It’s always great to catch up with Pat Kirwan, a major talking head for Sirius/XM NFL Radio and, back in the day, a member first of the Jets coaching staff and then of the front office. I did that catching up on Friday and one of our topics was the Jets in the upcoming draft.
“I like the draft for them,” Kirwan told me, by which of course he meant that he likes the draft if the Green & White fill certain needs during the seven rounds. Those needs, he enumerated, are pass rusher, wide receiver, running back and tackle. “If they come out of this with outside linebacker and tackle starters, and running back and wide receiver role players, then I think they’ve had a successful draft.”
Who to fill those spots in the first four or five rounds? That’s always the best part, listening to Pat talk about the players he interviewed and watched back in January at the Senior Bowl and who are now getting ready for their introduction into the NFL. You’re familiar with the names although maybe there a few Pat mentioned that you weren’t thinking of for the Jets on Days 2 and 3.
Prefacing his remarks about the pass rusher, Kirwan said, “I talked with Aaron Maybin recently. He gave them more than they thought he would last year. I didn’t know that Aaron’s relationship with Rex Ryan goes all the way back to his high school days. He’s a plus for the Jets.
“But they still have to go get another one. And they’re not going to do it with a 5-technique, so they’ll do it with an outside LB.”
Which ones if the Jets stay at 16?
“If they’re thinking about the position in the first round, it’s either Nick Perry or Courtney Upshaw. I think one of those two guys will be there,” Kirwan said. “If they say OLB in the second round, you’re probably talking about Shea McClellin. He’s kind of in the mold of guys that played for Rex in Baltimore, Jarret Johnson, for example.”
And if that need goes unfulfilled until Round 3, No. 77 overall? “You’re probably talking about Bruce Irvin,” he said of the 6’3″, 245-pounder from West Virginia. “And he may be the biggest diamond in the rough of them all.”
Moving on to the next potential starter, “The right tackle I like is Bobby Massie from Mississippi. He’s played the right side and at some time he may play the left. His stock grows,” Kirwan said, adding as an aside, “I’ve got 15 teams that want to come out of this draft with a [starting] tackle, and I don’t think there are more than eight of them. It’s a supply-and-demand issue. Mike [Tannenbaum] is aware of it. There’s just not enough of them available.
“If Massie’s gone at 47, the Jets could turn to Mitchell Schwartz. He’s the big Cal kid who I had at the Senior Bowl. He’s a big, strong, physical guy. Jeff Allen from Illinois’s in the conversation later. I liked him at guard. He’s got almost 50 college starts and he can play right tackle. So the Jets can get one of those tackles somewhere in the draft.”
Seeking a Complementary RB
As for the offensive backfield need, Kirwan said, “I think it’s a complementary player. I think there’s got to be some admission of what Shonn Greene isn’t. Last year the complement was LaDainian Tomlinson. At No. 77, I like Isaiah Pead, the Cincinnati kid. An offensive coordinator told me, ‘We like him because we intend on breaking the formation, getting him outside and running empty sets.’ “
Two other RBs he likes are Texas A&M’s Cyrus Gray and, on Day 3, another Ole Miss product, Brandon Bolden.
“Gray is the only back in the draft with over 100 college receptions,” he said. “Then Bolden down there in Mississippi, he’s like BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Poor Ole Miss was overmatched with LSU, Alabama — with just about everybody. It was pretty clear Bolden was the main target. And he still delivered.”
For wideout, Kirwan said, “I happen to be a fan of Marvin McNutt of Iowa, another Senior Bowl player. What I love about Marvin is that he reminds me of Donald Driver — smooth, slick route runner, very mature. I think he’s attainable, but you’d have to push into the bottom of the fourth round, I think.” The Jets don’t have a No. 4 at the moment.
So bear in mind, Jets fans, Kirwan is just like the rest of us independent draftniks, except that in a larger, truer sense he’s better than the rest of us because he’s a smart, engaging NFL observer who does this for a living. But he sees a plan he likes for the Jets on draft weekend:
“Nick Perry in the first round, Bobby Massie in the second, Isaiah Pead in the third, then parlaying into the fourth round for Marvin McNutt … I would be writing a long story about how excited I am for the Jets.”
Check Out Pat’s Book
Kirwan doesn’t apparently need me shilling for fans to buy the long story he has written, “Take Your Eye Off the Ball,” but I will.
“The book is doing very well,” he said of the little cottage industry he’s developed over the past year — he’s written a second edition, “Take Your Eye Off the Ball: Playbook Edition,” and produced a companion audio CD plus an audio book, read along with his “Movin’ the Chains” radio partner, Tim “T-Rock” Ryan.
Of the playbook edition and companion video, he said, “I went into the classroom with a whiteboard and shot four hours of video for the book, X’s and O’s on the board. Then I re-released the book as a spiral-bound for all fans who wanted to make notes in the book, like a playbook. That sold a whole bunch more.”
Kirwan has a second book project percolating, a “Movin’ the Chains” kind of approach with Ryan that he said he’s been discussing as an e-book, releasing a chapter at a time online. More details are sure to come. And if you want a little something to make drive time pass by a little more quickly, check out Pat Kirwan’s Website and order yourself the audiotape.
Dixon, Wilson Pitch In to Play 60
Marcus Dixon and Kyle Wilson are participating in the NFL PLAY 60 Youth Football Festival on Tuesday and Wednesday. Dixon and Wilson will be among the eight current players who will be joined by eight NFL alumni, the 26 draft prospects in the area this week, Commissioner Roger Goodell and more than 600 first-to-eighth-grade students from area schools to help reinforce that area New York/New Jersey kids stay active for 60 minutes a day as part of the league’s youth health and fitness campaign.
The clinics will be held at Chelsea Waterside Park on 11th Avenue in Manhattan. At each clinic, students will learn NFL FLAG drills from USA Football coaches and participate in drills with the players. Dixon will be in clinics on Tuesday afternoon, Wilson in clinics on Wednesday afternoon.
The particulars of the Jets’ preseason opener at Cincinnati have been firmed up. The game had been set for Friday, Aug. 10 at Paul Brown Stadium. And the kickoff has just been announced as 7:30 p.m. ET.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Bobby Massie, Courtney Upshaw, Isaiah Pead, Marvin McNutt, NFL Draft, Nick Perry, Pat Kirwan, Rex Ryan
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