Chuma Edoga Jersey

Over the next month or so, we’ll be looking at each of the Jets’ draft picks and undrafted free agent signings in detail. We continue today with a breakdown of their third pick, Chuma Edoga.

The 21-year old Edoga is listed at 6’3” and 308 pounds and was selected by the Jets in the third round with the 92nd overall pick. Edoga started 26 games in four years at USC, 22 of which came in his last two seasons. He was a second team all-Pac-12 selection last season and a stand-out performer at the Senior Bowl.

Background

Edoga was regarded as a five-star recruit having played high school football in Georgia and ultimately decided to enrol at USC.

He saw plenty of playing time in his freshman year, playing in 13 games with two starts. While he played slightly less as a sophomore, he started another two games.

As a junior, Edoga became a full-time starter. He started 12 games in 2017 and another 10 in 2018. He was named as a second team all-Pac-12 selection at the end of his senior year.

Edoga was a standout at the senior bowl, as he performed well in the game, but also shined in practice as we was voted as the overall player of the week. He had some mixed results at the combine and in his pro day workouts, though.

The Jets moved up one spot in the third round to select Edoga with the 92nd overall pick.

Now let’s take a look at what Edoga brings to the table, divided into categories.

Measurables/Athleticism

Edoga is quite short for the tackle position, but has long arms and an adequate wingspan. He reportedly played at around 295 in 2018, but was up to 308 for his combine workout and 315 for his pro day.
In those workouts, he had a decent 40-yard dash (sub-5.2 seconds) and broad jump (108 inches) but his vertical (24.5 inches) and bench press (21 reps) were sub-par.

On film he shows explosiveness out of his stance, athleticism when running downfield and good quickness when changing direction. However, he doesn’t dominate with strength.

Usage

Edoga started at right tackle during his last two seasons, but has seen action – including two starts – at left tackle during his time with the Trojans. He was primarily working at left tackle during Senior Bowl week too, and Mike Maccagnan has said the Jets feel confident that he can play the position at the NFL level.

Maccagnan also suggested Edoga might be an option to see some reps on the inside, although he didn’t see action at guard in college. He was initially listed as a guard on recruiting websites coming out of high school though.

Pass Protection

Edoga put together some impressive pass protection numbers over his last two years. According to Pro Football Focus, he gave up only six total pressures in 2017 – although three of these were actually sacks. He was even better in 2018, with no sacks and only four pressures surrendered.

Edoga showed some good glimpses of his pass blocking potential in USC’s bowl game against Ohio State at the end of the 2017 season. This required him to block against several NFL prospects, including Nick Bosa. As you can see, he handles Bosa well here.

While he makes good use of his almost-35 inch arms, Edoga’s best attribute in pass protection is his feet as he’s quick to get into his stance and has the quickness and explosion to recover well and mirror his man.

The main areas Edoga needs to work on are his anchor against bull rushes and power moves and also his finishing, as sometimes he can let his man get past him late in the play. In the Senior Bowl, he allowed Jaylon Ferguson to record this sack having initially repelled him – although this was in large part due to Daniel Jones holding the ball for too long.

Run Blocking

Edoga has a lot of potential as a run blocker, relying on his athleticism and natural abilities. However, once again his base is a slight concern as he doesn’t always get much of a drive at the point of attack, although he does a decent job on this play.

In space, Edoga seems to understand angles and can dominate smaller defenders when he has a leverage advantage on them.

During the 2018 season, Edoga was called for three holding penalties while run blocking and needs to resist the temptation to let his hands get outside.

Screen Blocking

Edoga’s ability to get downfield is impressive and he was able to spring Andy Isabella for a touchdown during the Senior Bowl with this excellent downfield block.

Footwork/Technique

There are a few technical flaws in Edoga’s game, although in most cases these are minor things which could make a big difference to his effectiveness if they can be tweaked successfully.

In pass protection, the common theme is that his footwork is excellent but his hand fighting techniques need work. He’s inconsistent with his hand placement and strikes. He could also improve his anchor with some slight adjustments.

As a run blocker, his lack of height can give him a natural leverage advantage, but he has a tendency to lean into contact when moving forwards which can allow his man to get off the block.

Once he locks up a smaller defender he can dominate them though. He does an excellent job here of picking up the block in space, keeping his hands inside and resetting his hand placement and moving his feet to maintain a leverage advantage as he drives his man down the field.

Penalties

Penalties were a major concern for Edoga following his junior year where he had 13 of them. He had developed a reputation as someone who was constantly being flagged for a false start.

In 2018, he played with much better discipline, with only six penalties, four of which were for offensive holding.

Special Teams

Edoga barely played on special teams in college, seeing limited action as a blocker on the placekicking unit earlier on in his career. He didn’t play special teams at all over the past two seasons.

Instincts/Intelligence

Edoga is regarded as smart and someone who understands his assignments. There are some good examples on film of him transitioning smoothly from assignment to assignment both in the passing game and when run blocking.

