Whispers: Jets likely to grab one of two positions

According to a source close to the Jets, the team has basically narrowed the position of their 2004 first round pick to two.<p>

"It will be a cornerback or linebacker," said the source.

And now with the serious injury to Jamie Henderson sustained in a motorcycle accident, cornerback might have edged ahead of linebacker on the priority list. If the Jets stay put at 12, the three top cornerbacks in the draft, Virginia Tech's DeAngelo Hall, Ohio State's Chris Gamble and South Carolina's Dunta Robinson should all be available.

Hall would probably be the best value here. He has ideal size at 6-0, 200 with sub-4.4 speed. On top of that, he's an outstanding kick returner. The Jets need to add a shutdown corner and kick returner in this draft, so Hall would fill both needs. The only thing that might turn the Jets off is his attitude which has been questioned. Gamble has a great upside, but has only played cornerback for a short time after playing wide receiver at Ohio State. It might take him a couple of years to reach his potential. Gamble has the best height of the three at 6-2. With the proliferation of big receivers in the NFL, having a 6-2 corner is a good for these match-ups. Henderson is the Jets only tall cornerback at 6-2, but it's highly unlikely he is going to play this year with the serious injuries he suffered in the accident. As for Robinson, he has been moving up draft boards fast with his terrific man-to-man skills and excellent speed. But at 5-9, 185 pounds, he might be a little small to pick at 12. If the Jets trade down, Robinson might be a good selection . . .

The Jets felt they stole a good prospect last summer, when they plucked Tampa Bay offensive tackle Lance Nimmo off waivers. He was claimed before the season opener last year. The Buccaneers didn't want to get rid of him, but were caught in a number's issue at the end of training camp due to injuries at other positions. So they tried to sneak Nimmo through waivers, and got burned. Last season, Jets offensive line coach Doug Morrone spent a great deal of time working with Nimmo after practices, and the tutoring seems to be paying off. Nimmo was one of the stars of the NFL Europe training camp in Florida, and if he continues to develop, could give the Jets a good backup left tackle, and we all know how hard left tackle prospects are to find . . .

Some more good news for the Jets out of NFL Europe – linebacker Ryan Myers had 13 tackles for the Scottish Claymore in their first game of the season. Myers was signed by the Jets early this off-season. He was an undrafted out of Akron and was out of football last year. He doesn't have great speed, but his instincts are solid . . .

We hear the Jets and Chad Pennington aren't close on a new deal. The Peyton Manning contract with the Indianapolis Colts didn't help matters. Not that Pennington is going to get Manning money, but that deal was so lucrative, it pushed the bar on quarterback contracts. We hear Mike Tannenbaum wasn't thrilled when he heard the Manning numbers.

The Jets would be smart to get a Pennington deal done this off-season. Pennington is coming off an average season compared to his 2002 campaign. If the Jets wait until after this season, it could end up costing them a lot more than if they do it now. Pennington has one year left on his current deal . . .

Aside from being a serviceable punter and good kick-off artist, there is another factor in the Jets signing Toby Gowin. Don't forget placekicker Doug Brien lost his holder, punter Dan Stryzinski this off-season, when the Jets chose not to re-sign him. Brien had really developed a comfort zone with the Stryzinski, and the placekicker had a career year. So it was important that the Jets replace Stryzinski with a holder he can trust. Shaky holders can really disrupt kickers, who tend to be temperamental by nature. Well Gowin is the perfect candidate to replace to Stryzinksi, since he held for Brien with the New Orleans Saints. The two are already comfortable with each other . . .

There was a report in the New York Daily News last week that wide receiver Santana Moss would like a new contract. That isn't happening. Moss has two years left on his current deal, and the Jets have much more pressing contract situations to resolve like Shaun Ellis, John Abraham, Pennington and Kareem McKenzie. Plus Moss has had just one standout season, and it's not a good idea to reward a player after just one year of production. He has to show he can do it again, and stay healthy, two years in a row . . .

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