Jets Set to Get Up Close With Personnel During NFL Pro Days

GM Joe Douglas, HC Robert Saleh and Staff Ready for On-Campus Workouts

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Unsettling times often bring unexpected opportunities and challenges.

Welcome to the NFL's 2021 offseason -- an exciting time, particularly for the Jets.

It has been a quick transition from the Super Bowl to the current scramble among the league's 32 teams as they adjust on the fly to the absence of the Scouting Combine, a rush of Pro Days, the start of free agency in fewer than two weeks and the NFL Draft in late April. And don't forget that FCS teams are now playing real games after their seasons were moved to late winter/early spring because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The next step for the Jets and the rest of NFL teams are the coming Pro Days at colleges spread throughout the country. For the Jets, a club with five picks in the top 87 -- including three in the top 34 -- these Pro Days are a step (not the first, certainly not the last) in building a roster ahead of the 2021 season.

"The Pro Day is extremely important," GM Joe Douglas told reporters during a Zoom press conference on Wednesday. 

In possession of the No,. 2 pick amid a tsunami of speculation about their intentions, the Jets plan to attend the workouts of some of the top college players in the draft at multiple positions, a group that includes quarterbacks.

"It's just good to stand next to the quarterback, to see the spin off his hand, to see the ball jump off his hand, to feel his presence," Douglas said. "Those are all important things. There's not going to be as much private time with the player, there's not going to be dinners ... there's not going to be classroom time."

Some top players opted out of the 2020 college season while others were a part of teams that played limited schedules. Add to that limitations on the number of scouts who could attend games in person, a reduced number of postseason college all-star games and the canceled Combine ... all of which leaves NFL teams confronted by a scramble to arrange trips to college campuses in states where COVID restrictions and mitigation rules are anywhere from strict to nonexistent.

"The next step for us is going to be Pro Days," Rex Hogan, the Jets' assistant general manager said at last month's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. "We're trying to get that coordinated in terms of logistics and I'm sure there will be some challenges with schools having Pro Days on the same day. We could be pretty spread thin moving throughout the country here throughout March."

Again on Wednesday, Douglas was clear and emphatic, saying he and new Head Coach Robert Saleh are committed to building the roster via the draft. And that draft capital is prodigious this year, and includes two first-round picks in 2022.

"We've had a week-and-a-half of outstanding draft meetings leading up into these Pro Days," Douglas said. "Obviously, it's been odd, not going to Indy, not going to the Combine. I feel like all of our guys have adjusted well. I feel like we've really been able to get outstanding information on a lot of players out there. I know these guys are excited to get out and go to these Pro Days coming up this month and a half. Lastly, I think where we're sitting now, we're very well-positioned with the capital we have, with where we are financially, and we feel we're well-positioned to start this offseason and really improve this roster."

With more than $70 million in cap space and a bucketful of draft picks, Douglas, Saleh and the Jets are playing a balancing act.

"What are we, a little less than 60 days away from the draft?" Douglas said. "There's a lot of Pro Days, a lot more information to gather before we even start narrowing into any kind of decision like that. As it pertains to this year's draft, we feel good about the depth of this draft. Again, it's early. A lot of time to go, a lot of workouts to happen, a lot of conversations to have with players and sources. We feel good about the depth throughout the draft, and we feel good about where we are with draft picks."

Because of the continuing pandemic and various approaches to mitigation around the country, NFL team personnel attending the Pro Days will encounter a changed landscape and limitations on attendance.

"As it goes with the Pro Days, there's going to be challenges," Douglas said. "You're already limited to how many people from your organization [no more than three combined representatives from the front office, scouting and coaching staffs at each Pro Day] can attend these Pro Days. Then it's going to be a big emphasis that the people that come in are frequently tested. I feel like the NFL is on top of this."