However, there was confusion on the line at USC sometimes. On this play, Edoga is expecting one of the interior linemen to pick up the stunting end and he ends up getting to the quarterback cleanly.

Attitude

Despite his efforts at the Senior Bowl, reports from the combine indicated there was concern from some teams over Edoga’s attitude. Matt Miller from Bleacher Report reported that several teams had concerns over his respect, attitude and work ethic.

At USC, he was regarded as a player who didn’t work hard in the weight room and there were concerns over his discipline due to his high penalty count and the fact he was suspended one game for a team rules violation in 2016. There was also skepticism over him missing practices due to a stomach virus but still being healthy enough for gameday.

There is some suggestion he was starting to mature in 2018, though. USC head coach Todd Helton took Edoga under his wing and praised his improved attitude in his senior year, which led to improved on the field play. His effort and body language were still inconsistent though, as you can see here.

His ejection, early on in a game against Utah State, has also received a lot of attention. On the play, he slapped an opponent who had pushed him at the end of a play and then shoved aside an official who tried to restrain him. Was it as bad as it sounds, though? Judge for yourself.

Injuries

Edoga has had a few injury issues during his time at USC. He had wrist surgery at the end of his freshman year and missed one game as a sophomore due to illness. He also missed two games last year because of a sprained ankle.

Scheme Fit

In an ideal world, the Jets will be able to develop Edoga to be their left tackle of the future. He’s been compared to Kelvin Beachum – perhaps due to their shared lack of height – and Beachum could be an excellent mentor because he’s such a good technician.

USC ran plenty of zone blocking schemes over the past few years, so he should be comfortable with the system. Also, reuniting with the likes of Sam Darnold and Deontay Burnett should help to ease the transition.

The main adjustment Edoga would have to make is to stay on his block to the whistle and finish strong, especially if Le’Veon Bell will be dancing around in the backfield.

Conclusions

Edoga is a player whose natural athletic ability, frame and footwork make him a promising prospect who could be an NFL-caliber left tackle if all goes well. His performance at the Senior Bowl in particular was extremely impressive.

He needs some technical refinement and some strength work to make it at the pro level, but won’t be under any pressure to contribute immediately with the Jets in 2019.

The potential for attitude issues are probably the biggest concern, as a poor work ethic would hold him back from realizing his potential. However, if the Jets can get him to buy in, this could end up being a tremendous pick.

Blessuan Austin Jersey

Blessuan Austin won’t have to travel too far to take the next step in his football career. The Queens native found out Saturday that he’d be staying local and joining the New York Jets after being selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

“I’m ecstatic, words can’t even describe the feeling right now,” Austin told Ethan Greenberg after being selected. “To go through what I went through and be able to be at this stage right now, I’m just thankful and humble and blessed.”

The Rutgers cornerback had a tough ride on the injury train during his stretch with the Scarlet Knights. Over the past two seasons, Austin played in just five games after suffering a torn ACL in September 2017 and again in September 2018. But the 6’1”, 198-pound corner stood out most during his sophomore season, totaling 43 tackles, an interception and 14 pass defenses.

The two lost seasons didn’t dent Austin’s confidence in his abilities though.

“I’m schematically flexible. My height and my weight, I’m very freakish in the way I change direction and the way I can move at my size,” Austin said. “A lot of coaches, they see a guy my size and they don’t expect to have the foot quickness that I have, they don’t expect the patience that I have at the line of scrimmage. They don’t expect me to play all-coverage that I do and be able to have my head fluid. Being that freakish at my size, I think it’s my biggest strength… I think the Jets picked me because there’s a lot of reward.”

The Rutgers product isn’t the only one confident that he has a lot left in the tank. Following the final Jets’ pick of the 2019 Draft, which the Green & White acquired in a trade package with the Raiders that featured G Kelechi Osemele, general manager Mike Maccagnan was asked about the defensive back who posted a 4.65 time in the 40 at the Rutgers Pro Day.

“We think he has more speed potentially. Combining that with watching him on tape and seeing him a lot over the years down at Rutgers with our scouts, I think he has more speed in him,” Maccagnan said Saturday. “He’s not 100% recovered from his injury, so to have the speed he actually has at this point in time, we actually feel quite good about the fact that he’ll be faster.”

Now, he’ll get the opportunity to learn and grow his game under defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson, and he is looking forward to the opportunity.

“He’s one of those coaches that’s not going to hide anything from you. If you feel like you’re not fulfilling your potential, he’s going to let you know and he’s not going to hesitate,” Austin said of Wilson. “You’ll never get complacent with a coach like that because he always feels like there’s room for improvement.”

Blake Cashman Jersey

MINNEAPOLIS — Blake Cashman received sparse recruiting interests to play major college football coming out of Eden Prairie High School in 2015.

While North Dakota State, Minnesota Duluth and others were in the mix, Cashman was “very close” to attending St. Thomas to play football and basketball, another sport he loves and played for the Eagles.

