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Position-by-Position: Moves I’d like to see happen

By Ken Swarthout

We have a lot of time left in this offseason, and at the moment I’m quite bored. So, I decided to go position-by-position and see where we might need help, with a “suggestion” as to what I’d like to see Mike Tannenbaum and company do.

Note that I give Mike T. the benefit of the doubt on all moves, given his track record, and that if he doesn’t do these things, its cool. Like I said, I’m bored. So here we go:

QB
Current:
1) Mark Sanchez
2) Kellen Clemens
3) Erik Ainge
4) Kevin O’Connell

Move(s) I’d like to see
CUT: O’Connell
TRADE: Clemens (if possible; if not, cut)
SIGN: Jeff Garcia

Rationale
While I might take some heat for wanting to cut/trade TWO quarterbacks on the roster, I feel that there is no need to carry 4. O’Connell is dead weight and Clemens, while not a terrible backup, is certainly less than desirable. He couldn’t move the ball on the game’s worst defense, Tampa Bay.

Enter Jeff Garcia. A journeyman with some mobility (similar to Sanchez) who can step right in and BE SUCCESSFUL if Sanchez goes down. Garcia was cut, so we have no restriction to signing him. This move would not be made to bring in a mentor to Mark, it would be to provide insurance.

RB
Current:
1) Shonn Greene
2) LaDainian Tomlinson
3) Leon Washington
4) Chauncey Washington

Move(s) I’d like to see
TRADE: Leon Washington (or allow to sign elsewhere and receive 2nd rounder)
DRAFT: LaMarcus Coker, Hampton (5th round or later)

Rationale
While I’d like to go into 2010 with the 4 backs listed, it seems that the Jets are dangling Leon as trade bait, and I can understand why. For one, he’s not a young man anymore (27), and though he will likely fully recover from his injury, I can understand why getting compensation for Leon now rather than letting him walk after the 2010 season would be favorable, and would be fine with picking up a 2nd rounder or early-mid 3rd for him. Leon is one of my absolute favorite Jets, but its a business, and the constant change is why you root for the uniform, not the player.

Coker, a small school prospect, is a 5-11, 205 lbs. former Tennessee RB/KR (transferred to Hampton) who could adequately replace Leon in the depth chart. He is versatile, given that he can return kicks and is also a decent receiver out of the backfield. Also, don’t sleep on Chauncey Washington being able to step right in if Greene or LT get hurt.

FB
Current:
1) Tony Richardson

Move(s) I’d like to see
DRAFT: Bobby McClintock, Portland State (7th round or UDFA)

Rationale
We Jets fans breathed a sigh of relief when veteran Tony Richardson decided to come back for at least 1 more season, but at 38, a future replacement needs to emerge. McClintock is a tenacious blocker and can be a servicable short-yardage option if need be. Much like Richardson, he’s a bit undersized (5-10, 240 lbs.), and for this reason got passed over by bigger schools. He’d be a guy worth having, even if its on the practice squad.

WR
Current:
1) Braylon Edwards
2) Jerricho Cotchery
3) David Clowney
4) Brad Smith
5) Danny Woodhead

Move(s) I’d like to see
CUT: David Clowney
DRAFT: Jordan Shipley, Texas (2nd round or later)

Rationale
While the latest news has the Jets deciding to bring Clowney back, I simply don’t see him sticking around if a better option can be found to replace him. If that happens to be Shipley as the new Jets slot receiver, I say, see ya. Shipley looks like a Wes Welker clone, and the best news of the offseason for teams looking at WR’s were the poor 40 times nearly all the top prospects ran, including Shipley, to drive their draft stock down.

The Jets should use their 2nd rounder (or a 3rd if they acquire one) on Shipley for a couple important reasons. For one, the Jets appear to be making a commitment to the passing game. Trading up for Sanchez and trading for Edwards last season are proof of this. You need to at least have a CAPABLE passing game in today’s NFL. The other reason is that the Jets cannot afford to go into next season with Clowney being the top option if one of the Jets’ starting receivers gets hurt.

