Thursday, April 30, 2009

Last episode of JetsWeekly Podcast Posted!

The Jets Weekly Radio Show will take place from 1:00-2:00 PM today. I will post it on here once it's done, but feel free to post questions in the comments section in the meantime!

Today's show!

Enjoy an hour of Jets talk, draft review, and other odds and ends!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Tuesday After: Grading the Draft

Grading the NFL draft is stupid. I can talk about value, the pros and cons of moving up and down and of choosing particular players all I want, but in the end, all that will matter is how well the players play.

This year takes that notion to the extreme. The Jets entered the draft with just six picks, and they came out of it with just three new players. Mike Tannenbaum moved the equivalent of eight players for two. If the two (Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene) come as advertised, then the draft will be a rousing success. If one of them (Sanchez especially) falters, then 2009 could have been a disaster, a wasted opportunity to address several needs.

Mark Sanchez has all the makings of a franchise quarterback. He throws the ball with pinpoint accuracy with above average arm strength. He's known as a great leader, and he's a smart, intangible-laden football junkie. USC fans loved him, and he's tailor made to be beloved by Jets fans as well.

Rex Ryan and Tannenbaum fell in love with Sanchez during the offseason, and they got him. You have to admire that. If they are right, the Jets have a franchise quarterback, one they've been searching for since Joe Willie Namath retired.

The best thing about the Sanchez deal is the value. Abram Elam, Kenyon Coleman, and Brett Ratliff are all replaceable. In fact Jim Leonhard has already taken Elam's position, and Sanchez is replacing Ratliff. Coleman's departure means the Jets are putting a lot more faith in free agent acquisition Marques Douglas as well as former undrafted free agent Mike DeVito. Still, Coleman had a fairly high salary cap number, and he was a JAG. On top of that, them, the only compensation was the 2nd round pick to move up 12 spots high in the first round. The Jets saw an opportunity to provide their old coach with a few players he values more than the rest of the league, and as a result, they stole Mark Sanchez.

When I first heard the Jets traded up to the first pick of day two, I assumed it was for DE Jarron Gilbert. Coleman's departure opened up a starting spot, and I thought Ryan would want to bring in a young 3-4 DE who seemed to be a great fit. But the Jets identified Iowa tailback Shonn Greene as far and away the best player on the board, and they decided they had an opportunity to get a player they loved who likely wouldn't have fallen to the Jets selection. Greene was the best runningback in college football last year, and he is a load at 5'11", 227. He only ran a 4.65 at the combine, but was down to 4.5 at his pro day.

Still, while Greene looks to be a great complement to Leon Washington, giving up a 4th round pick (and a 7th) to move up to take a 3rd runningback is not a move this team should have made. If Greene is as good as the Jets think he is, then it's a moot point, but it made more sense for this team to hope Gilbert, Michael Johnson, or Greene fell (unlikely) or to grab a receiver and a defensive end to help. Jets' brass must have identified a huge drop in the level of talent in what many consider a very weak draft. We'll see.

All this trading gave the Jets just one more pick, and with it, the team chose OG Matt Slauson
from Nebraska. He's a nasty and versatile guard with good size, and offensive line coach Bill Callahan coached him during his tenure as head coach of Nebraska. Many were surprised at the choice of an offensive lineman with the last pick, but I like this move. A late round receiver would not have been any better than Brad Smith, Chansi Stuckey, or David Clowney, and the team is hurting for offensive line depth. Slauson can play multiple positions on the line, and was one of the top linemen in the Big 12.

The lack of picks means opportunities galore for undrafted free agents, who are listed below.

Undrafted Free Agents
TE Andrew Davie - Arkansas.
DE Jamaal Westerman - Rutgers
DL Matt Kroul - Iowa
P T.J. Conley - Idaho
TE Robert Myers - Utah State
DE Zach Potter - Nebraska
TE J'Nathan Bullock - Cleveland State (former basketball player)
S Emanuel Cook - South Carolina
QB Chris Pizzoti - Harvard
OT Tavita Thompson - Oregon State
OT Kyle Link - McNeese State
FB Brannan Southerland - Georgia
OT Ryan McKee - Southern Mississippi
WR Britt Davis - Northern Illinois
C Michael Parenton - Tulane
DL Ty Steinkuhler - Nebraska
S Keith Fitzhugh - Mississippi State

Of this group, Cook, Pizzoti, Myers, Link, Conley, Potter, Davie, and Myers appear to have the best chance to make the team.

Cook was a highly touted safety in college, but his lack of size and some off-field concerns knocked him out of the draft. He declared as a junior after being declared academically ineligible for South Carolina's bowl game. He's considered a tough and productive run stopper.

Pizzoti may be best known for telling the media that during the sixth round, the Jets called him and told him there was a deal for him if he wasn't drafted. Both sides mutually like each other, and with Eric Ainge's personal concerns, there's an opportunity for him to be the third quarterback. He has the size and the smarts (he's a Harvard kid).

Link has good size and athleticism at tackle. He is new to the position after starting his college career at tight end, but he's a developmental project who could surprise down the line.

Conley had college football's best punting average last season at 47.43 yards per kick. There is no incumbent at the punter position, so Conley could be your opening day punter if he punts like he did at Idaho last year.

Potter is another former Nebraska player. He has the size to be a 3-4 defensive end (6'6", 280), and he's a solid run stopper. He could be this year's Mike DeVito, except bigger. Some outlets had him ranked as a mid-round prospect.

The last two, Myers and Davie, may make the team simply due to the lack of numbers at tight end. Davie played three non-descript years at Arkansas. He offers good size, decent hands, and fairly good blocking, though he lacks speed. Myers is a poor man's Dustin Keller, as he's 6'3", 243 with good speed and good hands. He's had major injury concerns in college, so he barely played, but he has impressive measurables for an H-Back type tight end.

