As WRís and QBís were center stage at the Combine on Friday, there were a bunch of NY Jets tidbits that surfaced in Indianapolis. First off, hereís some highlights Jets Head Coach Eric Manginiís Q&A:
-Mangini said he has not talked with Laveranues Coles since the receivers comments claiming the Jets lied to him about his contract but he plans to down with Coles soon.
-He said LB Jonathan Vilma is rehabbing his knee and is doing well. That said, Mangini isn't sure Vilma would definitely be a starter in 2008. The reasoning given was not the injury rather the acceptance that Vilma does not fit into Mangini's 3-4 system.
Sources have revealed today that the Jets have given Vilma and his agent permission to seek a trade, which means his days in NY could be numbered.
-Mangini mentioned that signing a big name free agent and giving a free agent big bucks carries the same risks as drafting a rookie in round one- there are no guarantees. He seemed to be justifying the Jets lack of desire to enter the free agent market and come away with a big name.
The big news traveling around the combine is that after being jilted when the Bengals made a surprise move giving offensive lineman Stacey Andrews the franchise tag, the team is now targeting Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca and are expected to make a big push for the former All Pro. The Jets feel bringing Faneca in will not only be an upgrade over Adrian Clarke, who was a disaster last year, but it will also offer stability between their two young former first round picks, T D'Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold.
Besides the Jets, the Bucs and Niners are two teams reportedly hot for Faneca. San Francisco is expected to lose a pair of linemen to free agency, Kwame Harris and Justin Smiley, while a third, Larry Allen, is expected to retire.
With a number of top flight cornerbacks receiving the franchise tag and now out of the loop in free agency, a market is opening up for the second tier players at the position. Sources say Steelers cornerback Ricardo Colclough, who will soon be a free agent, has drawn a lot of interest recently and could receive contract offers in the coming weeks.
Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha, who was surprisingly franchised by the team this week, is now being courted by the team to sign a long term deal. This is unlikely to happen though.
Sources have told us that Oakland is looking to offer to Asomugha in the range of five years, $45-million. Asante Samuel of the Patriots could fetch near $50-million for a five year deal.
Several teams on hand at the Combine say itís unlikely that Asomugha will commit to the Raiders long term and will not accept anything other than the one year deal which accompanies the franchise tag. If he plays for one year under the tag heíll make around 9 million dollars.
Friday Combine Player Notes:
Matt Ryan/QB/Boston College
- Measured in at 6 foot 4 inches tall and 228 pounds.
- Will only run here at the Combine. Plans to throw at the Boston College pro day to set up more of a "game" feeling, especially with receivers he is already comfortable.
- Has already spoke briefly with both Miami Dolphin General Manager, Jeff Ireland, and head coach, Tony Sparano.
- Boston College head coach, Jeff Jagodzinski's, greatest influence was just preparing how to be a professional.
- Measured in at 6 foot 5 and a half inches tall and 225 pounds.
- Will not bench press at the Combine.
- Feels he will have to improve overall technique in his drops from center. A seven step drop was not employed in Tennessee's offense.
- Did watch plenty of film and even received some advice from Colts quarterback, Peyton Manning.
- Biggest improvement from his junior to senior season..."decision making improved immensely as evidenced by the stats."
- Will do a full workout this weekend.
- Measured in at 6 foot 5 and 3/8's inches tall and 232 pounds
- Currently working with Joe Flacco at his training facility. Does not see a noticeable difference in arm strength between the big armed Delaware quarterback and his former Louisville teammate Brian Brohm.
- Says teams expect him to run in the 4.6's during his 40 dashes, but has posted better times in his offseason workouts.
- When he applied to the Competition Committee before declaring, they graded the big receiver as a 4th round prospect.
- Has interviewed already with the Giants, Jets, Cowboys, and Dolphins.
Steve Slaton/RB/West Virginia
- Measured in at 5 foot 9 inches tall and 187 pounds.
- Interviewed already by the Buccaneers and Titans.
- Feels he is as strong running between the tackles as he is on the edge and the system at WVU highlighted his playmaking ability.
- States number one concern will be his pass protection at the next level.
- Measured 6 foot 4 inches tall and 216 pounds
- Great personality, always smiling.
- Went to the Senior Bowl despite doctor's advice not to participate. Wanted to compete. Did not actually re-injure the wrist as was reported. Only had 10% range on his wrist at the time and got it tweaked multiple times, which in turn tore up some unnecessary scar tissue. As a result it sped up his recovery and checked out 100% during his medical examination today.
