Looking back at Day One

The Jets completed the first day of the 2003 draft by selecting a player in each of the first three rounds of the annual NFL Draft. The 2003 draft for the Jets is the third of General Manager Terry Bradway and Head Coach Herman Edwards' tenure. <BR><BR>

The Jets, who on Friday traded up in the draft and obtained the Chicago Bears' first round draft choice (the fourth pick overall) in exchange for the Jets' two first round draft choices (#13 and #22 and the Jets' fourth round draft choice (#116), selected University of Kentucky defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson with the fourth pick overall.

Robertson, a 6-1, 317-pound native of Memphis, Tennessee was the first defensive player selected in the draft. The three-year starter started 31 of 32 career games for the Wildcats and amassed 114 tackles, 26 tackles for losses for minus 113 yards, 25 pressures, 10.5 sacks for minus 79 yards, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

"It is very rare that a team that makes the playoffs has a chance to get a player like this," said General Manager Terry Bradway. "We feel very confident he will come in and do a good job for us."

"When you can build your defense in the middle, which is how most good defenses are built, you enhance your defense," said Head Coach Herman Edwards. "This guy is a unique player, very unique. He is a very active and disruptive guy. He stays on his feet and chases the quarterback. He does all the things you ask a guy at that position to do. When you get a guy like this it helps everyone on your defense."

Robertson said of himself and his style of play, "You might have a defensive lineman that can only pass rush or is just good at stopping the run. I believe I'm good at both of them. I just love the game."

In the second round, the Jets continued to address the defense when they selected University of Michigan linebacker Victor Hobson. The 6-1, 252-pound native of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey was a captain for the Wolverines in 2002 and has the versatility to play either strong side or middle linebacker. A two-time All-Big Ten Conference selection and candidate for the Dick Butkus Award finished his career third on the Wolverines' all-time tackles for loss list with 47 stops.

The All-Big Ten Conference first-team choice as a senior started 39 of 49 career games and made 277 tackles, 47 tackles for losses of 155 yards, 15 sacks, six passes defensed, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He graduated from St. Joseph's (Pa.) Prep, which is the same school that produced Oakland Raiders' quarterback Rich Gannon. The selection of Hobson marked the first time under Bradway and Edwards that the Jets selected a linebacker in the draft.

"We thought it was important to get a young linebacker in this draft," said Bradway. "We wanted to improve the depth and youth at that position. He's a guy that can come in and be a backup initially and play on special teams. Hopefully he can become a starter within time. He has that kind of ability."

"I'm a linebacker who is eager to learn, eager to play," said Hobson. "I know they have some good veterans there now. A good tackler who is also good against the run. I just want to go out there and make every play possible."

With the third round pick, the Jets selected University of Michigan fullback B.J. Askew with the 21st selection in the third round and with the 85th choice overall. As a senior in 2002, Askew was voted Michigan's Most Valuable Player after rushing 110 times for 568 yards (5.2 average) with six touchdowns and added 36 receptions for 280 yards and a score.

Askew, a 6-2, 241-pound native of Colerain, Ohio enjoyed a successful four-year career at Michigan, starting 23 of the 49 games he played in and had 343 carries for 1,580 yards for a 4.6 average and 17 touchdowns. He also had 83 receptions for 777 yards for a 9.4 and six touchdowns. He also had 14 special teams tackles.

"We addressed another need and that was as a back-up fullback," said Bradway. "He's a versatile back and we feel like the pick addressed a need. Mike Westhoff also liked him in terms of special teams and feels like he could contribute in that area. He can be a back up to Jerald Sowell and also be a third running back. He can catch the ball and is a tough guy."

"As we were evaluating the running backs in this draft and based on what we have here and what our needs are, one of the things we were looking for is a back with versatility. B.J.'s greatest asset is his versatility," said Running Backs Coach Bishop Harris. "This guy is a solid football player who has been coached extremely well and I feel very confident that he can perform at fullback at a very high level."

Askew's selection was the first offensive selection by the Jets in the 2003 draft and the selection of two players in consecutive rounds from Michigan marked the first time since 1976 that the Jets drafted players from the same school with consecutive picks. In 1976, the Jets selected brothers Don (WR) and Dave (QB) Buckey from North Carolina State in the 12th round of the draft (12 a and 12b, respectively).

The New York Jets will continue the draft on Sunday with two picks in the fifth round (#140 and #153), a sixth round pick (#189) and a selection in the seventh round (#237).

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