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.

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.”

Trenton Cannon Jersey

NFL special teams units have parallels to MLB bullpens in that the faces frequently change and it’s hard to stay on top. After the Jets’ special teams units were arguably the best in football, coordinator Brant Boyer will attempt to duplicate the success the Green & White had in 2018 with some different personnel.

At the conclusion of his hour-long session with reporters at the NFL League Meetings, Jets head coach Adam Gase was asked about free agent pickup Josh Bellamy.

“I love Bellamy. Bellamy is one of those guys that can play all three spots at the wide receiver position, and he’s a really good special teams player,” Gase said. “This guy has never had a bad day in his life — I promise you that. This guy brings juice all day long. You talk about a guy that loves hitting the practice field, he loves being in meetings and he loves being in the locker room. He loves playing football and he’s infectious. When you see Josh and you’re a coach, you get juiced up because you see he infects everybody. He is a fire starter.”

Upon signing with the Jets, Bellamy said he was comfortable playing on all four special teams units and added that he wanted to be the backup kicker. Gase, who was the Bears’ offensive coordinator in 2015, loved the 6’0”, 206-pounder’s competitiveness as Bellamy contributed with 19 catches for 224 yards with two touchdowns.

“The year I was with him in Chicago, he was one of our starters. This guy was a former DB. He caught six balls in a game and that was the most he’d ever caught in his life, including high school,” Gase said. “I learned what a competitor he was, I learned what a worker he was. He is a self-made guy. He has made himself who he is at this point in his career. He’s a fun guy to coach and guys love playing with him. I’m excited to just be around him again.”

Backup linebacker Neville Hewitt and reserve safety Doug Middleton will both be donning green & white again after re-signing this offseason. Hewitt (12 tackles) and Middleton (7 tackles) finished second and fifth, respectively, in special teams tackles for the Jets in 2018.

While safety Terrence Brooks, who led the club in special teams snaps with 392, joined the Patriots in March, outside linebacker Brandon Copeland and tight end Eric Tomlinson re-upped with New York’s AFC representative. Despite making a career-high 10 starts last season and racking up five sacks, the 6’3”, 263-pound Copeland was second to only Brooks in terms of ST snaps with 323 and he pitched in with five stops.

The Jets will have new specialists in 2019. After Jason Myers turned in a stellar campaign, the Jets negotiated with the AFC Pro Bowler before he elected to sign a lucrative deal with the Seattle Seahawks. So the Jets immediately transitioned back to Chandler Catanzaro, a strong-legged kicker who converted 83.3% of his attempts for the Green & White in 2018 while working with LS Thomas Hennessy and P Lachlan Edwards.

“They will always want to keep the guy that they had. It didn’t work out with us and then Cat Man ends up coming on board,” Gase said. “They felt great about him because they’ve worked with him before, they know him. They know kind of how they’re going to work with the long-snapper and the punter. They have a good system to where they feel good about him.”

While the Jets filled their hole at kicker, a critical vacancy remains at the return position. Andre Roberts departed to Buffalo in free agency after being named first-team AP All-Pro for a season that saw him rank first in the NFL in punt return average (14.1) and second in kick return average (24.9).

New slot receiver Jamison Crowder was Washington’s primary punt returner from 2015-17 and Trenton Cannon, a sixth-round pick last April who ended up leading the Jets with 16 tackles on special teams, is a burner who was originally drafted primarily for his potential impact at returner.

But who will be the Jets returner in 2019?

“That’s a good question. We’ll leave it at that,” Gase said in Phoenix. “That’s going to be one we’re going to have to work through and we still have a ways to go. We might not see Brant for like months.”

Chris Herndon Jersey

Sometimes, the saying goes, you have to tear something down, then build it back up.

That’s kind of what the Jets did with their tight end position. Chris Herndon and Jordan Leggett were staying around but everything else was in play.

After one week of free agency, the position has been reassembled — and special teams has also benefited — with the additions of a new talent and a familiar face.

