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Jets jump for Moss

New York moves up to grab game-breaking little guy

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Posted: Saturday April 21, 2001 7:32 PM
Updated: Saturday April 21, 2001 9:41 PM

  Santana Moss Santana Moss is determined to give the Jets a good return on their investment. AP

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -- The New York Jets, declaring their need for a defense-stretching receiver, traded up three spots in the first round Saturday to draft speedy Miami wideout Santana Moss.

"Explosive players dictate to the defense that they have to change their coverages," Jets coach Herman Edwards said. "He gets respect when he breaks the huddle; the defense has to say 'Where's he at?' because a 5-yard out pass can become a 70-yard touchdown."

Despite being 5-foot-9 1/2, Moss did not scare off the Jets, even though their top receiver is 5-10 Wayne Chrebet. By trading fourth-round and sixth-round picks to move up from 19th to 16th in the first round, the Jets decided that Moss' speed and athletic ability offset his size.

"I was surprised they traded up," said Moss, speaking from Miami. "I thought I would still be there at 19, but they jumped ahead, and I'm thankful for that. They won't be mad that they took me. They can't get a better guy. I'm going to give them everything they want."

Jets' First-Round Draft Picks
Year  Player  Pos.  College 
2001  Santana Moss  WR  Miami 
2000  Shaun Ellis  DE  Tennessee 
   John Abraham  LB  South Carolina 
   Chad Pennington  QB  Marshall 
   Anthony Becht  TE  West Virginia 
1999  NO PICK       
1998  NO PICK       
1997  James Farrior  LB  Virginia 
1996  Keyshawn Johnson  WR  Southern Cal 
1995  Kyle Brady  TE  Penn State 
   Hugh Douglas  DE  Central St. (OH) 
1994  Aaron Glenn  CB  Texas A&M 
1993  Marvin Jones  LB  Florida State  
1992  Johnny Mitchell  TE  Nebraska 
1991  NO PICK        
1990  Blair Thomas  RB  Penn State 
1989  Jeff Lageman  LB  Virginia 
1988  Dave Cadigan  T-G  USC 
1987  Roger Vick  FB  Texas A&M 
1986  Mike Haight  T-G  Iowa 
1985  Al Toon  WR  Wisconsin 
1984  Russell Carter  CB-S  Southern Methodist 
   Ron Faurot  DE-DT  Arkansas 
1983  Ken O'Brien  QB  Cal-Davis 
1982  Bob Crable  LB  Notre Dame 
1981  Freeman McNeil  RB  UCLA 
1980  Johnny "Lam" Jones  WR  Texas 
1979  Marty Lyons  DE-DT  Alabama 
1978  Chris Ward  Ohio State 
1977  Marvin Powell  USC 
1976  Richard Todd  QB  Alabama 
1975  NO PICK       
1974  Carl Barzilauskas  DT  Indiana 
1973  Burgess Owens  CB-S  Miami 
1972  Jerome Barkum  WR-TE  Jackson State 
   Mike Taylor  LB  Michigan 
1971  John Riggins  RB  Kansas 
1970  Steve Tannen  DB  Florida 
1969  Dave Foley  Ohio State 
1968  Lee White  FB  Weber State 
1967  Paul Seiler  C-G  Notre Dame 
1966  Bill Yearby  Michigan 
1965  Joe Namath  QB  Alabama 
   Tom Nowatzke  FB  Indiana  
1964  Matt Snell  FB  Ohio State 
1963  Jerry Stovall  HB  Louisiana State  
1962  Sandy Stevens  QB  Minnesota  
1961  Tom Brown  Minnesota 

Moss impressed the Jets with his 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash and a 42-inch vertical leap, and he had four punt returns for touchdowns in his senior season at Miami. So in addition to his receiving, the Jets believe he will dramatically improve their 27th-place standing in NFL punt returns.

"He can score from anywhere on the field as a punt returner as well as a receiver," Edwards said. "He'll come in as a punt returner first, and we can give him some plays at wide receiver. He doesn't have to come in and be a starter at wide receiver on the first day.

"We have some tall receivers in Matthew Hatchette and Laveranues Coles who have some size. The thing about Santana is that he can make people miss, and can run fast."

The Jets stayed on the offensive side of the ball with their picks in the second and third rounds: tailback LaMont Jordan of Maryland and tackle Kareem McKenzie of Penn State.

Moss, who broke Michael Irvin's Miami record for receiving yardage despite having to start his college career as a walk-on, said he has always had to deal with doubters.

"My size has always been an issue," he said. "All I have to do is go out there and play good football."

Jets general manager Terry Bradway said Moss' skill as both a wide receiver and punt returner was a plus.

"We had the fear that some other team would move up and get him, so we did what it took to go get him," Bradway said.

The 5-10, 230-pound Jordan had an outstanding season at Maryland in 1999 with 1,632 yards, but slipped to 920 as a senior.

"He underachieved in his senior year, and that's why he's still sitting there in the second round," Edwards said. "But he's a big guy with good speed for his size. In the colder months here in November and December, you might want to run the football."

McKenzie, 6-6 and 327 pounds, was a three-year starter on the offensive line for Penn State.

Related information
Hurricanes WR Moss has it all -- except height
No history-making day likely for Jets
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