Wed, 12 May 2021

Jay Mandolesi and Dom Green Worked Through Pandemic’s New Reality Jack Bell

The draft is the lifeblood of NFL teams. And for the Jets, a team with 5 of the first 87 selections -- a scout's dream -- later this month in Cleveland, a transfusion of new talent and spirit could be transformative. How we got to this point this year, however, has been unlike any that preceded it.

Sure, the 2020 draft was conducted from the basement of Commissioner Roger Goodell's home. That was weird, no doubt, but for Jets college scouts, who usually spend more than 200 days a year on the road, the coronavirus pandemic has made their job more like working at a radio station than beating the bushes for talented football players.

"I normally see 10 games in a normal year," Jets scout Jay Mandolesi told Eric Allen and Ethan Greenberg on the Jets Draft Podcast. "This year one of the benefits has been being able to be a dad a little more. I can take my kids to school, which I'm usually not able to do. At same time I have a job to do. It's like a radio station, when doors shut I'm on the air. At the end of day I still have a job to get done."

Mandolesi and his scouting colleague Dom Green said that the altered landscape has changed the equation when it comes to evaluating players and interacting with them and others.

"There's only one shot for these kids to perform on Pro Days," Green said. "In the past, the kids had the Combine, all-star game opportunities. This year, for a lot of these guys, it was all boiling down to one day."

With a new coaching staff coming on board throughout January, Mandolesi, Green and the rest of the Jets' scouting crew have had to adjust their approach.

"The coaches did a tremendous job of letting us know what they like," Mandolesi said. "We have a better feel for what fits in to their systems, and now we go back to find the type of player our coaches want. They showed us the traits they really like. They've been really active in letting us know their standards."

Green added: From the new staff we "have a clear, concise vision of who they want to build with on both sides of ball. Our job is to find out what players can do and what they can't do."

With the Jets' mouth-watering draft capital, this year and in 2022, both scouts are pumped to see the picks have a huge impact on the Jets' future.

"We can't be more excited to have this many picks," Mandolesi said.

Pro Days Winners

It's all over except for the waiting.

The NFL Draft is a little more than two weeks away. More than 100 colleges and universities hosted Pro Days (some schools, like Alabama and Ohio State hosted more than one) to showcase their top players.

The runup to the draft, actually the entire college football season, has been anything but business as usual amid the coronavirus pandemic. A limited number of games by a limited number of teams, only one all-star game (the Senior Bowl), no NFL Scouting Combine, little time for scouts to meet and measure candidates.

ESPN.com senior writer Jeff Legwold recently took a step back and surveyed the recently completed glut of Pro Days.

It's all over except for the waiting.

The NFL Draft is a little more than two weeks away. More than 100 colleges and universities hosted Pro Days (some schools, like Alabama and Ohio State hosted more than one) to showcase their top players.

The runup to the draft, actually the entire college football season, has been anything but business as usual amid the coronavirus pandemic. A limited number of games by a limited number of teams, only one all-star game (the Senior Bowl), no NFL Scouting Combine, little time for scouts to meet and measure candidates.

ESPN.com senior writer Jeff Legwold recently took a step back and surveyed the recently completed glut of Pro Days.

Stock Soars

Rashawn Slater: The Northwestern tackle opted out of the 2020 college season. He's played both right and left tackle (he could play guard in the NFL). At 6-4, 310, he's quick and versatile, and although scouts only had his 2019 film before seeing him in person, he was impressive in his Pro Day set and is likely to be selected among the top 15 picks. Quinn Meinerz: OK, it may be easy to discount a hulking offensive lineman who did not play a snap in 2020 because his school, Wisconsin-Whitewater, canceled its season. He wowed scouts in the one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl, while also running a sub-4.9 40-yard dash at 320 pounds. Creed Humphrey: The Oklahoma center did not surrender a sack last season and his quick feet in shuttle drills yielded times seen more often from players at skill positions. Jayson Oweh: One pro scout summed up the Pro Day performance of the Penn State edge rusher this way: "High-end ridiculous." At 6-5, 257, Oweh ran 4.3 in the 40, and had a 39.5-inch vertical jump. Though he finished last season with zero sacks, the sophomore could be among one of the first three edge rushers selected. Micah Simon: While the eyes of the NFL world were trained on BYU QB Zach Wilson, Simon ran a 4.3 in the 40 as he snagged some of Wilson's Pro Day tosses. Simon went undrafted last year after the BYU Pro Day was canceled in the early days of the pandemic. He did not sign with an NFL team and did not play in 2020. But his performance was enough to cause the Carolina Panthers to sign him days after this year's Pro Day to catch passes from the Jets former QB Sam Darnold.

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