Joe Douglas has a terrible poker face.
Douglas, assistant GM Rex Hogan and new head coach Robert Saleh participated in the usual pre-draft conference call Thursday, one week from the start of the 2021 NFL Draft. They discussed draft strategy, but Douglas tap danced around any questions surrounding BYU’s quarterback Zach Wilson.
When Douglas was asked about what he thought of Wilson as a prospect, he treated the question like a hot stove.
“I really don’t want to get into any individual assessments of any prospect. Right now, I feel like we’ll have plenty of time to discuss, any prospect we decide to choose after we choose them,” Douglas said. “We don’t want to give everyone answers to our test.”
Douglas gave a smirk after.
We know it’s only a formality at this point on who the Jets are going to take with the No. 2 overall pick on April 29. So it’s all good.
With a rookie quarterback coming in, the GM said the Jets need to focus on building the roster beyond just the offense.
“There is a balance you’re trying to strike. You’re trying to build the best team that you can possibly build. That’s offense, defense and special teams,” he said. “There also is an importance to really doing everything we can to provide what we can to make a young quarterback successful.”
Saleh felt confident about the development of a new QB because of the scheme the Jets will be running.
“From a schematic standpoint, the scheme that (Mike) LaFleur is bringing is the best scheme in the world, from an offensive standpoint, in my opinion,” Saleh said. “So we’re very confident in the systems that we’re bringing and we’re very confident in our ability to develop and help players reach their maximum potential.”
The Jets might add to their offensive line in the draft, looking for offensive linemen that fit the wide zone scheme. But Hogan was content with where the unit currently stood.
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“They’re gonna install the wide zone scheme so we’ll focus more on offensive linemen who fit in that in the future as we continue to build the line,” Hogan said. “But we feel good about the group we currently have right now and their ability to make the adjustment to this new scheme.”
Cornerback is a need for the Jets in the upcoming draft. What Saleh will look for in a cornerback is simple: somebody that can play man-to-man.
“First and foremost whether or not they can win and man coverage, that’s the big thing. Every single game comes down to whether to a one on one situation,” Saleh said. “There’s a million different ways to skin a cat. Richard Sherman is 6-3 3 and you guys see the big lanky guy. Then you got Jason Verrett, who’s this little itty bitty guy. Completely different body types and skill sets but they both win in man coverage.”
Douglas also addressed the possibility of trading up or down in the draft.
“We start those conversations now,” he said. “We started making the calls, or receiving the calls to other teams. Maybe there’s interest in moving up or moving back, so there’s groundwork that goes into these trades that happened before the draft. Once you’re in the draft, a lot of it depends on who’s left on the board, if you’re comfortable giving up what it takes to move up or are you comfortable moving back and feeling like you can get the player that you’re still excited about acquiring.”
The Jets and free agent cornerback Richard Sherman have been linked throughout the offseason because of Saleh’s time with the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. When asked Saleh declined to dive into the possibility of being Sherman aboard.
“I love Sherm. There’s a lot of things that I’ll leave for Joe on with regards to that,” Saleh said.