My Grade: A-.
Trading up and giving away depth is not a way to build a football team, but getting a franchise quarterback is. Sanchez has all the tools, and if he lives up to the hype, this draft automatically deserves an A. Greene is a good looking tailback prospect who should form a dynamic thunder and lightning with Leon Washington. Slauson adds depth to an offensive line that drastically needs it. Other needs, such as tight end and defensive end, can be added through free agency.

The undrafted free agent class looks rather promising, with several players primed to make the roster. Several of them could have been 6th or 7th rounders in this year's draft, and the Jets need to get a couple contributors from them if they want any young depth.

The grade would have been higher if: they didn't trade up to bring in a 3rd runningback. Greene is good, and Thomas Jones is probably gone after this season, but RB wasn't an immediate enough need to warrant giving up a 4th round pick.

What this draft could have looked like without any trades?
1. WR Percy Harvin
2. RB Shonn Greene
3. DE Jarron Gilbert
4. TE Anthony Hill
6. OG Matt Slauson
7. S Emanuel Cook

Monday, April 27, 2009

P Reggie Hodges Waived


The Jets must like UDFA T.J. Conley (Idaho, shown above) as the only punter on the roster (EDIT: Eric Wilbur was signed on April 15), Reggie Hodges, has been waived. The silver lining for the Jets' former punter was that he was able to sell his #6 to Mark Sanchez before his release, so hopefully, he made a couple of bucks that way.

As for Conley, he was 6th in the nation in punting average last season (47.4), and he was named a first-team Walter Camp All-American.

Wilbur went undrafted in last year's draft out of Florida after being named a semifinalist for the Ray Guy award.

RB Marcus Mason was waived as well.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

2009 Unofficial Jets Undrafted Free Agent List

I will try to keep this updated with the undrafted free agents the Jets sign as they happen. This list is UNOFFICIAL.

Undrafted Free Agents
TE Andrew Davie - Arkansas.
DE Jamaal Westerman - Rutgers
DL Matt Kroul - Iowa
P T.J. Conley - Idaho
TE Robert Myers - Utah State
DE Zach Potter - Nebraska
TE J'Nathan Bullock - Cleveland State (former basketball player)
S Emanuel Cook - South Carolina
QB Chris Pizzoti - Harvard
OT Tavita Thompson - Oregon State
OT Kyle Link - McNeese State
FB Brannan Southerland - Georgia
OT Ryan McKee - Southern Mississippi
WR Britt Davis - Northern Illinois
C Michael Parenton - Tulane
DL Ty Steinkuhler - Nebraska
S Keith Fitzhugh - Mississippi State

Update (12:16 AM): The Jets contacted Plaxico Burress's agent Drew Rosenhaus before the draft. Tannenbaum says there has been no contact since, but don't trust the man. This could be nothing, but Plaxico makes more sense to the Jets than to a lot of teams. The fact that they called Rosenhaus shows that there's at least some interest. And all it would cost is money. Of course, signing him only can happen if he's not in prison during the season...

Meet 6th round pick OG Matt Slauson


Now that looks like a boar-hunting face!

OG Matt Slauson is the 3rd and final player the Jets chose in the 2009 draft. He's 6'5", 316 and is considered a versatile and tough player. He lacks some strength and athleticism, but he started for four years at Nebraska. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan used to coach him when he was with the Cornhuskers.

So the Jets go into day 2 hoping to get a tight end, defensive end, receiver, maybe another defensive back, and some offensive line help. They end up with a runningback and a backup lineman.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with Slauson. I don't know much about him, but if Callahan likes him, that's enough for me. The Jets needed a young lineman to provide depth, and Slauson will do that.

And Shonn Greene complements TJ and Leon very well, and I'm a big fan of his. Still, giving up a 4th and a 7th for him is a little tough to swallow.

Expect the Jets to go after some priority undrafted free agents. “For all the free agents out there, we are the land of opportunity for you,” said Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum.

Day Two: Jets start day off trading up for RB Shonn Greene

Looks like a 3-man draft this year.

The Jets traded their 3rd, 4th, and 7th round picks to move up 11 spots to grab Iowa back Shonn Greene.

Greene is a perfect compliment to Leon Washington and Thomas Jones, as he is a north-south punishing runningback. He'll help a lot on goal-line situations and short-yardage. In terms of running style, think Marion Barber, another Big 10 bruiser.

Greene is a very good player, and he'll be perfect in green and white, but the Jets have now traded eight players for two in this draft. Mike Tannenbaum has a good history trading up (Darrelle Revis, David Harris), but this is very, very risky, and if Sanchez and Greene don't work, the Jets could be susceptible due to lack of depth.

Jets Day Two Thoughts

San Jose State DE Jarron Gilbert is most likely the team's number one target. He has all the physical attributes to be a great player, and the Jets are rumored to be interested. He just needs to get past San Francisco and New England, the two teams most likely to take him. The Jets have the 12th pick in the third round. If the Jets really like Gilbert, they may try to move up a spots to make sure they grab him, but the ammunition is running out.