“It was discouraging, and honestly, I lacked some confidence and doubted myself; that is why I was going to go to St. Thomas,” Cashman told the Pioneer Press last week. “That is where I knew I was safe and would be able to play (both sports), have a great college experience and a great sports career.”

But Cashman reflected on that near decision. “I’ve still always believed in myself enough to the point to where I’m going to go after my dreams,” he said.

Cashman was impressed by then-Gophers coach Jerry Kill and accepted a walk-on roster spot at Minnesota. He made an immediate splash on special teams his first year, in 2015.

Playing linebacker in 2016, he won Holiday Bowl defensive MVP and the program’s Gary Tinsley Award for underdog spirit. With P.J. Fleck taking over as head coach, Cashman earned a scholarship in 2017. Then, as a first-time starter last season, he made a team-high 104 tackles and was named all-Big Ten.

Cashman’s rise continued into the NFL scouting combine in March, and the 6-foot-1, 237-pound linebacker will write another chapter in his underdog story if he is selected in the middle to late stages of NFL draft this week.

After Thursday’s first round, draft pundits believe Cashman’s name could be called anywhere from the third round on Friday to its conclusive seventh round on Saturday.

Given the wide window in his draft status, Cashman is looking to keep any sort of draft party low key Friday and Saturday, with a possible bigger event on Sunday, once the anxiety and stress is settled and he knows more about his future.

At the combine, Cashman finished in the top five in four drills, including a 4.50-second time in the 40-yard dash. Franchises raced to meet with him, doing interviews with team reps, follow-up workouts and film sessions in some shape or form. Nearly every NFL team met with Cashman.

Draft analyst Dane Brugler of The Athletic said he encountered doubters when he placed Cashman among his top 10 linebackers before the combine.

“I received a lot of ‘who?’ comments,” Brugler said. “… I think he’s worthy of top 100 consideration, but if he doesn’t go there, (he’ll) go quickly in round four. He’s a really solid linebacker with all the ingredients to play special teams right away as a rookie.”

Pro Football Focus has Cashman as the fourth-best linebacker available and a potential second-round pick. Through the process, Cashman has gotten the most interest from the Titans, Redskins, Saints and Vikings.

But Cashman, who grew up a huge Kevin Garnett fan, doesn’t have the same affinity for his hometown pro football team. Unlike his family which is almost exclusively Vikings fans, Cashman “was a little rebellious.”

“I grew up as a Packers fan,” he said. “That started when I was five years old and was beginning to understand football a little bit. … I just loved the way that Brett Favre competes and how he treats his teammates and coaches.”

Instead of St. Thomas, where Cashman’s father Steve was a defensive back, punt and kick returner from 1986-88, Blake picked the Gophers because he wanted to play at the highest level.

“I didn’t try to step on his toes too much,” Steve said. “I was there to guide him.”

While 10 former Division III players were on NFL rosters last fall — including Concordia (Moorhead) receiver Brandon Zylstra with the Vikings — the Big Ten had 84 on players on just the NFL teams that made the 2018 playoffs.

Cashman’s breakthrough moment for the Gophers came in a 17-12 upset victory over Washington State in the Holiday Bowl. The sophomore had 12 tackles, including two for lost yards, and a sack. It was the first time he thought he could play in the NFL.

That season, he led the team with 7 1/2 sacks and made 45 tackles. But he still didn’t have a scholarship then — and he endured a torn labrum in each shoulder.

“We had some really serious conversations,” Steve said. “He was very frustrated that he hadn’t gotten (a scholarship) yet. I just said, ‘Look, you are doing a lot of great things. It’s going to come.’”

The scholarship arrived when Fleck and his staff put it in a plastic Easter egg during spring practices in 2017. During his junior year that fall, a second torn labrum in his left shoulder set him back and he had limited playing time behind starting weak-side linebacker Jon Celestin.

“Those were some painful surgeries and long recoveries, too,” Steve said. “He got back to where he wanted to compete. I know his junior year was tough for him because he wasn’t getting enough playing time like his sophomore year when he blew it up.”

But Cashman has come out on top. He has gone from overlooked walk-on to a soon-to-be drafted NFL player. He will earn his marketing degree from the U’s Carlson School of Management in May. It’s all a scenario Cashman thinks about every day.

“It’s something that I see as a blessing in my life,” he said. “I think it’s made me a better person and a better player. Every day I came in as a walk-on and came into the football building with the approach to prove people wrong, prove myself wrong and make a better version of myself. I carry that same mentality into the NFL.”

Trevon Wesco Jersey

It was not so long ago when Trevon Wesco was a man without a home in the sports he loved.

Wesco was a standout in football and basketball at Musselman High in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle. He finished his prep career as the Applemen’s all-time leading scorer on the basketball court while also turning in a record-breaking career as a receiver and quarterback on the gridiron.

