Monday, April 26, 2010

Jets' Offseason Continues Trend

The Jets have continued the definitive decision making under the regime of Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum. This trend started last year when the Jets traded up to acquire Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene.

Thus far, the Jets organization has maintained a similar policy in acquiring players the team wanted. This started off with trading for Antonio Cromartie and Santanio Holmes. The Jets entered the offseason wanting to another threatening receiver and a complimentary cornerback to Darrelle Revis for standard packages (as Lito Sheppard was inadequete in the Jets scheme).

The Jets also committed themselves to David Harris and Nick Mangold. The organization maximized the value of Leon Washington by trading him for future value since the teams knows next year will be a critical contract year for Harris and Mangold which will make a Washington signing unlikely (especially with the bargains of McKnight and Connor).

The Team furthered this stance by releasing Alan Faneca. Though it is a controversial move amongst the fans, it was done in effort to create more space for Second-Round Pick Vladimir Ducasse and create more room for the players mentioned previously.

The Jets maintained this aggressive draft policy with the acquisitions of Joe McKnight and John Connor. The Jets found a less expensive, yet versatile back in McKnight who has roots with Mark Sanchez and pursued him. The Jets also saw a successor in John Connor with Tony Richardson's retirement become evermore evident each season and pursued him.

The free-agent signing of Donovan Warren - cornerback from Michigan - might end up becoming one of the biggest steals in the draft (rather outside of the draft) since he was projected to be taken by the Jets in the first three rounds of many mock drafts. Warren fell out of the draft because of lethargic 40 yard times and a poor grasp on defensive scheming since he played under three different coordinators in his three years at Michigan. Warren might have well been a higher pick with another year of grooming; however, the Jets will have the ability to groom this future-stud to their own liking.

The one questionable draft move by the Jets had to be Kyle Wilson. The Jets have Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. The talent of these two is unquestionable. Dwight Lowry is a consensus nickel back. And the Jets had their sights on Warren whether they were going to draft him (without having previously acquired Wilson), trade for him, or sign him (as they did). So why not draft Jerry Hughes, Sergio Kindle, or Taylor Mays at the spot in order to fill a need with the most talented player available at each of the positions? If the Jets knew Taylor Mays would be available at 29 before the combine then I would find it hard to believe that they would have not taken him. At the very least, they should have made a move at Jared Odrick - defensive tackle from Penn State who is now with the Dolphins - if they were interested in him as rumors indicated. Kris Jenkins is aging and showed signs of serious injuries last season. Solidifying a tenuous position should have been a priority.

The Jets may also find themselves in panic mode if the move of Vernon Gholston to Defensive End is unsuccessful. Kris Jenkins and Shaun Ellis are 30 and 32, respectively. These are not retirement ages, but the Jets should try to secure the back-up roles behind two players who have each played for at least 10 years. The Jets will have an inferior defensive line if Gholston's position change is unsuccessful and one of these guys faces a mishap. Unless the Jets believe that they can run the clock out with their coverage they might be in for a rude awakening midseason.

Free-Agent Signings of Nick Folk, LaDainian Tomlinson, Brodney Pool, and Jason Taylor may not have been the best deals but each one adds an experienced player to the depth chart for only a short-term (Tomlinson & Taylor for two years and Pool & Folk for one year). Pool might be the most questionable decision since Rhodes was a fan favorite and pro-bowl caliber player prior to his dismal performance last season. We must remember it was Rhodes who received all these exaggerations about his talent prior to the fascination with Revis Island.

None the less, Tomlinson and Taylor are two veterans known for their work ethics. Regardless of their play on the field, it is guaranteed that these two will be role-models for a locker-room filled with character issues.

The team may dodge defensive issues this year, but the organization will undoubtedly address gaping holes at the safety and defensive line positions next year. 

Next year, I would expect a defensive lineman such as Marvin Austin, Allen Bailey, Adrian Clayborn, Cameron Heyward or Greg Romeus to be selected in the first round next year. The 2011 Draft is expected to be abundant with Wide Receivers, so I expect the Jets to acquire one as Edwards, Holmes, Smith, and Clowney each has only one year remaining on his contract. An acquisition of a safety will also be added to the To-Do-List. Reasonable players such as Jarrad Page, Antoine Bethea, O.J. Atogwe (if his contract situation is not settled), or one of the Safeties from Tampa Bay are expected to be free agents next offseason. Regardless of the specific names acquired, the active attitude is one that is commonly rewarded as opposed to the passive outlook; just look at how everything turned out for Young Fortinbras from Hamlet.

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