Rookie minicamp is the first time every team's draft class takes the field, but head coach Robert Saleh and the Jets are taking a conservative approach to this weekend for the team's seven draft picks.
"We're limiting what they're doing as far as the 7-on-7 stuff," Saleh said on Friday at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. "They're working with [head strength and conditioning coach Mike] Nicolini. They're going to ramp up a little more with conditioning tomorrow. They'll be separated. The reason being for it all, their schedules the last month have been rigorous in regards to travel, the lack of working out that they've been able to fit in. It's very spotty. It's not worth risking injury. Let them go off to the side, let's get a great weekend of work in for them. It also gives us a better chance to keep an eye on the tryout guys rather than the entire organization being fixated on the draft picks."
Saleh added he's scarred from 2015 when Dante Fowler, the Jaguars' No. 3 overall pick, tore his ACL on the first play of rookie minicamp and missed his first NFL season.
"They're still getting in great work," Saleh said of the draft picks. "They're still going through meetings, all the walkthroughs. It's giving us a chance to see where they are physically from a conditioning standpoint so we can get them caught up with varsity, if you will."
The Green & White conducted practice on Friday with 54 tryout players, 5 undrafted and a pair of vets (DE Hamilcar Rashed and WR Tarik Black). Among the tryouts was DL Gavin Greene, the son of the late Hall of Fame pass rusher Kevin Green, who coached with the Jets from 2017-18. Making a team as a tryout player can be difficult, but Saleh referred to the former Seahawks DL Benson Mayowa as someone who carved out his path from tryout player to Super Bowl champion in 2013.
"He comes to the tryout, dominates for three days," Saleh said. "Makes it to the 90-man roster, dominates during OTAs and training camp. Makes it to the 53-man roster as an undrafted tryout guy on the Super Bowl team. That defensive line, everyone remembers how good that one was and he was there the entire year. He's still in the league to this day, so he's the one that stands out to me."
The practices are split into halves -- the bigs take the field for the first half followed by the skill players -- to preserve the linemen's bodies, which is an approach that will be replicated throughout OTAs.
"There's going to be a lot more 7-on-7 this year, making sure the quarterbacks, receivers and back-end of the defense is getting in all their work," Saleh said. "The bigs and some of the banging, they're going to be a lot more individual based and we're going to have a lot more walkthroughs to get the bigs incorporated to try and save their bodies."
Saleh and GM Joe Douglas wore sweatshirts with "LaPenna" written on the back to honor Lazar LaPenna, who passed away during his Little League game earlier this week while celebrating his 10th birthday.
"Tragedy for Lazar, a young man who tragically passed," Saleh said. "Joe and I and the organization are honoring him and his family by not issuing the No. 9 this week. Absolute tragedy."