Instead of unproven Heath Miller possibly at the 26th pick, the Jets now have a proven commodity in former Raider TE Doug Jolley.
Before we get into the gory details, the names that may appear flashing on the bottom of the screen next to the Jets logo (perhaps 5:20 pm EST while inane TV analysts are ignoring the Jets #47, interviewing the Matt & Jerry Jones family reunion), let me state that the trade of the Jets #26 pick to the Oakland Raiders for TE Doug Jolley was the smart, risk-minimizing move.
Good teams don’t expect the draft to solve their immediate problems. Contending teams don’t expect to ride a rookie all the way to the Lombardi trophy. While all the teams search for first year contributions, this is the exception, not the rule. Make no mistake the Jets are going to the draft looking for players who can play right away, but the draft is at best an inexact science. Timing can be everything.
Weeks ago the top frame of this draft turned into a complete fiasco and was almost impossible to predict. Unlike previous years, after the first 12-15 names, there is no well-defined consensus as who will go where. There are a lot of second round grades, and the Jets were on course at #26 to pick up one of these grades, pay him a hefty signing bonus and hope for the best.
Earlier this week, Denver has pulled the bailout cord at #25 for 2006 first pick of the Redskins and a third rounder this year. The Skins are rumored to be looking to trade-up. Deals like these not really a good sign as to the quality of players that will be picked in this neighborhood.
A quick scan of #26 picks over the years will even out roughly to 2 out of 3 bust/boom ratio. The last 10 years it was 7 out of 10, with Baltimore LB Ray Lewis, Philly DB Lito Sheppard and Steelers’ G Alan Faneca the notable names. As far as first round picks go, #26 isn’t a safe play.
Leaving the uncertainty of this first round, it’s not inconceivable that some of the players Terry Bradway and the Jets like the best will still be on the board at 47 and 57.
But before we start into names, we have to talk about the player in this trade. We can talk about Jolley’s game – instinctive route running, soft hands, speed (4.68) – how he could be security blanket for Chad – plays he’s made in the league, how Raiders QB Rich Gannon thought his hands were as good as (or depending on the version of the quote one prefers) better than the great Jerry Rice – but all that’s beside the point.
At the very least, Jets fans can take solace that this player is a proven commodity that fills a need. He has been in the show for three seasons and has performed as an NFL caliber starting TE – with upside. They don’t have to look for a target to catch the jump ball or sit in the zone when Chad’s in trouble – they found that player. The issue is settled.
Regardless of whether youthful Doug Jolley lives up to his high potential, fans can believe that he is a veteran, a starter, a professional who probably won’t bust, as roughly 50% of the first round picks will do this Saturday. Add the fact that he does not require further signing bonus and is under contract for two more years at roughly $1M and it’s a slam dunk. Granted he could hit performance clauses or try to renegotiate but that’s a nice problem to have because it implies production.
Unlike some TE prospects in this draft, Doug Jolley has already learned and executed the complex routes required of the west coast offense. He has been a third stringer due to coaching and system changes.
Still, there was a time not too long ago when the Raiders liked this player so much they would not deal him to the Jets in fruitless Lamont Jordan discussions held in seasons previous.
If the team is going to gamble in the draft, best do it in the second frame, where not only are the contracts cheaper, but historically almost as many players have gone to the Hall of Fame as first round selections.
Without further ado, these are the players, that meet two criteria;
1. Could be on the board at 47 and 57 (“could be” means half or more of these names could be off the board)
2. As a fan I could accept with few reservations their names on the back of a green and white jersey – can make a good case for each name on that list for a second round selection.
Further note that these players are loosely grouped (not ranked) by positions, which are handicapped Vegas style by likelihood of drafting (if my fictional sports book is giving action).
Before I sign off let me say that I love draft season and you can get more info on all of these players on my site, draftdaddy.com.
A quick note for the die-hards - pace yourself because with all the trades it could be a long wait for 47 and 57, no one wants to miss it because they are passed out in a bathtub.
Josh Bullocks, Nebraska
Stanley Wilson, Stanford
Brodney Pool, Oklahoma
Bryant McFadden, Florida State
Dominque Foxworth, Marlyand
Corey Webster, LSU
Stanford Routt, Houston
Ron Bartell Jr., Howard
CJ Mosely, Missouri
Mike Patterson, Southern Cal
Anttaj Hawthorne, Wisconsin
Ronald Fields, Mississippi State
Darrell Shropshire, South Carolina
Luis Castillo, Northwestern
David Baas, Michigan
Chris Spencer, Mississippi
Marcus Johnson, Mississippi
Logan Mankins, Fresno State
Evan Mathis, Alabama
Todd Herremans, Saginaw Valley State
Reggie Brown, Georgia
Vincent Jackson, Northern Colorado
Jerome Mathis, Hampton
Mike Nugent, Ohio State
In addition to contributing to Jets Insider.com, Matthew Bitonti is the publisher of DraftDaddy.com a website that covers all aspects of the NFL draft.