TE
Current:
1) Dustin Keller
2) Ben Hartsock
3) Matthew Mulligan

Move(s) I’d like to see
CUT: Mulligan
SIGN: Steve Heiden
RE-SIGN: James Dearth (UFA)

Rationale
Assuming the Jets address the WR position, another pass-catching TE becomes a luxury, not a need. Nevertheless, signing Heiden (recently cut by the Browns) couldn’t hurt. Hartsock is basically useless in the passing game. In addition, the Jets should bring back long-snapper Dearth because he’s given the Jets no reason to doubt his value over the years.

OT
Current:

1) D’Brickashaw Ferguson (LT)
2) Damien Woody (RT)
3) Wayne Hunter
4) Michael Turkovich

Move(s) I’d like to see
DRAFT: Kevin Haslam, OT, Rutgers (4th round or later)

Rationale
While Anthony Davis, the other Rutgers tackle, is getting most of the attention, Haslam is also possibly a top 20 tackle in the draft, and would make for a nice replacement to Woody at RT. He also has experience at LT and at guard, making him a nice versatile piece to add to Bill Callahan’s arsenal.

OG
Current:
1) Alan Faneca (LG)
2) Brandon Moore (RG)
3) Robert Turner
4) Matt Slauson

Move(s) I’d like to see
CUT: Slauson
DRAFT: Kurtis Gregory, Missouri (6th round or later / UDFA)

Rationale
Gregory, a midwestern farmboy with a great work ethic, is the perfect project for Callahan. While used almost exclusively as a pass-blocker in Mizzou’s scheme, he has the tools and versatility to be an NFL lineman. He can be a backup to any position on the line, having experience at tackle, guard, and center. If Faneca is gone after the 2010 season, he might make enough improvement to earn a starting job, especially if there’s no 2011 season.

C
Current:
1) Nick Mangold
2) Turner

Move(s) I’d like to see
SIGN: Kyle Mutcher, Weber State (UDFA)

Rationale
The Jets don’t need help at center, with Mangold being one of the best, but depth couldn’t hurt. FCS All-American Mutcher would be a guy I’d love to see the Jets bring in. The 6-3, 300 pounder was part of some very successful offenses as a 4-year starter for Weber State out of the Big Sky.

DE
Current:
1) Shaun Ellis (LE)
2) Marques Douglas (RE)
3) Mike DeVito
4) Ropati Pitoitua
5) Rodrique Wright

Move(s) I’d like to see
CUT: Pitoitua
DRAFT: Alex Carrington, Arkansas State (2nd round or later)

Rationale
Drafting Carrington would only really be possible if the Jets are able to make another trade (such as Leon Washington), because otherwise they will not have the picks to get the Arkansas State 3-4 DE. IF the Jets do have the picks, this would be my choice with that compensation.

It’s no secret that, with Ellis and Douglas long in the tooth, this is a bigtime need for the Jets, and with a less than desirable 3-4 DE crop, they’ll have to dig just a little deeper. Carrington is a very strong bull-rusher who, despite getting double-teamed constantly, had 9 sacks and 14.5 TFL’s in 2009.

NT
Current:
1) Kris Jenkins
2) Sione Pouha
3) Howard Green

Move(s) I’d like to see

DRAFT: Jay Ross, East Carolina (5th round or later / UDFA)

Rationale
While Pouha and Green were servicable as stop-gap replacements for the injured Kris Jenkins last season, the Jets can’t afford to stand pat at the position. 6-3, 313 pounder Ross, while certainly not ideal, has nose tackle potential and would be a solid addition to the rotation.