If he is gone, look for Purdue DL Alex Magee to be an option, as well as WRs Louis Murphy and Ramses Barden. A blocking tight end such as North Carolina State's Anthony Hill or Fresno State's Bear Pascoe is a distinct possibility with one pick as well.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The NFL Draft Thread


4:05. The draft is close to starting, and the latest rumors may involve WR Michael Crabtree. If he slips past the 7th pick (Oakland) the Jets may be interested in moving up to get the Texas Tech star, and not Mark Sanchez. I wouldn't do it for the price it would likely cost. Crabtree could certainly be a star, but he has several questions around him, and he never ran a 40 yard dash. Plus, mortgaging depth at several positions might be worth it for a quarterback, but not a wide receiver. If Crabtree becomes the star he was in college, I'll regret this, but I wouldn't do it. Sanchez is still a big target. This is going to be intriguing.
4:26. Tyson Jackson to Kansas City! Now it's getting fun! Don't like the pick, it is a reach, but Pioli must want a 3-4 DE to build around that badly.
4:38. Cleveland on the clock. Now the fun starts.
4:40. The Jets are getting Sanchez at 5. A trade has been made. Sanchez is going to be a Jet. Wow.
4:42. They better not give up a first next year.
4:47. Holy cow. Kenyon Coleman, Abram Elam, and Brett Ratliff are GONE. As well as the 1st round pick and 2nd round pick next year. Initial reaction: I like the move. Coleman was a JAG, Elam was expendable with the addition of Jim Leonhard, and Ratliff is obviously expendable. We had the Jetskins. Brown Jets? Bretts? We did that one already. I don't know what I think. At first glance, I like it.
4:56. The new face of the Jets.
4:57. Oakland goes with Heyward-Bey! Al Davis is running the Raiders into the ground! I love it! I almost put it in my mock, but I thought it was too good to be true, to be honest.
5:35. It's too early to totally judge this trade. I'm definitely on board with it because Sanchez can take this level to a team Kellen Clemens probably cannot, and the price wasn't super high, but Sanchez's success will make this trade either a Coleman, Elam, and Ratliff are all replaceable, but now defensive end becomes a need. Look for the team to draft a DE in round three to replace Kenyon Coleman.
5:54. So Jeremy Maclin would have fallen to 17. Wonder if that changes any opinions. I'm curious to see who lasts to the round 2 pick. Maclin is a good receiver.
6:00. Browns move down again to 19! Well, this trade won't be slightly harder to evaluate from both teams' perspectives now.
6:01. Haha, wow. Tampa is taking Josh Freeman. Sanchez and Freeman are essentially traded for each other now. Imagine if Freeman lives up to the hype and Sanchez doesn't...
6:05. The Browns might get a WR they want (Maclin) while picking up 5 extra players on the way.
6:12. Cleveland just traded down again. This time to Philadelphia. Radio stations around here are sure to be buzzing, but Cleveland is just incrementally moving down the draft, grabbing extra picks in the process. This is unbelievable. Philly is getting Maclin.
6:26. The Browns pick up 5 extra players, with Alex Mack as their first pick. Another 1st round C for Eric Mangini.
6:29. Here goes Percy Harvin. That's why I had him at 17. Reports from Minnesota had the Vikings very interested in the Florida star, so I thought if the Jets really liked him, they would take him where they were. Now Minnesota does grab him at 22.
6:36. Of course the Patriots would trade down. Baltimore on the way up. Wonder if they want Michael Oher.

If the Jets move up to take Sanchez...

...they better be damn sure he's the guy. Sanchez looks the part and he interviews well, but trading up again, neglecting young depth at other positions in the process, would be a complete disaster if Sanchez fails.

If he becomes a franchise quarterback, moving up would be an absolute steal, but he had better be that good. With Vernon Gholston off to a horrid start, Sanchez could make back-to-back busts, and considering what it would take to trade up, that could mean the end of Mike Tannenbaum.

The Jets' GM would be putting his entire reputation on the line by moving up. Sanchez has the look and the feel of a franchise quarterback, but one year as a starter is his biggest red flag. Most likely, he would have to sit and learn for a year before he took over, but Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff don't exactly have much knowledge to pass on.

But if the player the Jets want slips to #8, the NFL Network reports that there is a deal in place between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Gang Green. Presumably, that player is Sanchez.

So here are the most likely scenarios with the first round pick.

1. Trade up for Mark Sanchez. Yes, I'm putting it #1 because I'm convinced that's what the team wants to do if he slips to pick 8.
2. Trade up a couple picks (or stay and pray) for WR Jeremy Maclin
3. Trade down to take WR Percy Harvin or possibly WR Darrius Heyward-Bey or TE Brandon Pettigrew. I haven't heard many rumors of a trade-down, but if the guys the team really wants are gone, I could definitely see them moving down to pick up more ammunition to use in trade-ups later on in the draft.
4. Stay put and take any of the previously mentioned guys.
5. Take QB Josh Freeman. (unlikely)

And here's a YouTube of Mr. Sanchez from the Penn State game. It's every pass he threw in that game, so it's not simply highlights.

First Round Mock Draft and Jets Draft Projection

Mock draft (No trades)

1. Detroit Lions – QB Matthew Stafford, Georgia
2. St. Louis Rams – OT Jason Smith, Baylor
3. Kansas City Chiefs – DE Tyson Jackson, LSU
4. Seattle Seahawks – LB Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
5. Cleveland Browns – QB Mark Sanchez, USC
6. Cincinnati Bengals – OT Eugene Monroe, Virginia
7. Oakland Raiders – WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
8. Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
9. Green Bay Packers – DT BJ Raji, Boston College
10. San Francisco 49ers – OT Andre Smith, Alabama
11. Buffalo Bills – DE Aaron Maybin, Penn State
12. Denver Broncos – DE Brian Orakpo, Texas
13. Washington Redskins – OT Michael Oher, Mississippi
14. New Orleans Saints – CB Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State
15. Houston Texans – DE Robert Ayers, Tennessee
16. San Diego Chargers – LB Rey Maualuga, USC
17. New York Jets – WR Percy Harvin, Florida
18. Denver Broncos – LB Brian Cushing, USC
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – QB Josh Freeman, Kansas State
20. Detroit Lions – DT Peria Jerry, Mississippi
21. Philadelphia Eagles – RB Knowshon Moreno, Georgia
22. Minnesota Vikings – OT Eben Britton, Arizona
23. New England Patriots – DE Everette Brown, Florida State
24. Atlanta Falcons – DT Ziggy Hood, Missouri
25. Miami Dolphins – CB Vontae Davis, Illinois
26. Baltimore Ravens – WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland
27. Indianapolis Colts – LB Clay Matthews, USC
28. Buffalo Bills – TE Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma
29. New York Giants – WR Kenny Britt, Rutgers
30. Tennessee Titans – CB Darius Butler, Connecticut
31. Arizona Cardinals – RB Chris “Beanie” Wells, Ohio State
32. Pittsburgh Steelers – OG Eric Wood, Louisville

New York Jets mock draft.

