A heaping helping of Jets Draft Whispers

If the Jets don't get a quarterback with one of their two first-round picks, they are clearly going to grab one in another round.

If the Jets don't get a quarterback with one of their two first-round picks, they are clearly going to grab one in another round.

Three second-round possibilities are Clemson's Charlie Whitehurst, Alabama's Brodie Croyle and Oregon's Kellen Clemens. But if they don't get one of those players, another prospect they should consider is Alabama State's Tavaris Jackson. We hear former NFL quarterback and current CBS analyst Phil Simms really likes his potential. The Arkansas transfer has tremendous raw tools with an outstanding, accurate arm and excellent mobility . . .

We continue to hear the Jets have no interest in Texas quarterback Vince Young. One issue with Young, aside from his low Wonderlic score, is the offense he played in at Texas. It's so simplistic -- and certainly not a system that in any way compares to what teams do in the NFL.

"They run five offensive plays at Texas," said a source close to the Longhorns' program.

While Young will have a major challenge making the transition from the college to pro game, one player who shouldn't is Croyle. Alabama plays a pro offense under former Tampa Bay assistant Mike Shula. The system is similar to what is used in Kansas City.

When Croyle was asked to break down film in meetings with teams, he really impressed pro coaches. If Croyle weren't so darn skinny (6-2, 205 pounds) and injury prone (labrum and ACL surgeries in college), he would likely be a first-round pick. The Jets are among the teams giving him serious consideration in Round Two . . .

The Jets had LSU receiver Skyler Green in for a visit this week. He was a productive wideout in college, but doesn't have great size (5-9) or speed (4.52). He is the cousin of New England defensive end Jarvin Green, who played for Eric Mangini with the Patriots . . .

There is a lot of speculation that the Jets are considering picking Ohio State center Nick Mangold at 29 or 35. But if they do, we hear they would play him at guard this year, and probably move him to center in the future. They plan on starting recently signed Trey Teague at center.

It's very dangerous to start a rookie at center because, as the leader of the offensive line, a center needs to make a lot of audibles based on reading the defense. Rookies generally aren't very adept at this. Remember, when former Jet Kevin Mawae entered the league with Seattle, he first started at guard . . .

There is a lot of speculation that the Jets, and a few other 3-4 teams like the Patriots and Cowboys, are interested in picking N.C. State defensive end Manny Lawson and moving him to outside linebacker. But we hear that his successful transition from college defensive end to NFL linebacker isn't a slam dunk. One longtime NFL defensive coach tells us his skinny legs could hurt him when taking on NFL offensive tackles and tight ends, and this could concern some of the 3-4 teams . . .

But look for the Jets to add one or two of the undersized college defensive ends, with the idea of making them outside linebackers in their new 3-4 scheme.

Some of the players they would likely consider are Lawson, Mathias Kiwanuka (Boston College), Chris Gacong (Cal Poly), Ryan LaCasse (Syracuse) and Parys Haralson (Tennessee). These players are really hard to find because most college defensive ends don't have the skill-set to drop into coverage -- a requirement for most 3-4 outside linebackers.

Current Jet defensive end Bryan Thomas was in this tweener category coming out of UAB, and the new coaching staff is going to attempt to make him an outside linebacker.

One guy you can't overlook, though, is third-year defensive end Trevor Johnson. While the 6-4, 260-pound Johnson was undersized in the Jets' old defense, he's a good fit for the new configuration. When he came out of Nebraska, a lot of scouts thought he was a good fit for the 3-4. The former tight end is very athletic, and has the ability to drop into coverage. Don't be shocked if he challenges for a starting job this year . . .

If North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams is on the board at No. 4, the Jets would love to grab him. We hear the Jets brass would be happy if they could get Williams or D'Brickashaw Ferguson with the first of their two first-round selections.

But some wonder if Williams would be a good fit as a defensive end in a 3-4 defense. You could be wasting his talent in this front, where ends get caught up in a lot of traffic and usually don't get a lot of sacks. North Carolina State defensive line coach Todd Stroud thinks Williams is best-suited playing in a 4-3.

But the Jets feel he can be a Richard Seymour-type 3-4 end. Seymour, who is built similarly to Williams, has thrived in the 3-4 system. But the one difference is that Seymour was a defensive tackle in college, and Williams has been an end. It's easier for a 4-3 college defensive tackle to make the transition to 3-4 end than for a 4-3 college defensive end.

Stroud feels that Williams is a better prospect than Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers, to whom Williams has often been compared. The reason Stroud feels this way is due to Williams being more of a pure football player than Peppers coming out of college. Peppers also played basketball at UNC, while Williams only focused on football . . .

We hear that the Jets think there are five great players in this draft aside from the top three quarterbacks. They also feel that positions 15 to 25 in the first round will be filled with second-round talent, for whom teams will have to pay first-round money . . .

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