A day after releasing everyone’s favorite backup QB, the New York Jets were all over local radio dispensing a message of progress, as well as a collective mindset focused on improving from a 6-10 record. New GM John Idzik and HC Rex Ryan made several appearances during the day attempting to answer questions about the direction of the team, especially after selecting a QB early in the second round (39th overall).
“We did great,” responded Idzik when asked how he would grade his team’s draft, and his first in the front office for the Green and White. Specifically, Idzik and the Jets “felt strongly about both (Dee Milliner & Sheldon Richardson)” at ninth and thirteenth. When you have the ninth selection, and you see a player you believed would be long gone, I agree, you snatch that guy up (at a need position too… no question!). Milliner was rated as the top DB by many analysts, so it’s hard to argue with that pick when Revis (and his island) were shipped C.O.D. to Tampa Bay.
Now, even though Idzik liked Sheldon Richardson at thirteen, I disagree. I’m not saying Richardson can’t have an impact on a team that sourly needs pass rushers, but there were skill players available that could’ve impacted this year’s roster. This team needed more on offense, and with BOTH top-TE prospects still on the board, I wouldn’t pass up on either Tyler Eifert (drafted 21st by the Bengals) or Zach Ertz (drafted 35th by the Eagles) for another first-round selection of a defensive lineman (Mo Wilkerson in 2011 & Quinton Coples in 2012).
Reports surfaced early on Day 2 of the 2013 NFL Draft with rumors of the Jets having an eye on QB Geno Smith. Some reports had the Jets possibly moving up to select Smith, but Gang Green held their position at 39 and selected the 6’2”, 218-pounder out of West Virginia. Geno Smith joins David Garrard as Idzik’s second acquisition at the QB position since joining the organization. It’s understood that Idzik can’t really bring first-hand knowledge of how Sanchez handled competition last season, but when asked what he thought would happen this time around, his answer seemed canned. “(When you have) good players in a room with good competition …they get better,” according to the new GM. That makes a wonderful sound bite, but we saw Sanchez wilt under the lights at MetLife with minimal pressure from potential signal-callers.
As a competitor, you’d hope Mark Sanchez would look at the selection of Smith as a challenge. We were all witness to how he handled competition from Tim Tebow last season. Mike Greenberg of ESPN, a proud flag-waving Jets fan, declared “that ship has sailed,” when referring to Sanchez as a starter. Continuing with his analysis of Sanchez in NYC, Greeny referred to it as an “aurora of negativity that surrounds that guy.” Idzik doesn’t agree with Greeny at all, saying “we should see the best of Mark Sanchez this year,” when asked about the team’s former starter. Idzik seems to have faith in new OC Marty Mornhinweg, touting his ability to “do a lot of different things with different quarterbacks.” Let’s see how the third OC in three years helps Sanchez muster what little chance he has left to get his old job back.
A QB’s best friend can be a strong running game, and the Jets were able to supplement their offense by trading a selection in this year’s fourth round for RB Chris Ivory, formerly of the Saints. I love this move, because I don’t think they could’ve gotten an NFL-ready runner that deep (selection 106) in this draft. If he can play sixteen games, after being injured for parts of the last two seasons, it will be the cherry on top of a productive 2013 NFL Draft for the New York Jets.
-Joseph Haas Editor, HCoftheNYJ.com
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