If you’re a filmmaker and a draftnik, or a draftnik and a pro football player, what better way to celebrate the draft than to make a film about it?
That’s what second-year Jets Demario Davis and Stephen Hill, the third- and second-round picks respectively in last year’s draft, are doing at this time.
Davis and Hill have been cast in the upcoming film “Draft Day,” which has been filming since Thursday at this year’s draft. The two Jets will play fictional potential first-round draft picks in the Green Room on draft day awaiting their selection, and both were reported to be filming their scenes at Radio City Music Hall this weekend.
If you think this is a dinky little college cinema-class production, think again. The film stars Kevin Costner, Denis Leary and Jennifer Garner and is directed by Ivan Reitman. The NFL has given its imprimatur to the production, meaning that while all the league people in the film are fictional, actual NFL team names and league/team marks will be used. No Miami Sharks here.
The film will also have roles for real live members of the NFL Network and ESPN crews covering the draft. And for a couple of young actors by the name of Davis and Hill.
Geno’s in the Building
Second-round pick Geno Smith checked out the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center once, during his predraft visit. Now he’s here today taking in things in a different light, as a new Jets employee. He’ll speak with reporters here this afternoon and that news conference will be streamed live on newyorkjets.com with an expected start time of 1 p.m. ET and then archived for viewing at your leisure.
We’ll hear more about Geno in the coming days, weeks and months, but for now here are some athletic family connections from his Wikipedia page:
Smith was born in Miami to Geno Smith Jr. and Tracey Sellers. His great-grandfather, Cyril Smith, was a bodybuilder and boxing referee from the Bahamas. His great-uncle, Danny Smith, was a record-breaking All-America hurdler at Florida State. And his cousin, Melvin Bratton, was a top RB at “the U” in the mid-Eighties who also played two seasons for the Broncos.
Dee and Sheldon Trending
Dee Milliner joins the Jets’ exclusive Alabama Alumni First-Round Club. Joe Namath, the top pick of the 1965 AFL Draft, began the club, and two other members, QB Richard Todd in 1976 and DE Marty Lyons in ’79, joined it before Milliner’s entry Thursday night.
Milliner was also the member of another fraternity at the top of Round 1. After the Jets took the corner at No. 9, the Titans went with G Chance Warmack at 10 and the Chargers reeled in T D.J. Fluker at 11. That’s three Alabama players in three picks, the first time that’s happened in Round 1 of an NFL draft since at least 1967, which as we all know by now was the first common draft between the AFL and NFL.
And Milliner and Richardson at No. 13 were part of another first-round trend. The Southeastern Conference had 12 players drafted Thursday night, the most of any conference in. Since 2000 the SEC has a solid lead on the conference field with 540 total draft picks. (Missouri joined the SEC last season.)
Tags: Dee Milliner, Demario Davis, Denis Leary, Draft Day, Geno Smith, Ivan Reitman, Kevin Costner, Sheldon Richardson, Stephen Hill
Posted in Randy Lange, Uncategorized | 153 Comments »
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
Posted in Randy Lange | 221 Comments »
Nine-and-13. If that refers to a major league team’s record after 22 games, it’ll put you off the early pace of the division leader. If the subject is a horse owner’s Derby post positions or a race team’s Indy post position, you’d probably like better.
But positions in the NFL Draft? Now we’re talking.
That’s just what the Jets have at the moment in Thursday night’s first round of the draft at Radio City Music Hall. Their own pick at No. 9 and the No. 13 they acquired from Tampa Bay in the Darrelle Revis trade give them a prized position among the 32 teams, most of which will be spending one pick in Round 1 and none of which have two picks in the top 13 as the Jets do.
We mentioned the other day that the Jets have had that distinction, spending two picks in the top 13 in one draft, just once before since the start of the common draft in 1967. That was 2000, the draft of the “Four Aces,” when DE Shaun Ellis was tabbed 12th and DE John Abraham 13th (ahead of QB Chad Pennington at 18th and TE Anthony Becht at 27th).
