The Zionist Conspiracy
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Jets Draft Preview - Defense
Some quick thoughts about the Jets' needs on defense:
Defensive Line - The Jets are a mess at this position. It's not that their players are terrible, but that the old evil regime traded up to draft DeWayne Robertson fourth and then gave a huge contract to Shaun Ellis. Robertson and Ellis eat up salary cap space vastly disproportionate to their contributions on the field. This makes it difficult for the Jets to invest much more in their defensive line. Releasing Ellis or Robertson would not be viable - while both are overpaid, the cap hit would be too prohibitive.
The current regime compounded the team's problems at DL by giving a big free agent contract last year to Kimo von Oelhoffen, who proceeded to do nothing in '06. Unlike Robertson and Ellis, von Oelhoffen could be a salary cut casualty prior to the 2007 season.
This offseason, the Jets' biggest free agent signing was that of ex-Cowboys backup defensive end Kenyon Coleman, who apparently came highly recommended by Bill Parcells. The Jets also signed former Dolphin DE David Bowens, who in the Jets 3-4 scheme is likely to primarily play outside linebacker in pass rushing situations rather than defensive end.
Along with offensive line and cornerback, the Jets will likely use a first day pick to draft a defensive lineman.
Defensive backs - Kerry Rhodes emerged at free safety last season, while Erik Coleman's performance at strong safety slipped considerably. 2006 3rd round pick Eric Smith got increased playing time late last season, and will likely challenge Coleman at strong safety. The Jets can use another safety, but unless a top player slips and is unexpectedly available, are unlikely to use a first day pick on one.
In contrast, cornerback is a major need for the Jets. Andre Dyson had a solid 2006 season before his late season injury allowed Tom Brady to expose the rest of the cornerbacks as much less than mediocre.
Former 2nd round pick Justin Miller has been a major disappointment at corner, and would be a complete bust if not for his strong kickoff returns. David Barrett was hurt much of last season, and was ineffective when he played. Drew Coleman was getting some playing time before his missed tackle in the open field resulted in a crushing Bears touchdown. Hank Poteat, who started late last season, is an okay dime back, but not an NFL starter.
Bottom line is that the Jets badly need a CB. If one of the top ones is available at number 25, the Jets will likely select him. However, unless they can package Barrett or WR Justin McCareins to move up a few slots, I don't see the Jets trading up in the first round by giving up an additional draft pick. Unlike Terry Bradway, Mike Tannenbaum seems to recognize the value of accumulating rather than relinquishing draft picks.
Linebacker - 2006 was a surprising season at linebacker for the Jets. While former 1st rounder Bryan Thomas excelled after being moved to outside linebacker, Jonathan Vilma's game slipped in the new 3-4 system. With Thomas, Bowens, and the returning Victor Hobson, the Jets seem to be okay on the outside. The Jets are reportedly trying to trade inside linebacker Eric ("Late Hit") Barton, and it's possible that they will release him rather than pay his large salary. If those are indeed the Jets' plans, it's possible that they will use a first day pick - and conceivably even their 1st round pick if the top corners are all gone - on an ILB.
The mere possibility of the Jets drafting an ILB in the first round brings back memories of Chris Russo's tirade on WFAN on draft day 1989. Russo went nuts went the Jets picked Jeff Lageman. While many continue to include Lageman on their lists of Jets draft blunders, in reality he had a very stellar NFL career.