First of all, let me just say that I like all the players that the Jets selected, they all have great upside, with the dust having settled they were all needs, either this year or for the future, and the Jets targeted the guys they wanted and went out and got them in typical Mike T fashion, so let's get to everything that happened during the last 48 hours.
Jets Selected Kyle Wilson in the first round
I can't remember a corner being hyped more than Wilson this year. At one point rumors circulated that the Browns were considering taking him above Joe Haden. However there he was down at #29 with several others corners already off the board. I never thought he would be there. Some people seemed to suggest that he had problems with his knees that showed up on medical reports, I have no idea if that is true, we will have to wait and see. His attitude is confident, bordering on arrogance. Some people, some teams don't like that. However the bottom line here is that he is the best cover corner in this draft. Haden is the better play-maker right now, but Wilson has as much potential as Haden. Work him inside where he can get involved, being surrounded by Pool/Leonhard/Cromartie and Revis Island and he can go out and make plays. He may have a lot of chances with the supporting cast he has, and I hope they do throw at Wilson because if he gets his hands on the ball, he is a dangerous guy to bring down in the open field. He could take any interception to the house. He will also be valuable on special teams in the return game, very patient, very elusive. This was a great move by the Jets. One of the steals of the first round, you have to be happy with Kyle Wilson.
Jets Selected Vlad Ducasse in the second round
Several people reported that Ducasse was being severely considered by the Jets with the #29th selection in the draft, and had Kyle Wilson not fallen to them, they may well of reached a little. So imagine how happy Mike T and Rex Ryan were at #61 with Ducasse sitting on the board. A hard working guy from Haiti who played his college ball at Massachusetts. A guy who is raw but who has as much upside as any offensive lineman in this draft, not named Williams or Okung. Maybe even including them too, I will have to have a better look at him before making a concrete judgment. However he came into the Senior Bowl, and he flat out dominated the competition. Everybody was raving about him, how he got to the next level, how his length made it almost impossible to get around the outside. He can protect at left tackle, but will be asked to play LG for the Jets, and he and Slauson will compete for the now vacant position. He has good foot quickness, he has the agility and body control to get to the next level and block. A very good selection and we needed to get younger across the offensive line, we did that. It Will be interesting to see whether he can beat out Slauson in year one, he still has a lot to work, but he will learn from one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL.
Jets release Alan Faneca, LG, 9x Pro Bowler
It was no secret that Alan Faneca had lost a step or two. He was responsible for a few sacks in 2009, and his quickness off the snap in pass protection seemed to be at an all time low. However he was still a veteran presence, from the players reaction to his release, he was a well liked guy, and he was still pretty good in the run game. Forget what football outsiders or any other stat based company is telling you, just remember what you saw, with him pulling around center he paved the way for many big runs last year. I know you can't get too attached and people say if your not moving forwards your moving backwards. I trust the guys who make the decisions, it's never easy to release a player who has had such an illustrious career. However if Mike and Rex and especially Bill Callahan thought that his talents had dwindled enough that he was no longer earning his contract. It was probably a good decision. It may be hard to take, but we all heard that Slauson was impressing last year, and they are high on Vlad. Sandwich one of those guys between Brick and Mangold, and I think we will be OK. I also think that when all is said and done, the man playing LG for the Jets next year will be Vlad.
Jets selected RB, Joe McKnight, USC, in the 4th round
McKnight is a little small, he needs to add muscle, but can we be honest here? He offered serious value in the 4th round. The guy is a home run threat every time he touches the ball. So was Leon? I think everyone is aware of that. However Leon has serious questions surrounding his recovery, he has an agent that seems to be nearly impossible to deal with, and he was absent from off-season work outs. He also wants a new contract and he wants to be 'paid'. We have a lot of people more valuable than Leon who we have to pay. McKnight is elusive, he is fast, and he is coming off a 1000+ 8 TD season with the Trojans where he averaged 6.2 yards a carry. That's impressive. He is also a crisp route runner out of the backfield, and has decent hands. If he adds a little more muscle he will be a perfect compliment to Greene, he adds another long term dimension to this offense. I never imagined we would draft a highly rated RB, but here he is. Happy to have him. Another solid selection by the Jets
Jets Trade Leon Washington To Seattle
A lot of people were very upset with this. It's understandable, Leon was a fan favorite, he was a popular guy within the locker room and in the stands. However we have to look at the bigger picture here. Coming back from a broken leg, he had an awkward agent, and he wanted a long term contract worth a bit of money. McKnight is a more reliable long term option who fell right into the Jets laps after we traded up. It was only a matter of time before Leon was moved. We said here a month ago that the bridge between him and the Jets was burned to a crisp. He will likely have a great career in Seattle, but he was expendable for the Jets and that helped facilitate not only the future at the RB position with Greene and McKnight but also the future at the FB position post Tony Richardson. If we had not of made this trade, it is highly doubtful that Connor would of lasted until our 6th round selection. I will always appreciate Leon for what he did while he was a Jet. However sometimes teams and players come to crossroads and they have no other choice but to go in different directions. This was one of those instances.
Jets Select FB, John Connor, UK in the 5th round
Connor is one of the best blocking FB's to come out of the draft in years, and we have seen with Tony Richardson just how important that is. He is a bowling ball who will take on defensive ends, NT's, linebackers, pretty much whoever stands in his way. With a revitalized attack on offense, we needed to secure the future at the FB position, this was good value. He will get one year to learn from the best and then he will be asked to take that beating that FB's need to endure. He can carry the rock on short area situations, and he has decent enough hands to come out of the backfield every now and again. However don't kid yourselves into believing he was drafted because of his running or receiving ability, it's the superb blocking that got Gang Green's attention. With no Leon trade, this doesn't happen, and next year when Tony Richardson hangs up his boots we have a guy ready to step in and take control for the next 10 years. I do think it would be a mistake to release T-Rich, some have suggested that may happen. I sure hope not.
There are still plenty of players left out there, I want to see us go after some defensive line guys, some linebackers for depth and special teams help. Donovan Warren's phone should be ringing continuously now that he escaped the draft, I admit he is not the quickest, but he has amazing upside and during 2009 he was being talked about as a potential 2nd round selection. There are a few running backs we could bring in, Conte Cuttino is still there, and will be keeping in contact to hear if the Jets make a move for the hometown guy who will bring a great attitude and work ethic to the team.
However I rate this draft as a B+/A-. We got better now and in the long run, and you can't ask for much more. I would of liked to have seen us select some depth for the front 7. However I think you will see a lot of defensive UDFA players brought in over the next few days.
Good draft, not as exciting as I had imagined, but we look good for the future