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New York Jets

Tony Pauline Week 11 Mailbag: Justin Herbert, Jets’ NFL Draft talk, and more

2020 nfl mock draft, Justin Herbert a target for the Los Angeles Chargers
Photo Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Every week, I open up the mailbag for anyone to send me their questions on the current college football season, the NFL, or the 2020 NFL Draft. This week, the Week 11 mailbag includes questions on Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, and some talk about FCS prospects potentially making it into the second day of the NFL Draft.

Do you have a question you want to send to me? Send it to [email protected], and we’ll be sure to include it in an upcoming mailbag column. 

The Tony Pauline Mailbag

Considering Mike Tannenbaum’s opinion earlier this week that Oregon’s Justin Herbert is the top quarterback available in the 2020 NFL Draft, could there really be NFL teams higher on Herbert than Tua Tagovailoa or Joe Burrow? What’s your feeling regarding the Cincinnati Bengals camp?

I can tell you this much – Tannenbaum went out west last season to personally scout Herbert, so his recent comments do not surprise me. I’m sure he learned a lesson from his days with the New York Jets when he traded up to draft Mark Sanchez, who had a very short career as a starter in the NFL after some early success. And this was after starting just one full season at USC.

You can justifiably make the case Herbert has the least amount of downside risk of any quarterback who may be eligible in the 2020 NFL Draft; he’s the safest quarterback pick, though I don’t know he’s the most dynamic.

It’s tough to get a handle on what the Bengals are thinking this early in the process considering the make-up of their front office with so few scouts and no real football GM of sorts.

If the New York Jets were drafting today with the current draft order who should they draft with their first-round selection?

I believe after the victory over the Giants that the Jets have the fifth overall pick in the NFL Draft. That likely takes them out of the mix for Ohio State’s Chase Young and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas.

Given the depth of the offensive tackle class and what could be a real good group of centers, assuming the top underclassmen from both positions enter, I would love to see general manager Joe Douglas trade down, collect extra picks, and build the roster.

Assuming that doesn’t or can’t happen, if the Jets are sitting at five I could see them selecting Ohio State cornerback Jeffery Okudah.

If the juniors for the CBs and WRs declare for the NFL Draft, which position would be deeper in 2020?

The receivers, but only by a slight edge. Right now, if we factor in all draft-eligible players at the wide receiver and cornerback positions, I have 47 players who grade as top 125 selections – 26 receivers and 21 cornerbacks.

Tony, why is it that we never hear of drama and allegations surrounding Clemson or Auburn (or the SEC in general) but we hear about Chase Young at Ohio State, among other OSU examples and challenges?

Probably because allegations are just that – allegations until proven otherwise.

Remember, the Chase Young incident was not brought to light by the NCAA; Ohio State found this internally.

In my opinion, it’s a further reason why players should be allowed to be able to earn an income off their names while in college – not get paid by the schools mind you – but endorsements, appearances, etc.

Could we see some FCS players drafted as early as the second or third round of the 2020 NFL Draft? Could Illinois State’s James Robinson find his way there when it’s all said and done?

I don’t think it will be Robinson, who is more of an early day three guy.

Depending on what happens during the Senior Bowl, safety Kyle Dugger of Lenoir Rhyne could move into day two. It could also be tight end Charlie Taumoepeau of Portland State, who is yet to receive an invitation to Mobile. Or maybe it’s Adam Trautman, another tight end from Dayton whose production has been off the charts this season. Trautman has slightly better size but Taumoepeau is a better athlete and faster.

Tony, who do you see being the safer bet on leaving their current program for either a different school or the NFL – Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley or Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck?

I think both guys can write their own tickets. But considering what the league wants these days – offensive-minded coaches who specialize in quarterbacks – I think Riley would have the edge over Fleck.

Tony Pauline is Pro Football Network’s NFL Draft Analyst and Insider. Follow him on Twitter @TonyPauline. Follow PFN on Twitter @PFN365. Also, be sure to join us on Saturday for the PFN College Football Game Day Blog, as Tony and the rest of PFN’s NFL Draft team give the latest analysis and inside scoops on the day’s games.


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