OLB
Current:
1) Bryan Thomas (LOLB)
2) Calvin Pace (ROLB)
3) Vernon Gholston
4) Jamaal Westerman

Move(s) I’d like to see
SIGN: Matt Marcorelle, Delaware (UDFA)

Rationale
The Jets can’t afford to do too much at the OLB position, what with so much money tied up into Calvin Pace and Vernon Gholston. Rex has already said he wants to give Gholston one more chance, primarily because he has no other choice. Still, Marcorelle looks like a nice sleeper who, if undrafted, would be an excellent pickup. Marcorelle is the classic college DE-turned OLB who would be fun to follow as he progresses under Rex and Mike Pettine.

ILB
Current:
1) Bart Scott
2) David Harris
3) Ryan Fowler
4) Kenwin Cummings

Move(s) I’d like to see
SIGN: Bear Woods, Troy (UDFA)

Rationale
Honestly, I don’t have much explanation for bringing in Woods other than the fact that he has a great name, and produced for a highly successful FCS program. I don’t know much else about him. All in all, the Jets are pretty set at the ILB position, and will probably only look at the UDFA crop to find some depth.

CB
Current:
1) Darrelle Revis
2) Antonio Cromartie
3) Dwight Lowery
4) Drew Coleman
5) Marquice Cole

Move(s) I’d like to see
CUT: Coleman
DRAFT: Patrick Robinson, Florida State (1st round or later)

Rationale
Don’t get me wrong, bringing in Antonio Cromartie was a great move, and he appears to be the bonafide # 2 CB on this team. However, in a league that’s slowly making 2-WR sets obsolete, the Jets absolutely should not consider themselves done at the CB position, which is why I believe they should still draft a corner with their first pick.

Cromartie was given to the Jets for a 2011 2nd or 3rd rounder, when there won’t even be an NFL. Why? Because the Chargers got tired of them. The Chargers, who have been more lenient towards unruly behavior before, unloaded the same corner who had 10 INT’s in 2007 for next to nothing. This should be a red flag just as much as it would be a red flag if Lowery is our # 3 corner next season. Robinson, while not a great tackler, does exactly what Rex would ask out of a nickle/# 2 corner: Cover your man so the exotic blitz packages work.

S
Current:
1) Jim Leonhard (SS)
2) Brodney Pool (FS)
3) Eric Smith
4) James Ihedigbo

Move(s) I’d like to see
NONE

Rationale
This is the one position on the field where I believe the Jets need no more help. With Cromartie as another solid cover corner opposite Revis and big distraction Kerry Rhodes gone, the Jets safeties can focus on what they do best: Hitting people. Pool can do it (when healthy), as can Leonhard, Smith and Ihedigbo.

The Jets may elect to bring in a UDFA safety or two as training camp fodder, but as I see it, these are the 4 safeties the Jets appear confident going to war in 2010 with, and I happen to agree.

K
Current:
1) Nick Folk

Move(s) I’d like to see
CUT: Folk
RE-SIGN: Jay Feely

Rationale
Look, I know Feely is a UFA and him signing elsewhere opens up the chance to sign another UFA in his place. However, I think Feely is the best kicker on the market, and if for some reason he does NOT sign elsewhere, the Jets should bring him back. You can do a lot worse than Feely, and though he’s been “un-clutch” in his past, Folk has been downright dreadful not only in clutch situations, but chip shot opportunities in a dome no less.

P
Current:
1) Steve Weatherford

Move(s) I’d like to see
SIGN: Zoltan Mesko, Michigan (UDFA)

Rationale
Mesko finished off a solid career as a Wolverine with a 44.5 yard average as a senior, and would probably compete for the starting job with Weatherford. Hopefully he can also compete for KOS, too, since Folk was not the KOS with Dallas. Feely’s biggest weakness is kickoffs if he is brought back as well.

KR/PR
Current:
1) Brad Smith
2) Leon Washington
3) Jim Leonhard

Move(s) I’d like to see
NONE

Rationale
Whether or not Leon is back next season, we’re solid at the KR spot. Our coverage unit is another story, but I’m confident that we’ll be making the right moves to improve one of our biggest weaknesses from 2009. As I alluded to earlier, bringing in a new KOS would help.

You can comment on these moves and add your thoughts in our New York Jets fan forum.

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