Pre-Draft Thoughts On The AFC

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First a few updates:

1. I will be catching up on the “2010” Draft Section today, www.thejetsblog.com has been ripping through those potential prospects the past few days. Speaking of the draft, Clemson OLB Ricky Sapp is visiting today. As I said yesterday, he could be a target for the Jets at #29 or they could trade back a few spots and look to grab him. Here is a look at his highlight tape:

2. Tim Graham had a few interesting pieces up on his AFC East Blog today, one of which discussed the teams that passed up Rex Ryan as a potential head coach…I must say I am happy that Buffalo decided to stay with Dick Jauron these past few years instead of hiring Rex and now they are stuck with Chan Gailey. He also discusses the potential of Syracuse receiver Mike Williams, who I am familiar with because I covered Syracuse football for Fan University during my undergraduate years. I absolutely agree with the assessment given by the scout in Graham’s article, Williams is a first round talent and he is going to be available in the mid-rounds because of questions about his character. He could be a guy the Jets take a risk on if they don’t end up adding a receiver in round one or two, who turns into an absolute steal.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…because we are only 2 fans from 250 and you want the honor of being #250.

4. Eric Allen of www.newyorkjets.com compiled this list of players visiting Florham Park this week as the Jets prepare for the draft:

  • OT Anthony Davis – Rutgers
  • RB Montario Hardesty – Tennessee
  • CB Kareem Jackson – Alabama
  • RB Ryan Matthews – Fresno State
  • CB Devin McCourty – Rutgers
  • DL Jared Odrick – Penn State
  • DT Cory Peters – Kentucky
  • OL Maurkice Pouncey – Florida
  • CB Patrick Robinson – Florida State
  • OLB Ricky Sapp – Clemson
  • TE Micky Shuler Jr. – Penn State
  • S Major Wright  – Florida

Pre-Draft Thoughts On The AFC

A quick look at where all the teams in the AFC currently stand heading into the draft:

Division Title Contenders

New England Patriots – As I covered in my team to beat in the AFC East article, the Patriots haven’t had a very active off-season but are overloaded with draft picks and remain the primary competition to the Jets for a division title. They still need help at running back, in the secondary and need somebody to step up to fill the void of Wes Welker until he returns from injury but with Brady and Belichick they remain a playoff caliber team.

Baltimore Ravens – Regardless of the season the Bengals put together last year, I see the Ravens as the team to beat in the AFC North. The only thing holding them back last year was the struggles of their passing game. However, I think Joe Flacco will play better this season than he did at the end of last year, especially with the addition of Anquan Boldin. Beyond that, if they get something out of Donte Stallworth they could have a real strong three wide set with Boldin, Stallworth, and Derrick Mason. On defense they added Cory Redding to their line rotation but still could use some help at corner.

Indiannapolis Colts – Peyton Manning = double digit victories and most likely another AFC South title. They will be also be getting Anthony Gonzalez back at receiver to add to Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, and Pierre Garcon.

San Diego Chargers – They remain the best team in their division. However, they need to find more balance on offense and improve their running defense.

PhotobucketNew York Jets – I do think the Jets defense will be even better in year two under Rex Ryan and with the addition of Antonio Cromartie. On offense, Mark Sanchez should keep improving and allow them to have a very good chance to overtake the Patriots for the division title.

Pittsburgh Steelers – If Ben Rothlisberger’s legal situation is under control, it is hard not to expect to see the Steelers battling for that AFC North title again. They made some smaller moves like adding Antwaan Randle El, Arnaz Battle, Larry Foote, and Will Allen which will improve their overall depth and special teams.

Cincinnati Bengals – I know the Bengals won the AFC North last year but for some reason I have tough time seeing them repeat as champs. They faded down the stretch last season and aren’t going to sneak up on anybody this year. However, Antonio Bryant was a nice addition on offense and they can run the ball and play defense so I could be wrong.

Playoff Contenders

Miami Dolphins – Miami hasn’t done much this off-season outside of adding Karlos Dansby to their defense. They are still weak at receiver and have Ronnie Brown coming off a serious injury. Regardless if they keep running the football the way they did last year and the defense continues to improve they could be back over .500.

Denver Broncos – They haven’t done much this off-season except add a potential quarterback controversy by bringing in Brady Quinn. Also when they trade Brandon Marshall they will be getting rid of a headache but losing their top playmaker on offense.

Houston Texans – Every single year everybody says this is the year the Texans will make the jump to being a playoff team and every year they fall just a little short. Yes, they have plenty of talent but when are they going to win a big game? Every time they have a chance to make a move towards being a playoff team, they lose. They also have questions at running back since Steve Slaton can’t hold on to the football.

Tennessee Titans – If Vince Young plays the way he did after he took over for Kerry Collins for a full season, the Titans could be back in the mix as a threat to the Colts for the division title.

Jacksonville Jaguars – A young team who overachieved a little bit last year. They are stuck in a tough division but will be a difficult match-up on a weekly basis. Aaron Kampman should improve their pass rush.

Likely Basement Dwellers

Cleveland Browns – They have actually had a pretty good off-season thus far by bringing in some quality veterans like Sheldon Brown, Ben Watson, Scott Fujita, Chris Gocong and getting rid of their two ineffective quarterbacks. They also have a high amount of draft picks this year. Yet, how many games can they win with Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace behind center?

Buffalo Bills – No quarterback. A weak offensive line. Questions in the front seven of their defense. They are looking like the worst team in the AFC East by a few games.

Kansas City Chiefs – I feel bad that Thomas Jones is likely going to be stuck on a 5-11 team next year.

Oakland Raiders – It is always entertaining to watch what the Raiders do in the draft. They are assembling a nice All-Bust team on offense led by JaMarcus Russell, Darius Heyward-Bey, and Darren McFadden.

