Running for Greener Pastures

Between the acquisition of quarterback Tim Tebow, the selection of Baylor running back Terrance Ganaway and the likely retirement of LaDainian Tomlinson, Shonn Greene will play a vital role this upcoming season. As Gang Green longs for a return to ground-and-pound football, Greene's presence looms large for the Jets success in 2012.

In emphasizing defense at the draft, the Jets reconfirmed their faith in running back Shonn Greene's ability to handle a heavy workload as the lead back in a "ground-and-pound" approach. The Jets added offensive depth by selecting Baylor running back Terrance Ganaway and his teammate, guard Robert T. Griffin, with consecutive picks in the sixth round. Ganaway led the Big 12 in rushing (1,547 yards) and capped a monstrous senior season by rushing for 200 yards and five touchdowns in the Alamo Bowl.

General manager Mike Tannenbaum sat out the trading frenzy on Thursday night but couldn't resist pulling the trigger on yet another draft trade Friday, when he sent second-, fifth- and seventh-round picks to move up four spots and grab Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill with the 43rd overall pick. The Jets' website reported this was unofficially Tannenbaum's 32nd trade involving draft picks in seven seasons as general manager.

In his pre-draft meeting with the Jets, Hill made it clear he believes in the adage "look good, play good." Hill wore a suit and tie to the Jets' headquarters, and while the Jets drafted him for his unique combination of run-blocking skills and deep-threat capabilities (he had 1,248 yards on just 49 career catches at Georgia Tech), his all-business approach couldn't have hurt.

"This is actually your job," Hill told the New York Daily News. "You're actually coming in here for an interview. It's a business and you have to treat it like a business. So I came up here sharp."

Quinton Coples' quiet demeanor may have been one of the reasons he went from a projected top-five pick prior last season to falling to the Jets with the 16th pick in the first round, but he expressed plenty of confidence in his ability to return the Jets' defense to prominence.

"(Teams) should be worried about me and Muhammad (Wilkerson), big (Sione Pouha) in the middle and everybody else that's behind us," Coples told reporters at the Jets' facility Friday. "I think we can be the No. 1 defense."

The Jets' first two picks arrive in New Jersey with connections to the franchise. First-round pick Quinton Coples played with the Jets' 2011 first-round pick, defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, at Virginia's Hargrave Military Academy while second-rounder Stephen Hill worked out before the draft with ex-Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde at IMG Academies in Florida.


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