The NFL combine has arrived and the Jets, along with all 31 NFL teams, will be in attendance to take a look at some of the top talent coming out in this year’s draft. Of course the Jets have already addressed the Derek Carr situation, Quinnen Williams’ future and Mekhi Becton’s rehab. But with the press availability over and done with, it’s time to focus on the players.
We all know the big names, but who are a few under the radar prospects the Jets should take a special interest in? Here are a few to keep an eye on.
WR Jason Brownlee, Sothern Miss: This class is lacking any true big bodied threats at wide receiver outside of TCU’s Quentin Johnston who is expected to check in at around 6′ 4” this week. This leaves room for a guy like Bronwlee to open some eyes as a possible big target on the outside. A productive receiver in college, Brownlee produced 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns over his past two seasons. Brownlee has the speed to get away from defenders and the uncanny ability to make difficult catches in a crowd. Watch a bit of Southern Miss and you’re bound to see at least one “wow” play from Brownlee.
Said a few days ago that if you watch enough @SouthernMissFB, you're going to see WR Jason Brownlee make a great play. Watching Mia vs S. Miss and sure enough, another one. Goes up in double coverage and plucks the ball away from a defender who thought he had an easy INT. pic.twitter.com/aCmyOHW51K
— Glenn Naughton (@JetsPicks) January 28, 2023
Any thoughts on Brownlee? Feel free to jump in on our draft forums in the Jason Brownlee thread.
RB Israel Abanikanda, Pitt: Abanikanda may not be as “under the radar” as some prospects, but we don’t think he’s getting nearly enough love. When all is said and done, Abanikanda has a chance to be a top 3 back in this class and if he blows everyone’s doors off in Indy, may find himself going in round two of the draft.
Want an explosive back who can do it all? Run, catch out of the backfield and block? You'll love @Pitt_FB running back Israel Abanikanda. pic.twitter.com/eqQrSQoG94
— Glenn Naughton (@AceFan23) September 22, 2022
Abanikanda has relatively low mileage after carrying the ball just 151 times through his first two collegiate seasons. In his third and final season, he blew up, running for over 1,400 yards and and 20 touchdowns on 239 carries. The Jets running back room is better than it has been in years past, but if they’re looking to add another home run threat and Abanikanda slides, they should give it some serious consideration.
OL Tashawn Manning, Kentucky: It’s no big secret that the Jets will be looking for help on both the interior and exterior of their offensive line. There are some bigger names being thrown around in discussing who the Jets may target, but one mid-round prospect with a high ceiling is Kentucky’s Tashawn Manning. A big man at 335lbs, Manning uses his frame well to re-direct defensive linemen and shows good initial punch.
Really liked @UKFootball guard Tashawn Manning after watching him earlier this year but far more impressed after watching him against @GeorgiaFootball where he went head to head with the likes of Jalen Carter and more than held his own in run and pass pro. One to watch in Indy. pic.twitter.com/5fvokjNu4G
— Glenn Naughton (@JetsPicks) March 2, 2023
DL Tyler Lacy, Oklahoma State: Lacy is a solid all around defender up front who has the bulk and power to stand up to bigger blockers in the trenches on the inside but does enough rom the outside to have an impact across the D-line. He popped up on film not only against the run, but had several plays in which he kept his eyes in the backfield and got his hands up to bat passes down at the line of scrimmage. A likely depth piece at the pro level, Lacy’s skill set makes him a player the Jets could use as they like for their linemen to be multiple up front.
LB Yasir Abdullah, Louisville: Why Abdullah didn’t get a senior bowl invite is beyond us. The Louisville linebacker did a hell of a job for the Cardinals this season and flashed the ability to get in the backfield off the edge while acting as a sideline to sideline ‘backer when lined up off the ball. An ultra productive player (31 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks over past two seasons), Abdullah has the ability to be an impact player in the right scheme.
One of the most underrated players in this class. Abdullah was a terror off the edge for @LouisvilleFB this season. Can get to the QB and cover plenty of ground in space. https://t.co/dkLZ1ktrxu pic.twitter.com/MbR1X1VXj2
— Glenn Naughton (@JetsPicks) January 31, 2023