Whew! It went just as quickly as it came. Literally. The fastest first round ever thanks to the NFL’s new shortened time limit between picks down to ten minutes made the first round fly by. If you blinked once every 3 hours or so you might have missed not one but two new Jets.
The New York Jets sat at the sixth overall pick and saw a player they liked – Matt Ryan – get picked up by the QB hungry Atlanta Falcons and then saw a player they loved – Darren McFadden – get sucked into Al Davis’ black hole in Oakland. That left the Jets sitting at 6 staring the sixth of the six elite prospects in this draft right in the face. Thankfully the Jets did not move anywhere and took Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston. Now hopefull the Jets won’t switch back to a 4-3 defense anytime soon.
The Jets seemd to rain on the New England Patriots draft day parade after taking Gholston because the Patsies quickly traded down and reached for late rising Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo. Of course most reviewed this Pats move as just another stroke of divine foresight by Bill Belichick but I say the Pats had their most suspect draft in years and clearly seemed off their game.
As the first round moved to a close some very interesting names were still waiting when the Green Bay Packers came on the clock at 30. The Jets needed an offensive threat and most specifically a wide receiver. A big target who could shake and bake and fly down the field. Tood bad none of the wide recievers in this class fit that description so when the Jets traded up back into the first round at the Packers spot the crowd was buzzing. Would it be for Michigan quarterback Chad Henne? I would have been satisifed with that. Maybe wide receivers Devin Thomas or Limas Sweed? Also two very good choices nobody would have disputed. But a WR was not to be taken in the entire first round this year – a first in nearly 20 years – as the Jets surprised (not me) and went with the top tight end and combine darling Dustin Keller of Purdue.
Some jeered some cheered but as much as Gholston was a no brainer, this was also a home run. Jets fans will love Keller right away. Forget the fact he is a TE because that is in name only. He has size at 6’2″ plus. He is a chiseled 240 pound load and he can breakaway from the pack running a 4.5+ 40. He has game breaking ability and can take it the distance when he touches the ball. He rocketed up the charts after having one of the most impressive all around combine displays – not unlike fellow first rounder Gholston. Keller will step in right away as the third recieving option on this team and provide a great weapon and a mismatch nightmare for defenses.
The Jets draft was essentially a two player draft again this year. With just six picks their was little depth to add and the Day 2 picks did offer some good picks for potential contributors in CB Dwight Lowery, WR Marcus Henry, and OL Nate Garner I was not impressed with the pick of Erik Ainge at quarterback. Lowery led college football in interceptions with 13 last year and fills a big need as positional depth while Henry and Garner both are intriguing projects with great size at their respective positions. Overall I think the fact that the Jets did not select one of the top WRs in a very weak class has led some analysts to downgrade this draft into the B to B- vicinity, but without a plethora of picks this year the Jets concentrated on adding quality over quantity. They did so in bringing on immediate studs to both the defensive and offensive side of the ball and really did not reach or gamble at all but took hard working, physically dominant players in the first round. This pick will be a favorite of mine to make our draft grade in three years an A+
The Jets also made a move Sunday night to add the most prolific running back in NCAA history to the squad. Chadron State’s Danny Woodhead may be short on stature but not on stats.