- Has interviewed with the Patriots more than once.
- Currently working out with former Commodore quarterback and current Denver Bronco, Jay Cutler. Bennett and Cutler also share the same agent.
- Measured in at 5 foot 11 inches tall and 208 pounds.
- Decision to declare early as an underclassman was based around a perceived weak wide receiver class.
- Expects to run a 4.4 forty here at the Combine
- Has interviewed with both the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns.
De'Cody Fagg/WR/Florida St.
- Measured in t 6 foot 1 and a half inches tall and 211 pounds.
- Admitted he is very slow out of his breaks and it is his number one concern throughout the entire process. As he put it, "I don't explode much."
- Knows he is "not ranked that high" and is will to open some eyes here at the Combine.
- Why is Florida St. no longer the powerhouse program it once was? Fagg states it was not a team atmosphere when he arrived and only became one this past year again.
- Quarterback situation really hurt the offense in his eyes.
- Has interviewed with the Chicago Bears.
- The media darling. Even while Head Coach of Houston Texas, Gary Kubiak, and top rated quarter back Chad Henne were simultaneously being interviewed; it was Brennan who demaned 95% of the media's attention
- Stated that after he left Colorado, Hawaii and its program changed him. Fully accepted all the responsibility of his previous actions.
- Feels his game is stronger than given credit because he "...can throw the ball really well."
- Did suffer a slight hip injury at the Senior Bowl that then moved to his groin. Still not quite 100%. Will not run here at Indianapolis as a result.
- When asked about his style of play, Brennan felt he was completely original even though he likes to watch the greats like Tom Brady and Brett Favre.
- Arm strength has been questioned by scouts. Brennan openly stated he was uncomfortable dropping back from under center and that hurt him in this area the most. At Hawaii he stated he could receive the snap from shotgun, really step into it, and fire the ball.
Ted Thompson/GM/Green Bay Packers
- "No matter where you pick in the draft, there is a good player to be had."
- TE is an option for the draft but they have yet to nail down any particular position they are targeting.
- Future Hall of Famer, Brett Favre's return is, "Brett's call". Talks have been exchanged as recently as the past three days, but Thompson honestly does not know which way he's leaning.
- When asked about the junior running backs, Thompson replied that the Combine was really the first time they even look at underclassmen. Scouts and General Managers concentrate so intently on senior prospects, they "don't even pay attention to them."
- Felt playing at the Division III level was an advantage because he could show his versatility in multiple areas.
- Does believe he will get drafted because his workouts have been going well.
Dexter Jackson/WR/Appalachian St.
- Measured in at 5 foot 9 inches tall and 182 pounds.
- Expects to run a 40 yard dash in 4.28-4.33 seconds.
- Tries to pattern his game to smaller but explosive NFL wide receivers, Santana Moss and Steve Smith
- Does believe he is a slot receiver at the next level, but has played some out on the edge.
- NFL teams believe his biggest asset is return abilities.
- Referred to himself as a 3rd or 4th round pick.
- Considers his strengths to be his speed and route running, but struggles with overall focus at times.
- Has received heavy interest from the Patriots, Rams, and Raiders.
- Measured in at 6 foot 2 and 7/8's inches tall and 230 pounds.
- Will do a full workout this weekend after skipping the Senior Bowl.
- In regard to the system Louisville ran, "It is an NFL system based off Tom Coughlin's offense which Petrino learned in Jacksonville." Also felt by learning a new system this past season it will only help his stock."
- Spoke with the Dolphins briefly
- Did consider coming out last year but wanted to finish his collegiate career in his hometown of Louisville.
- Older brother who played in the NFL, has been preparing Brian to play at the professional level since the age of 7 or 8.
When asked about Bobby Petrino and his system, "Coach geared the offense to be successful for his quarterbacks."
- While being interviewed by teammate Harry Douglas for the NFL Network, Brohm described that particular teammate as "...dependable. Always knew where he was on the field.
- When asked what he expects to run in his 40 yard dash, Caldwell plans to "...put on a show."
- NFL teams have asked him often if he is better than his brother and NFL wide receiver Reche Caldwell.
- Did have a major leg injury a year ago, but it checked out 100% in today's medical examination.
- Mentioned two teams who showed interest, the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins.
Danny Amendola/WR/Texas Tech
-Measured in at 5 foot 10 and a half inches tall and 183 pounds.
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Tony Pauline is the NFL Draft analyst at SI.com. His year round work on the NFL draft can be found at www.TFYDRAFT.com.