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It’s Vilma

By Sean M. Deegan
Publisher, Jets Insider.com
April 24th, 2004
There were no moves for the Jets and the 12th pick. The Jets stayed put and made University of Miami LB Jonathan Vilma their 2004 top draft choice. Vilma was the top rated LB on most draft boards and with the addition the team adds more depth to a totally re-vamped linebacking unit. With no pick in round 2 due to the Justin McCareins trade, the team waited till the third round to draft Oklahoma CB Derrick Strait.

JETS DRAFT BOARD
Round 1 (Pick #4): JONATHAN VILMA, LB Miami (FL)
Round 2 (Pick#42): Traded to Tennessee for WR Justin McCareins
Round 3 (Pick#76): DERRICK STRAIT, CB Oklahoma There were no moves for the Jets and the 12th pick. The Jets stayed put and made University of Miami LB Jonathan Vilma their 2004 top draft choice. Vilma was the top rated LB on most draft boards and with the addition the team adds more depth to a totally re-vamped linebacking unit. With no pick in round 2 due to the Justin McCareins trade, the team waited till the third round to draft Oklahoma CB Derrick Strait.

The move to select Vilma with the 12th pick was a bit of surprise. Although he was a top rated LB, many thought Vilma would still be available several picks later and that the Jets may trade down. The team’s top choice was speculated to be a CB, but with the two top prospects already gone, (Virginia Tech’s DeAngelo by Atlanta and South Carolina’s Dunta Robinson by Houston) and no viable trade options the Jets went after the next player that they coveted.

Vilma was thrilled to be the top pick of the Jets. “Here’s a true story you can tell anybody who wants to know, I told Santana (Moss) I wanted to come there since January. And I told him to give Coach Edwards the message, he relayed the message and they wanted me too. It was a perfect fit.” Said the new Jets LB. Vilma went on: “I like everything about the Jets: the staff, the guys want to win, the players, they want to win. It looks like they have a good core, a lot of good young guys in there who are real good players especially playing with Santana Moss and Matt Walters and I know that I really respect those guys and how they play. And I just want to play with a group of guys who want to win.”

Moss was equally excited about reuniting wit his former Miami teammate. “I think it was a great pick. It’s kind of crazy because I remember being in Miami … and I remember talking to D.J. Williams and he’s like, man he loved our coaching staff and everything, he met with everybody and he loved them. Then I saw Vilma a couple of days after and he was like “Man, I want to be a Jet.” For me to hear someone talk like that, that was really big. I think he was really impressed by the way they treated him and everything during his visit at the combine and everything. He told me there that he wanted to be a Jet. Just to have him man, knowing he’s a Hurricane and knowing what he’s going to bring to the table, I’m loving it man.”

With the continued need to add depth at the CB position, the Jets drafted Oklahoma CB Derrick Strait in the third round. Strait (5-11, 189) was rated as one of the top five CB’s in the draft and seems to be a steal at the 76th pick. Some draft boards had him as high as a low first or high second round pick. Strait’s scouting reports describes him as “Very quick to read and diagnose plays, showing the ability to recognize the routes develop instantly...Has good pass coverage skills with the ability to jump on the receiver's hip and run with the opponent stride-for-stride on deep routes”.

All in all, seemingly a very good day for Bradway and the Jets. The team will be very busy tomorrow, with eight more picks including two fourth rounders and four seventh rounders. Check back often to Jets Insider.com for all the latest NY Jets draft news.

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