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Character is key for Mangini players.


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Jets coach Eric Mangini said being comfortable with a player's character and work ethic is just as important as his ability.

April 27, 2007 -- Although the early morning light was shining into most of the offices at Weeb Ewbank Hall yesterday, Eric Mangini's corner office was rather dark and, as usual, the white projection screen on one wall was pulled down with some player data beaming on it.

The NFL Draft was two days away and Mangini was in his typical ultra-preparation mode, refusing to leave one detail without full inspection.

During an exclusive sit-down with The Post yesterday, Mangini didn't reveal exactly the player the Jets will select with the 25th overall pick in the first round tomorrow.

He did, however, make it unmistakably clear what kind of player the organization will draft.

"I don't want to know just about the player," Mangini said. "I want to know about the person. That transcends throughout the organization. Anyone that comes into this organization, I want them to be the right type of person."

The Mangini Jets are adamant about drafting character, not characters.

That automatically eliminates some players, no matter how talented or tantalizing a prospect they may be, from the Jets' draft board.

One of Mangini's building blocks to success is acquiring players who have smarts, desire, selflessness and common sense to go along with a swift 40 time, a high vertical jump or a flexible hip swivel.

Though the Jets search high and low for good character players, they also do not go only by what they hear. For example, simply believing what they've been told about a player's dodgy reputation.

"Eric has this great expression of saying, "The truth . . . let's find out the truth,' " Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum said.

"You want to make sure you get the guys who are intrinsically motivated who have all those core characteristics - smart, tough, hard working, competitive, selfless, football is important to them - because then you know they're going to take advantage of the program we provide.

"It's not just about what they do individually. It's about the people they affect around them. If you bring in good people, they're going to affect another satellite groups of people and set them in the right direction.

"When you fill the locker room with enough good people, they feed off each other's energy, they feed off each other enthusiasm, they push each other in a really positive way, help each other make good decisions. Collectively, that raises the level."

A year ago, in Mangini's rookie season as a head coach, the Jets had the fourth overall pick and two in the first round. They picked LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson with the fourth overall choice then selected C Nick Mangold later in the first round - building blocks to the offensive line.

Barring a last-second trade tomorrow, Mangini, Tannenbaum and staff have the 25th overall pick in the first round then do not choose again until 59th overall, in the second round.

"At No. 4, there's only three variables ahead of you," Mangini said of last year's draft position. "At 25, it's substantially more. The key thing is to have that group of players that you feel comfortable with, and it may not be exactly the position you're targeting at that point. But it has to be a player that you feel comfortable with across the board."

Without naming names, Mangini said there are five to seven players the team has targeted for the 25th spot. Here are some names that may be on Mangini's radar: CBs Darrelle Revis, Pittsburgh; Aaron Ross, Texas; Chris Houston, Arkansas; LBs David Harris, Michigan; Paul Posluszny, Penn State; DLs Adam Carriker, Nebraska; Justin Harrell, Tennessee; Anthony Spencer, Purdue; and TE Greg Olsen, Miami.

Whomever comes from that first-round pool and is picked by the Jets sometime after 4 p.m. tomorrow will surely be much like most of the current locker room - a motivated solid citizen who cares about football and possesses high character.

Mangini said he is not only building for his second season with the Jets, he's building for a long, successful future.

"I would love to be here for a long, long time," he said. "With the support that Woody (Johnson, the team owner) gives us and working with the people I'm working with, it's hard to imagine being in a better situation."


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Bitonti made a good point in our last interview with him. About how the character stuff will be less important for them going forward.

I think they went overboard last year. Rightfully so, they needed to set the tone. Now that they made the playoffs and put the Mangini stamp on the way things are run -- they will keep the focus where it should be (getting the most talented players they can).

Obviously in extreme cases you will just pass on a player if they are going to be a non-stop headache.

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Sorry Max but I don't see Mangini deviating very much from his core values at all, the days of Club Ed and giving problem children second chances are ancient history.

I lean towards agreeing with ARod here-they set in motion this "core Jets Values" thing last year and focused on strong work ethics, responsibility, and character-and it served them well...I don't see them abandoning this model......if it ain't broke.........

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I don't think they will scrap it. I just think in Round 3 this year maybe they will look for a football player instead of a guy that hunts boar and is a great teammate.

All jokes aside Max, you can rest assured the Jets will not draft anybody that has the potential to be a locker-room cancer or a problem child off the field, no matter how good they might be on the field.

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