Vladimir Ducasse Second Round Draft Pick
The Jets selected Massachusetts offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse with their second-round selection (No. 61 overall) in the NFL Draft.
The 6'4", 332-pound Ducasse was a three-year starter for the Minutemen and was an Associated Press All-America first-team selection on AP's Football Championship Series team.
"I'm happy, I'm very excited," he said tonight on a conference call with reporters. "The Jets are a good team. My family will be coming to watch my first game. I'm very excited."
As a junior, Ducasse started 12 games at left tackle and was credited with 94 knockdowns/key blocks. Arriving at UMass in 2006, Ducasse didn't play until the Minutemen's fourth game and saw mostly reserve duty before becoming a full-time starter at LT as a sophomore.
"I feel like I'm still a student of the game, still learning," he said. "From last year until now, I feel like I learned a lot from that. From the Senior Bowl, I learned a lot from that."
Ducasse, a Haitian native, never played football until coming over to the United States and participating on Stamford High School's team. While also excelling on the basketball court and in track and field, Ducasse started the final 20 games of his high school career and earned Connecticut all-state first-team honors from the Connecticut High School Coaches Association.
Even though he was a college tackle, some have projected Ducasse as a guard on the next level. At the Indy combine, he ran a 5.21 in the 40-yard dash and had 29 reps on the 225-bench press.
"He'll start out at right tackle and left guard," said GM Mike Tannenbaum. "We're going to keep playing around with that. We feel we have some flexibility on the line with Rob Turner and Wayne Hunter, and Matt Slauson played some center at Tampa Bay last year."
While his father, two uncles and some cousins still reside in Port-au-Prince, Ducasse hasn't been back to Haiti since moving to Stamford along with his older brother when he was just 14. Coincidentally, a trifecta of Jets players — S James Ihedigbo, WR David Clowney and LB Vernon Gholston — traveled to Port-au-Prince in March on a humanitarian mission following the 7.0 earthquake that rocked Haiti and claimed more than 230,000 lives.
Ihedigbo, a fourth-year player, is also a Massachusetts product and Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum graduated from UMass with a degree in accounting.
"He's a really interesting guy," Tannenbaum said of Ducasse. "He's originally from Haiti. He's an incredible worker. From what he's been through in his life, you'd never bet against him."
With the selection of Kyle Wilson at No. 29 overall on Thursday night and Ducasse at No. 61 tonight, the Jets spent their own picks in the first two rounds of a draft for the first time since 2002.
With their third-round pick going to Cleveland in last season's trade for WR Braylon Edwards, the Jets had no more picks scheduled tonight.
"We want to keep an eye on a couple of players," said Tannenbaum at the end of Round 2. "If a player or two are there, we may try to take a shot here." But the third round is now complete and the Jets did not make any trades.
So they will restack their board and their next selection will be made sometime after 10 a.m. Saturday. They have the 26th pick of Round 4, 124th overall, which they acquired in their trade of S Kerry Rhodes to Arizona.