At the time, it seemed like Wesco could have his pick of sport and school when it came to college options, but an injury during his senior season of football and a not-so-great academic record in high school put all of that on hold.

He tore the meniscus in one of his knees but was back in time for basketball season. By that time, however, it had become clear that many colleges would have a tough time getting Wesco academically qualified.

He opted to stick with football over basketball and go the junior college route. It was a choice that started him on the unlikely path to this weekend, when Wesco hopes to hear his name called at the NFL draft, which begins Thursday and runs through Saturday evening.

Wesco, who stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 269 pounds, transformed into a tight end during his brief tenure at Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna College before returning to his home state to join the football program at West Virginia.

Since coming to Morgantown prior to the 2015 season, Wesco has gone from a novice at the position to a likely NFL draft pick. It is a long way from lighting up gyms as an All-State forward at Musselman, but Wesco has a good sense of humor about his decision to stick to football — as he does with most things.

“You dream of the NBA until you find out you’ve got to be 6-7,” Wesco said. “I mean, I was my school’s all-time leading scorer. I was a good hooper, but I didn’t turn out 6-7 or it would be the other way around.”

Wesco flew under the radar for his first couple of seasons at WVU. Tight ends were not always a big part of the plans of former Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. Yet something clicked during 2018 that allowed Wesco to stand out and put himself on the radar for the next level. Holgorsen and Spavital came to the realization that when the ball finds Wesco’s hands, good things tend to happen.

Over a period of weeks, Wesco emerged as a favorite target for West Virginia quarterback Will Grier. Week after week, it seemed like Wesco was coming up with a vital catch at least once per game. He finished the season with 26 catches for 366 yards and just one touchdown, but at the same time was one of the Big 12’s best blocking tight ends. Not often, but on occasion, the Mountaineers would line Wesco up in the backfield. By the end of the 2018 season, Wesco had gone from almost being an afterthought in his own offense to an All-Big 12 first-team pick and a legitimate professional prospect.

“I wasn’t really worried about that,” Wesco said. “I’ve always visualized playing in the NFL since I was like 8 years old. It’s nothing new to me. This is what I want to do, this is what I’ve been doing since I was 8 years old. It’s something I’ve always looked forward to doing. Now I’m here and it’s kind of crazy, but I really haven’t let it catch up to me yet. It really hasn’t hit me yet, but I guess it will on draft day.”

That day is rapidly approaching for Wesco, who said he plans to watch the draft from his home in Martinsburg. Wesco began his postseason training regimen for that day almost as soon as the Mountaineers’ season ended with a loss to Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl.

Wesco’s first stop was California for workouts. He snagged invitations to the Senior Bowl and the NFL combine, so there was work to be done on those fronts.

The Senior Bowl trip allowed Wesco to show his array of abilities as a pass catcher and a blocker. Coaches there had him lining up as a fullback, but Wesco said that was no big deal. Just another item on the list of things he brings to the table.

“[At the Senior Bowl] they had me playing a lot of fullback, but straight out of the ‘I’ [formation] — a lot of lead blocking,” Wesco said. “It wasn’t really nothing new for me because I played a lot of fullback at West Virginia, so it’s no different. I’m a versatile player. I’m a 2-in-1 player — I can play tight end and fullback. Whatever they ask me to do, I’ve done.”

The NFL combine is a different beast than the postseason All-Star-type games. At those games, there are still some elements of “real” football. The combine is a football workout and interview session. Wesco handled his business at the event in Indianapolis, with perhaps the only blemish on his performance being a 4.89-second time in the 40-yard dash.

Wesco, again true to form, had a realistic outlook on the time.

“My goal was just not to run five-flat and be the slowest person there,” Wesco said. “I knew I wasn’t going to the combine to break any records. I just wanted to run something decent.”Along with the performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL combine came some love from different corners of the internet and media worlds. Perhaps nobody has been a bigger cheerleader for Wesco than the NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger, who has been very complimentary of the West Virginia tight end on both social media and during broadcasts on the network.

“[Wesco] is more than just a tight end,” Baldinger said of Wesco during a recent NFL Network broadcast. “He’s an H-back, he’s a fullback, you can flex him. He’s good after the catch.

“If I’m a coach, I want this guy in the draft because your whole playbook is going to open.”

In the heat of the moment, Wesco said he didn’t realize how good his tape was. Now that he has seen it, however, he thinks the video evidence speaks for itself.

“I really didn’t know how crazy my tape was until I started watching it as this process went on,” Wesco said. “I was like, ‘Oh snap, I was really out there smashing people.’ ”

Now, all Wesco can do is wait.

By this time next week he will likely be on an NFL roster and begin his professional career. He’s had a small taste of that life since the end of the 2018 season — something Wesco called a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“You wake up worrying about football,” Wesco said. “You don’t have to wake up and worry about going to class. It’s a lot different, but I’ve enjoyed the whole process. It’s been a long process, but I’m just enjoying it because you only get to do it one time, so you might as well do it the right way.”

