The NY Jets’ Mike Tannebaum era is in full swing as the 2006 NFL Draft approaches. To recap—in the last month the new GM has obtained an extra first rounder (29th pick) in exchange for disgruntled pass rusher, John Abraham; he has signed KR/WR Tim Dwight (Chargers); LB/Special Teams standout Matt Chatham (Patriots); veteran DE Kimo Von Oelhoffen (Steelers); free agent LB/FB Micheal Warren; traded a sixth round pick for former first rounder, QB Patrick Ramsey (Redskins); and resigned TE Chris Baker. He has said goodbye to 2005 starters, LT Jason Fabini; C Kevin Mawae; CB Ty Law; FB Jerald Sowell; and backup QB Jay Fiedler. Versatile G Jonathan Goodwin is also likely to sign elsewhere. To shave more money off their budget, Tannenbaum, a salary cap guru, has quietly restructured many of the Jets’ key veterans contracts for the 2006 season.
So, where does that leave the Jets with about a month to go before draft day? Well, it leaves them with a lot of holes to fill, a lot more money to spend, and NINE draft picks- including two first rounders and three of the first 35 picks.
The question that will fill Jets’ chat rooms for the next month is- Who to take with their first
rounder? A Trojan, a Cavalier, a Longhorn, a Commodore or a Wolf?
Jets’ draft day speculation seems to change by the hour. Since the dismal 2005 campaign ended and Benedict Edwards bolted
town, the main
mantra in the New York sports media has been- "Franchise Quarterback". Southern Cal’s lefty slinger Matt Leinart seems
to be the top gun of the three QBs that are expected to go in the first
ten picks, and the favorite among most scouts. He is expected to go no
later than the third pick (Titans), so if the Jets (fourth pick) want
him they will have to trade up with either Tennessee or New Orleans (second pick).
Since they have so many needs though, there is a legion of Jets’
faithful that favor trading down from the fourth position to stockpile
more picks, or at least staying put so they don’t have to sacrifice any
of their current arsenal. This latter strategy would mean that the Jets’
would have to go with Texas’ QB Vince Young or Vanderbilt’ QB Jay Cutler
if they want a young stud to groom as their future play caller. It is
more likely though that the Jets will draft Virginia’s behemoth LT D’Brickashaw
Ferguson or North Carolina State’s dominating DE Mario Williams, if they decide not to trade up for
For the Jets’ to land Leinart it looks like they’re going to have to trade both of their first rounders (#4 and #29). That is a lot to surrender to move up one or two spots. The way I look at it- if the Jets stay put they will be assured of either Ferguson or Williams. D’Brickashaw is the type of franchise
left tackle that comes around maybe once every five to ten years. He is Jonathan Ogden (Ravens), Orlando Pace (Rams), Walter Jones (Seahawks) and more. Some scouts believe this 6’7" giant is going to revolutionize the Tackle position with athletic skills you’re more likely to find in the NBA than the NFL. He has the type of footwork and quickness to handle the top speed rushers, guys like Dwight Freeney (Colts) and Osi Umenyori (Giants). When coaches and scouts speak about personality, terms like ‘natural born leader’ and ‘unquestionable integrity’ ooze out. He is a top notch character guy with a degree in religious studies and a black belt in karate. Drafting the Long Island native would be a shrewd move, it would also anchor an offensive line that is riddled with question marks and has an extreme lack of depth.
There is a chance the Saints will grab D’Brickashaw with the second pick. In this case that would leave defensive end extraordinaire Mario Williams for the Jets to scoop up. The 6’7" Wolpack’ dominator is an explosive, ready made replacement for the departed John Abraham. With the newly
signed Von Oelhoffen pushing 35 years of age, Bob Sutton’s (Defensive Coordinator) defensive line could use some reinforcement. One scouting report recently had this to say about Mario, "Williams is the texbook physical example of the new breed of defensive end. He’s 20 lbs. heavier than most edge rushers, but still very long and muscular. With his long arms and powerful legs, he can engage tackles at the point of attack, not only working them over to get to the quarterback, but being a serious factor in a team’s run defense as well. One thing that Williams has that makes NFL scouts ‘ooh and aah’ is instincts. He is one of the best defensive linemen in the country at diagnosing a play quickly and going to the football. His nose for the ball is what makes him a human highlight reel. Fast like a top-tier linebacker and twice as strong, he shows good technique, and makes sure he brings the player down, rather than always going for the kill shots – he saves those for quarterbacks".
Carl The Cabbie