The Jets wanted DE Quinton Coples with the 16th pick, not OLB Bruce Irvin. So says Rex Ryan.
Ryan, speaking Tuesday night at a charity event in Eatontown, N.J., said the team had no plans to select Irvin, who was selected 15th by the Seahawks. On Sunday night, the Pro Sports Xchange reported that a Jets official called the Seahawks' draft room and jokingly cursed out a Seattle honcho for taking the player they wanted.
Ryan hinted that Coples and second-round WR Stephen Hill were rated higher than Irvin on their draft board.
"Not at 16, I can tell you that much," Ryan said, when asked if they wanted the talented, but troubled pass rusher from West Virginia. "He's a guy we did a lot of stuff on. We liked Bruce Irvin as a player, but not ahead of the first two guys we took."
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said Coples was the top name among a group of players they targeted with the 16th pick. Pettine said he did a "mental backflip" when they landed Coples, whom he envisions as a versatile player in their scheme.
Coples will play left end in the base defense, but he also has the ability to slide inside in passing downs, even play over the center in certain situations. Pettine said the goal in the draft was to add explosive players on defense. He admitted what we all knew last season: The defense was slow.
"You need to be fast and athletic," he said. "The league is evolving that way. It's a pass-first league and we felt we became -- for lack of a better word -- a little dinosaur-ish inside. We needed to improve the athleticism and team speed."
The "rallying cry" this spring is "One Step Faster." The Jets believe they got faster by drafting Coples, third-round LB Demario Davis, sixth-round CB/S Josh Bush and seventh-round S Antonio Allen. The plan, Pettine said, was to formulate a plan to neutralize the Patriots' big-play TEs, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
"We have to defend them," Pettine said. "New England set the trend for it and we have to respond to it."
A GREAT CAUSE: Pettine spearheaded a fundraising effort at hotel in Eatontown, N.J., trying to raise awareness for bone-marrow donation and, specifically, looking for a bone-marrow match for a Jets fan named Michael Manganiello.
Manganiello, married with three children, was recently diagnosed with Acute Myelofibrosis. AMF is a rare condition where progressive scarring or fibrosis of the bone marrow impairs its ability to make blood cells. His only chance for survival is a bone marrow transplant.
Pettine was introduced to Manganiello through a mutual friend, and he sprang into action, organizing a huge benefit. Ryan, QB Mark Sanchez, NT Sione Pouha and LB Aaron Maybin showed up to support Pettine and lend their celebrity to the cause, signing autographs for fans.
"It was a no-brainer to step in and help," Pettine said. "We don't get a lot of opportunities to do something like this, when you have a chance to have an impact on a life."
The ever-perceptive Pouha noted the appropriateness of the address of the hotel -- Hope Road.
For more information, check out matchformichael.com.
MARK IS MUM: Ryan, Pettine, Pouha and Maybin all spoke to reporters at the event. Sanchez agreed to answer questions as long as they weren't football-related. He spoke about his involvement in the event, but that was it. No football. If it seems silly, it's because it was.