Updated, 10:10 p.m. ET
One round after the Jets selected their newest quarterback, they turned their QBs' protection by taking Kent State guard/tackle Brian Winters with their third-round pick, the 72nd overall of the draft.
Winters (6'4", 320) made 33 of his 49 career starts for the Golden Flashes at left tackle. A native of small-town Hudson, Ohio, he received scholarship offers from several FBS schools, among them Syracuse. After his senior season last year, he became only the second player in school history to be invited to the Senior Bowl, where he played guard.
"I couldn't ask for a better situation," Winters said on a conference call with Jets reporters this evening. "I'm really excited for what's to come, to go out there with a great team, and I couldn't be more excited. I'm really thankful and grateful for this opportunity that's ahead of me."
Winters said the wait until the 10th pick of Round 3 this evening was a little stressful.
"But once I got that phone call from a New Jersey number, I was in so much excitement and happiness," he said. "Really, words can't describe how happy I was."
Words do describe his emotions at trying to make it into the draft and the NFL from Kent State, a Mid-American Conference school.
"I feel obviously coming from the school that I was coming from, I always had something to prove," he said. "I'm always going to have that motto that I still have something to prove coming from where I'm from. You know, we weren't spoon-fed, we fed ourselves. So I guess I do have a chip on my shoulder then."
Winters was asked about playing for a head coach in Rex Ryan who has a tattoo or two. He chuckled at that and said it makes him "feel at home," since he also has a few tats. He was asked how many.
"The way I look at it, I actually have three," he said. "My whole one right arm, half of my left, and my back."
The Jets haven't drafted many Kent State players over the years, but one that they did, in the 1976 draft, was a major player in franchise history. That year Larry Faulk was a seventh-round pick, 188th overall. The next year he changed his name to Abdul Salaam — and went on to form one-fourth of the vaunted New York Sack Exchange of the early Eighties.