Tick … tick … tick …
That’s the sound of your favorite draft countdown clock. Or if you don’t have that countdown clock on a computer screen in front of you, it’s the internal draft clock echoing down the college canyons of your mind.
The NFL Draft finally arrives tonight, and for Jets fans it can’t come soon enough. GM John Idzik said the draft will be the Green & White’s lifeline, and with beginning with picks 9 and 13, the team will begin to pull itself toward 2013 with, at the moment, eight selections from tonight through late Saturday afternoon.
We say at the moment because there’s no need to tell Jets fans that all draft picks (except compensatories, of which the Jets have none this year) can be spent on other picks. It’s possible the Jets could package 9 and 13 and move into the top five in this draft. It’s also possible that the I-Team will entertain phonecalls from other teams about wanting to trade up to one or both of the Jets’ high first-round positions and thus that they could trade down and pick up at least one extra pick for each move down.
Purely as a mental exercise using one of the now ubiquitous Draft Trade Value Boards, if the Jets were to drop from, say, No. 13, just a few spots, the trading partner would need to send over something high in Round 4 to the Jets for the privilege. A Jets tradedown to around No. 20 would be in the high-third-round neighborhood. A move to the mid-20s might bring a mid-second-round choice in return.
But just as surely the Jets could stand pat at Nos. 9 and 13 and pluck the top-ranked player on their value board at that time for the move into the future.
Here’s one more bit of trivia for draftniks as we wait for the last few hours to slip-slide away. Since the first AFL-NFL common draft in 1967, the Jets have spent the No. 13 pick on a player twice:
■ In 1973 they tabbed Miami safety Burgess Owens, who had a solid 10-year NFL career, the first seven spent patrolling the Jets’ deep middle.
■ In 2000 they selected South Carolina DE John Abraham, one of the best pass rushers in franchise history for at least six seasons, which is the amount of time he spent in green and white, accumulating 53.5 sacks before he was traded to Atlanta in 2006.
Similarly the Jets also have used the No. 9 pick on a pair of players since ’67:
■ In 1972 they chose Jackson State WR Jerome Barkum, who went on to play both wideout and tight end in his distinguished 12-year Jets career.
■ And in 1995 they grabbed Penn State TE Kyle Brady, who unfurled an efficient 13-year pro career, the first four seasons with the Jets, then eight with Jacksonville, then as a contributor to New England’s Super Bowl team in 2007.
I remember Brady getting a bit of a boo-bird ballad cascading down from the Jets fans in the Paramount Theatre at Madison Square Garden that year, and Brady saying later, slightly mystified, that he didn’t quite expect that kind of reaction.
Certainly that is possible at any draft from the Jets faithful, but I just have a feeling that the reaction will be favorable tonight — two picks in the top 13 with all but a handful of the best college players available for the picking at either spot. At 10 minutes maximum per pick, we’d expect the Jets to make the first selection of the Idzik regime somewhere around 9:30 p.m. EDT.
Before-Show on NewYorkJets.com
If you’ve got that computer, SmartPhone, BlackBerry, etc., available at any time from 6:30-8 p.m., check out the Jets Talk LIVE predraft show. Eric Allen, my partner, hosts the festivities from the season ticket holders draft party at MetLife Stadium. He’ll have a whole bunch of Jets players and other celebrities for on-camera interviews, recorded features, and several guest phone-ins (one of whom will be yours truly reporting from Radio City Music Hall just before the start of the draft around 7:45 p.m.).
Here at the Jets we do a great job of putting on a predraft televised special (if I do say so myself), and this year’s before-show figures to be the best yet.
And on Sunday, Some Good Cheer
As if the draft isn’t enough in the Jets universe, the team will wrap up the weekend with the 2013 New York Jets Flight Crew audition finals at MetLife Stadium. Director Denise Garvey will welcome 54 finalists to the audition — 26 Flight Crew veterans and 28 preliminary- and semifinal-round contestants.
In the early afternoon the finalists will present dance routines and kicks taught to them during the semifinal round. And by 4:30 p.m., Garvey plans to announce up to 40 members of the 2013 New York Jets Flight Crew.
The audition finals are closed to the public, but we’ll let you all know who made the Flight Crew Class of ’13 as soon as we can on Sunday.
Tags: Burgess Owens, Eric Allen, Flight Crew, Jerome Barkum, Jets Talk Live, John Abraham, John Idzik, Kyle Brady, NFL Draft
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