While the state of free agency uncertain, all eyes around the football are focused on the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, and that includes Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Rex Ryan, who came in to scout the prospects. Tannenbaum addressed the media and discussed his plan of attack heading into the NFL Draft in late April.
“I guess philosophically I’m quality over quantity as it relates to the draft,” Tannenbaum said. “Every draft has its own story to it.”
In recent drafts the Jets have traded up to get their men, including when they selected Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene in 2009. This year’s version of the draft will be different for most teams because of the labor uncertainty. With a number ofplayers lined up to become free agents, Tannenbaum and his player personnel staff are going about business as usual.
“We’re preparing like we would from the standpoint of the different silos to improve the team, be it free agency, potential trades, the draft,” he said. “From our standpoint, as we’ve told our organization, we’re going to keep preparing and we’ll be prepared whenever they say to go and whatever the rules may be.”
Ryan and his coaching staff are just as intent on finding ways to improve the team this offseason, and they’ll work hand in hand with the personnel side to build another Super Bowl contender. The interests of his coordinators, Brian Schottenheimer and Mike Pettine, will be in Ryan’s in mind when working with Tannenbaum and staff over the next few months.
“We have an incredible scouting department and a GM that knows the blueprint for success,” Ryan said. “So I really lean on Mike Tannenbaum and Joey Clinkscales and Scott Cohen and all of the guys. With that, the coaches get involved, and then we have an incredible process that we go through.”
There are many different ways the Jets could go with their first-round pick, including safety and outside linebacker, which have been suggested by many. Others, however have noted that nose tackle Kris Jenkins has torn his ACL in each of the last two seasons and there might be a few defensive line prospects available at the end of Round 1.
“For our defense, the depth is really important and we’ve tried to load up there,” Tannenbaum said. “There are some interesting guys. We’re going to sit down with some of them over the next few days and it certainly could be a possibility for us.”
Tannenbaum has been known to be aggressive with making draft day moves throughout the years, so don’t be surprised if the Jets don’t ultimately select at their current positions throughout the now-three-day draft. He did say, however, that since Ryan has come over from Baltimore, they’ve adopted a simple, effective strategy for the draft that he’ll take into this year’s event.
“We’ll certainly take the best player,” Tannenbaum said. “We’re going to stick to that philosophy. It could be a pass rusher, it could be a safety, it could be an offensive player.”
The Jets have a fantastic base of talent and attacked the re-signing their “Core Four” of Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson and most recently, David Harris, who was franchise-tagged was reported to have signed his one-year tender, although the team would not confirm this. The draft is on a separate level from the normal offseason moving and shaking this season, and with many players due to be free agents, the Jets are eager to find a way to get as many of the same faces from the 2010 team back on the roster for 2011.
“All I’m going to say is we want all of our players back,” Ryan said. “We know that’s not realistic but we know we have an outstanding football team and we want them all back.”
Tags: Indianapolis, Mike Tannenbaum, NFL Combine, Rex Ryan
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