Jachai Polite Jersey

Rumors abounded the first two nights of the NFL Draft about Jets trades. But general manager Mike Maccagnan said despite talking with “some teams” for the third pick overall, “there was never an offer we felt good enough about” and they were happy to take Quinnen Williams. At the start of action tonight, the Jets were reported to be trying to trade up into the top half of Round 2 but none of these reports panned out.

So the Jets remained with no second-round pick (that having been spent by the Colts on CB Rock Ya-Sin to close the books on last year’s tradeup to draft QB Sam Darnold) and sat tight for much of tonight with their two third-round picks.

Finally, the draft came to the Jets, and with their own pick in Round 3 (68th overall), they selected Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite, making it two SEC defensive players in their first two choices after the Green & White grabbed Alabama DL Williams in Round 1.

Polite (6’3″, 258) led the NCAA in 2018 with six forced fumbles. Despite starting just five of 13 games last year, he had career highs and team-leading totals of 11 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss and was named AP All-America second team. For his three-year career with the Gators he totaled 15 sacks, 28.5 TFLs and eight forced fumbles. He was one of two FBS players last year with 10-plus sacks and five-plus FFs, the other being first-round Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen.

Polite becomes the fourth Gator on the Jets’ current roster, along with S Marcus Maye, C Jonotthan Harrison and CB Brian Poole.

He is also the 10th player drafted by the Jets out of Florida all-time and the third-highest, following DB Steve Tannen (first round, 20th overall, 1970) and Maye (second round, 39th overall, 2017).

Polite also joins DL Leonard Williams as fellow graduates of Mainland HS in Daytona Beach, FL.

The Jets have one more pick in the third round (93rd overall), acquired from New Orleans in last August’s trade of QB Teddy Bridgewater.

The NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday from Nashville, Tenn., and at least a couple Florida Gators have dreams of hearing their names called on opening night.

One of them, rush end Jachai Polite, is hopeful he still ends up there after a bit of a rollercoaster ride in the pre-draft process.

“In my head I feel like I’m still there,” Polite said back at his Pro Day in March. “Where they pick me, I don’t know. But I believe in myself, first and foremost. Whoever gets me, whoever’s taking a chance from my terrible interviews and Combine, they’re going to get a great player. That’s all I know.”Polite’s stock took a serious hit first in Indianapolis at the Combine. He ran a poor 40-yard dash, clocking a 4.84 and then pulling up with a hamstring injury.

While that hamstring injury has certainly bothered him throughout the lead-up to the NFL Draft — he turned in a 5.04 40-yard dash at his Pro Day — it was a series of interviews both with teams and the media at the Combine that might have hurt more.

Essentially, Polite came across as a bit unprepared.

However, he took a lot of responsibility for that at his Pro Day. He was hopeful that his individual sitdowns with teams leading up to the draft would help change the narrative on who he is as a person.”I’m sure I’m not the only guy that didn’t come up like going through interviews throughout their life,” Polite said. “Especially like NFL interviews, when they’re about to invest a lot of money in you to play for their business. So they’ve got to get to know you, got to know. They have to know the real you. I’m just ready to show them and just let my story be stepping stones for another guy that comes (in the future).”

In terms of what he can provide on the field when healthy, Polite is most likely going to end up primarily as a pass-rush specialist. He wasn’t always terrific at setting the edge in college, and his size could make doing that in the NFL even more difficult.

Polite attempted to combat those concerns by adding weight prior to the Combine, and he admits that may have hurt his testing numbers.

At his best, though, he boasts a terrific motor and a knack for harassing opposing quarterbacks. All it takes is one team banking on him being able to do that at the next level.
4COMMENTS

Polite’s just ready to get there.

“It’s been pretty tough, but it’s a major learning experience for me, something I’ve never been through in my life,” he said. “I just keep learning every day. Nobody in my family has been through anything like this, so I had nobody to help me, really, other than my agent. But I never knew how serious and how mentally tough you had to be for this moment. But I’ve learned from it and I’m doing better now.”

Quinnen Williams Jersey

The day after each year’s Round 1 pick is made, we traditionally roll out an “X Things You Didn’t Know About” that pick. But so many of the storylines regarding Quinnen Williams revolve around his close relationship with his family and especially with his deceased mother, so we’re presenting a variation that theme, a family story with a half-dozen chapters to let you know where the Jets’ “new Q” is coming from:

The Color Is Pink
Quinnen got a big chest tattoo when he was in eighth grade, featuring pink stars. And his whole family embraces the color. They wear pink on his mother Marquischa’s birthday, Mother’s day, on the annual breast cancer awareness 5K that they run.

And they especially wear it during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, and on every Aug. 10, which was the date of his mother’s death.

“I know she’s proud of me but she doesn’t want me to get complacent,” he told ESPN’s Suzy Kolber on Thursday night, using the present tense even though she passed in 2010.

