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Draft Fever 2003
By Chris Pine
JetsInsider.com Fan Contributor
April 21st, 2003
Many predict Boss Bailey will be wearing green soon.
Many predict Boss Bailey will be wearing green soon.
Heading into this weekends upcoming draft the Jets have several options facing them and even a few potential obstacles in the form of some familiar faces lurking in the background.

The Jets currently have nine picks in this years draft; the most they have had in the short tenure of General Manager Terry Bradway and head coach Herman Edwards, which includes two first round picks (numbers 13 and 22). What they do or do not do in the days and hours leading up to their first pick will incite some speculation and second guessing until the regular season is well under way. With the Jets emphasis on improving their defense and looking at the few signings they have made so far this off season it seems almost a lock that the Jets will try to fill out the defensive side of the ball with the first two picks.

It is safe to assume that the Jets will target one of the four higher ranked defensive tackles in the first round if they are available. It has been no secret that Edwards has coveted a play making defensive tackle since his arrival and the team has come up short both years to acquire that kind of force to solidify the front four.

The two best players at that position (Jimmy Kennedy from Penn State and DeWayne Robertson from Kentucky) will be top ten picks. Unless the Jets are willing to trade up they must then set their sights on either William Joseph out of Miami or Jonathan Sullivan from Georgia arguably the third and fourth best middle lineman in the draft. It is doubtful that both of these players will be available when the 13th pick is made and it is even possible that neither player is left.

The Patriots have the 14th pick and an astonishing total of thirteen draft choices this year. The Pats seem to have the same needs as the Jets this year and head coach Bill Belichick is savvy enough to understand that the only way to snare one of the top four tackles is to trade up and jump ahead of the Jets, leaving them empty handed; something the Pats could easily accomplish with their surplus of picks.

This situation is most intriguing since it could lead to both camps trying to stay on top of the other and enable any team with pick eight through twelve to use the Jets and Pats against each other to garner themselves the best possible deal.

There is a chance that the Jets would not be willing to get into a bidding war for a pick only two or three positions higher and could have them go in a different direction.

Through their first two years Bradway and Edwards have used the first round picks to acquire the best athlete available instead of the most accomplished football player. This is evident in there selection of both Santana Moss in 2001 and Bryan Thomas in 2002. Neither player made an impact in their first year and seemed to require a great deal of attention and time to adjust to the demands of playing in the NFL. Moss improved dramatically in his sophomore campaign and only time will tell if Thomas can follow suit.

If the Jets are not willing to trade up and insure they get Joseph or Sullivan and those two players fall off the board then dont be surprised if they select the highly touted but unpolished linebacker Boss Bailey out of Georgia with their 13th pick. Bailey is a tremendous talent with awesome tools but seems to need some detailed coaching and improvement with his tackling skills. He could make an immediate impact this upcoming season and become a force in the NFL for years to come.

The 13th pick may be higher than projected for Bailey but if they pass on him he will be gone before the Jets next pick, the 22nd overall, comes around.

Needless to say how draft day unfolds for the Jets will be very curious and telling for the future of this franchise. Will they be aggressive and try to make a big splash in the first round or remain conservative and do the best they can with what they have in hand? Either way come Monday the shape of this team will begin to take form and only when the whistles blow can judgment be made on what transpires this weekend.