Todd McShay

Jaguars Looking At OL Ekwonu With Top Pick

We wrote a bit in January about NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu potentially being the best offensive lineman in the draft. Well, he certainly thinks so, as he told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine Thursday that he’d “definitely deserve” to be drafted No. 1 overall, according to Darryl Slater of

He’s not totally off base in his thinking. ESPN’s Mel Kiper mocked Ekwonu to Jacksonville in his latest mock draft just before the Combine. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, many at the Combine, including ESPN’s Todd McShay, expected Ekwonu to blow up in Indianapolis.

There’s already been a bit of talk connecting Ekwonu to the Jaguars. General manager Trent Baalke has a tendency to prefer explosive linemen and Ekwonu demonstrated his explosiveness in field drills including an impressive sub-5.00 second 40-yard dash. Baalke and new head coach Doug Pederson will be looking to put together a group at offensive line that can protect former No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence and create holes for running backs James Robinson and Travis Etienne.

Jawaan Taylor is expected to compete with Walker Little for the right tackle job. Captain Brandon Linder should return to form at center after MCL and ankle injuries forced him to miss a large part of the 2021 NFL season. Andrew Norwell is expected to hit the free agent market and Cam Robinson could join him if the team decides not to utilize their franchise tag on Robinson for the second straight year. Veteran sixth-man Tyler Shatley was recently re-signed and Ben Bartch could help out at guard. So the versatility of Ekwonu could line him up as the perfect choice for Jacksonville’s current situation, where lots of question marks surround the depth chart. Even so, the Jaguars could also fall in love with Evan Neal, who is largely seen as the top pure tackle in the draft.

Still, the redshirt sophomore out of Raleigh is a young, talented prospect with the ability to dominate at tackle or guard. Even if he slips past Jacksonville at No. 1 overall, don’t expect him to be available after both New York teams get a chance to draft. Ekwonu will aim to be only the third Wolfpack offensive lineman in history to be picked in the first round, the highest-drafted Wolfpack prospect since Bradley Chubb in 2018, and, above that, the first top overall pick out of NC State since Mario Williams in 2006.

Todd McShay To Remain At ESPN; Champ Kelly Likely To Join Jets?

Todd McShay will remain in his role as an ESPN draft analyst rather than continue to pursue a front office position with the Jets, according to Chris Mortensen of (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly — who interviewed for the Jets’ GM position before it went to Joe Douglas — is a candidate to join Gang Green in a different capacity and indeed is likely to be hired, per Rich Cimini of and Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter links). 

McShay, who first joined ESPN in 2006, interviewed for a job with the Jets last week. While he’s never worked in an NFL front office, McShay was a college teammate of Douglas. McShay was the scout team quarterback at the University of Richmond where Douglas was an offensive lineman. Given his high on-air profile, McShay was likely searching for a either a large salary or a critical title with New York.

Kelly also enjoys a prior relationship with Douglas, having worked with both him and new Jets head coach Adam Gase with the Bears. A Kentucky alum, Kelly has also spent time with the Broncos during his front office career. He was one of four candidates to interview for the Jets’ GM job, joining Douglas, the Saints’ Terry Fontenot, and the Seahawks’ Scott Fitterer.

Jets To Interview Todd McShay, Phil Savage

The Jets are set to speak with ESPN analyst Todd McShay and former Browns GM Phil Savage this week about roles in the front office, according to’s Rich Cimini (on Twitter). Both men have ties to new GM Joe Douglas and could be fits for the revamped evaluations department. 

Savage has served as both a coach and an executive during his long football career. After a decade with the Ravens, he moved on to the Browns and ascended to the role of GM. In the 2007 draft, he selected team pillar Joe Thomas No. 3 overall, but also traded up to select Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn, who turned into yet another quarterback flop for Cleveland. He was fired in 2008, and eventually moved on to the Eagles. While he didn’t overlap with Douglas in Philly, the two men worked together while in Baltimore.

McShay and Douglas, meanwhile, were college teammates. McShay was the scout team quarterback at the University of Richmond where Douglas was an offensive lineman. Given McShay’s high profile (and presumably large salary) at ESPN, it’ll probably take a major title to lure the draft analyst away from TV.

Interestingly, McShay is not the first media member to be connected to a Jets front office position. Earlier this offseason, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah was reportedly being considered for a job, though he declined the opportunity. There was also talk of NFL Network’s Peter Schrager having some level of involvement in the Jets’ GM search, though he denied those reports.

Jets Notes: Douglas, Powell, Darnold

We learned earlier today that NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah wouldn’t be joining Joe Douglas‘s staff in New York, but the Jets’ new GM could look to another TV analyst. ESPN’s Todd McShay told ESPN’s Rich Cimini that he’s under consideration for a front office role (Twitter link).

“Joe is considering multiple options and I’m one of the options,” McShay said.

The two go far back, as Douglas and McShay were teammates at the University of Richmond. The ESPN draft analyst is expected to meet with the general manager later this week.

Let’s check out some more notes coming out of New York…

  • Count Sam Darnold among those who are excited to have Bilal Powell back in green. The Jets announced yesterday that they re-signed the veteran running back to a one-year deal. “Great to have BP back,” Darnold told Cimini (Twitter link). “Can’t wait to get to work with him. I haven’t seen him in a while, so it’s going to be nice to just be able to see him. BP is a great guy and obviously a great player, so it’s great to have him back.” Cleared from a scary neck injury that was believed at one point to be a career-threatening malady, Powell will now be preparing for his ninth season in New York. The 30-year-old finished the 2018 season with 11 receptions for 110 yards and one touchdown in seven games (seven starts). He also added 343 rushing yards on 80 carries.
  • Darnold was also optimistic about the team’s hiring of Douglas. “I know that he’s done great things with the Eagles,” Darnold told Cimini (Twitter link). “Every other place he’s been, he’s done a great job, as well. Looking forward to working with him and seeing what he can do for our team.” It’s worth noting that Darnold and Douglas are both represented by agent Jimmy Sexton (along with head coach Adam Gase).
  • Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman released a statement regarding the hiring of the Eagles’ former vice president of player personnel. “We want to thank Joe Douglas for his contributions to our organization,” Roseman said. “We will miss Joe personally and professionally…He’s a tireless worker who played an integral role in helping to construct our Super Bowl-winning roster. He deserves this opportunity and the Jets are lucky to have him as their GM just like we were to have him in Philadelphia.”
  • It sounds like Gase will already have a task for Douglas. The head coach told Brian Costello of the New York Post that the team is thin at cornerback. “I think we’re thin at more than just corner,” Gase said. “There’s some other spots where if we have some injuries, it could be an issue. That’s why we have to keep finding ways to create competition.” Trumaine Johnson, Darryl Roberts and Brian Poole are currently slotted in as the team’s starting cornerbacks.
  • Either way, Gase is confident that the organization can find another defensive back as other teams begin trimming their rosters. “You kind of get in the middle of June and all of a sudden some guys get cut free due to salary issues, you get the waiver wire, you’ll just always comb that thing, see if you can create competition whether it’s a corner or at any other position,” Gase said. “That’s why the pro department’s got to do a great job going through, you know, when we get closer to those cuts and training camp, of just keeping their eyes open, and then you always have to be alert for if any trades pop up. I mean, you just never know the amount of phone calls that go in and out between organizations. It’s a lot more than what people realize sometimes, and we just have to be ready to be aggressive if we need to be.”