The Jets started their 2010 draft Sunday night by agreeing on a trade that will bring them Steelers WR Santonio Holmes in exchange for a fifth-round pick (No. 155 overall).
Joey Clinkscales, the Jets’ vice president of college scouting who ironically played wide receiver for the Steelers in 1987 and worked for them as a scout from 1989-93, and the Jets still own selections in Rounds 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7. And the man who oversees the Jets scouting operation is looking forward to his second draft with head coach Rex Ryan.
“He’s very involved in the process. He’s been fantastic,” Clinkscales said of Ryan. “He lets us do our job, he comments. He has a strong opinion and everything is weighed, and obviously he’s the leader of this ship as far as the type of players he wants on this team. We gather the information, we talk about it and we go from there.”
None of the prospects have played for their college teams since January, but draft news has been constant with events like the Indy combine and pro days.
“That’s a piece of the puzzle,” said Clinkscales. “The main part of the puzzle is the tape and how each player played during the year. The pro days and the combine should confirm as far as his play skills everything that you already know.”
When you’re in charge of evaluating more than 1,400 players across the nation, your scouts will not only travel to powerhouses like Alabama and Texas but they’ll also need to monitor what’s happening at smaller schools like Albany and Tuskegee.
“The kid from Alabama will have played against better competition,” said Clinkscales, in his 16th season with the Jets. “But at the end of the day, you have to weigh the athletic ability, obviously the intangibles, the character and those things. You have to weigh the way he plays his game and that’s the most important thing.”
Suh, McCoy and Tebow
Some teams might have a pair of defensive tackles — Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy — as the two highest-rated players on their boards.
“Ndamukong is a very powerful, big man. He has some explosion, he’s strong and he’s able to rush the passer. There are a lot of things that he brings that you can’t teach because he’s such a large man [6’4”, 307]. McCoy has a similar game. He can be explosive, but he’s really quick, he can slide through gaps and he’s quick with his hands.”
Although the Jets aren’t in the market for a quarterback, perhaps the most talked-about prospect this offseason has been Florida QB Tim Tebow.
“All I’ll say is Tim Tebow was one of the most prolific players in college football history. He’s a very bright kid, he has a knowledgeable head and he knows football,” said Clinkscales of the two-time national champion and former Heisman Trophy winner. “So whatever changes he needs to make, I think he’ll be willing to make. Now you have to see that on the field, but from the time his season ended to this conversation, he’s done everything he needs to do.”
The Jets, who have made a play for free agent pass rusher Jason Taylor, might try to add to their pass rush next week. Since they operate in a 3-4 front and the overwhelming number of college teams line up in a 4-3, Jets scouts have to predict how some college ends will convert to outside linebackers in their system.
“That’s a little bit more difficult because the college defensive end plays a lot different than the pro style defensive end because of the technique. The main thing is you have to go to a school and find out what he’s being taught because some things transfer over and other things don’t,” Clinkscales said. “Most college defensive ends aren’t 6’5” and 295, 300 — those are rare. Usually in college, some of those guys are inside players. Usually if you find a guy 265, 250, usually in the 34 he has to translate over into linebacker, the Sam [strongside] or the rush ‘backer.”
With the acquisition of Holmes, the Jets have assembled a talented set of targets for Mark Sanchez when you include receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards, tight end Dustin Keller and running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Most draftniks have Dez Bryant, an Oklahoma State product, atop their receiver lists.
“He played great when he was able to play. Now he wasn’t able to play but three games this past season before he was ruled ineligible, but he has a lot of ability,” Clinkscales said. “You can compare to him some other guys like the kid [Michael Crabtree] last year who went to the 49ers. He does have similar traits and physically he is gifted.”
Georgia Tech’s Demaryius Thomas is an excellent athlete who played in a run system and had the misfortune of breaking his left foot before the combine.
“It’s difficult because in the triple-option offense, he’s only going to run certain types of routes. You’re not going to see a lot of crossing routes, a lot of the traditional comebacks,” Clinkscales said. “But his stats speak for themselves. He was very productive. He’s a big kid with very good speed and great hands.”
Before Clinkscales exited, he was asked what player he thought people would be saying was the best player in this draft a decade from now. The former Tennessee standout proudly smiled and tabbed all-world Vols S Eric Berry.
“He’s a great safety. He’s physical, he has cover skills,” he said. “He came into Tennessee as a corner and moved to safety after five games his freshman year and he’s been a fantastic player.”
Preseason Schedule Finalized
The Jets’ preseason schedule was released last week but some details still weren’t finalized. Now they are. Here is the summer schedule complete with dates, kickoff times and TV:
|Mon., Aug. 16||vs. GIANTS||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sat., Aug. 21||at Carolina||8 p.m.||WCBS|
|Fri., Aug. 27||vs. WASHINGTON||7 p.m.||WCBS|
|Thur., Sept. 2||at Philadelphia||7:30 p.m.||WCBS|
Restricted free agent quarterback Kellen Clemens signed his qualifying offer from the Jets to remain with the team.
Tags: Jason Taylor, Joey Clinkscales, preseason schedule, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Tim Tebow
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