“A number that I think is interesting would be eight, and no, that’s not the amount of touchdown passes that Green Bay gave up against Arizona. That’s the number of touchdown passes we gave up all season as the Jets, and the biggest reason for that is Darrelle Revis.” Rex Ryan, after Charles Woodson won NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
This Sunday, the prodigal son returns home after an acrimonious split from the team that traded up for him and then made him the league’s highest paid cornerback just a couple of years ago. Whether you choose to boo him (I will) or cheer him when he is introduced, there is no denying that Darrelle Revis was the best cornerback in the NFL from about 2009 until his torn ACL last year. What if the New York Jets didn’t trade up for the man whose film Geno Smith isn’t studying? We at TOJ explore in Episode 3 of our “What If” Series.
Date:: April 28th, 2007
Time:: 12:00 PM
Location: Radio City Music Hall
The 2006 season was a successful one for the New York Jets, led by Head Coach Eric Mangini. They grabbed a 10-6 record and the 5th seed in the AFC . Mangini, teaming with first year General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, had laid the foundation for a new Jets era with the drafting of Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson the previous year, and now felt it was time to make a move to challenge the New England Patriots. Armed with the 25th pick in the draft, there were two ways of thinking: trade up to get a player that will help them close the gap with the Patriots but would cause them to give up picks or trade down with an opportunity to add depth in the later rounds,.
Mangini, Tannenbaum, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, and scouting consultant Terry Bradway are sitting around a table discussing how they feel the draft will unfold at the top. There’s been word leaking out that the Raiders will take JaMarcus Russell first overall and then the Browns will take Brady Quinn, the hometown kid, 3rd overall. The Lions, always thinking outside the box, are trying to decide between WR Calvin Johnson and WR Ted Ginn, Jr. The rest of the draft features sure fire Pro Bowlers, like OT Joe Thomas, and there is word that, after months of posturing, highly coveted Falcons back up QB Matt Schaub will be traded.
Tannenbaum is on the phone with Rich McKay discussing a trade that would net the Jets Schaub for their first round pick. Schottenheimer, hearing Schaub’s name, pushes his Jets throwback snapback away from his eyes and slides Tannenbaum a sticky note that says “don’t do it. He can’t play in the howling wins of the Meadowlands.” Tannenbaum slides the sticky note to Mangini who turns to Brian, red faced, and yells “He’s the real deal. I don’t want to look back on my career and have to tell some biased ESPN blogger that we tried like hell to get Schaub. I want him.” McKay tells Tannenbaum that Schaub is his for a first and second round pick this year, and a second round pick next year. Tannenbaum tells McKay that that’s too steep a price to pay considering Chad Pennington was the 7th most efficient passer in the league the year before. McKay tells Tannenbaum that he will never deal with him again if he doesn’t accept this trade, and Tannenbaum tells McKay he’ll be fired long before he makes a deal with a pirate like him, and hangs up. The draft begins, and the first 14 picks go in the order that you remember…1. Jamarcus Russell, Raiders
2. Calvin Johnson, Lions
3. Joe Thomas, Browns
4. Gaines Adams, Bucs
5. Levi Brown, Cardinals
6. Laron Landry, Redskins
7. Adrian Peterson, Vikings
8. Jamaal Anderson, Falcons (c/o the Matt Schaub trade)
9. Ted Ginn, Jr., Dolphins
10. Amobi Okoye, Texans (received in the Matt Schaub trade).
11. Patrick Willis, 49ers
12. Marshawn Lynch, Bills
13. Adam Carriker, Rams
And with the 14th pick in the NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select Darrelle Revis, defensive back from Pittsburgh.
The Jets choose to stand pat as the Panthers take Revis to pair with Chris Gamble and Richard Marshall in the secondary. The next 9 selections go the way you remember them.
15. Lawrence Timmons, Steelers
16. Justin Harrell, Packers
17. Jarvis Moss, Broncos (trade with Jaguars)
18. Leon Hall, Bengals
19. Michael Griffin, Titans
20. Aaron Ross, Giants
21. Reggie Nelson, Jaguars (trade with Broncos)
22. Brady Quinn, Browns (trade with Cowboys)
23. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
24. Brandon Merriweather, Patriots (Deion Branch trade)
A videoconference call begins with Head Coach Eric Mangini, who says that the “Jets wanted to shore up an area that was a little iffy, especially with Jonathan Vilma’s injury, and we think this does that for us.” When asked if Vilma will be ready for next season, Mangini replies “the competition is ongoing” and the video conference blacks out. Drafting Jon Beason means not trading up for David Harris in the second round, since Beason is the insurance for Vilma. The Jets keep their third round pick and now have the 59th pick (since they didn’t trade up for Revis), the 63rd pick (from the Thomas Jones trade), and the 89th pick (since they didn’t trade up for David Harris.)
With the 59th pick in the draft, the New York Jets select Ryan Kalil, center from the University of Southern California.
Kalil was told to learn both guard positions at the Senior Bowl, so he’s drafted here to play left guard and to replace Pete Kendall, who was traded during the preseason.
Who knows if John Fox and his coaching staff, and later Ron Rivera and his coaching staff, would’ve developed the All-Pro, the way Rex Ryan eventually would. If everything broke the same way, Revis would’ve held out in Carolina, the Jets would’ve had an offensive line of Ferguson, Kalil, Mangold, Moore, and Damiend Woody, with Beason and Bart Scott playing ILB. Kalil could’ve slid over and played center when Mangold hurt his ankle and missed a few games a couple of years ago. However, Beason would’ve been hurt the last two seasons, and Kalil would’ve been hurt last season. At some point, the Jets would’ve had to address the cornerback position whether the head coach was Mangini or eventually Rex. Still, it is always fun to wonder what if…
Until next time Jets fans.