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EA Q&A: Idzik Will Build Through the Draft

Posted Feb 5, 2013

The National Football League’s 2012 season is officially over. While the Jets experienced some bright moments, there were too many power outages along the way. It is time to turn the page for good.

Greg
Tampa, FL
Q:
It seemed to me Tannenbaum always kind of went for a big splash — trading up in drafts, signing bigger names in free agency & trading picks away for players. But the Jets lacked in building depth & developing talent. With (John) Idzik, what are your early impressions of how he might operate things?

EA: Idzik has said the draft will be a “lifeline” for the Jets and the team will be “judicious” in free agency. 

When I started in the NFL in 2000 as a Buccaneers PR staffer, Idzik was Tampa Bay’s Director of Football Administration. I spoke to a former colleague the other night who said, “John is smart, grounded and will put a good plan in place. New York is a tough market. Fans will have to be patient. … He will build through the draft.”

The Buccaneers gathered six first-round picks between 1995-97 and their defense was forever changed in April ’95 with the landing of Hall of Fame DT Warren Sapp (D1, No. 12) and future Hall of Fame LB Derrick Brooks (D1, No. 28). Explosive RB Warrick Dunn (D1, No. 12) went early to the Bucs in ’97, but they had a bunch of great mid-round finds as well.  Probable future Hall of Fame CB Ronde Barber (D3, No. 66) came off the board in 1997 and Super Bowl XXXVII MVP Dexter Jackson (D4, No. 113) was a Bucs pick in ’99. In ’96, the Bucs got a backfield bruiser in RB Mike Alstott (D2, No. 35) and then an excellent Cover-2 corner in Donnie Abraham (D3, No. 71). The Bucs’ 41 Pro Bowl selections from 1997-2002 were the most in the NFL.

Most recently, Idzik was part of a Seahawks personnel department that hit more often than not on draft weekend. The ‘Hawks' 2012 draft appears ridiculous right now when you consider DE Bruce Irvin (D1, No. 15), Bobby Wagner (D2, No. 47), Russell Wilson (D3, No. 75) and RB Robert Turbin (D4, No. 106). Wilson alone would be plenty, but Irvin racked up eight sacks and Wagner received strong consideration for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

In 2011, the ‘Hawks got great value in the fourth and fifth rounds respectively with LB K.J. Wright and CB Richard Sherman. Back in 2010, the Seahawks had a pair of No. 1s and they came away with Pro Bowlers in LT Russell Okung (D1, No. 6) and FS Earl Thomas (D1, No. 14). Safety Kam Chancellor (D5, No. 133) was a find late while WR Golden Tate (D2, No. 60) scored 7 TDs last season. DT Red Bryant (D4, No. 121) is one of the ‘Hawks' leaders and a force up front. 

Exploring every avenue to improve, the Seahawks got a Pro Bowl RB in Marshawn Lynch from the Buffalo Bills for a fourth-round pick in 2011 and a fifth-round pick in 2012. Seattle pulled off a steal when the acquired DE Chris Clemons and a fourth-round pick from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Darryl Tapp. In three seasons up in the Pacific Northwest, Clemons has racked up 33.5 sacks. If Clemons didn’t suffer a torn ACL and meniscus in his left knee in the wild card round, who knows how far the Seahawks could have advanced?

Idzik won’t look for a quick fix. The Jets will value their draft picks and it would not surprise me to see them stockpile a few here in the future. 

Ken
Brooklyn, NY
Q:
I have seen Mark Sanchez regress the past 2 seasons. In 2013, I don't see any potential in Sanchez. Do you think the Jets will draft a quarterback in the first round or lean towards obtaining a veteran? We need a lot of help at the quarterback position. I have been a fan for over 30 years.

EA: If Sanchez is here, he will have to win the job. We will have Marty Mornhinweg on as a “Jets Talk LIVE” guest soon and I can’t wait to hear the new OC’s thoughts on Sanchez. If the Jets do indeed part ways with Tim Tebow (as almost all pundits anticipate), they will most likely add a veteran in free agency. 

While I believe there is a strong chance the Jets will draft a quarterback, it would be presumptuous of me to pick a round. Both Geno Smith and Matt Barkley were not on hand in Mobile, AL, so let’s see what happens with their stock in the weeks ahead. Senior Personnel Executive Terry Bradway told me the Senior Bowl QB crop was good — not great.

Robert J.
Hackettstown, NJ
Q:
Shouldn't the Jets finally address their leaky offensive line? I hear all these other areas where the Jets are lacking, but I think not enough attention is given to our offensive line. You can't make plays on offense when you can't protect the QB effectively or open running lanes for our RBs.

EA: The Jets have to make some moves up front because both RG Brandon Moore and LG Matt Slauson are due to hit the market. I have been talking about the guard position since the season ended, but the team has bigger holes outside the offensive line. They are still solid at the two most important line positions with C Nick Mangold and LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and the team liked the way Austin Howard developed at RT. After receiving valuable playing time in 2012, is Vladimir Ducasse ready to step up into a starting position?

John B.
Scranton, PA
Q: Hey Eric, love your blog and thanks for the great work. With all the talk about bringing in veteran competition, what do you think about giving Vince Young a shot? I think we could get him on the cheap for low risk/high reward.

EA: Young is an interesting name because he worked under Mornhinweg in Philadelphia and he is familiar with the West Coast attack. But one wonders if VY’s best days are behind him. He started three games for the Eagles in 2011, throwing for four TDs and eight INTs.  The Bills had Young in camp last summer and then cut him loose after acquiring Tarvaris Jackson in a trade. And the Buffalo QB coach last season was the same David Lee who will mentor the Jets passers in 2013.

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