After reportedly trying to trade up in the first round for an offensive linemen, the Jets used their second round selection (61st overall) in the 2010 draft to select offensive guard Vladimir Ducasse from the University of Massachusetts.
“I’m happy, I’m very excited,” he told reporters Friday. “My family will be coming to watch my first game. I’m very excited.”
The 6’4”, 332-pound Ducasse was a three-starter for the Minutemen while being named a first-team Football Championship Series All-American his senior season. He was an honorable mention All-American in 2008 and a two-time CAA All-Conference first team (2008, 2009).
As a junior, he started 12 games at the left offensive tackle position, protecting the UMass quarterback’s blindside. And he did so with great success. In those 12 games he was credited for 94 knockdowns/key blocks—the kind of smash-mouth player Rex Ryan loves. During his freshman year he saw limited playing time as a reserve guard; playing in only four games before taking over the starting LT position as a sophomore in 2007.
A tri-state native, Ducasse was born in Port au-prince, Haiti, before moving to Stamford, CT in 2002. During his time at Stamford High School he was voted first team All-State and first team All-Fairfield County while starting the final 20 games of his high school career.
The Jets, who boasted the league’s top rushing attack last year, strengthen their offensive line by selecting Ducasse, who can play both tackle and guard positions. Despite the o-line’s success, the guys in the trenches aren’t getting any younger. Aside from D’Brickashaw Fergueson and Nick Mangold (26), the rest of the o-line’s average age is 31 and have an average of 10 years experience. The Jets have to wonder how much longer before the tread wears out on the tires of players like Alan Faneca, Brandon Moore and Damien Woody. The addition of the versatile Ducasse allows the older players to stay healthy. “He’ll start out at right tackle and left guard,” said GM Mike Tannenbaum. “We’re going to keep playing around with that.”
At the NFL combine he wowed pro scouts by benching 225 pounds 29 times while showing off his speed with a 5.21 40-time. Despite that he still feels like he’s a work in progress. “I feel like I’m still a student of the game, still learning,” Ducasse said. “From last year until now, I feel like I learned a lot from that. From the Senior Bowl, I learned a lot from that.”
The Jets do not have a pick in the third round after trading it to Cleveland for Braylon Edwards during last season. Their next selection isn’t until the fourth round (124th overall) barring a trade which Tannenbaum didn’t dismiss. “If a player or two are there, we may try to take a shot here.”
With no pick in the third round, the next Jets selection is in round four tomorrow (#124 overall). Be sure to check back to JI often for all breaking Jets draft news!