Chef Quinnen
He didn’t have time to get complacent after his mother died because his father, Quincy Williams Sr., was suddenly left in charge of raising four children. Each individual picked out a specialty to help keep the family going. Quinnen, according to al.com, became the head chef.While still in high school, he woke up at 5 a.m. each day to work out, then whipped up breakfast for the family. That’s still his favorite meal to prepare, although he’s become adept at burgers and chicken alfredo. Steaks? Not so much.

Know Thyself
One of Q’s mantras to Jets reporters and fans was “I’m here to work hard.” He knows how to do it and when to do it.

As a sophomore two-way lineman at Wenonah HS in Birmingham, AL, for instance, he admitted, “It was a year of getting tossed around.” His answer was to fanatically reshape his body and then get back on pace for an outstanding junior season.

Same kind of thing happened in his redshirt freshman year at Alabama, when he was an undersized, underutilized end. But he, head coach Nick Saban and the ‘Bama staff saw him in the middle of the Tide defense. So he spent all offseason last year reshaping his body again and turned himself into the beast who gave Alabama foes fits and rose to the third pick of the draft.

Man of a Thousand Names
Well, maybe only several nicknames. “Q” is a natural, but it doesn’t stand out on a green team full of “Q’s” — Quincy, Qvale, Quadree.

Quinnen used to be known as “Cookie” in middle school because of, well, his passion for cookies. But even at 6’3″ and 303, he’s put that one well in his rearview mirror.

How about “Ivory”? Alabama LT Jonah Williams, who went 11th overall in Thursday’s first round to Cincinnati, used to compare neutralizing Williams in practice “to trying to block a 300-pound bar of soap.”

Grandma on Wheels
With Quinnen about to come into some NFL rookie contract money, what will he buy for himself? “I’m a real tight guy,” he told hollywoodlife.com ahead of the draft. “I’m going to still be wearing the same Nike sweats and stuff.”

But what will he splurge on? “I think I’m going to buy my grandma a car,” he said. “And she don’t really wear jewelry so I’ll buy her jewelry.” Why Grandma? Because Yvarta Henderson helped his father raise the Williams family after her daughter’s passing.

The Legacy
Marquischa Henderson Williams was an elementary school teacher from a family of teachers, including her mother. But teaching so far isn’t in the cards for Quinnen.

“They don’t make a lot of money,” he observed in a February story on nfl.com. “The educators around me, they would do it for free. That’s something you’ve got to be born with, something you’ve got to have inside you. I ain’t got that inside me.”

But he does have his mother’s smile, and her teaching genes. He’s helped younger teammates with playbooks. And he has returned to Birmingham to counsel students about how to deal with the tough stuff going on at home.

He got that from coping with the loss of his mother.

“Nobody knew what I went through. My brothers and sister didn’t know, my dad didn’t know, my grandmother didn’t know. Only I knew what I was going through,” Williams said. “So now I look around and think, ‘I really don’t know what somebody else is going through, so why can’t I be that person to make their day brighter?’ “

Darron Lee Jersey

Darron Lee is reportedly on the trading block. On Monday, shortly after Lee reported for the first day of the Jets’ voluntary offseason workouts, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that New York is still interested in trading their former first round pick. Reports initially surfaced last month — just before the start of free agency — that the Jets will open to trading Lee.

“One player whose name has been mentioned in trade talks is Jets former first-round pick LB Darron Lee, thanks to the big-money addition of CJ Mosley,” Rapoport said via Twitter. “Lee will be there for the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program, as his status remains unchanged, I’m told.”

In March, Manish Mehta of NY Daily News.com was one of the first to report that the Jets were seriously interested in trading Lee. Despite the team’s reported interest in trading him, new Jets’ coach Adam Gase, who coached against Lee during his time as the Miami Dolphins’ head coach, had nothing but good things to say about his inside linebacker during the NFL combine.

“He was always getting beat up by you guys (media) a lot of the times,” Gase said. “And he would play a great game against us (the Dolphins). We would have problems blocking him. We have would have problems making sure he was accounted for. He would do a good job in coverage.”

“I think he’s a type of player that has a lot of things that you’re looking for (at) that position,” Gase added. “I think he has position flexibility. For us, it’s always going to be about getting your hands on guys April 8 (for the start of offseason workouts). It’s hard to do when you watch tape… You don’t really get to be around guys and you don’t get to interact with them. You don’t get to do meetings with them…. When you’re on the field, that’s really where a lot of our evaluation comes in.”

Lee is coming off his best season to date. In 2018, his third NFL season, Lee racked up 74 tackles that included 43 solo stops in 12 regular season games. He also recorded three interceptions after not recording a pick during his first two seasons in New York. Lee also broke up a career high five passes. But he did fail to record a forced fumble or a sack after doing so in each of his first two NFL seasons. In 40 games, the 6’1, 232-pound linebacker has 36 starts to his credit that includes starts in each of his last 27 games. He has 238 tackles to go with 153 solo stops. Lee also has 4.0 career sacks, 11 career passes defensed and three career interceptions.