***The Jets trade WR Brad Smith, their 2nd round pick and their 6th round pick for Brady Quinn***

You might ask why I’m putting a trade in now without any in the first round? Well, II think the Browns will take Mark Sanchez and outside of that, there aren’t a ton of confirmed trade rumors, so I just didn’t do any. But if Cleveland takes Sanchez, Brady Quinn will surely go elsewhere. I’d be shocked if Cleveland settled for just a 2nd round pick so soon after trading up to get Quinn in the first round in 2007. Smith would be of interest to Browns’ coach Eric Mangini, and the addition of Harvin combined with the desire to give David Clowney a chance would make the former 4th round pick expendable.

Quinn would give the Jets the quarterback they appear to desire. Depending on who wins the Mark Sanchez sweepstakes, either Washington quarterback Jason Campbell or Quinn will be dealt. The Jets are said to be the team most interested in the former Notre Dame star. He would be the favorite to win the starting job right away over Kellen Clemens. He’s only played in four NFL games, three starts, and he’s completed 48 of 97 passes for 563 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. He was the 22nd pick in the NFL draft, and he has the size (6’4”, 230), arm strength, and intangibles to succeed at a much more reasonable price than Sanchez.

Now, onto the actual picks.

1. WR Percy Harvin, Florida – If the Jets are high on Harvin as Rich Cimini suggests, there is a good chance he is the guy. This pick would cause a lot of bewilderment for Jets fans, even though most of the alternatives have many questions as well. He’s 5’11” with a history of foot/heel/ankle injuries. Plus, he tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine and has built a diva reputation. For the Jets to select him means that they feel they can get him the ball effectively in various ways and that he can be a good receiver. Despite his numerous red flags, the upside is tremendous. He has excellent speed and athleticism and has many of the qualities that made Reggie Bush such a valued commodity. Still, his bust potential makes me think the Jets would try to move down a few picks before they pull the trigger. Since I haven’t heard a specific rumor yet, I didn’t put a trade in. Also, Minnesota at pick 22 is said to be very interested in Harvin, so a trade down may not even be feasible.
3. DT/DE Alex Magee, Purdue – Struggled as a senior as a 4-3 defensive end after b, but he looks like a good fit in the 3-4
4. TE Richard Quinn, North Carolina – Strong blocking tight end who would be a great complement to Dustin Keller.
7. OG Trevor Canfield, Cincinnati – Would fit the Jets’ zone blocking scheme. Good player who ran into some trouble off the field.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jets Draft Board

Here is my best guess at the draft board for the NYJ right now.

1. QB Matthew Stafford
2. QB Mark Sanchez
3. WR Michael Crabtree
4. DT BJ Raji
5. WR Jeremy Maclin
6. DE Tyson Jackson
7. OT Jason Smith
8. OT Eugene Monroe
9. LB Aaron Curry
10. TE Brandon Pettigrew
11. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey
12. OT Andre Smith
13. QB Josh Freeman
14. RB Knowshon Moreno
15. CB Malcolm Jenkins
16. WR Percy Harvin

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What about Josh Freeman?

Rumors are swirling regarding quarterbacks, with Mark Sanchez in the middle of all of it. Will the Jets trade up to get the former USC star? Will Washington trade up for Sanchez, freeing up Jason Campbell for a deal with Gang Green? What if Cleveland likes Sanchez enough to pull the trigger at #5, and Brady Quinn is dealt? Is Quinn available regardless of Sanchez's situation?

Despite the Jets' insistence that they are ready to go into 2009 with Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff at the helm, the trade wins show otherwise, and when there's smoke there's usually fire.

But in a draft full of smokescreens, the fire is usually someone you don't necessarily expect. And in this case, the fire might be 6'6", 250 pounds.

Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman has received little support from most Jets fan including myself. He's raw, he wasn't a big winner; he's not that accurate; he makes too many bad decisions. The doubters are numerous because he has a lot of questions about his game.

Still, there is just as much to like. He has elite size and arm strength and is hard to tackle, think Ben Roethlisberger in that sense. By all accounts, he is smart and hard-working, and all of his flaws can be corrected by good coaching.

The problem with Freeman is that he might have to sit and get some seasoning before he's ready for Broadway, and Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff, and Eric Ainge don't exactly have the experience to teach the rookie. Still, Brian Schottenheimer could mentor Freeman in his first year or two, and Clemens (or Ratliff) could start in the meantime, and the Jets could find out what they had in one of their own guys. If they play well, the Jets can recoup a draft pick before giving Freeman a shot. If neither one stepped up, then there is a young, talented quarterback on the team to take a shot.

And the idea that Freeman is a bad value or not worth the pick is quickly going out the window. Mock drafts are increasingly bumping him up draft boards, where he's not even a lock to be available when the Jets pick anymore. He's firmly a 1st round pick at this point.

But should the Jets pick him?

No. I won't be angry with the pick as I would have been two months ago, but Freeman needs a better situation than New York, with more experienced quarterbacks being able to show him the ropes, and less pressure from the fans and the media. The Jets have a vicious defense on paper. Kellen Clemens has done as much in the NFL as any rookie (or Brady Quinn, for that matter), and he doesn't cost a valuable high draft pick.

Plus, Freeman's rise up the board has been mostly postseason. Sure, he has the physical tools, and his TD/INT ratio got better each year, but his rise is largely due to the dearth of top quarterbacks on a lot of teams. The recent success of Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco can't hurt either.

Pass on Freeman.

