The Jets held a conference call today with season ticket holders to discuss the team and upcoming draft. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, Senior Personnel Executive Terry Bradway and Vice President of College Scouting Joey Clinkscales were on hand to field a variety of questions.
When asked about the status of the pass rush Tannenbaum responded, ‘We’re going to be a game plan specific defense,’ and went on to say, some games their defensive backs will blitz more, but would like to apply pressure with four rushers. As for drafting an upgrade at the position he said, ‘In the draft … somebody can help us with rushing the passer we’ll take long look at those opportunities.’
Bradway later said the team is looking to improve their overall speed on the field especially on defense and that it ‘would be a priority entering this draft.’
Clinkscales answered a question regarding potential special team’s players such as punters, kickers and long snappers. He said all those types are guys are ‘always in play’ especially late in the draft and that Coach Mike Westhoff would love competition at those positions.
Tannenbaum commented that the draft seemed to be very deep at the wide receiver position saying, ‘There’s a number of players (at receiver) that we think we can acclimate into our offense sooner rather than later.’
The group was asked several times about plans to upgrade the offensive line and right tackle Wayne Hunter specifically. Tannenbaum noted that Hunter had played well for the team in the 2010 playoffs but ‘last year somewhat inconsistent.’
Bradway and Tannenbaum mentioned Vladimir Ducasse, Austin Howard and Caleb Schlauderaff several times as young ‘in house’ players who would add depth to the offensive line. It was also noted that Ducasse will have a full off-season workout program for the first time in his career, along with new Coach Tony Sparano’s offensive line expertise, hopefully this will help with his development.
Tannenbaum often cited Pro Bowl offensive lineman D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, and Brandon Moore as a strengths moving forward but that the line as a whole had to play ‘more consistently.’
Bradway feels it is a good year depth wise in the draft at guard, not so much at tackle, but thinks there will be ‘options … in the draft depending on what else is on the board and what they are looking at.’
Bradway went on to give an update on the Jets running back situation concentrating on second year player Bilal Powell. In Bradway’s opinion there are many good running backs in this year’s draft, with much depth at the position, but he feels Powell compares favorable too most prospects. He went onto say, ‘we’re excited about his (Powell’s) offseason and what he can bring to the field this year.’
Clinkscales expects newly acquired safety LaRon Landry to play at a ‘significant level’ despite his past injuries and dismissed Landry’s absence from recent voluntary workouts as a sign he is not healthy.
As far as Tim Tebow, Tannenbaum said he would be used in ‘a number of ways,’ and it will be interesting to see how opposing teams defend him.
Tannenbaum was asked about his preference to trade-up in the draft and went on to describe how input from Jets’ front office people making ‘strong recommendations’ helps the decision making process.
Later he said about the 2012 draft, ‘I wouldn’t rule out trading up for the right player if the price was reasonable. We’ve shown that in the past and we’re certainly going to be open to that this time, if and when, these opportunities present themselves.’ Tannenbaum also noted that the team has also traded back in the draft acquiring more picks and Bradway added it really depended upon the board and circumstances whether the team trades up or down.