Lee enjoyed a stellar career at The Ohio State University while helping the Buckeyes capture the 2014 national championship. During his final two seasons in Columbus, Lee recorded 146 tackles (27.0 for loss) to go with 11.0 sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

ArDarius Stewart Jersey

Pittsburgh guard Ramon Foster is asking his ex-teammates to stop the criticism of current Steelers players.

The latest social-media salvo was fired early Thursday morning by former Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall, who called quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a racist in a series of tweets. Mendenhall, who played for Pittsburgh from 2008-12, was addressing accusations that wideout Antonio Brown quit on the team when he did not play in the 2018 season finale.

“Moving forward…any former player or affiliate of the Steelers who has an issue with anyone still in the locker room, please contact me or Maurkice Pouncey or anyone else you feel you can talk to,” Foster wrote in response on Twitter. “Whoever you have an issue with, we will get you their number so you can address them. I PROMISE.

“These media takes might give y’all good traffic on your social media outlets but the guys still in that locker room, who y’all still know personally have to answer for those comments. Call them what you want, but call them personally and tell THEM. Defend who you want to defend but you don’t have to mention the team at all.”

–Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray had a pre-draft visit with the New York Giants, and he reportedly will head to an NFC East rival next.

Multiple outlets reported the Giants visit, and Murray posted a photo on social media of the outside of the team’s facility. The MMQB reported Murray also will visit the Washington Redskins next week.

–All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda agreed to a one-year contract extension with the Baltimore Ravens through the 2020 season, ESPN reported.

Some speculated the 34-year-old veteran, a seven-time Pro Bowler, might retire this offseason. Yanda was entering the final year of a four-year, $32 million deal signed in 2015.

An Iowa product, Yanda has been with the Ravens since they drafted him in the third round in 2007. He ranks seventh in franchise history with 162 games played.

–Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette was arrested on suspicion of driving with a suspended license, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

His license had been suspended for failing to pay a speeding ticket, according to multiple reports.

Fournette was cited on Nov. 17 for driving 37 mph in a 25 mph zone, which carried a fine of $204, according to the Duval County Clerk of Courts. The 24-year-old was released on a $1,500 bond. The team said it is aware of the situation but declined further comment.

–The Jets signed former Packers and Ravens running back Ty Montgomery.

Terms were not disclosed, but multiple outlets reported the deal is for one year.

A converted wideout, the 26-year-old Montgomery spent his first three-plus seasons with Green Bay before being traded to Baltimore for a 2020 seventh-round pick in October.

–Dallas Cowboys right tackle La’el Collins is recovering from surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder, he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Collins had the operation in January and expects to be ready for training camp.

The 25-year-old has started all 32 games at right tackle for Dallas over the past two seasons.

–The Jaguars claimed guard Parker Ehinger off waivers from the Cowboys.

Ehinger, 26, missed all of 2018 with a knee injury sustained in training camp. He started four games in 2016 and one in 2017 with Kansas City.

–Free agent defensive tackle Tyeler Davison will visit the San Francisco 49ers on Friday, NFL.com reported.

Davison, 26, recently visited the Atlanta Falcons, per reports. He had 23 tackles and two sacks in 14 games (12 starts) for the New Orleans Saints last season.

–Former NFL and Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood was scheduled to appear in court in Las Vegas after being charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 5-year-old girl, according to court records.

The alleged victim was the daughter of Wood’s girlfriend, identified by local media as 26-year-old Amy Taylor, who also was taken into custody Tuesday night at Summerlin Hospital.

The Clark County Coroner’s Office confirmed 5-year-old La’Ravah Davis died at the hospital that night, KVVU-TV in Las Vegas reported.

–Former Alabama wide receiver and New York Jets draft pick ArDarius Stewart was arrested in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on suspicion of carrying a pistol without a permit, AL.com reported.

Stewart was being held on $500 bond, according to the report.

Stewart was selected by the Jets in the third round of the 2017 draft after a decorated career with the Crimson Tide but was out of football in 2018.

–The Giants signed former Alliance of American Football cornerback Henre’ Toliver. Toliver, 22, had two pass breakups and 13 tackles in eight games with the Salt Lake Stallions of the AAF.

Marcus Maye Jersey

When the offseason began, cornerback Brian Poole wasn’t a name you heard floated about as a possible free-agent target for teams. But after three seasons in Atlanta, the Falcons elected not to tender the restricted free agent and he hit the open market. The Jets were in need of a corner to play inside the numbers and the one-year deal made sense for both sides.

“I like playing in the nickel, but I can play on the outside as well,” Poole said after signing his contract with the Green & White.

While Poole could line up outside occasionally for the Jets, it’s expected the 5’9”, 213-pounder will predominantly line up over the slot receiver. He is coming off his best pro season as he registered career highs in interceptions (3), sacks (3) and tackles (74).

