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Jets GM Joe Douglas Talks Draft: It's All About Best Available Athlete ... and Freaks

Green & White Goals: Find 'Unusual People,' Bring In Starters with All 5 Choices in First 3 Rounds


Jets general manager Joe Douglas' final response during his predraft news conference Thursday segued from one football buzzword to another, from analytics to freaks.

The good kind of freaks for your team. The kind that cause horror for your opponents.

"I don't think there's a mandate," Douglas began regarding whether all the new analytics involving draft candidates' college play and predraft testing factor into a team's value board. "You start with the base level: Is this guy our kind of person? Our kind of competitor, does he love football?

"You're looking for unusual people. You want to add some freaks to the roster whenever you can. I don't know if that's special to us. I would say every team is looking for those unusual traits that will help your team."

And although the concept of football freaks is not new, that word describes one of the approaches teams will be taking to this year's draft, set for April 28-30 in Las Vegas. And it particularly applies to the Jets, who with picks 4 and 10 in Round 1 and 35 and 38 in Round 2 have four top-40 selections for only the third draft since 1970.

As for whether Douglas and company are looking for a particular kind of freak, say, that elusive edge rusher or shutdown corner at No. 4, that multitalented wideout or stud offensive or defensive lineman at No. 10, Douglas of course wouldn't say.

But Joe D did say was it's still about one particular philosophy that all draftniks know by heart.

"I think you get in trouble if you're breaking it up by position and need," the GM said to a question about whether best available at a specific position is ever an option. "I think you have to take the best player available. Ozzie [Newsome, Baltimore's long-time personnel guru] used to have a saying: A luxury today could be a necessity tomorrow. When you get away from your board, I think that's when you can get into a real jam."

One more guideline came into focus during the news conference and that is what the Jets and their fans should expect from those top four picks plus No. 69 in Round 3. Those players aren't coming onto the roster as observers.

"You're expecting those players in the first two rounds to be starters for you," Douglas said. "That's our viewpoint going into any draft. In a perfect world, those first-, second, third-round picks are starters for you. We know it doesn't always go that way, but that's what you're looking for."

Douglas also is looking for one more thing, which he highlighted when asked about outside speculation about any Jets interest regarding San Francisco WR Deebo Samuel reportedly seeking a trade. His reply applied to trade talk, free agency signings and the draft that now is just one week down the road.

"I can't get into specifics when it comes to a player who's not on our roster," Douglas said. "I'll just say that since coming here, I've made it known that my job is to get the team better. We'll do that any way we can."

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