General Manager Mike Tannenbaum and the New York Jets are going into next week's draft with a bountiful amount of information, confidence, and excitement. While the front office has already acquired free agents to fill in presumably vacant lineup spots, Tannenbaum still feels that competition in camp and at practice will ultimately decide the future of his team.
"For every position, we would like to improve its depth and competitiveness," said the rookie GM. "I think that's what we're committed to doing as competition will put the best player on the team"
The Jets' draft board contains more than 300 names and Senior Director of College Scouting Jesse Kaye is very encouraged by the process thus far. Thanks in part to new head coach Eric Mangini's innovative interview techniques, the Jets are ready to draft now, using next week only to settle some tiebreakers.
During prospect interviews and workouts over the past few months, the Jets staff, like the other front offices around the league, nailed down some vital information through physical stats and written tests. However, the most abundant resource came from the players' reactions and explanations of their own past plays from prepared game tape.
"We put them basically under the gun and asked them what they were doing here, asked them to explain what was going on," explained Kaye. "It was not only very revealing; it was interesting finding their reactions. It was really kind of neat; it was very informative for us."
"Just getting them off the script made them uncomfortable, creating a sense of urgency, kind of a rapid-fire approach," added Tannenbaum. "It was fascinating to see how quickly each person could distinguish themselves and their respective depth of knowledge was pretty enlightening."
Tannenbaum feels confident with the team's preparation in regards to the whole draft, not just the exclusive fourth overall pick. He sees the draft as multiple opportunities to improve and gain depth at as many positions as possible.
"We have nine picks, not one. The entire draft is an opportunity for us to improve the entire makeup of the team," said Tannenbaum. "I don't think it's a one-pick draft by any stretch. We'll make the best decision for the franchise."
With nine years under his belt in the war room, working alongside some of the league's best scouts, Tannenbaum has the tools and attitude to make next week's draft a successful first stride to an improved season.
"It's all coming down to getting the right players for the New York Jets, players that are tough, smart, competitive, the ones that are first in and the last to leave," he said. "Those are the types of players we want. We want leaders. The whole process that we've tried to tweak, improve, change since February has been with that goal in mind."
Note: The Jets own nine selections in next weekend's draft including three of the top 35 selections. The Green & White are one of only two NFL teams (San Francisco) with two first round picks.