(Long Island, NY) The new hierarchy of the New York Jets (of New Jersey) only has a few days left on vacation. Not in the literal sense, but from the scour of the media and their long, suffering fans. Come Saturday afternoon when Paul Tagliube steps to the podium at Radio City Music Hall and announces the first four picks in the 2006 NFL Draft, that’s when the honeymoon ends for these ‘boys.’ I call them boys because in the tough world of the NFL, two first year men in their thirties can be over-matched and overwhelmed. I hope for their sake they grow up real fast, or at least grow thick skin.
The fans that pack the draft every year are mostly wearing green and white. This is who will be the first judge before the ESPN crew has a say if it was a good or bad pick. They have a few players in mind that they feel are worthy of a high pick. And they are the ones that suffered through that 4-12 nightmare of a season last year. Shouldn’t they have some input?
Basically, the Jets need to come away with one of the projected top-four picks to be let off the hook. Reggie Bush should go number one to the Houston Texans, who recently upped the contract of their young quarterback, David Carr. That leaves the New Orleans Saints in a spot that they can do some maneuvering to help themselves. The two hot QB’s, Matt Leinart of USC and Vince Young of Texas, will be there for them. But they just signed Drew Brees to a free-agent deal in the off-season. Can they make a move to pick up more selections and slide down? Or will they grab Mario Williams, the defensive end from North Carolina State?
Up next are the Tennessee Titans. They will most likely take a quarterback due to the fact that Steve McNair is getting up in age and is banged-up. The consensus seems to believe that they are higher on Young than Leinart.
Next up are the J-E-T-S. Depending on what happens with the Saints, one of these quarterbacks, most likely Leinart, will be there for them. Do they go that route or grab the stud offensive tackle, Freeport’s D’Brickashaw Ferguson out of Virginia? Rumors have been swirling that the Jets also like tight end Vernon Davis of Maryland, who wowed scouts at the NFL Combine at Indianapolis with a 4.38 forty yard dash. And how about linebacker A.J. Hawk from Ohio State? Being a Bill Belecheck disciple, Jets head coach Eric Mangini may fall in love with a defensive player, and draft-knicks everywhere have Hawk being the second-best defensive player on the board after Williams.
It will be an interesting two days for all the teams. The Jets picks are going to be dissected more than the Giants’, who pick much later in the first round (25th). The Jets also have the 29th pick in the first round, acquired in the John Abraham trade. If they can come away with quarterback Jay Cutler from Vanderbilt with that, this can turn out to be a coup for them. But he is not expected to last that long. So the Jets have to be sure about their first selection. It will set the tone for them for the full two days of the draft.