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News » New York Jets Inside Slant 2009-04-27


New York Jets Inside Slant 2009-04-27


New York Jets Inside Slant 2009-04-27
DRAFT REVIEW


The Jets believe they got plenty of quality in their 2009 draft class. They certainly didn't get much quantity.

The Jets entered the draft Saturday with six picks. They finished it Sunday with only three selections, thanks to one blockbuster trade on each day.

They traded three players and two picks to Cleveland to move up 12 spots and take Southern Cal quarterback Mark Sanchez with the fifth overall pick in the first round on Saturday, and traded three more picks to Detroit on Sunday to move up 11 places and select Iowa running back Shonn Greene with the 65th overall pick.

That was the first selection of the third round, and it cost the Jets their picks in the third, fourth and seventh rounds. Yes, it netted them two players they believe will be fixtures in their offense for years to come, but the cost was high as they were unable to fill other needs.

Sanchez will compete with Clemens this spring and summer for the starting position and Greene will provide insurance against a potential contract impasse with incumbent featured back Thomas Jones. If Greene is as good as the Jets believe, he could be the starter by the 2010 season.

Their only other pick in this three-player draft, which was the smallest in terms of number of picks in team history, was Nebraska offensive lineman Matt Slauson. Thus, needs for a starting wide receiver and a blocking tight end went unfilled.

"We truly are the land of opportunity for (undrafted college) free agents this year," general manager Mike Tannenbaum said. "So we are going to be very, very aggressive through the evening here (Sunday) signing free agents."

That avenue might help the Jets in terms of depth, but they may need to sign an experienced free agent or two to fill some holes. The problem is that even most of the lesser wideouts and tight ends who were on the market at the beginning of free agency have been signed, leaving the Jets in a potential scramble mode.

Coach Rex Ryan indicated the Jets have confidence in veteran receivers Brad Smith, Chansi Stuckey and David Clowney, all of whom were reserves last season. Of course, considering the Jets had said for the last two months that they were comfortable with quarterbacks Clemens and Brett Ratliff, who went to Cleveland in the Sanchez deal, those words don't quite carry the weight they might have otherwise.

Especially with word coming out from ESPN on Sunday that the Jets were considering signing troubled former Giant Plaxico Burress, who could be facing prison time for a gun-possession charge. That signing appears highly unlikely. Still, it shows the potential desperation at that position.

The Jets' 2009 draft will be remembered for the bold moves they made to land two marquee players for their backfield. But how it is ultimately judged will depend somewhat on what the Jets do to procure talent in the weeks and months to come.

BEST PICK: Southern Cal QB Mark Sanchez seems to have all the tools, although some have questioned his arm strength. Still, it seems he can make all the throws. What's also important are the intangibles he brings, including a magnetic personality that should go over well in the New York City metropolitan area. Sanchez was able to handle the attention that goes with being the Southern Cal quarterback, and freely admits he wanted to play on the big stage in the NFL with the Jets, as opposed to wanting to go to a smaller market with less media scrutiny.

COULD SURPRISE: Nebraska's Matt Slauson, the Jets' sixth-round pick, is a versatile lineman who was second-team All-Big 12 last season at right guard. He is a durable player with good athleticism, but isn't as powerful as he could be and tends to drop his hands while blocking. Still, the Jets have inside info on him thanks to their offensive line coach, Bill Callahan, who recruited and coached Slauson while Callahan was head coach at Nebraska. Slauson says he can play any spot on the line and his versatility could win him a job as a backup.

A closer look at the Jets' picks:

Round 1/5 -- Mark Sanchez, QB, 6-3, 225, Southern Cal

How badly did the Jets want him? Well, they traded three veterans plus two draft picks to move up from 17th overall to fifth and select a quarterback who only spent one season as a full-time starter in college and came out after his redshirt junior season. Obviously, the Jets believe he can compete for the starting position right away, and he will do so against Kellen Clemens. The Jets like his confidence, poise and intelligence just as much as his physical skills and his leadership qualities. His lack of experience doesn't worry the Jets, who believe they've done enough homework on a player who had 34 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions last season while leading USC to a 12-1 record.

Round 3/65 -- Shonn Greene, RB, 5-11, 227, Iowa

Just as they did with Sanchez, the Jets traded (three picks this time) so they could move up and grab the bulky tailback with excellent vision and the ability to run hard between the tackles. Greene rushed for 1,850 yards as a junior in 2008, with 20 rushing touchdowns and 6.0 yards per carry and won the Doak Walker Award as the top running back in the nation. He missed the 2007 season because he was academically ineligible, so has had only season as a starter. He can make yardage after contact and can find holes, but his speed has been questioned, as he runs only a 4.62 in the 40. He needs to improve in the passing game, both as a receiver and in picking up blitzes.

Round 6/193 -- Matt Slauson, G, 6-5, 316, Nebraska

Slauson started 34 games as a collegian and was recruited by ex-Cornhusker coach Bill Callahan, now the Jets' offensive line coach. He was second team All-Big 12 last season at right guard and also has experience at left tackle and right tackle. He has good athleticism, including a 34-inch vertical leap, but the knocks on him are that he isn't as powerful at times as he should be and tends to drop his hands while blocking. His versatility could help him win a job as a backup. He dropped 20 pounds before his senior season.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 27, 2009

Chansi Stuckey Name: Chansi Stuckey
#83
Position: WR
Age: 24
Experience: 1 years
College: Clemson
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