The New York Jets scouting process is really something to behold.
There are a lot of people involved in draft preparation and Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum saluted his road warriors on Thursday.
"I wanted to thank, in particular, our college scouts for the sacrifice they make all year going out on the road and being away from their families so much," he said. "I saw Ozzie Newsome do it, so I have to give him some credit. I do want to thank our scouts, in all seriousness."
Newsome, the general manager of the Baltimore Ravens, and Tannenbaum know plenty about long days and time away from their families. The draft is just part of their jobs but perhaps the most significant two-day weekend of their respective years.
"Our stated goal remains the same — we want to primarily build this team through the draft," Mr. T said.
Heading into next weekend, the Jets own a highly anticipated first-round selection — No. 6 overall — single selections in the second (No. 36), sixth (No. 171) and seventh rounds (No. 211), and a pair of fourth-rounders (No. 102 and No. 113). And once the seven-round draft concludes late Sunday, coaches and scouts will get on the phone and try to get the most talented rookie free agents to sign with New York's AFC representative.
"We've got a list of players and some of them may get drafted," said director of player personnel Terry Bradway. "They are players that we've given a late pick or a priority free agent grade to."
During the weeks leading up to the draft, the Jets reach out to players and attempt to develop a relationship with those on their radar. Jason Mandolesi, the club's scouting coordinator, heads up the recruitment and his work helped the Jets land Ohio Northern product Jason Trusnik last year.
The 6'4", 250-pound Trusnik, who was ONU's all-time career leader with 43 sacks, started last season on the practice squad but was moved up to the active roster and played in six games for the Jets.
"A lot of that had to do with recruiting — calling him every couple of days and text messages, similar to college. With some guys, it comes down to the money," Bradway said "At the end of the day, if a guy feels comfortable with your program and feels like he's got a legitimate shot, which we have some history now of free agents coming here and making our team, I think that will help."
According to Bradway, there are 397 players the Jets consider draftable. In predraft meetings held the previous two weeks, the club discussed 43 percent (172) of those draftable prospects whom the team would give serious consideration to drafting in the first five rounds.
"We will really spend most of our attention on the players that show up in the first three rounds next week when we review the board. If you get down in the fifth or sixth round, you're really wasting your time because the scouts have all done those players and we've identified and ranked them, and a lot of those guys won't be there when you restack the boards," Bradway explained. "We will really work hard on the first three rounds next week to get those lined up right."
Just to give you an idea of how the Jets got to this point, Bradway provided the media with a list of eye-opening by-the-numbers list as another draft nears:
6 — College players who will interview with the Jets today
14 — Schools visits made by Bradway
32 — Visits this week by potential draftees (including two locals)
41 — Schools visited by the Jets' coaching staff
172 — Roughly the number of players the Jets have in their first five rounds
300 — Interviews completed by the Jets at the NFL Scouting Combine in February
330 — Prospects Invited to the combine
397 — Draftable players
450 — Prospects who were interviewed by the Jets at the combine, Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine Game, in formal interviews at Weeb Ewbank Hall, etc.
1,000 — Players the Jets consider being at least free agents for some clubs
1,200 —Players the Jets have evaluated
5,200 — Reports filed by Jets scouts on prospects