The newbie is Daniel Brown, the fifth-year man who played eight games with Baltimore in 2015-16, then 34 more with Chicago through last season’s playoffs.

“I was just looking for the best opportunity for me and my career,” Brown said. “Having talked with the staff here, we felt like that was the best opportunity. The best way to go was to sign with the Jets.”

And the familiar face belongs to Eric Tomlinson, who spent the past three seasons with the Jets, playing in 36 games and starting 29.

“I visited with a few other teams,” Tomlinson said after entering the free agent market last week and returning to the Green & White this week. “In the end, I always wanted to stay here. I’ve really enjoyed my time here, so it’s great to be back here.”

While Brown is new in town, he’ll be seeing several familiar faces himself in the Atlantic Health Training Center. The Bears had Dowell Loggains and John Dunn on their coaching staff when Brown was there, and now Loggains is the Jets’ offensive coordinator and Dunn is coaching the tight ends.

“Having decent production with Dowell and with what John taught me in Chicago, it makes for a fun offense,” Brown said. “Tight ends were very featured in that offense and I think it’s an exciting offense to be in.”

And for a short while, Brown played on a Ravens offense that in practice went up against a vaunted defense featuring inside LB C.J. Mosley.

“He’s a stud. The Jets got a good one in C.J.,” he said. “I’m happy to be playing with him again. I know the defense here had a good, strong core, but adding him is only going to help. They’re getting an All-Pro guy, a Pro Bowler. Be on the lookout.”

Tomlinson, on the other hand, can’t wait to establish a relationship with the UFA “stud” the Jets signed for their offense in RB Le’Veon Bell.

“Just going through it in your mind, it’s like, ‘Dang, I want to start blocking for him already,’ ” ET said. “You can see what Le’Veon can do and what he can bring to the table. It’s going to be great.”

Last year the TE meeting room included, at different times, Clive Walford, who signed this month with Miami, and Neal Sterling, still on the market. Now a new depth chart is in the works.

“I think Chris Herndon is a great football player. He’s going to be a great tight end for a long time,” Tomlinson said. “Also Jordan Leggett, I think they both have potential to be really good. It’s good to be in the same room as them. We kind of teach each other and they might do one thing really good and they can kind of teach me, too.”

As for Adam Gase, his new head coach, Tomlinson offered his expectations in simple terms:

“Just bring that fire, that energy, and get this thing rolling.”

Nathan Shepherd Jersey

FLORHAM PARK – Sam Darnold’s first start as an NFL quarterback has commanded the attention you would expect. Nathan Shepherd’s first start? That’s a different story.

And it always will be with the Jets’ defensive tackle, whose background is unlike any other rookie in the NFL.

Shepherd is 24, played at two schools that will never be mentioned in the same breath as Arkansas and Clemson, and has held a lot of jobs that other players never dreamed of performing.

While Darnold is California bred and played at Southern California, one of college football’s glamour spots, Shepherd is a Canadian who played at Simon Fraser University in Canada before a two-year work experience to help pay his family’s bills and Fort Hays State, a Division II program in Kansas that rarely intrigues pro scouts.

Shepherd’s journey to the NFL and his start Monday night in Detroit against the Lions in Detroit is the stuff on which dreams are made of.

He always thought he could do it, he just didn’t tell his friends.

“You have to fake it to believe it,” Shepherd said Friday as the Jets continued their preparations for the opener.

Shepherd hasn’t faked anything since the Jets coaches first laid eyes on the 6-foot-4, 315-pounder, who is a rare combination of size and speed. When they were scouting him prior to the draft, they put together a list of attributes they were hoping for in their search for a lineman or linebacker who could provide help for their pass rush.

“He checked all the boxes,” said defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers.

He has since the Senior Bowl, where he more than held his own against guard Will Hernandez of UTEP, whom the Giants selected in the second round.

“It’s like football never stopped. College to the NFL, after the first hit, I learned football is the same language, wherever it’s spoken,” Shepherd said. “It’s still the same.”

