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EA Q&A: New Draft Decision Makers

Posted Feb 12, 2013

SGT Scott "Doc" Johnson
Unclassified (Afghanistan)
Q:
This will be my last letter from Afghanistan as I'm getting ready to leave... According to (reports of) the Jets financial issues, could we possibly see a quality RB pickup of Bradshaw? Or are we going to attempt another shot at a RB through the draft? Thanks for your support of the troops and willingness to entertain my inquiries! God bless you in the future and GO JETS!

EA: It is difficult to believe that the United States’ war in Afghanistan has endured now for more than 11 years.  More than 2,100 American troops have died there while 18,000 more have been wounded.  The hope is that combat operations may be over in 2014, but the impact of battle will last forever.  Be safe Doc and we thank you for your service.

Despite multiple reports indicating that the Jets are basically in salary cap hell, I think that is a bunch of malarkey.  The Jets will make a few moves to get themselves in an advantageous position when the league year commences on March 13.   New GM John Idzik has already said that the team will have a “fruitful offseason.” 

When healthy, Bradshaw is a beast.  He runs like he will never get another carry, embracing contact and trucking through defenders.  In six seasons with New York’s NFC representative, Bradshaw averaged 4.6 yards a carry and he had 23 TDs on the ground the past three seasons.  The 5’10”, 214-pounder, a seventh-round pick out of Marshall in 2007, is also an excellent blocker and he can catch the ball out of the backfield. 

But what kind of shape are his surgically repaired knees and ankles in and what kind of money will he demand?  The Jets have a lot of holes and the organization wants to get younger.  I love Bradshaw, but it might be a stretch for this team at this point.  You can get good RBs in the draft and most backs aren’t on the upswing after six NFL seasons.

Oliver
Cliffside, NJ
Q:
I read an article linking (Syracuse QB Ryan) Nassib to the Jets along with several teams. If reports hold true, could the Jets potentially reach for him at No. 9 or hope he falls to them in the second round?   Also may a veteran competitor be a more viable game-ready option?

EA: If you like a QB, you can never draft him too early.  With that being said, this is a fun season of speculation and you will hear a ton of other reports in the weeks and months ahead.  The Jets made their QB Big Board on Saturday and that is set before next week’s Combine.  Just a hunch here, but I don’t think they are telling anyone how it lines up at the moment.

In a perfect world, you add a veteran in free agency/the trade route and then draft one as well.    

Barry K.
Seattle, WA
Q:
Do you think the Jets organization really knows how to build a winning team?  I don’t trust their draft selections.

James L.
East Northport, NY
Q:
The Jets need to vastly improve their scouting and drafting results. What are the Jets doing to improve their drafting process?

Julio A.
Bronx, NY
Q:
How do the Jets expect to draft better players when they still have mostly the same scouts who drafted many busts?

EA: In order to be fair, let’s address the facts.   The man who ultimately will make the final call on draft weekend for the Jets was hired a couple of weeks ago.   New GM John Idzik may have run around the Jets locker room when he was a young kid, but his first draft as the Jets No. 1 man will be in April.  Secondly Jeff Bauer, who has been with the team for 12 seasons, is about to embark on his first draft as the team’s director of college scouting.  That changes the dynamic completely and having Terry Bradway still in the mix is an asset for this organization.  Coaches are involved in the process as well and the most impactful change on the staff is Marty Mornhinweg in at offensive coordinator. 

In addition to the personnel changes, the Jets are taking a different approach to some things such as cross-checks, grades and interviews.  There are plenty of competent people inside the organization and there is reason for Jets Nation to be optimistic. 

Keith B.
Vero Beach, CA
Q:
Do you think Mark Sanchez has hurt the Jets as much as the Jets have hurt Mark Sanchez?

EA: If a player is selected No. 5 overall, chances are likely that he is destined for a team that is in need of an overhaul.   But Sanchez came to a club that not only finished 9-7 in 2008, but they also hired a defensive genius in Rex Ryan.   In Sanchez’s rookie season, the Jets led the NFL in points allowed (14.8 points per game) and yards yielded (252.3 yards per contest).  Nobody ran the football better than the Jets in ’09 (172.3-yard average), so I think he stepped into a fantastic situation.  In Sanchez’s second season, the Jets were 6th in the NFL in points allowed (19.0), third in yards allowed (200.6) and fourth in rushing offense (148.4).  Sanchez was brilliant in the 2010 playoffs and the organization was ready to hand him the keys to the offense in 2011.

They changed up at the receiver position, replacing Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery in favor of Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason.  They never truly found an identity and I will argue that C Nick Mangold’s ankle injury (Week 2 vs. JAX) absolutely crippled this team.  They lost three straight on the road including that Week 4 debacle in Baltimore.   The Jets did lead the NFL in red zone efficiency in 2011 and Sanchez accounted for 32 TDs (26 Pass & 6 Rush), but the trend of untimely turnovers down the stretch foreshadowed a disastrous campaign in Year 4.

The Jets didn’t have enough playmakers last season.  This team needed WR Santonio Holmes and TE Dustin Keller healthy for a full 16 games.  Tone went out in Week 3 with the Lisfranc injury and Keller appeared in only eight games.  It is darn near impossible to drive the field a couple of yards at a time — you need chunk plays. 

Sanchez is a career 55% passer with 68 TDs, 69 INTs and 20 fumbles lost.  Mornhinweg will be his third OC in three years.

Jim C.
Johnson City, NY
Q: How are Sanchez’s legs? Obviously he is not a mobile quarterback — will this have any influence on his starting role? Looking at the new coaching staff for the offense, does Sanchez and his limited ability because of his knees figure to see him lose his starting job?

EA: While Sanchez is no Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson or even Michael Vick, I have no problem with his mobility.   He actually has good feet and has shown decent ability to throw on the move.  If Sanchez doesn’t start, it will be because somebody throws the ball better than him and doesn’t turn it over. 

Gary C.
Greenwood, IN
Q:
Why have the Jets have ignored the SEC when it comes to the draft?  Their roster has a severe lack of SEC players — considering it is the best conference in college?

EA: You don’t draft conferences.  You draft players.  I love the SEC — I am a University of Florida alum.  The Jets study players from that conference and every other conference in the country.  Muhammad Wilkerson went to a “basketball school” in Temple, but the Jets DE is developing into a dominant player on the pro level.  Good players come from everywhere. 

Michael
Fairhaven, MA
Q:
I know the Jets are looking to possibly draft a QB. Would they consider drafting Jordan Rodgers — the younger brother of Aaron Rodgers in the late rounds. I think that would be a good pick for them.

EA: If Vanderbilt’s Jordan Rodgers is selected on draft weekend, he will most likely be a sixth or seventh-round selection.  The 6’1”, 212-pounder had a couple of nice years for the Commodores, finishing off his senior campaign by completing 60 percent of his passes with 15 TDs and 5 INTs.  He could be a developmental pick for a team, but the younger Rodgers doesn’t have physical qualities that wow you.

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