Snap Judgments: Jets look like they're going for it all in 2009
The Jets traded up twice in the first three rounds to make bold picks
New coach Rex Ryan made it clear he's going to upgrade the Jets offense
New York picked QB Mark Sanchez at No. 5, and RB Shonn Greene at No. 65
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we put the 2009 NFL Draft to bed from the Lions team complex in suburban Motown ...
These New York Jets, they're not messing around. Not one bit. It's pretty clear what they're doing at this point in 2009. They're going for it. Big time. Just as they did on Saturday, the Jets boldly made the draft's first deal of the day on Sunday, sending three draft picks (a third-, a fourth- and a seventh-rounder) to Detroit for the chance to select Iowa running back Shonn Greene with the first pick of the third round (65th overall).
It's pretty obvious that new Jets head coach Rex Ryan likes his defense plenty enough already, but he's bound and determined to upgrade a New York offense that wilted down the playoff-run stretch in 2008. With USC quarterback Mark Sanchez coming via the No. 5 pick on Saturday, and Greene adding his 1,850-yard rushing skills as a Hawkeye junior to the mix, New York is better suited to play the kind of game that Ryan saw Baltimore win big with last year, when he was the Ravens defensive coordinator.
Baltimore went 11-5 and won a pair of playoff games last season with a stout defense, an offense built around its pounding running game and a rookie quarterback in Joe Flacco, who knew how to take care of the football and make big plays when the opportunities presented themselves. That'll be the blueprint in New York this season, with Sanchez in Flacco's role, and Greene adding to an already strong running game that helps the Jets control the clock and shorten games.
And make no mistake, by trading up to select Greene, the Jets are sending an undeniable message to veteran running back Thomas Jones, who has stayed away from the team's offseason workout program in protest of his contract situation. Jones, who turns 31 in August, is a tough, durable runner himself, but in Greene the Jets now also have a bruising 227-pound rusher who said he's coming to New York to "move the chains.''
Greene features the physical style of play that Ryan wants to be the Jets' calling card, and New York was determined to go after him when he remained on the board after the close of Saturday's second round. Sources close to Greene say they were hearing that one unknown team would be jumping up to the top of the third round to select him, and that Detroit had put the 65th pick up for bidding.
"The Jets had him rated in the second round, and they think he's ideal for them,'' a source said. "It's perfect. [Greene] is from 90 minutes down the road from the Jets, in Sicklerville, N.J.''
The Jets didn't go for flash with their last pick in the draft (193rd overall), taking Nebraska guard Matt Slauson. But New York seems content to have rolled the dice and gone all in for Sanchez and Greene. There was no hesitation in New York. In 2009, the Jets are going for it.
In past years, I remember being overly high on draft weekend on mid-round notables such as Mike McMahon and Adrian McPherson, so take the following quarterback insight with a grain of salt: I really think the Cowboys made a wise move in making Texas A&M's Stephen McGee the fourth quarterback taken in this year's draft, with the first pick of the fourth round (101st overall).
I look at McGee as sort of the Matt Cassel of this year's draft. Due to a torn labrum in his shoulder, he didn't play all that much in 2008 (three starts, six games total), which is usually a death sentence when it comes to creating any draft interest. But give McGee a couple years and let's see what develops. He's a big (6-3, 225-pound), tough-minded kid with strong leadership skills and an underrated arm, and there's a reason he went before more well-known prospects like Nate Davis of Ball State, Graham Harrell of Texas Tech and Chase Daniel of Missouri.
As a senior at A&M, McGee got a taste of playing in the West Coast offense of new Aggies head coach Mike Sherman, the former Packers head coach. It's a style he seemed to be well-suited to, and it should aid in his understanding of NFL offenses. I'm not saying he'll push Tony Romo out of Big D in two years, but just keep an eye on McGee. He might turn up somewhere in the NFL as a starter in the not-too-distant future.
I don't know what to make of this pool-jumping story that has apparently made Bears third-round pick Jarron Gilbert a bit of a YouTube sensation. The San Jose State defensive tackle made waves (sorry, couldn't resist) last summer when he was video-taped jumping out of the shallow end of a pool after being told that ex-Rams, Redskins and Bears safety Adam Archuleta had once performed the same feat.
OK, I get it that it means Gilbert is one very strong dude. Granted. But does it ensure that he can really jack up the Bears' pass rush? I don't think so. No more than Kyle Boller being able to throw it through the goal posts from midfield on his knees made him a great quarterback in Baltimore when he was taken in the first round out of Cal in 2003.
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