*I said I would put my draft board up Thursday. I lied. It needs more editing.

Jets Weekly: Draft Preview Posted

Click here to listen to this week's edition of Jets Weekly.

This week (well, about an hour ago) I spoke about the different quarterback options available, including Brady Quinn, Mark Sanchez, and Jason Campbell, as well as revealing my 17 man draft board, which I will post on here soon.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ranking the Jets' Needs

Here is a list of rankings of every position in terms of need.

Need for Depth
1. Defensive End
2. Tight End
3. Offensive Tackle
4. Wide Receiver
5. Offensive Guard
6. Nose Tackle
7. Cornerback
8. Runningback
9. Quarterback
10. Center
11. Outside Linebacker
12. Safety
13. Inside Linebacker

Need for an Impact Player

1. Wide Receiver
2. Defensive End
3. Quarterback
4. Tight End
5. Nose Tackle
6. Runningback
7. Cornerback
8. Offensive Tackle
9. Offensive Guard
10. Outside Linebacker
11. Safety
12. Inside Linebacker
13. Center

Overall Need

1. Defensive End
2. Wide Receiver
3. Tight End
4. Quarterback
5. Offensive Tackle
6. Nose Tackle
7. Offensive Guard
8. Runningback
9. Cornerback
10. Outside Linebacker
11. Safety
12. Center
13. Inside Linebacker

Should be an interesting weekend...

This should be an exciting weekend to be a Jets fan.

Not only is the NFL Draft this weekend, which is more than enough to feed my football appetite, but the possibilities are endless for what will actually happen. The 17th pick is in play. Mike Tannenbaum has been known to maneuver around the draft, and he's moved up in each of the past two first rounds after moving down on day one in 2006. He's also shown that he's willing to move picks for veterans (Kris Jenkins, Lito Sheppard, Brett Favre).

Now Anquan Boldin could be the next veteran brought in. ESPN's John Clayton reports that the Jets are "heavily involved" in talks for the star wideout. The Cardinals want a 1st and a 3rd round pick, but Boldin's primary suitor, the Baltimore Ravens, are only offering their first round pick (26th) and no more picks. They could expand the deal to include a player, but the Jets also could step in and take Boldin.

According to Rich Cimini
, the Jets feel the 17th pick is too much for Boldin, who has played 16 games just twice in his six year career. They may opt to trade down and then try to make a move, but it's hard to say if the Cardinals will budge from their hefty asking price.

Would you be in favor of acquiring Boldin? Here's a scenario that could happen.

Jets trade 1st round pick (17) for Philadelphia's 1st round pick (21) and two 5th round picks (141 and 153).

Jets then swap the 21st pick for Boldin, picking up two 5th round picks in the process.

I think the deal makes a lot of sense for the Jets.

A more complicated deal could involve Thomas Jones, who is holding out of voluntary workouts. Arizona has a hole at runningback, why not expand the deal to include Jones and get another pick back? The Jets could then draft one of a number of talented 2nd round backs to form a tandem with Leon Washington. Also, if the Jets draft Knowshon Moreno, there's a good chance Jones could be shipped elsewhere.

The other scenario involves moving up to get Mark Sanchez. If he slips past Seattle at #4, the price of moving up would probably be something like a 1st, 2nd, and a 6th. It would be a steep price to pay, but if Sanchez is truly a franchise quarterback, it would be worth it. Multiple outlets have reported the Jets are very interested in the USC quarterback, and a trade-up should not come as a total shock. The target pick is supposedly #8 with Jacksonville.

Quick hits.
*The Jets announced that they would have training camp in SUNY Cortland, in upstate New York, rather than the friendly confines of Florham Park. Rex Ryan says it will help build team unity; meanwhile, the Jets are throwing a bone to New Jersey fans by allowing them public access to mini-camp.

*The Jets signed 6'8", 337-pound tackle Mike Kracalik. He was originally signed by the Jets in 2005, and then played sparingly in three seasons with Baltimore. The 26-year old tried out in mini-camp last week and was impressive enough to earn a contract.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jets Weekly Podcast

Alright, the audio files are finally up. If you want to listen to last week's show, click this link. I go over the schedule, talk about some recent news, and a lot about potential draftees.

The premiere airing of Jets Weekly can be listened to here, but the first half of the show is pretty much all about Jay Cutler, so that news is a little obsolete.

Thursday at 1:00 PM, I will have an extensive draft preview, and I will post the audio file on here before the draft for your listening pleasure. If anyone has any questions they would like me to answer Thursday, please drop me an e-mail or leave me a comment here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Jets' News and Notes: April 19

*Woody Johnson listened to fans who clamored for a 1:00 start time week three against Tennessee, and the NFL complied to Woody's request, moving gametime to 4:15 to 1:00. This appeases Jewish Jets fans who cannot be active after sundown. The Giants-Buccaneers game will remain at 1:00 as well, putting the two teams head-to-head on television that week. You can bet CBS and FOX aren't very happy about that, but it was the best solution.

*Two days of mini-camp are in the books, and the quarterback competition has an early leader as Kellen Clemens has outperformed Brett Ratliff so far. Let me stress just how early it is, but Clemens has looked the part of a starting quarterback in the early going. Ratliff has flashed his physical skills at times, but Clemens has been more starterly, to use a word I just made up.

What I mean by that is, he's acted more like a starting quarterback. He knows this is his chance to be an NFL QB, and he's looked more confident and comfortable during the practices, according to reports.

Just ask Rex Ryan.

“I thought he looked outstanding,” Ryan said yesterday after the morning practice in Florham Park, N.J. “He did decent the first day, but I really like how he took charge of the offense and really brought that unit out. They had a lot of spark. He made good decisions and showed poise.”

