A heaping helping of Pre-Draft Whispers

The Jets, in dire need of offensive line help, have three offensive linemen starting in NFL Europe:

Guard Mike King for Amsterdam, center Charles Missant and guard Isaac Snell for Frankfurt.

Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum seems to have taken a liking to Snell, a college defensive tackle, who the Jets converted to guard last summer. The Jets were so impressed with his transition, he actually made the active roster for the opener in Kansas City. That was somewhat astonishing, considering he had only played guard for a few months. He eventually wound up on the practice squad. One thing that impressed the coaches about him was that he was a quick learner, and you didn't have to tell him many things twice . . .

A source close to the Titans likes the Jets' signing of former Tennessee linebacker Brad Kassell.

"I think that's a great signing for both parties," said the source. "He kind of comes from that Patriot mold. He is hard-nosed, physical and tough. He doesn't have a lot of speed, but plays hard and smart and will always give you everything he's got." . . .

Jay McCareins, the brother of Jets wide receiver Justin McCareins, is a prospect in this draft. The Princeton graduate ran a 4.57 forty at his workout, and is a prospect at both cornerback and wide receiver . . .

A league source told Pro Football Weekly that new Jets cornerback Andre Dyson was "uncoachable," after Dyson left the Titans last off-season to join the Seattle Seahawks. Jets coaches will find out soon enough if this is true. This is Dyson's third team in three years, so it does raise some questions about him . . .

Don't expect too much talking from Jets assistant coaches this year; and as far as former GM Terry Bradway is concerned, that is the way it should be.

"If I was an assistant coach, I would love for the coach to say you can't talk, because really, nothing good comes out of it," said Bradway. "If you're an assistant coach and you talk, the whole night you can't sleep because you're worried about what's going to show up in print the next day. So it's hard." . . .

Strange item from the KFFL website.

"NewYorkJets.com reports the New York Jets are attempting to move DE Bryan Thomas to outside linebacker. They believe his speed and athleticism are better suited for the position. The knock on Thomas is his lack of experience. Thomas is currently penciled in as the starter opposite incumbent OLB Victor Hobson."

Where would they get such a thing? There is no way Tannenbaum or Jets coach Eric Mangini would tip their hand on how they are going to use Thomas. Well, this actually came from a freelance writer contributing to the website. It is pure speculation, but it was written as fact. Though there is a very good chance Thomas will be moved to outside linebacker in a Jets defense that is going to feature a lot of the 3-4, they will probably have him drop his weight to the 250-pound range -- his size when he first entered the league . . .

It's amazing how the perception of something can vary, depending on whom you ask.

The Jets' strength program was a big problem for the team last year. According to one published report, 25 players were overweight at different times during the season, and former head coach Herman Edwards didn't fine any of them. We also hear that players were signing in, but not working out.

It's hard to blame strength coach Marcus Paul for the Jets' issues in the weight room when the head coach wasn't disciplining players for breaking rules. You can have the best strength coach in the league, but if the head coach doesn't back him up with fines he will be rendered ineffective.

So it's interesting to read about what a great job Edwards is doing with the Kansas City Chiefs' off-season conditioning program.

"With Herm, we bring more discipline, honestly," said Chiefs offensive tackle Jordan Black. "With a new coach, players have to be more careful with what they do. They have to make better decisions. The players have a sense of there's a new boss man, and he wants to make sure that we are doing what we need to do."

Edwards didn't do that in New York last year . . .

There are a lot of rumors that the Jets are considering trading up to the second spot to pick USC quarterback Matt Leinart. Don't count on it. We hear their plan is to stay at four, and let the draft come to them. And there is a chance that Leinart will fall to the four spot.

Clearly, the Houston Texans are going to pick Reggie Bush at one. Then at two, the New Orleans Saints will try to trade down -- but if they are forced to stay put, they will select either offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson or defensive end Mario Williams. At three, most people assume that the Tennessee Titans will pick Leinart. Not so fast.

David Boclair, the Titans beat writer from the Mufreesboro Daily News, who has great sources with the team, thinks they will pick Texas quarterback Vince Young. A source close to the Titans told us the same thing.

Everybody assumes they will pick Leinart at three since Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow coached him at USC. But there's a couple of things to consider. First off, Titans GM Floyd Reese is a dictator when it comes to the draft. The Titans assistants have little or no input. Secondly, since Chow did coach Leinart at USC he knows better than anyone if his game will translate to the NFL. And lastly, the Titans had trouble filling seats last year; the source tells us that they think the electrifying Young will fill seats.

Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum could have quite a decision at four if Ferguson or Williams is there along with Leinart . . .

The Jets offensive line is in a state of flux, with a lot of decisions to be made at various positions. The team's brass loves the fact that Pete Kendall can play either center of left guard. This gives them flexibility, as far as upcoming moves are concerned.

"As you know, he has played both positions in the past and I'm sure that will be a factor in the decision-making," said Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum. "It gives us a lot of flexibility given the track record that the player has."

Another player who could give them positional flexibility is free-agent Trey Teague, a player who is on their radar. He started at left tackle with the Denver Broncos, and then handled the center position for the Buffalo Bills.

If the Jets sign Teague, he and Kendall will give them a lot of options in putting together the new line . . .

We hear that Dewayne Robertson's knee problem was much worse last year than Edwards was telling us. And the bad part about it for the Jets is it isn't going to get much better. He has bone-on-bone in his left knee, and not much can be done for that.

It's likely Robertson won't have a long career in the NFL . . .

It is illegal to reprint this story on any message board or website. It's also illegal to e-mail it to non-subscribers. Violators are breaking the law and subject to legal action.


Jets Insider Top Stories