But what is the track record of the entire league with two picks in the top 13 of a given draft? There aren’t a lot of examples, but generally those teams that do spend two such high picks fare fairly well in the coming season.
Interesting enough, the last NFL team with this distinction was … those same Jets in 2000 (with an asterisk). In the past 12 drafts, no team wound up using those two picks once it came time to push the chips forward in Round 1.
The asterisk I refer to above is that the Jets weren’t alone in that ’00 selection meeting with two high picks. The Redskins, you may remember, held Nos. 2 and 3 and went for LB LaVar Arrington and T Chris Samuels. Then the Ravens (with a younger Rex Ryan on that coaching staff) spent Nos. 5 and 10 on two offensive players, RB Jamal Lewis and WR Travis Taylor, who weren’t nickel-and-dimers.
Since 1990, that two-in-the-top-13 situation came up 10 times. And a trivia note about those 10 teams is that in the season after they spent those picks, they posted an average improvement in their previous season’s record of 2.5 wins. Eight of the 10 improved their previous record, four made the playoffs (Atlanta ’91, Dallas ’91, Miami ’92 and Baltimore ’00), and the ’92 Colts in part used their 1-2 punch of top pick Steve Emtman and LB Quentin Coryatt to improve eight games, from 1-15 to 9-7.
Splitting the 9 from the 13 for the moment, Since 1990, players selected at No. 9 (… No. 9 … No. 9 … ) have fared pretty well. Not every nine was a winner, but T Richmond Webb (Miami, ’90), RB Fred Taylor (Jacksonville, ’98), LB Brian Urlacher (Chicago, ’00), DT Kevin Williams (Minnesota, ’03) and RB C.J. Spiller (Buffalo, ’10) are among the best.
As for players who were plucked at lucky 13, there are TE Tony Gonzalez (Kansas City, ’97), LB Takeo Spikes (Cincinnati, ’98), John Abraham by the Jets in ’00, WR Lee Evans (Buffalo, ’04), and LB Brian Orakpo (Washington, ’09).
Clearly, this is no guarantee that the Jets will hit a two-run homer with both their picks or improve anywhere from 2.5 to eight wins over last year’s 6-10 mark. And if they trade one of those picks and move out of the top 13, then all of this trivia is for naught.
But the Jets have a good, experienced college draft team now led by long-time scout Jeff Bauer, and a new man at the top in GM John Idzik who has said that this draft and every draft will be a lifeline to how the team does in the season(s) ahead. And their 9-13 exacta could be just the ticket for the next favorable development on the road to the 2013 season.
Tags: Darrelle Revis, Jeff Bauer, John Abraham, John Idzik, NFL Draft, Rex Ryan, Shaun Ellis
Posted in Randy Lange | 163 Comments »
The Jets today made it official, announcing the signing of LB Calvin Pace to a new contract.
Pace is a 10-year veteran who spent the past five seasons working the Jets’ outside ‘backer position. He’s been durable while wearing the green and white, playing in 78 of the Jets’ 86 games, including playoffs, with 77 of them starts. And he’s led the Jets over the past five regular seasons with 28 sacks, including a career-high eight in 2009 and three last season, and 12 forced fumbles.
His sacks are the most by a Jets LB in a five-year span since Mo Lewis put up 33.5 sacks from 1997-2001.
Pace, word of whose signing was reported last week, returns to compete for the starting job and playing time alongside Garrett McIntyre, Ricky Sapp, recently signed unrestricted free agent Antwan Barnes and other outside LB candidates who already on the roster and who will be arriving via the draft and free agency in the coming weeks and months.
Tags: Antwan Barnes, Calvin Pace, Garrett McIntyre, Mo Lewis, Ricky Sap
Posted in Randy Lange | 75 Comments »
According to media reports, the Jets have given permission to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to speak with cornerback Darrelle Revis and to give him a physical. The Jets have not commented on the reports.
Posted in Randy Lange | 177 Comments »
Updated Saturday, 4:50 p.m. ET
Next week’s draft is a big event for the Jets’ extended family. Fans are aware that CB Desmond Trufant out of Washington is Isaiah’s younger brother and Matt Elam, the Florida safety, is Abram Elam’s kid brother. But that’s just the start of the draft prospects with a little green and white in their blood.