Does this mean the Jets won't draft a quarterback in round one? No, two practices in April don't prove much of anything. But unless Mark Sanchez falls in the Jets lap at 17, I don't expect the Jets to take a quarterback (Josh Freeman) round one. Trading up to get Sanchez is an outside possibility, but trading out of the 17th pick is a very likely scenario in this draft. I could see the team moving up a few spots if Jeremy Maclin or Sanchez starts to slip. Trading down is probably a more likely possibility.

I really don't know what direction the Jets will go with this pick. Typically when this happens, a trade is brewing. If the Jets stay put, I could definitely see Knowshon Moreno being the selection. Gun to my head, I say the Jets move down in round one, grab Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks, or Jarron Gilbert. If there's one thing Mike Tannenbaum has proven, it's that he is willing to use draft picks as trade bait, whether it's to move up in the draft (Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller) or for veterans (Kris Jenkins, Brett Favre, Lito Sheppard). The well is starting to run a little dry, though, with just six picks in this year's draft and a 2nd or 3rd round pick likely gone for Sheppard next year. Accumulating more ammunition in the form of draft picks makes a lot of sense.

*While it appears the Jets have a gaping hole at receiver across Jerricho Cotchery, David Clowney looks ready to step up into that role. Ryan called his work "very impressive" so far. He's as fast if not faster than any receiver available in the draft, and at 6'0", 188, he has good, not great size. More importantly, he, Cotchery, and Chansi Stuckey would compliment each other well as a trio. Clowney has a lot to prove in game situations, but the opportunity is there, and Clowney might be the best option. In my opinion, he'd be more equipped to produce in 2009 than any rookie.

*Defensive lineman Kareem Brown is in the middle of a transition to tight end, and he hasn't looked half-bad. Dustin Keller is the only true tight end on the roster, and while someone else is surely to be brought in, if Brown can block, he might play.

*Vernon Gholston had a good 2nd day of practice, and he still expects to produce.

*The pre-draft press conference was completed Friday. You can read the full transcript (although it's mostly fluff) here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jets 2009 Schedule Released

1 Sun, Sept. 13 at Houston Texans CBS 1 p.m.
2 Sun, Sept. 20 vs. New England Patriots CBS 1 p.m.
3 Sun, Sept. 27 vs. Tennessee Titans CBS 4:15 p.m.
4 Sun, Oct. 4 at New Orleans Saints CBS 4:05 p.m.
5 Mon, Oct. 12 at Miami Dolphins ESPN 8:30 p.m.
6 Sun, Oct. 18 vs. Buffalo Bills CBS 4:15 p.m.
7 Sun, Oct. 25 at Oakland Raiders CBS 4:05 p.m.
8 Sun, Nov. 1 vs. Miami Dolphins CBS 1 p.m.
9 Bye
10 Sun, Nov. 15 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars CBS 1 p.m.
11 Sun, Nov. 22 at New England Patriots CBS 4:15 p.m.
12 Sun, Nov. 29 vs. Carolina Panthers FOX 1 p.m.
13 Thu, Dec. 3 at Buffalo Bills NFLN 8:20 p.m.
14 Sun, Dec. 13 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers CBS 1 p.m.
15 Sun, Dec. 20 vs. Atlanta Falcons FOX 1 p.m.
16 Sun, Dec. 27 at Indianapolis Colts CBS 4:15 p.m.
17 Sun, Jan. 3 vs. Cincinnati Bengals CBS 1 p.m.

Initial thoughts:

Houston will be a difficult place to start. Reliant Stadium is a good home field advantage for the Texans, and Matt Schaub, Steve Slaton, and Andre Johnson have had injury problems in the past, especially Schaub.

Weeks two through five don't offer one easy game in the bunch. New England and Tennessee will be back to back again, except this time both at home, and once again, the Patriots will be the home opener. New Orleans and Miami are hard to figure out, but both will probably be contenders again.

By the way, as a fan, I hate having the Patriots in the home opener. I'd rather it be some team I don't passionately hate, so I can celebrate opening day AND the New England game on different days. Oh well, the NFL seems to like to give us the Pats in our home openers.

The first "breaks" on the schedule come weeks six through eight. Buffalo should be a very interesting team with the addition of Terrell Owens. It would have been nice to get them with a suspended Marshawn Lynch, but that is not the case. It's a tough game, but it's a home game against a team that was below .500 this year. Only Jacksonville and Cincinnati fit that same bill. Oakland on the road (again) follows that. They have enough young talent where they should be better, but you can never predict games with those two teams. Finally, the second game against Miami comes in week eight at home. Chances are, the Dolphins will have a bit of a reality check this year, even though they should still be pretty good.

The week nine bye, right in the middle of the season, is good news, as it gives the team a break exactly halfway through the season. However, you bet Rex Ryan would rather have New England on the road as the first game after the bye instead of Jacksonville at home. The Jaguars underachieved a bit last year, but even if they bounce back, the extra time and preparation would be nice to have before the Pats game.

New England on the road will be in week 11, the first week of flex scheduling, so that game could be a candidate to be moved to a night game. Same with the next week's game, which is an interesting inter-conference matchup. Carolina will be a tough opponent with the two-headed running attack, especially after a huge game at Gillette Stadium.

Week 13 at Buffalo will actually be up in Toronto. The Bills got embarrassed by Miami in Toronto last year, and it's unlikely that Toronto would offer the Bills the home field that Buffalo would, so this is a scheduling plus. Still won't be an easy game though.

Tampa Bay is next. On an interesting sidenote, the Buccaneers did not get one primetime game. For a team that was in the playoff hunt all year last year, that's some disrespect, even if their team has a ton of questions.

Atlanta had a resurgent year last year, and Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, and Roddy White will be a tough trio to deal with. This will also be John Abraham's return to the Meadowlands, assuming he's healthy, a big assumption.

This is followed by one of the toughest games on the schedule: at Indianapolis. You can bet Peyton Manning and co. will be in the playoff hunt, so this will be a very tough game in the RCA Dome.

