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Mike Tannenbaum Draft Strategies #1: Target Specific Players and Use Later Picks as Currency

As the Draft approaches, we are going to take a look over the next few days at tendencies Mike Tannenbaum has employed in his five Drafts as Jets general manager. It can perhaps offer a glimpse into how he will think in a few weeks.

The first tendency Tannenbam has shown is a real willingness to sacrifice picks later in the Draft to target players he wants and move down if the player he wants is slotted to go later. In both 2007 and 2009, the team only selected four and three players in the entire Draft respectively because the team traded up twice in the early rounds. In 2007, the team moved up to land Darrelle Revis and David Harris early. In 2009, Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene were the targets. They traded down in 2006 in the second round but then traded back up to land Kellen Clemens. In that case, he did not have anybody in mind at that slot, and Washington was willing to give up a pair of second round picks. He knew he wanted Clemens later, though, and made a move. The team landed Dustin Keller by moving up in 2008. Later in that Draft, a couple of corners went off the board in the fourth round right before the Jets picked. Tannenbaum moved down and landed Dwight Lowery later in that round. He knew he could get Lowery later.

Overall, Tannebaum's philosophy has been successful. Take a look at the players he has landed. The Jets have consistently replenished their talent adding impact players through the years.

This philosophy has its critics. Some argue cheap talent is available later in the Draft, which costs the Jets cheap depth. I have heard some argue New England's philosophy of stockpiling picks is better. Like many comparisons in football, multiple philosophies can work. Take the 2007 Draft.

The Patriots took nine players. Eight came in the fourth round or later. They stockpiled picks. One one of those guys, the first rounder Brandon Merriweather, made their team. The Jets landed a pair of elite players at their position, Darrelle Revis and David Harris among the four guys they selected. Now New England traded some of its picks that year to land Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and the pick that turned into Jerrod Mayo, but the point stands. Sometimes moving up to try and land elite talent early trumps piling up a bunch of late picks. That is what Tannenbaum believes.