Draft Preview – New York Jets

An analytical look at the Jets heading into the 2011 NFL Draft. New York has the 30th pick in the first round.


Record – 11-5 and one of the AFC wildcard teams in the playoffs.

Finish – finished in second place in the AFC East, three games behind New England.

Playoffs – in the wildcard round, the Jets held on to beat Indianapolis 17-16; in the divisional round they were able to knock off New England 28-21; in the AFC Championship Game they fell to the Steelers in Pittsburgh 24-19.


The Jets have not always been the vision of stability, but they’ve been able to win games, whether the head coach was Herm Edwards, Eric Mangini or Rex Ryan. In the last five years, they’ve had four winning record and made the playoffs three times. Under Ryan, they’ve gotten to the AFC Championship Game for two straight years, but have been unable to find a way to beat first Indianapolis and then Pittsburgh.

With Ryan running the show, the defense is in the forefront and led by their CBs in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. Inside backers Bart Scott and David Harris really anchor the defense and they’ve brought in various veterans on their last legs, guys like Jason Taylor and Trevor Pryce. Offensively, QB Mark Sanchez, TE Dustin Keller and RB Shonn Greene have come through the draft, while WRs Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and RB LaDainian Tomlinson arrived via trades/free agency.

Right now, the Jets are in one of those personnel corners where they are looking for the final pieces to get them over the hump and into the Super Bowl. They are looking more for an instant injection into their roster than developmental players.


Offense – the Jets averaged 351 yards per game (No. 11 in the NFL). They were especially effective running the ball, averaging 148.4 yards per game. N.Y. put 34 offensive touchdowns on the board, topped by WR Braylon Edwards with seven scores. Edwards led the team in receiving yardage with 904 yards on 53 catches; Keller led the team with 55 catches. Sanchez spread the ball around as five different receivers had 40 catches or more. Tomlinson led the team in rushing with 914 yards on 219 carries. Greene chipped in 766 yards on 185 carries. Sanchez had 17 TDs to 13 INTs, throwing for 3,291 yards and a 75.3 passer rating. He was sacked 27 times.

Defense – gave up an average of 291.5 yards per game (No.3 in the league.) They were also third in fewest rushing yards allowed (90.9 yards per game) and sixth in fewest passing yards given up at 200.6. Opposing offenses scored 35 TDs against the Jets defense, and New York had 30 takeaways on the season and 40 sacks. Cromartie and Dwight Lowery each had 3 interceptions and OLG Bryan Thomas contributed 6 sacks.

Special teams – K Nick Folk missed 9 FGs on the season, including 3 inside the 40-yard line. P Steve Weatherford averaged 42.6 yards on his punts and the club’s net punting average was 38.1 yards. QB/WR/RET Brad Smith took back a pair of kickoff returns for scores, including one for 97 yards.


– Woody Johnson, part of the Johnson & Johnson health-care family. He’s actively involved in the business end of the organization and sometimes reportedly tries to make football decisions as well. Johnson is a bit of a loose cannon that seems to react to whoever was the last party to speak with him.

GM – Mike Tannenbaum joined the Jets in 1997 and worked his way up to the boss as executive VP-GM in 2008. He’s the guy in charge, supposedly.

Head coach – Rex Ryan is now 24-14 as a head coach, taking his two Jets teams to the AFC Championship Game. His background is on defense, going all the way back to his father, the legendary Buddy Ryan. He has 14 seasons in the NFL.

VP College Scouting – Joey Clinkscales, former NFL wide receiver who has been with the Jets 17 years and is in his fourth season in charge of college scouting.

Senior Personnel Executive – Terry Bradway enters his 11th season with the Jets and his 26th season working in the NFL. He spent 9 seasons with the Chiefs (1992-2000), spending the last four years in charge of the personnel department.

Who has the juice in the draft? Tannebaum has the button in his control, but it’s hard to see him taking any player that his head coach hasn’t approved.


1. Outside linebacker – Over the last five years, the Jets have drafted 27 players and only two of those have been linebackers. Only one remains – Harris at ILB who was drafted in the second round of the 2007 Draft. Outside LB has been ignored even though it’s been five years with the 3-4 defense. OLBs produced 16.5 of the team’s 40 sacks, thanks to 10.5 sacks from free agent signees Calvin Pace and Jason Taylor. Last year the Jets tried to find an edge pass rushing future and did not get it done. They’ll get another chance this year.

2. Defensive endThe Jets finally cut bait and sent 2008 first-rounder Vernon Gholston packing. He was a major disappointment over his three seasons; in three seasons with 45 games of action, he did not have a sack. In the last six drafts, Gholston is the only DE that the Jets have drafted. LDE Shaun Ellis will be 34 this coming season and playing in his 13th season. Pryce will be 36 years old and in his 16th season if he comes back for the 2011 season.

3. Offensive tackle – D’Brickashaw Ferguson is set at LT, but the RT spot has an open spot that Wayne Hunter will not fill for very long. Veteran Damien Woody finished the season on the injured-reserve list because of a torn left Achilles. He was released back at the end of February. He’ll be 34 during the 2011 season. Last year, they drafted G Vladimir Ducasse in the second round and they may be able to move him to right tackle. But life would be easier letting Ducasse stay inside and getting a good young talent on the left side.


The Jets are always wheeling and dealing when it comes to draft time and for the most part they’ve been able to hit on the first-round picks. The only exception was Gholston. The others Ferguson, Revis, Keller, Sanchez and C Nick Mangold

In the late rounds they’ve hit on only one contributor in the last few years, grabbing G Matt Slauson in the sixth-round out of Nebraska.

2006: They got the job done in this draft, with OL starters Ferguson and Mangold, S Smith and WR Smith – four big contributors.

2007: With only four picks, the Jets hit .500, getting defensive starters Revis and Harris.

2008: Gholston’s failure to provide any contribution destroyed this draft class and its contributions. They did get Keller and Lowery out of this group.

2009: Only three choices because of so many deals, but they got three starters, including sixth-rounder Slauson, along with Sanchez and Greene.

2010: Not much of a contribution from this class in their rookie season. Fourth-round RB Joe McKnight was a disappointment, but fifth-rounder FB John Conner looks like he’ll replace Tony Richardson at fullback.

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