Austin Peay QB Jake Ryan is the son of Pat Ryan, the Jets’ 13-year backup and sometimes starting QB from 1978-90. Pat, in fact, was 12-9 as a starter during Ken O’Brien’s stay with the Green & White, and that included starts in both of the 1986 playoff games, the win over Kansas City and the double OT loss at Cleveland.
Penn State RB Michael Zordich’s dad, Mike, also a Nittany Lion, went on to play 12 NFL seasons as a safety, the first two of which came with the Jets in 1987-88 after he was drafted in the ninth round of the ’86 draft by San Diego. The elder Zordich’s big green play was an interception-return touchdown to crown the Jets’ 1988 home-opening win over the Houston Oilers.
Then there’s North Carolina OL Brennan Williams. His father, Brent, began his NFL career as seventh-rounder in that same ’86 draft by New England, then went on to play 11 pro seasons. His last five games came as a member of the Jets in 1996.
And one name that initially got past me and the NFL’s media department but not past Radar regular GaryC is T.J. McDonald, the Southern Cal safety and son of Tom McDonald, not an ex-Jets player but a celebrated Trojans and NFL safety who came on this year as the Jets’ new DBs coach.
Where do all the Jets’ relatives figure to go? Desmond Trufant is possibly the third-best corner in this draft and should go in the second half of the first round. Matt Elam is perhaps the top strong safety prospect in this draft and could go low in Round 1 or in Round 2. T.J. McDonald and Brennan Williams are potential third- or fourth-rounders. Michael Zordich and Jake Ryan are possible undrafted free agent signees.
Familiar Names at Predraft Play 60 Clinics
A number of current and former Jets are slated to be involved in the NFL Play 60 Youth Football Festival being held next Wednesday and Thursday at Chelsea Waterside Park between 23rd and 24th Streets in Manhattan.
TE Jeff Cumberland, LB Demario Davis, WR Clyde Gates and RB John Griffin will be involved in conducting some of the clinics on Wednesday afternoon. Former Jets S James Ihedigbo, now with the Ravens, will also be a clinician, as will retired QB Mark Brunell, in town as we mentioned a few days ago to announce the Jaguars’ second-round pick from the Radio City podium on Friday night.
The players will team with third-through-ninth-grade students from schools in New York and New Jersey as part of the league’s youth health and fitness campaign. Students will learn NFL FLAG drills and Heads Up Football skills from USA Football coaches and will participate in activities with the players.
For the first time in this annual predraft event, two Thursday evening clinics are open for public registration. A parent or legal guardian may sign up his/her child (ages 6-13) at www.1iota.com. Space is limited.
Tags: Abram Elam, Brent Williams, Clyde Gates, Demario Davis, Isaiah Trufant, Jeff Cumberland, John Griffin, Mike Zordich, NFL Draft, NFL Play 60, Pat Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 61 Comments »
Wayne Chrebet will be representing the Green & White in primetime again, this time on Friday, April 26, when the former Jets wide-receiving great will step to podium in Radio City Music Hall and announce the Jets’ second-round selection, the 39th pick overall, of the NFL Draft.
Chrebet will be one of 32 legendary NFL alumni, one for each team, who will announce their teams’ selections in the second/third rounds of the draft.
Chrebet, of course, is the Jets’ iconic wideout from Garfield, N.J., and Hofstra University who signed as an undrafted free agent after the 1995 draft and rose from 10th on their training camp depth chart to make that ’95 team as well as the next 10 Jets teams before retiring following the 2005 season.
No. 80 is second in franchise history with 580 receptions, third with 7,365 receiving yards and third with 41 receiving touchdowns. Playing in 152 regular-season games with 104 starts, he set the Jets mark for rookie receptions with 66 in ’95 and established career highs with 84 catches in ’96, 1,083 yards in ’98 and nine touchdown grabs in ’02.