And week 17? The Cincinnati Bengals will come to Giants Stadium for the last ever regular season game there. Don't write off the Bengals as a pushover, however, as Carson Palmer is healthy, and that alone is enough to make the Bengals a much improved squad.

All and all, it will be a very difficult schedule, at least on paper. Things can and will change, as they always do, but the Jets will face 11 teams who are coming off .500 or better seasons, 9 of whom were 9-7 or better, and 6 who made the playoffs.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Miles Austin news, why the Jets Should Pursue Braylon Edwards, and a Draft Preview.

Miles Austin will not be a Jet, at least not least not this year.

The Jets have ended their pursuit of the restricted free agent from Dallas, according to Rich Cimini.

It was too high a price to pay, both in terms of the 2nd round pick compensation as well as the salary the Jets would need to offer to get Dallas not to match.

A name I would like the Jets to consider is Braylon Edwards. Reportedly, he could be traded for a package of at least a first round pick by the draft, and with Eric Mangini's obvious relationship with the Jets, it would seem to be a good fit. Cimini proposes a 2nd round pick and Brad Smith. I don't think that's enough to get it done. Smith would be a good guy to throw in because it would allow for Clowney to get a chance as the #3 or #4 guy, and Mangini does seem to like him. Would you move #17 and Smith for Edwards and a 5th rounder? I sure would.

He dropped a lot of passes last season; everyone has written about that. But he would likely be the most physically gifted receiver the Jets have ever had, and his big play ability would be an excellent fit opposite Jerricho Cotchery. The physical specimen, the possession receiver, and the quick slot receiver (Chansi Stuckey), it's perfect. And then David Clowney can get some chances as the #4 receiver.

Let's face it, there don't appear to be any great options in the first round for the Jets. If Mark Sanchez, Jeremy Maclin, B.J. Raji, or Andre Smith somehow fall in their laps, the team will jump at the opportunity. But if they're all gone, and chances are they will be, you're looking at a second tier quarterback (Josh Freeman), second tier receivers (Darrius Heyward-Bey, Percy Harvin, Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks), and unsexy picks (Tyson Jackson, Brandon Pettigrew). With the possible exception of Jackson, whom I would consider the favorite if the draft were held today, all of those guys have substantial risk or questionable ceilings to them. Any of those guys would be helpful, but I doubt any would have the impact that Edwards would have.

By the way, if I were handicapping the draft, here are the six guys I think the Jets are most likely to take.

1. Tyson Jackson - DE - LSU
Would give the Jets a young d-lineman, someone they wouldn't have. The one guy I wouldn't mind with this pick.
2. Knowshon Moreno - RB - Georgia
So you want to play hardball, Mr. Thomas Jones? The Jets have two good runningbacks, but Jones is holding out of voluntary workouts, while Leon Washington's contract situation is still up in the air, even though Washington has said he hopes a deal will get done. The Jets will probably draft a runningback at some point, and it may end up being where the value is.
3. Josh Freeman - QB - Kansas State
I don't think the Jets will go quarterback at the 17th pick. Trading down and grabbing Freeman a little bit later would be a more likely option in my opinion as he is raw and wasn't very accurate in college. I believe the Jets would love a stud quarterback, and if Mark Sanchez slipped, the Jets would grab him in a heartbeat, but Freeman likely wouldn't be that guy, at least not yet.
4. Brandon Pettigrew - TE - Oklahoma
First round tight ends in back to back years would be a tough pill to swallow for Jets fans, but it would be a creative way to run the type of smash mouth offense Ryan wants. He's a heck of a blocker, and could be like a sixth lineman. He also has good hands. His skillset compliments Dustin Keller's quite well, and it would allow Keller to focus more on becoming the team's new number one or two receiver.
5. Jarron Gilbert - DE - San Jose State
Gilbert has good size and athleticism (see him jump out of a pool here). He's a little raw, but he broke out his senior season. He is projected as a 2nd round pick by a lot of people, but he's the type of guy who could be taken higher than expected. Still, he might not rise all the way to 17.
6. Kenny Britt - WR - Rutgers
I can't make this list and not include a receiver. And assuming Michael Crabtree and Maclin are both gone, Britt would be the third receiver on my board. He's got a size-speed combination only matched by Heyward-Bey, and he is a much purer receiver. Britt is immature, but the local product would make sense for the Jets.

Update (2:50 AM): You know what, let's just embed this Gilbert video here.

Schedule to be released tomorrow

Tomorrow (Tuesday, April 14) at 7:00 PM, the schedule will be released, so you can start making plans for trips, and start to really look at the 2009 season, especially with the draft at the end of the month.

Here's what we know. The Jets will play the following teams in 2009.

Home: Buffalo, Miami, New England, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Carolina
Away: Buffalo, Miami, New England, Houston, Indianapolis, Oakland, New Orleans, Tampa Bay

All that matters now is the order. Hopefully, the Jets get Buffalo week two or three, when Marshawn Lynch is suspended. Why not week one? They're playing New England week one on Monday Night Football as part of the NFL's plan to ease Tom Brady back into the spotlight.

Or maybe TO's.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Is Miles Austin worth it?


Miles Austin visited Florham Park on Friday with no offer on the table, but the Star Ledger is reporting that the Jets informed the 24 year-old receiver that an offer was forthcoming. The first thing that comes to most fans heads has to be:

Who is Miles Austin?


Austin is a 6-3, 216 pound receiver and kick returner for the Dallas Cowboys. He went to school at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ (for all you Monmouth County readers out there), and he dominated the lower level of competition.

What has he proven in the NFL?

Absolutely nothing. 13 catches last year for 278 yards and three touchdowns and the year before he caught just five balls for 76 yards. Some of his highlights can be found on NFL.com. He's also been a solid return man, capped by a touchdown return against Seattle in the 2006 playoffs, the game that Tony Romo fumbled the snap.

