A heaping helping of off-season Whispers

Jets seventh-round pick Harry Williams isn't short on confidence.

"I feel like I could have gone higher than I went," said Williams. "I feel like I was better than some of the other [receivers], but sometimes that's how the cookie crumbles. It just gives me more fuel to my fire to come out there and play harder as an athlete. I [think I'm a steal], I really do. That's not to be boastful, but I really do. I'm confident coming up there."

He looked good at the minicamp, showing very good downfield speed…

Cedric Houston's thyroid problem is nothing to take lightly.

"I'll probably have to take the medicine for the rest of my life," said Houston.

This condition was first discovered at the 2005 scouting combine. After a few months, the medication should stabilize his condition and help his stamina. The thyroid problem was a big reason he got tired late in games at Tennessee…

Aside from a hamstring injury, another reason safety Andre Maddox might have slipped to the fifth round was the outstanding play of the North Carolina State front seven. The Wolfpack had perhaps college football's best defense last year, and not many running backs were making it back to the secondary. This led to a decline in tackles for Maddox.

"We had the No. 1 defense in the nation," said Maddox. "I think people weren't getting to the secondary and I wasn't playing in the box. I figured the scouts thought I had fallen off for some reason."

But the Jets feel Maddox was the No. 1 special teams cover guy in the draft and will help their kick and punt teams…

If the Jets could combine Maddox and fourth-round pick Kerry Rhodes, they would have the perfect safety. Maddox is a force against the run who struggles in coverage, and Rhodes is a terrific coverage safety who isn't very good against the run. Rhodes knows his run defense needs work.

"I need to be more tough around the ball and piles and stuff like that," said Rhodes. "I don't miss tackles, I mean I come up and make tackles. But being more physical; moving piles and coming in and being a more physical player [is what I need to do]."

The Jets have a big competition at safety now, and will likely cut a player or two who will wind up on another team's roster. But the Jets felt Rhodes and Maddox were too good to pass up, even with the team's glut at the position.

"We wouldn't have thought at that time we would have gotten both of them," said Jets college scouting director Jesse Kaye. "We were happy to get one and when Andre (Maddox) stayed there for the fifth round he was the best guy on our board at the time. We said, ‘Hey, bring him in. The more the merrier.' " …

The Jets' two best undrafted free agents might be Virginia linebacker Dennis Haley and Troy State offensive tackle Henry Tellis.

"Dennis Haley is an underrated performer on a solid college defense that featured three draft picks," said draft expert John Murphy from Next Level Scouting. "He is capable of providing depth at several spots. He was well-coached by Al Groh and his defensive staff. He is type of guy that does not stand out in any one area, but is steady across the board.

"Tellis' wingspan (arm length) was one of the longest in the draft, and his long arms allow him to stay out in front of defenders and handle quicker edge rushers. He had earned a draftable grade from several teams." …

Aside from the Jets adding two tight ends, Doug Jolley and Joel Dreesen, another reason Josh Norman was expendable was his conditioning. At the minicamp, he looked heavy and out of shape—nothing like the speed tight end he was in San Diego. He was lumbering in his routes in last weekend's minicamp…

The Jets did Ricky Ray a favor by releasing him now. It gives him a chance to sign with a CFL team in time to compete for a starting job.

He clearly had no future in New York. The Jets are all set at their first three quarterback spots with Chad Pennington, Jay Fiedler and Brooks Bollinger. And they also have a good practice squad candidate at quarterback in Kevin Eakins, who is playing well in NFL Europe. Eakins, a Fordham product, might have the best arm of any Jets quarterback ...

Fiedler looked excellent in the minicamp, and looks to be a terrific insurance policy if Pennington has to miss a few games at the beginning of the season due to his surgical shoulder. While there was a lot of positive talk at minicamp about Pennington likely being ready for the opener, nobody really knows if he will be. It's too early to tell.

With the Colts' selections of cornerbacks Marlin Jackson and Kevin Hayden in the first two rounds, they are likely out of the Ty Law sweepstakes. So it will probably come down to the Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs…

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