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Jets draft rumors abound


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Jets draft rumors abound


Newsday Staff Writer

April 27, 2006

When the Jets' Mike Tannenbaum was asked recently if he'd spoken with any other general managers about potential draft-day trades, the first-year GM came back with a coy response.

"I like to do a lot of listening to the GMs above us and below us," Tannenbaum said. "That's part of the job, though, to try and listen as much as you can, and we'll continue to listen."

There was plenty to listen to yesterday, when the pre-draft rumor mill churned out some of its best work.

It's not surprising that the Jets, with the fourth overall pick Saturday, are being mentioned as potential players in draft-day trades. Nor is it stunning that there is more fiction than fact making the rounds.

Despite rampant speculation that the Jets are considering any number of draft-day trades, a person familiar with their strategy said yesterday that Tannenbaum is inclined to keep the fourth pick and select either North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams or Virginia tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson.

According to one NFL personnel man and several agents who have spoken with the Jets, that makes sense, because the team has made it known that it does not like any of the top three quarterbacks enough to trade up for one.

Yesterday, the rumor du jour had the Jets involved in a possible draft-day trade with the Ravens, who would be interested in moving out of the 13th spot if they can't land Oregon defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Most observers don't believe Ngata will get past the Browns at No. 12, and some even are projecting him as a top-10 pick.

That's where things get murky. If Ngata is off the board when the Ravens pick and Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler is still available, the Jets would trade their 29th and 35th picks to Baltimore and select Cutler 13th, according to this .scenario.

The 29th and 35th picks are fair value for the 13th, according to the trade chart most teams use. But one person who's had dealings with both the Jets and Ravens said yesterday the Jets don't like Cutler enough to make such a move, even though owner Woody Johnson headed the Jets' contingent that met with Cutler in Nashville, Tenn., two weeks ago.

Then came a report yesterday that the Jets like USC's Matt Leinart more than people know and would take him with the fourth pick if he's available.

Confused? There's more. Another Jet-related rumor addressed in a published report yesterday had Tannenbaum potentially involved in a three-way trade purportedly involving the Raiders and Saints. That one is so convoluted, and probably so far off base, that it's not even worth addressing.

Several people involved in the pre-draft wrangling still believe it's more likely that the Jets will address the quarterback position in the second round with Alabama's Brodie Croyle or Oregon's Kellen Clemens. Croyle worked out for the Jets last week in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

With the 29th and 35th picks, as well as two third-rounders, the Jets have the flexibility to move up in the bottom of the first round, for example, and select N.C. State outside linebacker Manny Lawson. He would be an ideal replacement for John Abraham as a 3-4 rush end if they can't get Williams with the fourth pick.


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We have now heard about every possible scenario for the Jets. Trade up, trade down, they love him, they hate him blah, blah blah and they have been rumored to be drafting every one of the top 10 prospects (except Young). Only two more days, thank goodness!

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