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Jets Brass Talks Draft
By Rich Forestano
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
April 17th, 2008
Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum was all smiles at Hofstra today a week before the Jets pick #6 in the NFL Draft. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum was all smiles at Hofstra today a week before the Jets pick #6 in the NFL Draft. (Jets Insider.com Photo)




Gang Green
General Manger Mike Tannenbaum,
Player Personnel Director Terry class=SpellE>Bradway
and College Scouting Director style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Joey Clinkscales
met with the media Thursday for a pre-draft press conference from class=SpellE>Weeb Ewbank Hall at class=SpellE>Hofstra. With the
Jets sitting at sixth in this year’s NFL Draft, Tannenbaum
and company feel that they’re well prepared to build this team into a contender.





“We want to
build the team through the draft, coupled with free agency for the long term,” class=SpellE>Tannenbaum
said.





When
questioned about phenom RB Darren McFadden, Tannenbaum, in true NFL
GM to spy-like form, diffused the situation.





“Right now
we’re prepared to take the sixth pick in the draft and there’ll be six players
on the board that we like,” he said.





The
abilities that McFadden possess’ would create some breathing room for the
offensive line and whoever plays quarterback.





“He’s a
fantastic player,” Clinkscales said.style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
“He’s explosive, he can catch.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> As a football player, he can be
electrifying.”





Many scouts
have questioned McFadden’s character with his run-ins with the law while in
college. The former Razorback was
involved in a bar fight two years ago and this past January.style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
Maturity and the proper guidance could solve
that.



style='mso-spacerun:yes'>



“We’ve
talked with him [McFadden],” Clinkscales said.style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
“He’s a very nice guy.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> We’ve done our homework and if that’s the
pick we choose to make if he’s still available, then we’ll be comfortable with
that decision. If we draft a player,
regardless of who he is, his character is studied to a tee.”





The Jets
brought in former Ohio State OLB Vernon class=SpellE>Gholston
and Troy CB style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Leodis McKelvin for visits this week to
interview them and evaluate their abilities.





style='mso-spacerun:yes'> “He’s a tremendous athlete [class=SpellE>Gholston],” Bradway said.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> “He’s a fast, versatile guy and strong.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> He’s physical at the linebacker and end
spot. In terms of setting the edge, I
think he’ll be able to do that in this league.”





McFadden was
spotted being courted by the Jets last night in w:st="on">Manhattan. The evening included wining and
dining and a boxing match at Hammerstein Ballroom. RunDMC
looked like he was enjoying himself, style='mso-spacerun:yes'> but
the former Razorback declined to
speak with reporters.





“He was one
of our 30 visits and it’s just part of the process of bringing in players,” class=SpellE>Tannenbaum
said. “We
take players out on the town from time to time.
It’s common.”





Jets brass
doesn’t want to make mistakes like they’ve made in the past drafts.





“We want to
make sure that the final grade that we put on a player is not that far off from
what the first grade was,” Bradway said.style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
“If a guy jumps a significant amount very fast
in terms of draft stock, you have to be careful you don’t take him too high.”





Bradway
feels that need is important, but has to be considered carefully because it
could set a team back in terms of development.





“We’ve
learned through our history that if you push a guy up because of a need, there’s
a tendency to make mistakes so you have to be careful,” he said.





As of right
now, Tannenbaum and Jets brass are in the “process”
of finalizing who they feel are the six names that they’re comfortable with in
terms of where they sit at this moment in time.





“Next week
we’re going to really fine-tune things and we have our preliminary stuff done,”
Tannenbaum said.
“We’re going to cross-check it, and re-hash it.style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
It’s part of the quality-control process.”





The process
was pretty extensive. style='mso-spacerun:yes'>





“We’ve
evaluated over 1200 players in getting ready for this draft and interviewed
over 450 of them,” Bradway said.





The Jets
needs are, even though they’ve had key free agent moves, are at DE, LB, CB and
WR. With the Jets and division rival
Patriots picking back to back, it could influence either team to try to one-up
each other.





“We’re
going to try to stick to the value of the board regardless of position,” class=SpellE>Tannenbaum
said. “We
control it with the sixth pick this year and we just have to be prepared and
comfortable with who ends up available when we pick.”





According
to Bradway, being prepared could be the difference
between a mediocre season and a championship caliber season.



style='mso-spacerun:yes'> style='mso-spacerun:yes'>



“You have
to be prepared for everything,” Bradway said.style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
Anything can happen during the draft.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> A guy could end up where you want him to be
and then be gone so this coming week is pretty crucial.”





Needs for
Gang Green, specifically cornerback, is deep in the draft and the Jets could
have McKelvin slip to six as well as style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
out of Tennessee St.





“The
cornerback position is a position where some candidates fit the size and speed
requirement,” Clinkscales said.style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
“Some have better ball-skills than others,
but as a group you can find guys, especially now, late in the draft that can
help you in the secondary.”





The Jets
open up the 2008 season against division rivals on the road against the Miami
Dolphins and at home versus New England Patriots.style='mso-spacerun:yes'>





“We play in
a tough division and I think the teams that have good play upfront on both
sides of the ball will have a chance and we helped that with our acquisitions,”
Bradway said.





The NFL
Draft is a week from Saturday.