He's big, athletic, and Dallas is said to be high on him. That being said...

Is this guy really worth a 2nd round pick?

This is the million dollar question. He's got all the physical tools to be a star, and on paper, he looks better than any receiver available at #52. Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Kenny Britt, and Hakeem Nicks all could be gone by that point, and after them, there is a drop in talent at that position. Physically, he compares most to Britt, as they are both about 6'3" with good speed and ball skills, and you could definitely make the case that someone with his size-speed combination and three years to get ready for NFL action is much more ready to contribute than any of those rookies and may end up being a better player in the long run as well. He is only 24 years old.

The few times I've seen Austin play, he's made some nice plays, which made me wonder why the Cowboys would go out and get Roy Williams midseason. Still, their offseason release of Terrel Owens serves as one explanation.

But the Jets have been down the road of taking receivers with supposed physical tools and lack of production.

So what makes Miles Austin different than Justin McCareins or Matthew Hatchette?

Austin: 6'3", 216 pounds, 24 years old, 13 catches, 278 yards, 3 touchdowns in 2008.
McCareins: 6'2", 220 pounds, 25 years old, 47 catches, 813 yards, 7 touchdowns in 2003.
Hatchette: 6'3", 200 pounds, 27 years old, 16 catches, 190 yards, 2 touchdowns in 2000.

Looking at the numbers, it's hard to say there is much of a difference in terms of on-field prowess. McCareins had proven more, but he had also had an extra year in the league and in life. And in fairness to JMac, he had two 700+ yard seasons with the Jets. Was he worth the 2nd round pick? Absolutely not, but he's at least an NFL receiver.

Hatchette was a bust in every sense of the word. No compensation was needed to get him except for money, but at 27 years old with no production to that point, he was just a shot in the dark, and like most shots in the dark, the target was missed completely.

Austin is the youngest and most physically gifted. He's also been in the NFL just three years, and it's worth noting that he missed the last four games of the season last year preventing him from accumulating any more stats.

It's a matter of faith. Do you trust Mike Tannenbaum? If the answer is yes, then you would have faith in his decision-making abilities and the team's scouts and be in favor of acquiring the local product. There's a lot to like with Austin, but there's just as much unknown.

Quite frankly, I think a 2nd round pick is just a little too high for someone with Austin's lack of track record. A 3rd round pick would be fair value, but I doubt Dallas is willing to negotiate. I don't like trading high picks for players typically, but if Tannenbaum signs him and Dallas doesn't match the offer (they would have seven days to match), I'll root my heart out for Austin to reach his full potential. Another McCareins/Hatchette debacle, and the team will not look good.

It's worth noting that the Jets haven't drafted a receiver in the first two rounds since Keyshawn Johnson and Alex Van Dyke in 1996, so a trade would fit the Jets' MO of not trusting rookie receivers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Super Bowl odds for 2009

Is it early to look at this? Absolutely, but it never hurts to look at the odds.

If you're into football betting, the Jets are 35-1 to win the Super Bowl next year and 18-1 to win the AFC. I checked this out the other day, and the Jets were 40-1. Maybe not getting Jay Cutler helped the Jets' odds in Vegas? Who knows.

Other teams of interest:
Patriots: 4.5-1. New England is the favorite according to the oddsmakers.
Bills: 40-1.
Dolphins: 45-1.
Giants: 11-1. Best odds from any NFC team, 3rd overall (Steelers are 8-1).

What does all this mean? Las Vegas picks the Jets as the 9th best team in the AFC. If you're familiar with sports betting, you would understand that Vegas is pretty good at predicting these types of things. But that's why sports are great, everything is decided on the field. At 8-3 last year the Jets were favorites in their next four games. We all know what happened next.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Jay Cutler to the Bears

The price? 2 first round picks (18th this year and the Bears 2010 pick), a 3rd round pick, and Kyle Orton in exchange for Jay Cutler and a 5th round pick.

That's a high price to pay for a quarterback. Kyle Orton did a pretty solid job for Chicago last year, but apparently they wanted the upgrade and liked Cutler enough to make the move. Personally, I think Cutler could be a franchise quarterback, but that's still a high, high price to pay.

The Jets also didn't have anyone like Orton to throw in. If the Broncos didn't like Kellen Clemens or Brett Ratliff, and they probably didn't, then matching the Bears offer would have been near impossible and would have almost certainly had to go through a third team.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

CutlerCutlerCutlerCutlerCutlerCutler

So Jay Cutler and the Denver Broncos are over. Every team who doesn't have a steady quarterback should have at least a little interest, even though the way Cutler got out of Denver has to be a concern. Seriously, unless he really wanted to leave Denver, or something is going on behind the scenes, there is no reason for him to force his way out of Denver. It shows some thin skin, and who knows if that will fly in a city like New York.

At least six teams are interested in the former first round pick. The Jets, Bucs, Bears, Lions, 49ers, and Browns are all certainly interested. The Redskins and Jaguars may have some interest as well.

If the Jets are going to make a move, it's likely going to be a three way deal with someone unless Denver has fallen in love with Kellen Clemens (highly unlikely). Personally, even though I feel Clemens or Ratliff could do the job fairly well, the Jets HAVE to make a play.

Don't believe me? Look at the options at #17 in the draft. Percy Harvin? Josh Freeman? Tyson Jackson? Darius Heyward-Bey? Brandon Pettigrew? Sure, all have talent, but the question marks are far too numerous to take any in the first round. Maybe not with Jackson, but Kenyon Coleman and Shaun Ellis are solid enough starters.

I would probably give up a first, a third, and try to peddle off Clemens, too. The Jets can't give up their entire draft for him, but this draft is rather weak, so I would be more prone to giving up more picks.

What do you think? Should the Jets get Cutler? This will be a major topic of conversation tomorrow on my radio show.

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