The Senior Bowl was the first time that NFL scouting personnel had access to more than 130 players in full-pad practices and interviews (albeit separated plexiglass). And without the Combine, teams will turn to Pro Days and that pool will also include nearly 100 underclassmen granted eligibility for the 2021 NFL Draft.  

"I think there's tremendous value obviously in being present," Head Coach Robert Saleh said. "Again, it's another piece of information that you can gather when you're trying to make the best decision you can for an organization. Obviously from a coaching staff standpoint, there's a lot of things to do with regards to catching up, with regard to scheme and all that, there's balance. But anytime you have an opportunity to gather information, tape, in person, whatever it may be, I think all of it holds a weight."

Below are the schools that will be hosting a Pro Day in the coming weeks (compiled by ESPN.com):

ACC

Boston College
Pro day: March 26
Top prospect(s): Hunter Long, TE

Clemson
Pro day: March 11
Top prospect(s): Travis Etienne, RB; James Skalski, ILB; Amari Rodgers, WR; Cornell Powell, WR

Duke
Pro day: March 29
Top prospect(s): Chris Rumph II, OLB; Noah Gray, TE; Deon Jackson, RB

Florida State
Pro day: March 22
Top prospect(s): Asante Samuel Jr., CB; Marvin Wilson, DT; Tamorrion Terry, WR; Hamsah Nasirilsdeen, S; Janarius Robinson, DE

Georgia Tech
Pro day: March 16
Top prospect(s):Jalen Camp, WR

Louisville
Pro day: March 30
Top prospect(s): Tutu Atwell, WR; Dez Fitzpatrick, WR

Miami
Pro day: March 29
Top prospect(s): Gregory Rousseau, DE; Jaelan Phillips, DE; Brevin Jordan, TE; Quincy Roche, DE; Jose Borregales, K

NC State
Pro day: March 30
Top prospect(s): Cary Angeline, TE

North Carolina
Pro day: March 29
Top prospect(s): Chazz Surratt, ILB; Javonte Williams, RB; Michael Carter, RB; Dyami Brown, WR

Pittsburgh
Pro day: March 17
Top prospect(s): Patrick Jones II, DE; Rashad Weaver, DE; Jaylen Twyman, DT, Damar Hamlin, S; Paris Ford, S; Damarri Mathis, CB; Jimmy Morrissey, C

Syracuse
Pro day: TBA
Top prospect(s): Andre Cisco, S; Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB

Virginia
Pro day: March 24
Top prospect(s): Tony Poljan, TE; Charles Snowden, OLB

Virginia Tech
Pro day: March 26
Top prospect(s): Caleb Farley, CB; Christian Darrisaw, OT; Khalil Herbert, RB; Divine Deablo, S

Wake Forrest
Pro day: March 31
Top prospect(s): Carlos Basham Jr., DE; Sage Surratt, WR

Big 12

Baylor
Pro day: TBA
Top prospect(s): William Bradley-King, DE

Iowa State
Pro day: March 23
Top prospect(s): JaQuan Bailey, DE

Kansas
Pro day: March 5
Top prospect(s): Pooka Williams Jr., RB

Kansas State
Pro day: March 9
Top prospect(s): Wyatt Hubert, DE

Oklahoma
Pro day: March 12
Top prospect(s): Creed Humphrey, C; Rhamondre Stevenson, RB; Tre Brown, CB; Adrian Ealy, OT

Oklahoma State
Pro day: April 1
Top prospect(s): Teven Jenkins, OT; Tylan Wallace, WR; Chuba Hubbard, RB; Rodarius Williams, CB

TCU
Pro day: March 19
Top prospect(s): Trevon Moehrig, S; Garret Wallow, ILB; JD Spielman, WR

Texas
Pro day: March 11
Top prospect(s): Joseph Ossai, OLB; Samuel Cosmi, OT; Caden Sterns, S; Sam Ehlinger, QB; Ta'Quon Graham, DE

