Ferguson really helped himself at the combine. While he didn't work out, he impressed people during interviews. He's extremely bright and well-spoken, and actually wore a suit to interviews with teams, which impressed many. He also helped his stock by checking in at a bigger size than people expected. At the Senior Bowl, he measured 6-5 ½ and 298 pounds. At the combine, he checked in at 6-6 and 312 pounds. He actually grew a half inch over the last few weeks and gained 14 pounds. This additional size will help him in the eyes of NFL scouts. Some people thought he might be a little skinny at Virginia, but at his new size he now looks the part of a franchise left tackle. He will work out for the pro scouts on March 21 at UVA . . .
Jets quarterback Chad Pennington is in Florida, like he was last off-season, rehabbing his shoulder at the IMG Complex in Bradenton, under the guidance of trainer Dave Donatucci.
Pennington's agent -- Tom Condon -- and Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum met on Saturday in an attempt to iron out a new contract for the quarterback. If Pennington isn't willing to take a huge pay cut, he will likely be released. It has been reported that the Jets want Pennington to cut his base salary from $9 million to $1 million.
From what we hear, Pennington isn't crazy about the idea since, in his mind, it's not his fault the team didn't provide him good offensive line protection, leading to a pair of shoulder injuries.
Re-negotiations have taken up much of Tannenbaum's time at the combine, so he hasn't had much time to scout players.
"Mike Tannenbaum wants to be in the dome looking at players, but he has to clear $10 million," said one league source.
Jets director of college scouting, Jesse Kaye, and head coach Eric Mangini are heading up the Jets' large contingent of player evaluators . . .
A good second-round consideration for the Jets would be UCLA tight end Mercedes Lewis. It looks like he has fallen behind Vernon Davis and Leonard Pope at the position. Lewis is 6-6, 260 pounds, and perhaps the best combination blocking-receiving tight end in the draft. Lewis was a tremendous basketball player in high school, and was offered a hoops scholarship by UConn . . .
Teams will find out what the 2006 salary cap will be on Monday . . .
The best 40-yard dash on Saturday was run by UCLA running back Maurice Drew, who clocked 4.39. The Jets need some speed at the running back position, and he would make a nice candidate . . .
Titans GM Floyd Reese feels that this isn't a good wide receiver draft at the top, but there are a lot of good 2nd-, 3rd- and 4th-rounders . . .
The Jets clearly have a lot of needs in this upcoming draft, and aside from the possible addition of extra draft picks via a John Abraham trade, there could be more additional selections on the way. The Jets lost three premium free agents last year – defensive tackle Jason Ferguson, running back LaMont Jordan and offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie. Those losses should lead to the Jets receiving extra compensatory picks.
"The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four," according to a league release. "Compensatory picks will be positioned within the third through seventh rounds based on the compensatory free agents lost."
The highest pick distributed last year was to the Tennessee Titans, who received the 96th overall selection at the end of the third round. They also received the 136th pick, at the end of the fourth round. The Jets could end up with similar picks, and since this draft is strong in the middle this could really help them add a pair of contributors . . .
The Jets' move to the 3-4 isn't coming at a great time. With the success of that system, and with Bill Belichick disciples all over the league (Miami's Nick Saban, Cleveland's Romeo Crennel and the Jets' Eric Mangini), there are more teams in the market for 3-4 players for their front seven.
"The pool is getting smaller," said Crennel. "With more teams moving to the 3-4, a lot of teams are looking for similar players." . . .
Great line from Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler when asked if his upcoming riches will change him.
"We will soon find out," said Cutler.
Cutler was great with the media at his combine press conference, and if the Jets pick him it doesn't look like the New York market will be too big for the kid from Santa Claus, Indiana . . .
Jets owner Woody Johnson is at the combine . . .
Former Jets offensive line coach Doug Marrone, who is now the Saints' offensive coordinator, isn't allowed to talk about his departure from the Jets.
"I'm not legally allowed to talk about anything regarding the Jets," said Marrone in Indianapolis.
Obviously, part of Marrone's buyout was a clause where he wasn't allowed to discuss the details of his departure . . .
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