The Jets and Patriots have fought tooth and nail for a while now. The toothmarks at the Meadowlands have all been administered by the Patriots, but up in Foxboro, the Jets have hammered the Pats a few times: five road wins since Bill Belichick took over in 2000. No other team has more than three wins at Gillette in that time, and the rest of the league has only 14 wins at New England in those nine seasons.
One of the hallmarks of the Jets-Pats games since 2006, for those who pay attention to the trench warfare, are the battles between Jets center Nick Mangold and Patriots nose Vince Wilfork. And the two have great respect for each other.
Mike Reiss, my good friend and the Boston Globe's superb Patriots beatwriter, reminded me of just how respectful with his blog today in which he recalled Mangold's comments at the Super Bowl and Wilfork's fewer words during an online chat on Comcast Sportsnet New England's Website on Tuesday.
During a Hype Week Radio Row interview, the 6'4", 300-pound Mangold said of the 6'2", 325-pound Wilfork:
"He's the type of player you never want to see, and the fact that I have to play him two times a year is miserable. The thing about it is that for his size, he has the uncanny ability to move. You get a lot of guys who are big, and just stand there and take a pounding and don't move. But the fact that he can move and be shifty -- which you don't use too often when describing Vince, but I'm going to put it out there -- is fantastic. He's a heck of a player."
Wilfork wasn't as loquacious on his chat. Asked by a Pats fan, "Vince, who is the league's toughest center?" he replied in two words: "Nick Mangold."
Clayton on the Jets' QBs
John Clayton, ESPN's eminent football reporter, spent some quality time with Eric Allen and me on our latest "Jets Two-Minute Drive" radio show that is going up newyorkjets.com as we speak.
The subjects in the 12-minute chat were wide-ranging, from Jay Cutler trade fallout — Clayton thought Cutler would have done fine in green and white but acknowledged several reasons the Broncos reportedly just were not interested in returning the Jets' calls — to the draft.
Clayton is not a fan of the Jets' looming three-QB competition, saying he'd like to see another arm added to the mix. He mentioned one way of doing that would be to trade up from their No. 17 first-round perch with Jacksonville to get to No. 8, a position that Jaguars may be willing to put on the market. The Clayton target for such a Jets trade: Southern Cal QB Mark Sanchez.
EA asked JC what the cost of such a trade would be. He wasn't sure of the exact compensation for such a swap, but he was in the ballpark. Using one of the popular draft trade value charts (not the one the Jets use) and the positions of the Jets and Jaguars, the Jets could balance that trade by kicking in their second-rounder this year (No. 52) and a fourth-rounder.
I'm not advocating this trade, just reporting on what such a trade would take. But remember the Jets at this time have six picks (one in every round except Round 5) and I would hate to see Mike T give up one of those "fantastic fours" that have been such fertile ground for the Jets this decade.
Last But Not Least ... the Wideouts
Our good friend Ira was eager to see our Wide Receivers draft position analysis quickly, but we have to use some showmanship here, so we've saved the wideouts for last. The WR/TE story (again tag-teamed by EA and me) and the accompanying videos and all-important voting box (you can vote twice in this polling booth!) will be on our site Thursday morning.
That doesn't mean the end of our draft coverage, though. Rich Gentile and his multimedia guys, Steve Scarnecchia and Ryann Ruzika, aren't done yet. After preparing the individual player videos that accompanied our seven position stories, they've crafted position pieces that will show you the top players at each position. We'll be running those videos every other day or so for the final two weeks before the April 25-26 draft.
We'll also have a few more informative mocks from Real Football, reporting on all Jets predraft developments ... and your opinions as well, both on the Radar and on our messageboards. And we thank you the fans for your contributions already made and yet to come.