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Insider draft conversation.....


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By: Dan Leberfeld


Date: Apr 25, 2006

Here is a conversation between Jets Confidential publisher Dan Leberfeld and JC's draft insider John Murphy:

Leberfeld: You are very familiar with the thinking of the Saints. What do you think their mindset is right now about the second pick?

Murphy: First thought is to see what the Texans do at #1... if Reggie Bush is still on the board they will have a few options to trade down... should Mario Williams be left for them at #2 he makes a lot of sense for them since they lost Darren Howard and Charles Grant is in the last year of his deal... ideally, I think they would like to trade down a few spots and take A.J. Hawk.

Leberfeld: Do you think they will be able to trade down, and what teams are candidates?

Murphy: Well, the Raiders would be one, since it would give them control over what QB they would want... and don't count out Al Davis if Reggie Bush fell to #2... NY Jets have the draft picks to move up to #2 if Bush fell, but they seem content on holding steady at #4... 49ers would be the wild card since they have #6 and #22, but they have so many needs it would be hard for them to part with both picks.

Leberfeld: Based on what you just said, it sounds like a longshot that the Saints can trade out of there.

Murphy: I think they would love to move out as their prime target seems to be AJ Hawk, as Ferguson no longer fits with the move of Jammal Brown to left tackle and they have spent a lot of picks and cap space on defensive linemen, but you can't force or make a bad trade at #2, so it would not be shocking if they took Hawk at their spot if they like him that much.

Leberfeld: So they are happy with Brown at left tackle after the minicamp . . .

Murphy: A lot of teams had evaluated him as a possible conversion from the right side, but that would been a tough task to ask a rookie to perform... so when comparing him to the market place for left tackles they felt they could address others areas by moving him to the left side, drafting best available in the first round and then finding a future right tackle. Or what they really hope for is a healthy return of Jon Stinchcomb, who was having a good camp until he injured his knee last summer.

Leberfeld: Do you think the Jets should pick Ferguson at four, and what do you think of him?

Murphy: Ferguson is a clear-cut starting left tackle for the NFL, I am not yet totally sold on him being that "Jonathan Ogden" or "Franchise" type guy, but in my book when you can find someone that might be along the lines of a Richmond Webb or Lomas Brown you don't pass on them, especially when it is such a glaring need... I still believe he needs to get stronger, but his quick feet and athleticism should be very useful against the trend towards the 3-4 or hybrid, edge pass rushers.

Leberfeld: What do you think of Mike Mayock and Phil Simms saying that Jay Cutler is the best quarterback in the draft?

Murphy: I take what Simms has to say with more credibility just because he played the position in the pros, and Cutler has the toughness and intangibles that a guy like Simms would like... most of the people who cover the draft jump on prospects and then stay on the ride just to hope they proven right long-term... most others have jumped off Cutler, so Mayock sticking to his guns is not surprising... I liked Cutler's toughness and ability to lead a mostly bad team to some big wins.

Leberfeld: Do you think the Jets might pick Vernon Davis over D'Brickashaw?

Murphy: If the Jets could find a trade partner to move down, say Oakland... that would be a definite possibility... since it would then leave several other teams open to take players that would surprisingly be available for them... most have felt giving a tight end Top-5 money would be very hard, so while he would be a huge asset on the field... I find it hard to see him going #4.

Leberfeld: What about his blocking?

Murphy: It's not an issue to me... he's has enough size and strength to improve in that area... and if you are drafting him, the 8-12 touchdowns and big plays, that's what you are drafting him for... if you want an in-line blocker go get yourself Dan Campbell... the kid ran 4.38 with 40-plus vertical... blocking can be taught... freakish physical numbers can't.

DLeberfeld: What about his intelligence? Will he have trouble picking up a pro systems?

Murphy: I don't think so he comes across very well when speaking to him 1-on-1 at the Combine and throughout the season... Coach Friedgen is sort of the Mike Martz of college football... multiple formations, audibles at the line and quick reads for the QB, so their WR's and TE's always need to know when and where to be for the offense to work... there is a reason teammates nicknamed Vernon "Oh My God"... he will be just fine in terms of picking up an offense, can't say the same for those who will need to cover him.

Leberfeld: What about "The Brick's" run-blocking?

Murphy: I don't think that will be an issue... he's got plenty of size... he's just not a road-grader type... you can scheme around it properly so that he does not get caught out of position or blown up at the point of attack... I would rather have footwork and athleticism any day... with improved technique and weight training, his run blocking will naturally progress.

Leberfeld: At 29, who do you see as some options for the Jets?

Draftjm13: The Jets should have several good options at #29... including a potential pick of the litter at RB... Maroney and White have been names mentioned... I would think long-term they could hope a kid like Nick Mangold falls to them, since he could be groomed at either center or guard... the darkhorse would be linebacker or receiver, since they could find some very good prospects still available... if Denver passes on a WR at #15 and Chicago too at #26 then at least one of the Top-3 receivers will be available.

Leberfeld: Do you think some people are overrating Manny Lawson? Some have attached him to the Jets at 29, but he's got a very skinny lower base.

Murphy: No, because he fits that new hybrid pass rusher teams are craving after seeing the success of Shawne Merriman and DeMarcus Ware as rookies... he's never going to be an anchor against the run or defeat a double team at the line of scrimmage, but he is an explosive pass rusher with excellent closing speed... I think he may go before #29, but that he has the upside to develop into a ten-sack guy in the NFL.

Leberfeld: What are your thoughts about Bobby Carpenter at 29?

Murphy: Carpenter is an ideal strong-side 'backer... has very good size... can run like a 220-pound defender... little stiff at times in terms of lateral movement, but he can get his body in front of tight ends and has shown good instincts... there are small durability issues with him, but he would be solid at #29... but there are 3-4 other teams in front of the Jets looking at him hard.

Leberfeld: Last question. The Jets seem to like Oklahoma guard Davin Joseph. Do you think he would be a good fit at 35?

Murphy: He would be a solid fit, and #35 is right around his range... Tampa Bay has shown a lot of interest in him, but would either trade down or back up in the 2nd for him... he's a little shorter than some expected, but he played at a solid level the past two years and would be a long-term solution at the spot.

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