Texas Tech
Pro day: April 7
Top prospect(s): T.J. Vasher, WR; Jack Anderson, OG

West Virginia
Pro day: March 18
Top prospect(s): T.J. Simmons, WR; Darius Stills, DT; Tony Fields II, ILB

Big Ten

Illinois
Pro day: March 17
Top prospect(s): Doug Kramer, C; Milo Eifler, OLB, Nate Hobbs, CB

Indiana
Pro day: TBA
Top prospect(s): Jamar Johnson, S;

Iowa
Pro day: March 22
Top prospect(s): Daviyon Nixon, DT; Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR; Brandon Smith, WR; Chauncey Golston, DE; Alaric Jackson, OG

Maryland
Pro day: March 10
Top prospect(s): Shaq Smith, LB

Minnesota
Pro day: April 1
Top prospect(s): Rashod Bateman, WR; Benjamin St-Juste, CB

Michigan
Pro day: March 26
Top prospect(s): Kwity Paye, DE; Jalen Mayfield, OT; Nico Collins, WR; Chris Evans, RB; Ambry Thomas, CB; Nick Eubanks, TE; Ben Mason, FB

Michigan State
Pro day: March 24
Top prospect(s): Naquan Jones, DT; Antjuan Simmons, LB

Nebraska
Pro day: March 23
Top prospect(s): Brenden Jaimes, OT

Northwestern
Pro day: March 9
Top prospect(s): Rashawn Slater, OT; Paddy Fisher, ILB

Ohio State
Pro day: March 30
Top prospect(s): Justin Fields, QB; Pete Werner, ILB; Wyatt Davis, OG; Shaun Wade, CB; Baron Browning, OLB; Josh Myers, C; Trey Sermon, RB; Justin Hilliard, ILB; Tuf Borland, ILB

Penn State
Pro day: March 25
Top prospect(s): Jayson Oweh, DE; Pat Freiermuth, TE; Shaka Toney, DE; Michal Menet, C

Purdue
Pro day: March 23
Top prospect(s): Rondale Moore, WR; Tyler Coyle, S; Derrick Barnes, ILB

Rutgers
Pro day: TBA
Top prospect(s): Julius Turner, DL; Brendon White, DB

Wisconsin
Pro day: March 10
Top prospect(s): Isaiahh Loudermilk, DE; Rachad Wildgoose, CB

Pac-12

Arizona
Pro day: March 17
Top prospect(s):

Arizona State
Pro day: March 29
Top prospect(s): Frank Darby, WR

Cal
Pro day: TBA
Top prospect(s): Camryn Bynum, CB; Jake Curhan, OT

Colorado
Pro day: March 22
Top prospect(s): William Sherman, OL; Mustafa Johnson, DE

Oregon
Pro day: April 2
Top prospect(s): Penei Sewell, OT; Jevon Holland, S; Thomas Graham Jr., CB

Oregon State
Pro day: April 1
Top prospect(s): Hamilcar Rashed Jr. OLB; Jermar Jefferson, RB

Stanford
Pro day: March 18
Top prospect(s): Paulson Adebo, CB; Walker Little, OT

UCLA
Pro day: TBA
Top prospect(s): Osa Odighizuwa, DT; Demetric Felton, RB

USC
Pro day: March 24
Top prospect(s): Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG; Tyler Vaughns, WR; Jay Tufele, DT; Marlon Tuipulotu, DT

Utah
Pro day: No date likely
Top prospect(s): N/A

Washington
Pro day: March 30
Top prospect(s): Levi Onwuzurike, DT; Joe Tryon, DE; Elijah Molden, CB; Keith Taylor, CB

Washington State
Pro day: TBA
Top prospect(s): Oscar Draguicevich III, P; Will Rodgers III, DE

