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John Idzik, Jets 'Prepared, Confident' for Draft

Jets' 2nd-Year GM Continues to Apply His Stamp to Team's Personnel Operations

At today's predraft news conference, John Idzik and company didn't go into details about any individual players and precious little background on the positions that might interest the Jets.

But one thing came through: The second-year general manager's blueprint for the draft continues to be executed.

"Last year I didn't get into the benefit of scouting the college season with the Jets staff," Idzik told reporters at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center this afternoon. "I came in in January and got the tail end, the bowl games, the combine. There was a little bit of a hybrid — you don't come in and create a system on the fly.

"This year we set the table back in May of last year. We brought some new scouts in and we went through the entire cycle together. There's definitely a higher comfort level this year."

One of the big changes was perhaps a new approach to acquiring compensatory draft picks, a theory espoused by ESPN's Adam Schefter. With the new I-team not signing many undrafted free agents last year, that led to this year's four compensatory picks and the 12 total choices that we now hold for the May 8-10 draft.

"The compensatory draft pick system is always on your mind," Idzik said. "It's not determinative, but it's a factor."

Those extra picks give us maximum flexibility to draft at Nos. 18, 49 and 80 the first three days, or possibly to trade up or trade down. And as senior director of college scouting Terry Bradway said about Saturday, when we have nine picks in the final four rounds, "It's going to be a fun day, not only with our picks but with the emphasis John has placed on CFA [college free agent] signings. It's going to be a good day."

To help the draft team get through these three days, Idzik and company began work even last year on their most important draft day environment, the so-called "war room."

"We started actually changing some things going into last year's draft. They were making changes on the fly," Idzik said. The GM said that with the help of the IT and facility operations staffs, "We basically opened the draft room up, made it larger. We wanted it to be more inclusive, to fit more people in there without sitting on top of each other. We changed the configuration and added a lot more technology, with the general direction to try to get more efficient."

Director of college scouting Jeff Bauer touted his staff of seven scouts, some holdovers and some new to the Jets team: "We'll put these guys up against anybody."

And a lot of the cement to keep the new foundation together and reaching upward is provided by Idzik's personal touch.

Steve Serby of the New York Post asked Bradway to grade Idzik as he would a draft candidate.

"I'll say this about John — he affects a lot of different areas in this building, but when he's with your group, you think that's the most important thing he's got going on," Bradway said. "He's thorough, he's detailed. Sometimes he might even get a little impatient. But the most important thing we have going on now is to get that draft board right, and he's got the ability to do that."

"John's brought things together," said Bauer. "We listen to everybody. Everybody has a voice. No stone's left unturned."

Idzik downplays his contributions, but that's just the way any NFL team would want its draft machinery aligned as it heads down the final days toward the draft.

"We're prepared, we're confident and we're excited about next week," Idzik said. "It's a great opportunity to improve our football team."

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