Friday, April 23, 2010
Jets need D-line help on Day 2
By Rich Cimini
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- In their headline-making offseason, the New York Jets have addressed every area except the offensive and defensive lines. Well, quarterback, too, but we have a hunch Mark Sanchez is going to stick around for some time. That means the focus today in the war room will shift to the big fellas -- specifically, trying to bolster the graying defensive line.
The Jets, who went small Thursday night by selecting Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson in the first round, will be on the clock Friday night with the 29th choice in Round 2 (61st overall). They have no third-round pick -- it was traded to the Browns last season for wide receiver Braylon Edwards -- so there will be pressure on GM Mike Tannenbaum to hit a home run with his only selection on Day 2.
Of course, there's always the possibility that Tannenbaum will shake things up with a trade. If he drafts an offensive or defensive lineman, it will fuel immediate speculation about left guard Alan Faneca and defensive end Shaun Ellis, both on the wrong side of 30 with huge contracts.
"I expect a lot of deals around the league," one NFC personnel executive said Friday morning. "That's what happens when you give personnel people too much time to think. I think that's what will happen. Knowing the Jets, I'm sure they'll be talking to people."
Even though nose tackle Kris Jenkins is returning from major knee surgery, the defensive line could use some young blood. There are two wide-bodies still on the board, Alabama's Terrence Cody (6-4, 354) and East Carolina's Linval Joseph (6-4, 328), whose stock has been soaring in recent weeks.
"He still doesn't know how to play yet, but he competes like crazy and would be a nice pick for the Jets," one NFC scout said of Joseph. "He needs to play lower, but that's very correctable."
Right now, the top defensive linemen on the Jets' depth chart are Jenkins, Ellis, Mike Devito and Sione Pouha. Marques Douglas, a solid starter last season, is floating in free-agent limbo. And let's not forget about former No. 1 pick Vernon Gholston, who probably will be moved to the line after washing out at linebacker.
If Rex Ryan wants a five-technique end for his 3-4 scheme, a candidate is Northwestern's Corey Wootton (6-6, 270). Like Wilson, he's a Jersey kid, born in Rutherford and a former standout at Don Bosco Prep. Wootton displayed first-round talent in 2008, but he suffered a knee injury late that season and wasn't himself in 2009. He could be a steal late in the second round if he can recapture his 2008 form.
In terms of the offensive line, there should be at least five O-linemen chosen in the second round, according to scouts. The top players left on the board are Indiana's Rodger Saffold (6-5, 316), Maryland's Bruce Campbell (6-6, 314), UMass' Vladimir Ducasse (6-4, 332), USC's Charles Brown (6-5, 303) and Ole Miss' John Jerry (6-5, 328).
The Jets' line was arguably the best in the league last season, but Faneca and right tackle Damien Woody both are 32. The Jets are dangling Faneca in trade talks, sources have told ESPNNewYork.com, although it's hard to imagine a team dealing for his $7.5 million salary. But if New York drafts a guard, it could be curtains for Faneca.
Looking for a potential wild card in the second round? Here's one: Stanford running back Toby Gerhart, a Heisman Trophy finalist. He can play fullback, too, and the Jets need an eventual replacement for Tony Richardson.
Rich Cimini is special to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.