Draft Talk: For Once....So Many Choices.
By Paul Kastava
Jets Fan Contributor
March 17th, 2004
ANOTHER DT??? Don't be surprised if the Jets snag Miami DT Vince Wilfork at 12 if he's there. (AP)
ANOTHER DT??? Don't be surprised if the Jets snag Miami DT Vince Wilfork at 12 if he's there. (AP)
Move Up… Move Down…Stay Put. The options are endless in this year’s draft for the New York Jets.

Well, maybe not endless, but the recent acquisitions have given the organization some flexibility in this year’s draft. If the Jets do sign John Lynch, then the only glaring need would be at guard on the offensive line. That doesn’t mean the Jets need to settle for the best guard and relax on the rest of the picks. There is still a lot of work to be done. So, what is a team to do? Since the Jets can either stay put, trade down, or trade up, let’s assume they stay where they are. If they stay at 12 it indicates to me that Jets are pretty satisfied with their starters and are looking to just pick the best available player for depth, or future aspirations. However, this would only be wise if the Jets were to somehow gain a second round pick which has been mentioned as the price for another team to acquire backup RB Lamont Jordan.

The trade for WR Justin McCareins leaves the Jets without a second round pick. At first glance this seems like a bad move considering how many good wide receivers there are in this year’s draft. However, based on McCareins past production with Tennessee and his future potential, a 2nd rounder could be a bargain for this kid.

It looked as if Texas’ talented WR Roy Williams could fall into the Jets lap with the 12th pick. It also appears that USC WR Mike Williams and Pitt WR Larry Fitzgerald will not escape from the top 5 picks. Since Jacksonville is dying for a receiver after missing out on Keyshawn Johnson, they will most likely pick Roy Williams with the 9th pick. Although Washington WR Reggie Williams will likely be there at 12 and the Jets may add him for depth, GM Terry Bradway played it smart getting McCareins by guaranteeing this team the big receiver Pennington has needed.

If Roy Williams does fall to 12, he might not necessarily be the best player to pick up. The only other player in my opinion who would be a great pick value wise in this spot would be Miami DT Vince Wilfork. Yes, another defensive linemen. With Josh Evans on the verge of possibly being traded or released and Jason Ferguson a free agent next year, Wilfork would be a tremendous pick at this spot. The Jets would have one of the best defensive lines of the future in which to build around. The Jets need to pick the best available player here, and if Wilfork slips this far, Bradway should definitely take him.

It is still possible the Jets may trade up. If Lynch doesn’t sign, Miami Safety Sean Taylor would be able to start immediately and make somewhat of an impact. Even if he doesn’t pan out this year, he would be the Jets safety for many years to come. However, unless they somehow gain that second round pick, this is not the best move. They could probably trade down and address two issues, and keep some of their other draft picks as well. As much as I like Taylor, trading up is not the way to go unless they give up a fourth round pick and another low pick next year. Other than that, stay where you are or trade down.

At this point, the Jets trading down is a very likely scenario. Again, I must assume the Jets sign Lynch because it would make the Jets draft much easier. If Reggie Williams is available, the Eagles could try to trade up with the Jets and snatch him up. Even with the addition of Terrell Owens, Philly needs more depth at WR. This would likely give the Jets the Eagles pick, as well as their 2nd and maybe 3rd round pick.

Although Bradway doesn’t like paying a lot of money to guards, it might be very hard to pass up Miami guard Vernon Carey. He is the best guard on the board because he can also play tackle. He is one of the bigger guards in this draft at 344, and could start immediately for this team. If they passed up on him, they could still hope that USC CB Will Poole or South Carolina CB Dunta Robinson will fall into their lap late in the first. Either could add much needed dept to the Jets secondary. Robinson is my personal favorite. He has a lot of raw talent to work with, and Donnie Henderson could work wonders with this kid. Even if newl;y acquired CB David Barrett does become a lockdown corner, Donnie Abraham is getting older, so picking up his replacement would be smart at this time. Robinson and Barrett would create a corner tandem that people could be talking about for a long time.

Going back to the guard issue; watch out for a young man from Alabama named Dustin Smiley. He is only 6’3, 308, but runs a staggering 4.87 40. Granted 40 times aren’t essential for guards, but when you are a quality guard and run this, it can’t hurt. He is rated as being the second best guard behind Carey, and shows a true passion for the game. What he lacks in size, he doubles in heart and love for football. He could drop into the late second round and would be a guy who could start soon. Most of the other guards can be real good, but Smiley jumps out because of his 40. If the Jets gain another second round pick, this guy could be a nice late second round pick-up.

Even if they do add Lynch, he is only a 2-3 year solution at strong safety. Sean Taylor is not the only safety in the draft, and there are some very good safeties that will be available late first round, second round.

First guy who jumps out is UCLA’s versatile Matt Ware. Ware played both corner and safety. Probably won’t last at corner because of speed, but his size makes him an ideal candidate for safety. He is 6’3 and is 215, and a big knock on him is that he has raw skills, and needs a lot of refinement. With the right coaching, Ware could develop into a stud safety.

My personal favorite is Stuart Schweigert from Purdue. He is 6’2, 215 and runs a 4.45 40. The best part is that he is said not to time well, and has much better game speed. Is said to miss some tackles, but is right behind Taylor when it comes to safety values. This guy is supposedly a big run defender and plays with a lot of fire and experience. Could be a John Lynch clone with size, so it would make sense if Lynch taught his clone to do better.

Iowa’s Bob Sanders is also very interesting, but the fact is only 5’8 hurts him big time. He runs a great 4.4 40 and is a big hitter. He would easily be a top first round pick if he was bigger. Sean Jones is another safety that the Jets could pick. Jones is a great all-around athlete, but is still a little raw when it comes to the mental aspect. He seems to be overly aggressive and needs help in blanketing receivers well.

The Jets can’t leave out the issue of linebacker. Since it appears that newly acquired LB Eric Barton will be the outside linebacker for a while, as well as Hobson, the only spot they could use a replacement is the middle. Cowart is the starter for now, but a young replacement for the future will definitely be needed. The only problem is that there are not many very good inside linebackers. Most of the inside linebackers will most likely be moved to the outside once they reach the NFL. Only one guy really sticks out as someone who could stay inside his career. Richard Seigler from Oregon St. weighs in at 244 and is being a called a “playmaker” by many. He is not too agile, so he can’t play the outside, but is supposedly a great tackler and very productive. His 40 was a 4.75, which is not too good, but when you are playing the inside, it is not too essential. That is especially true if your outside linebackers are doing their job well. Seigler was at one time Nick Barnett’s partner in crime at OSU, and Barnett is making a very good career for himself over in Green Bay. He may be still there in the 3rd round for the Jets.

All in all, a wide open spectrum for Gang Green. It should be a very entertaining day on April 24.