Super Bowl Week officially began today in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. It’s a busy time in the NFL as the Pro Bowl was played Sunday in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Senior Bowl wrapped up with its game Saturday in Mobile, Ala., the 2011 Hall of Fame Class will be unveiled this Saturday at the Super Bowl Media Center in Dallas, and then the title game will take place on Sunday.
“We’ve kind of turned the page and tried to move forward for the 2011 season,” said GM Mike Tannenbaum.
That’s not lip service when you consider the Jets’ college scouting staff will arrive in Florham Park, N.J., on Sunday for 11 days of meetings to review thousands of pages of information on prospects. VP of College Scouting Joey Clinkscales will lead his team on an exhaustive pre-combine evaluation as the Jets will review every draftable prospect from Feb. 7-21.
For each draftable player, scouts who visited a player’s school will read their individual reports and then it’s decided if there is some grade discrepancy and more reports are needed. While grades can change some after the NFL Combine and subsequent pro days, the truest test of all remains the tape.
Even though the NFL’s current labor deal is set to expire on March 3, we can assure you that the combine, beginning Feb. 23, and the ’11 draft, commencing April 28, will run as scheduled. The top senior prospects clashed Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile as the South topped the North, 24-10. Christian Ponder, a Florida State product hoping to impress, threw for two TDs and 132 yards to earn game MVP honors.
In addition to Ponder, here are the names of a few players who impressed onlookers with their play in the last week:
Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M — Looks to be a sure-fire Top 10 pick (the Jets are scheduled to select No. 30 overall). Is there something that he can’t do? This explosive talent is a tremendous pass rusher who amassed 27.5 sacks the past two seasons. He covers a lot of ground and moves well in coverage.
Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor — An enormous dude at 6’4”, 337, he is considered more of a late bloomer who is stout at the point of attack. Not going to shock you with pass rush moves, but this space eater can push ahead with the bull rush.
Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami — After leading the ‘Canes with 45 receptions and six receiving TDs, the 6’2”, 205-pounder displayed good hands throughout the week and ended on a high with five receptions for 101 yards and one TD in the game.
Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue — Pass rushers don’t grow on trees, so don’t expect Kerrigan to be waiting long before his name is called on draft night. Nicknamed “Superman” for his strength/effort combination, Kerrigan turns the corner in no time.
Gabe Carimi, OL, Wisconsin — In his latest mock draft, NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang has the Green & White selecting Carimi. The big 6’7”, 315-pounder, who played tackle for the Badgers, worked some inside at guard during the week.
Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State — Productive as he led the Aztecs in receptions (69), yards (1,352) and touchdowns. Solid route runner who helped his stock with an impressive showing.
Cameron Jordan, DE, California — A very strong end, Jordan is considered a complete package because he can rush the passer and is stout at the point of attack.
Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State — Sure, Hunter’s only 5’7”, but he’s got big game. He rushed for 1,548 yards last season with 16 rush TDs for the Cowboys’ prolific attack. Deadly in space and a good pass protector to boot, he could draw some comparisons to Leon Washington.
Lots of debate continues to rage on about Washington QB Jake Locker. An elite athlete who returned to UW for his senior season, Locker struggled with his consistency and wasn’t as sharp as some would like from inside the pocket.
Scouts Inc., on its latest Big Board, ranks UCLA underclassman S Rahim Moore as the 30th top prospect. The Jets could have as many as three unrestricted free agents at safety and Moore had 14 career interceptions for the Bruins.
CNNSI.com’s Don Banks thinks the Jets could opt to get a little younger on the defensive line and has them grabbing Illinois DT Corey Liuget in his latest mock. Mel Kiper, the most famous draftnik of them all, also has the Jets targeting the D-line — Temple DE Muhammad Wilkerson, a Linden, N.J., native, led the Owls with 9.5 sacks and 13 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
NFLDraftScout.com’s Chad Reuter has the Jets taking another underclassman in his latest mock — Pittsburgh WR Joe Baldwin. New York’s AFC representative didn’t do that bad the last time it selected an Aliquippa High School alum. That would be Darrelle Revis.
Back on the Pro Front
Speaking of Revis, he joined T D’Brickashaw Ferguson out in Hawaii last week for the Pro Bowl festivities. Revis had good coverage on Larry Fitzgerald on one of Michael Vick’s first-quarter long balls, while Ferguson saw a lot of time on the right side, locking up with Justin Tuck of the crosstown Giants. The AFC actually outscored the NFC, 41-13, over the game’s final 32 minutes but lost, 55-41, because it fell behind, 42-0, in the first 28 minutes. No injuries to report, so that’s a good thing.
Later this week, newyorkjets.com editor-in-chief Randy Lange will be in Dallas to cover the unveiling of the Hall of Fame Class of 2011. Curtis Martin, who is the fourth-leading rusher in NFL history with 14,101 yards and who became the oldest runner (31) to claim a rushing title (1,694 yards, 2004 season), is a finalist for the first time.
Tags: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Darrelle Revis, Gabe Carimi, Joey Clinkscales, Leonard Hankerson, Mike Tannenbaum, Phil Taylor, Pro Bowl, Ryan Kerrigan, Senior Bowl, Super Bowl, Von Miller
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