His life isn’t. He signed a four-year, $3.5 million contract, including a signing bonus of close to $1 million.

As Shepherd says proudly, “Football is now my only job.”

It wasn’t that way during his extended college career. He spent two years at Simon Fraser, worked for two years because he could no longer pay tuition, and then finished off at Fort Hays, where he moonlighted as a concession worker at sporting events, security at basketball games and a bouncer. While in school in Canada, he worked in a plant nursery and in electrical construction, where he spent his breaks on 12-hour shifts doing nearly 1,000 push-ups a day.

“He’s tough,” said Jets coach Todd Bowles. And he was talking about Shepherd’s approach to the game,

“He doesn’t take a down off, Bowles said. “We just want him to keep doing what he’s done since he got here.”

The Jets need Shepherd as much as he needs them. Without another capable pass rusher in the front of their 3-4 defense (“we have to blitz by committee,” said Rodgers), the Jets are vulnerable to all the double team blocking of Leonard Williams. They want Shepherd to be Muhammad Wilkerson, before he received his big contract from the Jets. With Wilkerson having moved on to Green Bay, they need another interior rusher.

Shepherd gladly accepts that role.

He’s a pro football player now, a starter at that. The perfect ending for his dream story would be a long and productive NFL career. Maybe by then others will have forgotten the schools he attended and the jobs he worked.

“By the end of the day, it’s still football,” said Shepherd. “I definitely know I belong here.”

Sam Darnold Jersey

Since general manager Mike Maccagnan told the media that building around second-year quarterback Sam Darnold was a primary offseason focus, the Jets have added one key piece to every level of the offense — left guard Kelechi Osemele, wide receiver Jamison Crowder and running back Le’Veon Bell.

“We’re going to go out there and try to win every single game this year,” Darnold told newyorkjets.com’s Eric Allen at the team’s new uniform unveiling at Gotham Hall last week. “We have that potential with the guys that we have, the coaching staff that we have. I’m very excited about this team.”

When Bell signed with the Green & White, he said he planned to become Darnold’s security blanket. While offseason workouts began Monday, the two have yet to line up on a football field together and the USC product is already describing his new weapon as “quarterback friendly.”

“Just watching Big Ben (Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger) and him a couple years ago, I feel like Big Ben was going through his first progression, his second and third and then he gets closed in the pocket a little bit,” Darnold said. “Guys are coming after him and all of a sudden he just finds Le’Veon because Le’Veon is there in a friendly spot, numbers to the quarterback. And he’s able to catch the ball and turn it upfield and get a lot of yards after the catch.”

According to Pro Football Focus, Bell recorded 86 receptions for 597 yards behind the line of scrimmage from 2016-17 for an average of 6.9 yds/catch. But the 22-year-old Darnold may have another security blanket in Crowder.

In 47 games (21 starts) from 2015-17, the 5’9”, 177-pound slot receiver was targeted 280 times and caught 192 passes for 2,240 yards and 12 touchdowns with Kirk Cousins under center. Crowder along with Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson and tight end Chris Herndon make for a nice corps that can provide Darnold with multiple options.

“It’s going to be really fun to play with these guys and kind of get a feel throughout OTAs and training camp how we’re going to do things,” Darnold said. “I’m really excited about where we’re going and I also think our offensive line is going to be really good with the addition of KO and some of the other guys we have.”

You could sense that the 2018 No. 3 overall pick is itching to start Year 2 with his new arsenal. All of the players who went to the uniform unveil believe there’s a feeling surrounding the organization of starting new from the jerseys, players and coaching staff led by Adam Gase.

“Players love him and I think right away our guys are going to notice he’s so passionate about the game, it’s going to be hard to go out there and not have that passion,” Darnold said. “Same with Gregg Williams on the defensive side. I think the guys are going to love him (Gase) right away and I think we’re going to take that passion that he has and form around that and create a really good team around that.”