SEC

Alabama
Pro day: March 23 and 30
Top prospect(s): DeVonta Smith, WR; Patrick Surtain II, CB; Jaylen Waddle, WR; Najee Harris, RB; Mac Jones, QB; Christian Barmore, DT; Dylan Moses, ILB; Alex Leatherwood, OG; Landon Dickerson, C; Deonte Brown, OG; Brian Robinson Jr., RB; Thomas Fletcher, LS

Arkansas
Pro day: March 10
Top prospect(s): Rakeem Boyd, RB; Feleipe Franks, QB

Auburn
Pro day: March 18
Top prospect(s): K.J. Britt, ILB; Anthony Schwartz, WR

Florida
Pro day: March 31
Top prospect(s): Kyle Pitts, TE; Kadarius Toney, WR; Kyle Trask, QB; Marco Wilson, CB; Shawn Davis, S; Trevon Grimes, WR

Georgia
Pro day: March 17
Top prospect(s): Azeez Ojulari, OLB; Monty Rice, ILB; Eric Stokes, CB; Jamie Newman, QB; DJ Daniel, CB; Tyson Campbell, CB; Devonte Wyatt, DT; Tre' McKitty, TE; Richard LeCounte, S; Mark Webb, S; Malik Herring, DE; Ben Cleveland, OG

Kentucky
Pro day: March 31
Top prospect(s): Jamin Davis, ILB; Quinton Bohanna, DT; Brandin Echols, CB; Jamar Watson, OLB

LSU
Pro day: March 31
Top prospect(s): Ja'Marr Chase, WR; Terrace Marshall Jr., WR; Jabril Cox, ILB; Kary Vincent Jr., CB; Tyler Shelvin, DT; JaCoby Stevens, S; Racey McMath, WR

Mississippi State
Pro day: March 24
Top prospect(s): Osirus Mitchell, WR; Dareuan Parker, OG; Greg Eiland, OT; Kylin Hill, RB

Missouri
Pro day: March 22
Top prospect(s): Nick Bolton, ILB; Larry Rountree III, RB

Ole Miss
Pro day: March 25
Top prospect(s): Elijah Moore, WR; Lakia Henry, ILB; Tariqious Tisdale, DE; Kenny Yeboah, TE; Royce Newman, OG; Sam Williams, OLB

South Carolina
Pro day: March 24
Top prospect(s): Jaycee Horn, CB; Israel Mukuamu, CB; Shi Smith, WR

Tennessee
Pro day: March 25
Top prospect(s): Trey Smith, OG; Josh Palmer, WR

Texas A&M
Pro day: March 30
Top prospect(s): Kellen Mond, QB; Dan Moore Jr., OT; Jhamon Ausbon, WR; Carson Green, OT

Vanderbilt
Pro day: March 15
Top prospect(s): Dayo Odeyingbo, DE

Other Notables

BYU
Pro day: March 26
Top prospect(s): Zach Wilson, QB; Matt Bushman, TE

Cincinnati
Pro day: TBA
Top prospect(s): James Hudson, OT

Houston
Pro day: April 9
Top prospect(s): Payton Turner, DE; Marquez Stevenson, WR; Grant Stuard, OLB

North Dakota State
Pro day: March 12
Top prospect(s): Trey Lance, QB; Dillon Radunz, OT

Notre Dame
Pro day: March 31
Top prospect(s): Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, ILB: Liam Eichenberg, OT; Daelin Hayes, DE; Adetokunbo Ogundeji, DE; Ian Book, QB; Javon McKinley, WR; Aaron Banks, OG; Ben Skowronek, WR; Robert Hainsey

SMU
Pro day: March 25
Top prospect(s): Reggie Roberson Jr., WR; Kylen Granson, TE; Shane Buechele, QB

UAB
Pro day: April 9
Top prospect(s): Jordan Smith, OLB; Austin Watkins, WR

UCF
Pro day: TBA
Top prospect(s): Aaron Robinson, CB; Richie Grant, S

Western Michigan
Pro day: March 25
Top prospect(s): D'Wayne Eskridge, WR; Jaylon Moore, OG

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