The New York Jets have signed offensive lineman Brian Winters, their third-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, to a four-year rookie contract, making him the first Jets’ 2013 draft pick to sign his NFL rookie deal.
Winters, (above, left) a 6’4, 320-lb Ohio native, played mostly tackle for the Kent State Golden Flashes, but is expected to play guard in the pros, where he will have a legitimate shot at earning a starting job as a rookie.
The Jets selected Winters 72nd overall in round three, and they loaded up on big bodies in the later rounds of the draft, as new general manager John Idzik values the power of internal competition for future on-field success.
After letting both of their starting guards (Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore) test free agency, the competition at the two guard positions will likely be as intense as any position battle on the field during training camp.
Winters, a three-time All-MAC selection, will likely be competing with incumbent guard Vladimir Ducasse, veteran free agent additions Willie Colon and Stephen Peterman, and fellow rookies both drafted and undrafted.
With the Jets learning a new offensive system in 2013, everybody will enter training camp with a relatively clean slate, and an equal opportunity to earn their keep and carve out a role for themselves, whatever that may be.
The Jets will hold their three-day rookie mini-camp this weekend, starting on Friday. Kudos to Winters for getting his contract signed and out of the way ahead of time. Now, the focus will be firmly on the field, as it should be.