invaluable.”

It certainly was.

It is possible that a player from the Senior Bowl could move into that #10 area with a strong Combine, like Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson, but the benefit for the Jets will likely be more in Rounds 2-5.

I will give you a perfect example of a Senior Bowl player, who will likely go at the top of the second round, who could interest the Jets, and that is Georgia defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt. The Jets need to improve their defensive line depth because they like to rotate a lot, and Wyatt could help them do this. The 6-3, 307-pounder moves very well for his size with impressive quickness for such a big man.

Two other Senior Bowl players who could be considered for the Jets at the top of the second round are a pair of tight ends – UCLA’s Greg Dolcich and Colorado State’s Trey McBride.

And others in the third, fourth and fifth rounds, Let’s not forget, RB Michael Carter, was a Senior Bowl participant last year, and he went in the fourth round.

February 8, 2022

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
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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