Brown LB Zak DeOssie could add nice depth to the Jets defense and is a Mangini type player.
With free agency in full effect, the next important date on the calendar for the Jets brass and their fans is April 28 and 29. Those are the days of the National Football League Draft. As Gang Green gets ready to embark on their second season under head coach Eric Mangini, the Jets will look to use the draft to fill holes and add depth to a team that made a return NFL playoffs last season.
General Manager Mike Tannenbaum has so far used free agency and even pulled off a nifty trade to fill some holes. The young GM got the off-season off on the right foot as he acquired running back Thomas Jones from the Bears, while also swapping second round picks with them. Last season Tannenbaum acquired Kevan Barlow in the off-season and drafted Leon Washington. The Jets tried to combine those two with Cedric Houston to attempt to fill the void left by future hall of fame running back Curtis Martinís absence. Though Washington was a bright spot in the backfield and Barlow was tied in the team lead for touchdowns during the season with six, the running game was a weakness all season for Gang Green, which will be answered with arrival of Jones.
Along with a running back, Tannenbaum and Mangini also realized a need for a pass rusher off the edge. They seemed to answer these questions in the free agent market, by going on a defensive end shopping spree but these answers might lead to more questions. Tannenbaum signed former first round pick DEís Andre Wadsworth and Michael Haynes, along with former Dolphin David Bowens and former Cowboy Kenyon Coleman.
Though all four men have shown that they have athleticism to succeed in Manginiís 3-4 defense, they have also shown that struggles over their time in the NFL. Wadsworth, the biggest name of all four was a former first round, third overall pick but has had knee problem after knee problem and has been out of the league for six seasons. Like Wadsworth, Haynes has great size and skills but he could never excel in the 4-3 defense in Chicago or New Orleans. Bowens and Coleman also have the size the Jets want in defensive lineman, but both were part-time players last year with their respective teams.
Tannenbaum re-signed tackle Anthony Clement who started all 16 games last year and reliable depth player cornerback Hank Poteat. With six picks including four on day one, look for Jets to go heavy on defense, but donít be surprised if they go offensive with their first round selection.
With Jets picking 25th in the first round, the team will to have to wait and see who falls to them. Unless there is a great player available at a position the Jets already have depth in, it would hard-pressed for the Jets to walk out of the first round without a player that canít help them next season.
Though Gang Green needs help with their pass rush and pass defense, donít be surprised if the Jets use their first round pick for the offensive side of the ball. With the 2006 Comeback Player of the Year Chad Pennington being named the starting quarterback coming into the start of training camp, he could use targets to throw to.
Although heís likely to be drafted earlier in the round, in a dream world the Jets would love to be able to get Tight End Greg Olsen from the University of Miami. Olsen is another name on the long list of talented tight ends coming from Miami. Others on the list include Jeremy Shockey, Bubba Franks and Kellen Winslow Jr. Like the others, NFL coaches like his big frame and ability to catch the football. Since a great workout at the combine he has been skyrocketing up draft boards day-by-day.
The Jets do have Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery coming back but both are the same type of receivers. Both Coles and Cotchery are possession receivers and their strengths are catching the ball in the middle of the field. With Justin McCareins being phased out for Cotchery, the Jets might not be able to pass up on a big, fast and physical wide receiver, which there are a lot of in the 2007 draft.
With Olsen likely off the board, there are still very good receivers left in the first round if Tannenbaum and Mangini decide to go the route of receiver. Names Jets fans should remember are Tennessee wideout Robert Meachem and Dwayne Bowe from LSU. Both are big, tall and speedy receivers that can give Pennington an added option in the passing game.
With Olsen, Meachem and Bowe all having impressive combine workouts and many teams in front of the Jets needing wide receivers, Gang Green maybe forced to use their first round pick on the defensive side of the ball.
Nebraska defensive lineman Adam Carriker is an impressive prospect. When the Jets pick at 25, Carriker will probably be off the board, but their will be some more canít miss talent in the secondary position. The Jets will probably fall right on Texas corner Aaron Ross. Ross is excellent playmaker who can not only make plays by way of the interception, but he can also change the game on special teams as he excelled as punt returner for the Longhorns. Ross does look like most sensible pick, but Pittsburgh cornerback Darrelle Revis will also draw attention from the Jets but he like most others the Jets want he will be off the board.
In the second round look for the Jets use their picks for the offensive side of the ball. After missing on Olsen and Arizona State TE Zach Miller, remember the name Ben Patrick. Patrick, who played his senior year at Delaware, has a big frame like Olsen which compensates for a lack of speed. Also remember the name Ben Grubbs. Grubbs is a 6-3, 314 pound lineman would add the needed the depth for a young offensive line. With his size it will be hard to push him around, but he also has great athleticism for a man that weighs 314 pounds.
In the third round the Jets could concentrate on the defensive side of the ball, so the name to look out for Brown LB Zak DeOssie who is the son of former Jets and Giants LB Steve DeOssie. DeOssie is type player that fits the Mangini Mold. He is vocal leader on the field, works hard in the weight room and he is relentless in the field despite being a little under sized.
Other names that could interest the Jets are Washington State WR Jason Hill and Hawaii DE Ikaika Alama-Francis. Hill could be a good pick in day two if the Jets donít get their big receiver in day one. Alama-Francis who is compared to Patriots defensive end Ty Warren, who was coached by Mangini during, is time in New England. If Alama-Francis is still available day two, the Jets could jump on him.