Draft Talk: Trade Up? Taylor Is The Man!

By Paul Kastava
Jets Fan Contributor
February 17th, 2004
If the Jets decide to trade up, their target should be Miami's Sean Taylor.
If the Jets decide to trade up, their target should be Miami's Sean Taylor.
Draft day is one of the greatest times of the year, especially for Jet fans. For most football fans the Super Bowl is the best, but since the Jets are usually not in that equation, and they regularly have a top 15 pick, its usually lots of off season fun. Partly because it is just an enjoyable day in general; mainly because it gives fans hope that somehow the star of the draft will be decked out in green and white every Sunday for years to come. In 2000, fans unexpectedly got franchise quarterback in Chad Pennington. Now their goal should be to get that impact defensive player.

This yearís pick is the 12th one, which is a tough one to deal with. It almost seems like every star player goes ahead of the 12th, and the rest of the guys arenít worth the 12th. In this draft, however, there is only one almost-guaranteed superstar, and he is Miami Safety Sean Taylor.

Granted, I am not breaking new ground with this statement, but some people underestimate his value. He has the potential to do what Roy Williams is doing in Dallas; disrupt offenses from the safety position. Although I still believe trading up for Dewayne Robertson will end up being a very good move, trading up for Taylor would be a great move. There were really no guarantees around Robertson, whereas everyone knows Taylor is special. How many people were able to shutdown Larry Fitzgerald?

Taylor is still, however, a pipe dream because the Jets would have to give up a lot to trade up to that spot. On a more realistic note, linebacker Jonathan Vilma (another guy from Miami) has been talked about as being a possibility at that spot. The word out on him is that he extremely athletic, but undersized. He played the inside spot at Miami, but will most likely go to the outside. It is really tough to draft an outside linebacker this early, but if the comparisons to Derrick Brooks hold true, then snatch him up as fast as possible.

If Vilma isnít the going to be a stud, the Jets are better off holding off at linebacker in the first round and wait until the second to take Karlos Dansby. With Henderson as our defensive coordinator, Dansby will develop tremendously. The knock on Dansby is size (although bigger than Vilma), and he is raw and needs to learn the game. Dansby would be a great value pick, and his production could be similar to Nick Barnettís, except on the outside. Barnett wasnít touted as the top linebacker in this past yearís rookie class; but that changed when he had over 100 tackles.

While linebackers and safeties are issues on defense that need to be addressed, it is not the only thing. The cornerbacks of the Jets were pretty brutal, and it would be nice to see a shut down corner in green and white since the days of Aaron Glenn(wow, that seems long ago, doesnít it?). Problem is there are no cornerbacks who stand out like Terrence Newman did last year. One player Jet fans should forget about is Chris Gamble. Gamble will be a good football player, but if he is picked #12, then you can put him in the bust category. Michiganís game plan was to go at him, and as a result, Braylon Edwards unloaded on him. Gamble would be a great pick in the second round, but is not worth a good first round.

An interesting risk pick would be Dunta Robinson, from South Carolina. This kid is like Dansby in that he is very athletic, but needs experience. Again, Hendersonís ability to develop could play a big part in making this kid a star. Is he worth a first rounder? Well, much like Gamble, this guy could be even a bigger bust with this pick. Then again, I seem to recall another no name from South Carolina being drafted by the Jets in the first round and becoming a pretty good player.

Although the upside to Robinson is tremendous, they might be better off holding off and seeing if guys like Will Poole from USC, DeAngelo Hall from Va. Tech, or Derrick Strait from OU somehow drop to the second round. None of these guys are the worth the 12th, in my humble opinion, and at least one is bound to drop to the second. There also seems to be a lot of good corners hailing from smaller schools. However, cornerback is one of those weird positions where it is not very common your top corners come from smaller schools. The best tend to play with the best, and it would be a pretty big gamble putting your future stock on a smaller school player. Statistically, it is uncommon, and the last thing this team needs is another overmatched cornerback.

This is just a brief analysis of what is to come. However, as most of you know, things will change. The combines are soon, and that has a tremendous impact on who is placed where on the different boards. But for now, this is what it looks like, and if you have a problem with itÖthen you are pretty damn good Jet fan.

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