|Heading into the 2008 off-season, my belief was that The Jets needed to dramatically improve their offensive line and add talent to their young and improving defense in an effort to turn it into an elite unit.
As far as the teamís offensive line goes, I am sure that Mike Tannenbaum will look to draft a considerable number of lineman in the upcoming draft in the hopes that 2 or 3 will become capable starters next season. He could also try to sign Alan Faneca. As far as defense goes, I think the unit is looking real solid with a young core of players that includes: Kerry Rhodes, Darrelle Revis and David Harris. If Tannenbaum were to add 2 or 3 additional difference makers, The Jets defense could become an elite unit next season.
The Jets are said to be in a great situation cap-wise and have the number 6 pick in the upcoming draft. They can obviously draft a potential difference maker like Vernand Ghoulston or Sedrick Ellis with their number 6 pick. To acquire an additional playmaker or two, The Jets need to be as active as possible in free agency.
Its currently looking like Lance Briggs and Asante Samuels will be the top two defensive players available on the free agent market.
While it would be ideal if the Jets were able to sign both Briggs and Samuels, this scenario is unlikely. It is unlikely because there will be numerous teams competing for their services and the Jets may not be able to afford both players. In addition, Briggs is supposedly a better fit in a 4-3 defensive scheme.
The logical player for the team to focus on acquiring then becomes Samuels. Samuels is a great fit for three reasons. First off, Samuels and Mangini are said to have a good relationship. Second, the acquisition of Samuels would form a secondary that would also include Revis and Rhodes and would give the Jets one of the best (if not the best) secondaries in all of football. Lastly, Samuels would be coming over from New England and would be able to provide coach Mangini with some invaluable inside information on Bellichick and company.
I have a lot of faith in Tannenbaum based on his draft last season that resulted in The Jets selecting Darrelle Revis in round 1 and David Harris in round 2. It does not get much better than that. The knock on Tannenbaum has been his less than stellar performance when it comes to signing free agents. Tannenbaum needs to prove that he is a complete general manager and needs to make the right decisions with free agents this time around. Put simply, Tannenbaum needs to throw the right amount of money in front of Samuels and sign him to a contract. Anything else is unacceptable.
Here is a look at a potential core group of players the Jets could have on defense heading into The 2008 Season:
1. Kerry Rhodes
2. Darrelle Revis
3. David Harris
4. Asante Samuels
5. Vernand Ghoulston (or whichever defensive player they draft at 6)
This off-season will tell us a lot about Tannenbaum. Lets see if he steps up to the plate and does everything in his power to sign Samuels. Lets see if he is committed to building an elite defense for his defensive minded head coach. Lets see if he is committed to building an elite defense that would provide the Jets with their best chance at defeating The Patriots and winning The AFC East. Lets see it.
Posted by David Martorano at 2/22/2008 5:02:00 AM