Two other players with Jets ties are among the 32 alumni who will be making these team draft choice announcements a week from Friday. QB Mark Brunell (2010-11) will announce the Jacksonville Jaguars’ second-round pick and DT Tony Casillas (1994-95) will reveal the Dallas Cowboys’ No. 2 choice.
This year’s announcements of draft picks by NFL greats is a continuation of the program that began in 2011. DT Marty Lyons, the Sack Exchange stalwart and Jets’ radio analyst, made the second-round call in 2011 and Wesley Walker handled the second- and third-round announcements last year.
Tags: Mark Brunell, Marty Lyons, Tony Casillas, Wayne Chrebet, Wesley Walker
Posted in Randy Lange | 37 Comments »
The month of April always brings a level of buzz and excitement to Terry Bradway and Jeff Bauer.
Bradway, the Jets’ senior personnel executive, annually informs reporters on some predraft statistics. He did so once again this afternoon.
“We have 1,426 players we’ve evaluated,” Bradway said. “We visited 271 schools. We wrote over 5,000 reports, conducted over 300 interviews at the [Senior Bowl] all-star game, combine, our 30 visits and also our local day. So we’ve spent a lot of time with these players, getting to know them not only as players but as people.”
Bradway described the entire process as beneficial and said that his staff has narrowed its big board down to 220 prospects.
“I think this is a draft that is very deep in the mid-rounds, especially,” he said. “I think there’s going to be some players late in the draft and good quality college free agents that will be available to us as we go through this.”
Bauer is approaching the one year mark from when he was named director of college scouting last May 18. For the prior 11 years, he had served as one of the team’s college scouts, covering the Midwest region. From his perspective, it’s been special establishing a relationship with first-year Jets general manager John Idzik.
“When John came here, he stressed that it’s the group, every scout has a voice,” Bauer said. “I think we’ve had healthy discussions about all the players, everyone.”
Bradway echoed Bauer’s remarks.
“I think the thing that’s been impressive with John is he’s respected our process of the evaluations in the fall, the all-star games, the crosschecks, the February meeting, the combine, and so on,” he said. “He’s been able to add a lot to that also. We’re excited about that, because any time you have change, I think you get invigorated. We’re excited about what we’re doing, and we’ll get a chance to keep building on that as we keep moving forward, too.”
At the present time, Idzik said he and his staff are finishing the detailed evaluations and developing final alternative plans and “what-if” scenarios. He also credited head coach Rex Ryan for the head coach’s input since he arrived in January.
“Obviously, Rex is the head coach,” Idzik said, “so he’s very influential in what we do, especially when it comes to acquiring talent through the draft, free agency and what not. you want your head coach feeling good about what you’re doing and the decisions you make. By his involvement and his staff’s involvement in what’s been going on so far, we’re completely confident that’s going to happen.”
With the first round just eight days away, Bradway, Bauer, Idzik and Co. are prepared to select the best player available when the Green & White get on the clock with the ninth pick.
“I think all of us, as a group, the whole staff is excited for next week,” Bauer said. “We feel we’re going to get good players and we’ve done a great job researching and getting in the right spot.”
Tags: Jeff Bauer, John Idzik, Rex Ryan, Terry Bradway
Posted in John Holt | 31 Comments »
Football has had several candidates for the Voice of God. John Facenda held that title, but Harry Kalas gave Facenda a run for his money, and so did Pat Summerall.
All three voices have been silenced in recent years, most recently Summerall, who died today near his longtime home in Southlake, Texas.
Summerall, 82, was a fine placekicker for the Giants back in the Fifties, when kickers often struggled with the 50% mark on their field goals. And he’ll forever be remembered for his basso voice and authoritative delivery and for his work alongside two partners in the pantheon of NFL broadcasting teams — Tom Brookshier, with whom he worked from 1974-80 on CBS, and of course Pro Football Hall of Famer John Madden from ’81-93 on CBS and then from 1994-2002 on Fox.
“I was so lucky I got to work with Pat,” Madden told the Dallas Morning News. “He was so easy to work with. He knew how to use words. For a guy like myself who rambles on and on and doesn’t always make sense, he was sent from heaven.”
