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Safeties, offensive firepower added!

By John Melillo
Assistant Editor, Jets Insider.com
April 24th, 2005
During the 2004 NFL Draft, the New York Jets struck gold with fifth-round draft choice S Erik Coleman. This year, during the second day of the 2005 NFL Draft, the Jets found two safety prospects they hope can form a formidable trio with Coleman in fourth-round choice Kerry Rhodes (Louisville) and fifth-round selection Andre Maddox (North Carolina State)

ALSO: Jets snag Tennessee RB Cedric Houston and Colorado State TE Joel Dreessen.

During the 2004 NFL Draft, the New York Jets struck gold with fifth-round draft choice S Erik Coleman. This year, during the second day of the 2005 NFL Draft, the Jets found two safety prospects they hope can form a formidable trio with Coleman in fourth-round choice Kerry Rhodes (Louisville) and fifth-round selection Andre Maddox (North Carolina State).

Rhodes (6-2, 209 pounds) is a tall, athletic free safety who displays excellent range and closing speed (4.48 in the 40), including an astounding 42-inch vertical leap. Rhodes is adept at playing the pass, particularly near the line of scrimmage, where he has the skills to blanket tight ends and receivers out of the backfield. Rhodes finished his career with 167 tackles, 18 pass deflections and 11 interceptions after starting 25 of 44 games at Louisville. He is also the cousin of NBA star Theo Ratliff (Detroit Pistons). The one liability in Rhodes’ game is lack of aggressiveness against the run. There are scouts who question his toughness and he appears to take bad angles when pursuing the ball carrier in the open field.

Maddox (6-1, 205 pounds) is the polar opposite of Rhodes, as he shows a strong physical presence and the willingness to play the run. Maddox does not shy away from contact and is at his best filling rushing lanes. Maddox finished with 341 tackles for his career at N.C. State, ranking ninth on the school’s all-time list. He also recorded eight sacks and deflected 17 passes during his college career. As mentioned, Maddox’s weakness is in coverage, where he does not possess the range to play the deep zone or the catch-up speed (4.67 in 40) once beat deep. Maddox also does not exhibit natural hands to record interceptions.

With their two sixth-round draft choices, the Jets snagged two more offensive weapons that could have easily being drafted higher than they were. Running back Cedric Houston, from the University of Tennessee, is a slashing runner in the mold of Tennessee alum and current Buffalo Bills RB Travis Henry. Injuries played a major part in Houston falling to the sixth-round as he needed surgery to repair a thumb injury after the 2001 season and was hampered by a nagging ankle injury during his junior and senior seasons. Despite the missed time, Houston started 27 games for the Volunteers, carrying 501 times for 2,634 yards (5.3 average) and 17 touchdowns. Houston displays good power between the tackles and adequate speed (4.62 in the 40) to reach the perimeter. He also is adept at pass protection, showing a willingness to pick up the blitz. While he has the skills to be an excellent cutback runner, Houston’s instincts and vision are questionable. Houston is also viewed as a marginal receiver, nothing more than a dump-off option.

The other sixth-round pick was invested on Colorado State TE Joel Dreessen. Dreessen (6-4, 260 pounds) started every game he played in at CSU where he received All-Mountain West Conference honors as a senior. Dreessen has good quickness off the line of scrimmage and the strength to beat the jam. Dreessen is a natural pass receiver, who is particularly effective on underneath routes and finding the open areas of a zone. He delivers top effort blocking in the running game, taking good angles to cut off pursuing linebackers. While Dreessen is adequate as a blocker, he will be stalemated due to his lack of leg strength, failing to get a good push off the line of scrimmage. Dreessen also is not considered a deep threat (4.85 in the 40) and is only adequate as a runner after the catch.

The Jets’ lone seventh-round choice was WR Harry Williams of Tuskegee. Williams (6-3, 180 pounds) caught 27 passes for 626 yards with three touchdowns during the 2003 season. No other statistic information or draft information on Williams was immediately available.

-Source: NFL.com

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