“First and foremost, I’m physical,” he said. “I’m fast, I’m a cover guy. I do a good job blitzing as well.”

An undrafted free agent out of Florida, the 26-year-old Poole appeared in 47 games for the Falcons and made 21 starts. Playing in 2,167 snaps, Poole collected 196 stops, five sacks and four interceptions in addition to 20 pass defenses. He will spend a lot of time in coverage, but Poole’s ability to get to the quarterback could be a perfect fit for aggressive defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

“We talked a little scheme, so I’m definitely excited about the role he has for me,” Poole said of Williams.

Poole will find comfort inside the Jets’ locker room that includes two fellow Florida products in OL Jonotthan Harrison and S Marcus Maye. During their SEC days, Poole and Maye lined up for years together in the Gator backfield.

“I feel like the whole secondary is great,” said Poole, who was recruited by Maye over social media. “I’m excited to work with all those guys.”

The Jets secondary could look dramatically different than last season. The hope is Maye, who was limited to just six games in 2018 due to shoulder and thumb ailments, will pair up with Pro Bowler Jamal Adams for a full year at safety. After an uneven campaign, cornerback Trumaine Johnson, a first-tier addition in free agency last spring, could thrive under Williams once again after they tasted success together with the Rams. Across the way, the versatile Darryl Roberts re-signed while Morris Claiborne, who started 30 games in 2017-18, remains a free agent.

With teams forced into sub packages nowadays, the nickel position is a starting spot on defense. Buster Skrine signed with the Chicago Bears in free agency and the Green & White elected to go in a different direction with Poole. Speedster Parry Nickerson, a sixth-round pick in 2018, should provide competition there and the draft remains. But Poole fills a significant need and he’s eager to start anew on a team with plenty of fresh faces.

“Coach Gase is great. I got a chance to meet him yesterday,” Poole said. “Really great guy. Made me feel at home, so I definitely feel like this is the place for me.”

Jamal Adams Jersey

The Baltimore Ravens had one of the greatest linebacker-safety combinations in NFL history with a pair of Hall of Famers in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. When the Jets inked former Ravens ILB C.J. Mosley to a lucrative contract in free agency, safety Jamal Adams immediately thought of that B-More dynamic duo and what could possibly be on the horizon in NYC.

“It’s exciting, it’s crazy,” Adams said. “I’m not comparing us to them, but in a way I’m saying it can be something special like that. And when I say that, I mean Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. That’s the first thing that came in my mind and I hit him (Mosley) up. I told him we can do something special just like those guys if we put our minds to it and just keep working, stay humble and keep our faith. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Different players and different skillsets and different eras, but the 23-year-old Adams is a football historian. From the moment he became a Jet in 2017, he wanted to do anything he could to help the organization become a winner.

“When I came into it, obviously I wanted to change some things and get this team where it needs to be. Not only does the organization deserve it, the fans out here deserve it,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming and I can tell you we’re excited for this new chapter.”

When the 2018 campaign reached a conclusion in New England, an emotional Adams said the Jets needed more “dawgs.” The organization followed through with a productive free agency period that included the signings of two players who are arguably the best at their position in the NFL: RB Le’Veon Bell and ILB C.J. Mosley. A three-down ‘backer who had 597 tackles and 15 individual takeaways in five seasons with the Ravens, Adams didn’t think the Jets would have much of a chance to add Mosley when the two lined up together for the AFC during Pro Bowl Week.

“Obviously he’s a tremendous player, I was excited to get him,” Adams said of Mosley. “I kind of recruited him at the Pro Bowl. I didn’t think they’d get rid of him, no one did. He came to us and I can’t tell you how excited I am.”

Both Mosley, entering his sixth season out of Alabama, and Adams, beginning his third pro campaign out of LSU, share the same language. Both are former first-round picks out of the Southeastern Conference who are punishing hitters with gifted football minds and they play through the whistle while running sideline to sideline.

“He comes from that SEC tree. I understand him and he understands me, and I can’t wait to get out there with him,” Adams said. “I can tell you that.”

While the pickup of Mosley may have been unforeseen, Adams applied the full-court press in his recruitment of Bell this offseason. The Jets’ elite young safety knows how much stress a multi-dimensional weapon can put on a defense.

“He can do everything. He can run you over, he can be patient and make you miss,” Adams said. “He can flex out and run receiver routes, he can do it all. That’s what makes him special. The most important thing is he’s a great leader, and he’s going to help Sam out and he’s going to help that offense out.”
Adams and the rest of his teammates — both new and old — got back to work Monday as the Jets offseason program began. The first step in the process is chemistry, but the talent is there to start a new era on the right foot.“We’re getting there, brick by brick,” he said. “We just have to keep stacking, keep working and have the team continue to get closer to each other because that’s what it’s about. As long as you have a good locker room, good guys in there, guys that want to win, guys that are eager to win and a coaching staff that is very talented that we have, you can’t get any better. So when you add it all together, it’s going to be special.”