George Allen Summerall was born in central Florida in 1930 and was raised by an aunt and uncle, who took to calling him Pat. Once he turned professional, he would always joke that only one person ever called him George again, “and that was on rare occasion.” That person: Jim Kensil, the late former Jets team president and aide to former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle.
As a Dallas resident who specialized in NFC games, Summerall didn’t get to call many Jets games, just 10 in the regular season and one in the preseason. His first actually was as a three-men-in-the-booth color analyst alongside Brent Musburger, with Jack Whitaker handling the play-by-play, in the Jets’ 28-20 loss to Atlanta in 1973.
His first Jets game as the play-by-play man was the 1975 season finale, a 31-21 loss to the Cowboys. He called Jets victories over Tampa Bay in 1982, the L.A. Rams in ’83, and New Orleans in ’86.
Summerall’s last regular-season Jets game was the 35-30 loss to Philadelphia in 1993, the game that turned on Eagles CB Eric Allen’s 94-yard return of a Boomer Esiason interception with 8:43 to play.
And the last Jets game of any kind that he worked was the Jets’ 2004 preseason win at Indianapolis, when he filled in for Mike Patrick on ESPN’s broadcast of that game.
We extend our condolences to the Summerall family for their loss, and to fans of the NFL, the Cotton Bowl, the Masters and other sporting events who retain memories of the magic that still lingers in the very voice that Pat Summerall brought to the booth.
Tags: Harry Kallas, Jim Kensil, John Facenda, John Madden, Pat Summerall, Tom Brookshier
Posted in Randy Lange | 14 Comments »
Players were stretching and sprinting on the outside turf field at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center this morning, and the middle grass field was dotted with small cones and larger day-glo orange yard-markers — G, 20, 40, 40, 20, G.
The new season has hit another milestone with the start of the Jets’ voluntary offseason program.
Among the players on hand are the roster’s entire quarterback contingent plus key players from both sides of the ball — DE Muhammad Wilkerson, LB David Harris, CB Antonio Cromartie and tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson — to get started on Phase 1 of the program, a two-week period during which activities are limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only, under the guidance of strength coach Justus Galac and his staff, Paul Ricci, Pierre Ngo and intern Jason Oszvart.
“For us it’s really about reducing the injuries and creating an atmosphere for the player to train in that is exciting,” Galac told Eric Allen for Jets Talk Live recently. “They come in there and they’re ready to work. For the players, my job is to make them bigger, faster and stronger — we all know that.
“But it always comes back to being an explosive player, not only working on our explosive power for the big guys and the hips and the hang cleans and the jumps, but the speed work, and that comes back to the skill players and working with plyometrics. Really building a foundation program where, when they walk out after the workout, they feel more explosive, they feel stronger, they feel bigger, and they feel like they got a good workout in.”
The Jets’ program is one of 32 around the NFL that is getting under way these days. Eight teams got started April 1-2, while three won’t get cranking until a week from today. For the other 21, today’s the day to welcome players back to facilities start sweatin’ to the sounds of 2013.
Article 21 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement establishes an official, voluntary nine-week program for each club that is conducted in three phases. After Phase 1, Phase 2 for each team’s offseason schedule consists of weeks 3-5 during which on-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practices conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. defense drills are permitted.
Phase 3 consists of the final four weeks of the program, during which teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity — OTAs. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permissible.
The Jets’ OTA workouts have been scheduled for May 20, 22-23, 28 and 30-31, and June 3-6. The Green & White’s mandatory minicamp is set for June 11-13.
RFA Tender Offers Signed
The Jets announced today that RT Austin Howard has signed his tender offer as a restricted free agent. This comes a week after TE Jeff Cumberland signed his RFA tender offer to remain with the team. Howard was tendered at a second-round level. Cumberland was a right-of-first-refusal tender.
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Austin Howard, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, David Harris, Muhammad Wilkerson, offseason strength and conditioning program
Posted in Randy Lange | 29 Comments »