New York Jets Draft Review – Round 3

ROUND 3 {#76 Overall}
ILB Anthony Schlegel
Ohio State University

“He {DE/OLB Chris Gocong} was still on the board and was by far the highest-rated guy there. We’re going to play him at linebacker, but we thought we might have a need at ‘Sam’ (strong-side) linebacker and also with someone to help us as a pass rusher. He was so highly rated that we thought we had to go up and try to get him. We did not think he was going to be there at our pick, so we said, ‘We’d hate to sit there and lose him,’ because he was sticking out like a sore thumb on our board.”
Jason Licht, Eagles VP of Player Personnel

That set in motion a trade that may have backfired on Tangini in a big way. Gil Brandt actually ranked Chris Gocong ahead of Giants 1st RD Pick, Mathias Kiwanuka, yet there he sat at #71 Overall when the Jets went on the clock.

This is a player who registered a staggering 42 Sacks in 23 Games, a ratio Gil Brandt cannot recall ever having seen at any level, and Brandt {chief architect of the doomsday defense} has been scouting since before some of you were even born, included Tangini. And if they were ever to erect an mount Rushmore for NFL scouts, you best believe Gil Brandt’s head would be chiseled in stone, such was his amazing track record with Tom Landry and Tex Schramm in Dallas.

Now most folks viewed Gocong as a DE/OLB tweener in the pros {much better fit as an edge rushing 3-4 OLB} and this is where things may have gone awry for Tangini.  Though I am speculating to some degree but the Jets reportedly had two visits with Gocong.  The interest in this player was rumored to be high {Gocong himself felt the Jets were zoned in on selecting him}.  They are currently in the process of switching to a base 3-4 defense and they recently dealt their best edge rusher in John Abraham.  So it’s not speculation based on nothing.

Anyhow, here’s where things may have backfired on Tangini. Seeing as Gocong’s true value was widely viewed as an edge rushing 3-4 OLB, and not a 4-3 DE/OLB {too small for the former and his rush skills can be somewhat neutralized by the latter}, it as at least conceivable to this observer that Tangini might have deemed it unlikely that the Eagles {4-3 defense} would trade up {from 76 to 71} for Chris Gocong.  A careful study of the board in RD 3 shows four teams that run a 4-3 defense selecting 72-75 as well, Cardinals, Bears, Lions and Packers respectively.
Think about this, the Jets have need for an edge rusher to replace Abe because of their likely switch to a base 3-4 defense.  Also consider the apparent interest the Jets had shown in Gocong prior to the draft {with Gocong admitting as much}.  As well as his insane sack totals for any level and the high grade Gocong appeared to be carrying on some pretty savvy boards, including the Eagles.  And lastly his projected value as an edge rushing 3-4 OLB {not a 4-3 DE/OLB tweener}, it becomes very conceivable {to me} that Tangini may have considered the Eagles scheme, scanned the board at 72-75 and concluded they can perhaps steal Chris Gocong a few picks down the board {#76 Overall} while garnering an added pick in the process.

If this is true, if the Jets actually had designs on drafting Chris Gocong in that spot, and Gocong believed they did {he said as much following the draft}, then the saddest part is the value Tangini received in return. This trade garnered only a 7th RD Pick for the Jets, and that’s it. That’s a heck of a gamble to take for a measly 7, and lose.

Lastly on Gocong {and this trade}, if there is any truth to this at all {and now we will never know if there is}.  It would appear that the Jets were rolling sevens and pulling straight flushes at such a sustained rate that they may have grown a bit over-confident and got torched. We’ve all been there. If you’ve ever found yourself riding a hot streak, then you know the feeling. You start to feel like you can’t lose. So if it was a mistake, and I don’t know for sure that it was, it was an honest mistake when you consider the roll these two were on and you consider all of the circumstances {the perceived unlikelihood that a 4-3 team would value Gocong that high}.

As for Anthony Schlegel, he can make us forget about Gocong in a hurry if he turns out to be the better player.  While the need for an edge rushing 34 OLB seemed far more pressing in my view {with the loss of Abe}, this in no way detracts from Schlegel’s size {250+, thus a good fit at 3-4 ILB}, character {off the charts, as is Gocong’s in fairness}, and the ferocious nature of his game at Ohio State.

On most boards this pick would have been deemed a reach, and I’m not going to lie, my board was no different in that regard. While Schlegel is a nasty son of a gun on the football field, a throwback in many ways, someone who plays the game with a ferocious mentality, some question his athleticism and thus his ability to be an every-down player {read coverage on 3rd down} in the national football league.

But lets call a spade a spade, not too long ago the same would have been said about cats like Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel whom Mangini had in New England. These were not highly regarded players for many of the same reasons, but both have excelled way beyond expectations.

Brian Cox, who was also deemed a so-so athlete in 1991 and subsequently drafted in RD 5, reportedly loved Anthony Schlegel and I can see why, Schlegel does play football with that same nasty demeanor.

So while Schlegel appeared to be a bit of a reach in that spot, and while Gocong seemed to be better value at a position of greater need {or should a say a roll of greater need, that being a projected edge rusher}, I will not discount the possibility that the tenacious big school guy {Ohio State} can turn into a better pro than the small school stud {Cal Poly} when all is said and done.

The Jury will be out on this one for quite some time. Right now it does not look good for Tangini, looks like they may have gotten snookered or bypassed better value at a position/roll of greater need {if it was by choice?} but the final verdict cannot be read until we see what kind of pros these two players become.  Schlegel does have a shot to surprise.
Round 1 – D’Brickashaw Ferguson

Rounds 1 & 2 – Mangold, Clemens

Round 3 – Eric Smith

Round 4 – B. Smith, Washington

Rounds 5, 6, 7 – Pociask, Coleman and Adams

UDFA Signings 

This Article Was Written By Admin



NY Jets Videos