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Is That All There Is?

By Kevin Newell
Jets Head Writer
April 29th, 2003
The Jets hope Robertson lives up to the heavy price they paid
The Jets hope Robertson lives up to the heavy price they paid
I don' t profess to be a scout or general manager, but I watch a lot of college football, and I know what my pro team, the Jets, sorely lack. That said here's my take on the team's draft: I am not impressed.

While everyone is doing cartwheels over the selection of Kentucky he-man Dewayne Robertson, the question begs: Is that all there is?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this draft trumpeted to be one to draft speed, get younger, and replenish several aging or depleted positions. One player does not a draft make. Not when you had nine picks and came away with only seven because of trading up for Robertson. And several of those picks are long shots to make the roster or contribute in any real fashion.

Victor Hobson may be a ferocious tackler and possess a non-stop motor, but he's not the fleetest of foot. What's more, he's the only linebacker we drafted. And what's with this B.J. Askew kid? If he's the best fullback in the draft, that's not saying much for the position. We didn't have a fourth round pick due to the Robertson trade with the Chicago Bears.

I thought Derek Pagel and Matt Walters were pretty decent value picks in the fifth round. But I choked on my lunch when I learned Gang Green selected Brooks Bollinger and this Dave Yovanovits fella.

But don't believe me. Ask draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. He gave the Jets one "Mel" out of four for their draft. That's just a half a "Mel" better than the Oakland Raiders. So at least we have that going for us.

The division rival Patriots - fresh off the momentum of a free agent bonanza that saw them sign Rodney Harrison, Tyrone Poole, and Roosevelt Colvin - had perhaps the best draft of any NFL team. The Buffalo Bills - which also improved dramatically via free agency by signing Olandis Gary, Sam Adams, and Takeo Spikes - also had a decent draft. Meanwhile the Miami Dolphins are hoping that Junior Seau has enough left in the tank because their draft was almost as abysmal as the Jets.

Yes, Robertson is earmarked for greatness, but who knows? Just ask Aundray Bruce. The Jets had a lot of holes to fill and following the weekend's draft, however, in my honest opinion, they still look like a donut.

Don't get me wrong. I love all the upside the latest "Baby Sapp" brings to Gang Green. I especially liked the analogy that he's a bowling ball with knives because of his penchant for shredding blockers. That was funny. But then I stopped laughing and perused the roster. I started to cry. Is that all there is?

I read that GM Terry Bradway said he felt vindicated for his offseason gaffes based on this draft. How so? Just because he outsmarted Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells by giving up three picks for big Dewayne? My scorecard reads that the Pats and Cowboys both had better drafts anyway, in spite of losing out on Robertson.

Essentially, the Jets traded Laveranues Coles, the 13th pick, 22nd pick, and the 19th pick in the fourth round for a defensive tackle who has never played a down in the NFL. What's more, Bradway couldn't conceive of doling out $13 million in bonus money to Coles, a proven commodity, but he is justified in giving Robertson and his zero professional games a robust $12 mill or so? Let's be serious.

I'm not one to endorse revisionist history but something went awry over the weekend. Here's what this Monday Morning Quarterback's goodie bag would have looked like following the 2003 NFL Draft:

First, I never would have traded away the two first round picks nor the fourth we also surrendered. While the draft may have been top heavy there were plenty of talented players to fill some critical voids.

With the 13th pick, the one the Jets acquired for Coles, I would have taken Texas A & M's Ty Warren, which the Patriots did in a trade with the Bears. He may not be as disruptive as Robertson, but he's not half bad. Plus, we would have kept our second pick, No. 22, in play. That selection would have come down to a coin flip between Boss Bailey and E.J. Henderson, with a slight nod to E.J.

If Bradway and Co. still wanted to take Hobson in the second that would have given them a tackle and two linebackers. Not a bad haul for a team that had only 19 defensive players on the roster prior to the draft, and no proven backup linebackers. Personally, I would have taken either Ohio State safety Mike Doss or 6-foot-3 Middle Tennessee State wide receiver Tyrone Calico, both of whom were drafted after Hobson.

In the third round, depending on if I took Doss or Calico, I would have selected either safety Julian Battle of Tennessee or taken a chance on Oregon State corner back Dennis Weathersby, who went to the Bengals with the first pick of the fourth round. And if I wanted to go running back, I would have chosen USC's swift Justin Fargas to fill the void left by Chad Morton. Or maybe Colorado's Chris Brown. All he did was score touchdowns while at Boulder.

Since I would have kept our fourth round pick, No. 19, I would have gone nostalgic and drafted Joe Klecko's kid, Dan. Instead, the Pats took him at No. 20. Ouch! Washington State's Rien Long was also a possibility and lasted until the 29th pick of the fourth.

As I stated earlier, Pagel and Walters were a good value in the fifth. Pagel is a nice player and will contribute on special teams. Walters is the kind of guy you want on your team. I might have flirted with Grand Valley State wideout David Kircus, who went No. 2 in the sixth round to Detroit, because of his dominance on the DII level. And Florida LB Mike Nattiel would have piqued my interest depending on whether I took Hobson in the second. He went to Minnesota with the 17th pick of the sixth round.

Now onto Bollinger. I just don't get it. What value does he bring? He was a nice, serviceable 6-foot QB on the collegiate level. This pick smacks of Scott Frost. A waste. Besides, if I was to choose between Bollinger and Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury, it's no contest. Not that Kinsgbury, who went to the Pats one pick later, is any great shakes. In a lesser of three evils, I would have taken Miami's Ken Dorsey, who went to the Niners in the seventh round.

For my final pick, depending on what transpired in the first six rounds, I would have leaned toward either Colorado fullback Brandon Drumm or Ryan Hoag, a diamond in the rough 6-2 receiver with 4.5 speed from little Gustavus Adolphus College.

When I reflect back on it, I like my draft much better than Bradway's. Terry, is that all there is?

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