WR Braylon Edwards
Back in March, when fans were still skeptical about his dropped passes, I wrote "Why Braylon Edwards IS the Right Man for the Jets WR1 Job." The goal of that article was to warm fans up to the idea of Edwards being the playmaker he was back in college, and I think it has done just that.
The acquisition of Santonio Holmes will help draw coverage from opposing secondaries, limiting the double-teams we saw Braylon go up against last season. Edwards is big, he likes to play physical, and he is EXPLOSIVE. I don't know any CB in the NFL that can contain him sans Charles Woodson and Darrelle Revis. If you don't play him physical with press coverage, he will eat you alive. His explosiveness and athleticism makes him very fun to watch.
Let's go back to what critics have said about him, his dropped passes. With Braylon, I don't think it's a mechanical thing, rather more of a concentration issue. He has good hands, as we saw from his college days back at Michigan. In this regard, I think he is comparable to Terrell Owens, who was always good at getting open, but lacked the eye-hand coordination to consistently catch the ball. Edwards has been working hard on this in the offseason, and I think it will pay dividends.
After this season, Browns' fans will be more miserable than when Lebron James left Ohio, because Braylon Edwards is going to have a career year.
FS Brodney Pool
The new acquisition has found himself in a training camp position battle which he is favored to win, in a system where he can really excel. Need I mention his motivation here? Pool was drafted by the Browns with their second pick in the 2005 draft, and spent all five seasons with that struggling franchise. ProFootbalFocus has him ranked as the #5 safety in the NFL, and he ranks very high in coverage.
I do see similarities between his game, and Kerry Rhodes,' which is why I think he will succeed in our system. His best trait is that he covers a lot of ground, and that's something you need in a 3-4 defense predicated on man coverage like ours is (especially if we're playing some cover-1). While he has not been much of a big play guy, neither was Rhodes. HOWEVER, Pool has much better hands, and if he's in the position to make an interception, he'll make it.
Our own David Wyatt had his sights set on this guy weeks before we acquired him for various reasons, and I really think he's going to have a career year here. He's a quiet player that has great range and displays a great deal of consistency, and that's exactly what we need.
The two remaining "core four" players that remain unsigned:
C Nick Mangold
He's in the final year of his contract, and is currently looking for a long-term deal.. Nick is rated as the #1 center in the NFL by ProFootballFocus, and many scouts and analysts agree with their assessment. The Jets have not always had the benefit of being loaded with talent throughout the last couple of decades, but they have always good centers --- Mangold is no exception.
If I had the ability to create the ‘perfect center,' that player's skillset would be very similar to that of Mangold's, who is the TOTAL package. He is the perfect mix of size and athleticism, which makes him very versatile in what he can do. Mangold has great strength and can handle bull-rushers, but also has the football IQ and instincts to sniff out where the blitz is coming from.
"Iron Man" Mangold, as I referred to him in THIS article a couple of months back, has not missed a game since entering the NFL. He's a hard worker, and a great locker room presence. While he is young, he has already had a great career, and I look for him to have his "breakout" year with the absence of veteran LG Alan Faneca on the O-Line. This is the year Mangold will have to step up and be a leader, and this is the year he finally gets the recognition he so deserves.
ILB David Harris
Also in the final year of his contract and looking for a long-term deal. However, of all of the "core four," he has been the one who was remained most quiet about the situation, and I think he's going to let his play on the field dictate how much he's worth. Harris has improved exponentially each season as a Jet, and I see this season as the one when everything falls into place for him.
What makes Harris so great? His versatility, he can do it all. Like Mangold, he also has a great football sense/instincts, which allows him to sniff out the pass or run and his explosive closing speed helps him to act on that accordingly. He can also blitz too, and has the physical presence to be able to collapse the pocket.
Harris has size, speed, and mental toughness. He is now entering the fourth year of his career, and I think playing alongside veteran ILB Bart Scott in 2009 helped him a good bit. Harris has continued to grow and better himself with experience, and I see this season being no different. Towards the end of last season he looked more comfortable then I've ever seen him, and I think Harris is primed to breakout and have a "career year" in 2010-11.