Mike Williams Highlights

Jets vs. Titans: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode III

First a few updates:

1. Another week, another round of trash talk. Here is what Titans fullback Ahmad Hall had to say about Bart Scott, “I don’t like Bart; Bart don’t like me. He knows that. We had a good battle last year and he knows what he is going to get from me and I know what I am going to get from him. So it is what it is. You’re going to see us fighting all day. It is serious to me. I wouldn’t fight the guy or nothing like that – unless he wanted to fight. I don’t like the guy. He just runs his mouth all the time, even when he is not doing anything in the play. He is a talker and I just like guys that go out there and get their job done. Bart Scott is talking to everybody – he is talking to fans, he is talking to whoever listens to him. I think he runs his mouth a little too much and needs to just come out there and play. I went out there on a lead play (last year) and knocked his helmet off and he is still talking mess.” Keith Bulluck also said the Titans plan on rattling Mark Sanchez and leaving New York with their first win of the season. Alot of yapping from a team who is 0-2 and lost to the Jets by 21 in their own building last year.

2. Mark Sanchez is being listed on the injury report as a full participant in practice with tendinitis in his knee. Let’s not panic here, the Jets were just fined for not listing Brett Favre on the injury report last season and I think the Jets will go out of their way to list any type of ailment the rest of the season. Sanchez is going to start on Sunday and should be fine.

3. Donald Strickland and Lito Sheppard are both out this Sunday, meaning Dwight Lowery will start, with Drew Coleman sliding into the nickel role. Ahmad Carroll and Marquice Cole will be the backups. The Jets brought in free agents Corey Ivy and Justin Miller for a visit today, which could mean Strickland or Sheppard will be out for more than a week…not good with the Saints coming up next week.

Jets vs. Titans: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode III

Enjoy some footage from inside the stadium during the Jets victory over the Patriots, including the raucous celebration by the fans after the game, and some anti-New England chants.

The Song: Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z f/ Alicia Keys

Ten Reasons the Jets Won't Make the Playoffs

First a few updates:

1. The Jets signed their sixth round draft pick Matt Slauson to a contract, although the terms were undisclosed. They also released cornerback Tyron Brackenridge.

2. According to Drew Rosenhaus and his Twitter account, Thomas Jones will be attending Jets OTA’s beginning next Wednesday. There has apparently been progress in their discussions, but we’ll see what the situation is when Jones arrives in Florham Park next week. Ideally, Jones and Leon Washington will have a week of practice under their belts before mandatory practice starts on June 9th.

3. David Clowney has a site over at: www.davidclowney87.com which provides some interesting updates about the Jets OTA’s and the ongoing receiver battle. Jay Feely’s twitter account complimented the Jets offense for their past practice on Monday and said Chansi Stuckey was the player of the day…we’ll take any update we can get until media availability on Thursday.

4. An NBA Minute – Kobe and Carmelo are going to be fun to watch this Western Conference Finals. You forget how good of a scorer ‘Melo can be, but he was awesome last night. Kobe simply carried the Lakers to a win, his supporting cast isn’t as good as advertised. I still like Denver in 7.

Ten Reasons the Jets Won’t Make the Playoffs

I did recently proclaim the Jets would be a playoff team next season but let’s play devil’s advocate for a little while and look at reasons why they may not make the playoffs in 2009. I will of course follow this article tomorrow, with ten reasons why they will make the playoffs next year:

1. Too Young at Key Spots – An inexperienced quarterback and a first year head coach can’t be expected to navigate the Jets through the AFC East in to a playoff spot. Rex Ryan sounds great but we don’t know anything about his in game management skills yet or how our quarterback will respond in close games.

2. Not Enough Weapons – Jerricho Cotchery is a very good number two receiver, not a number one. Behind him, they have a group of inexperienced players who have never been full time starters. They are thin at tight end, and are one injury away from starting Bubba Franks or a converted defensive lineman, in Kareem Brown.

3. Lack of Depth on Offensive Line – If the Jets have one injury to any of their five starters, a highly inexpierienced player will be asked to step into a full time role. Can they maintain a strong rushing attack with Wayne Hunter or Robert Turner up front?

4. Contract Issues – Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are both currently unhappy with their contracts. Will this affect their play or serve as a distraction to the rest of the team? The Jets may struggle if rookie Shonn Greene is asked to handle too many carries.

5. Lack of Depth on Defensive Line – Marques Douglas and Mike DeVito are career backups who will be splitting reps at a starting defensive end spot. There isn’t much behind them at the end position or much behind Kris Jenkins at the nose tackle spot.

6. Difficult Division – The Patriots were 11-5 last year without Tom Brady behind center and he now appears to be fully healthy. Buffalo added Terrell Owens to an already dangerous offense and Miami has Bill Parcells running the show, which means they always have a shot. It is going to take at least 10 wins to even threaten for a wild card spot this year.

7. Tough Schedule – The Jets have to face the NFC and AFC South, both of which were very strong divisions last year. The Colts, Titans, Falcons, and Panthers were all playoff teams and the Bucs, Saints, and Texans were all .500 or better.

8. Chemistry Issues – The Jets will be adjusting to two new starters in the secondary, Lito Sheppard and Jim Leonhard. Sheppard has injury concerns and is coming off his worst season ever and Leonhard has never started for an entire season.

9. B-Schott – Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is coming off a very average year, where he struggled to find any consistency with his play calling and was often too conservative. Will he able to create enough points with an inexperienced quarterback and receiving core?

10. Punter? – Yes, I am reaching for reasons here all the way down at number ten but the Jets currently don’t have a punter on their roster with any NFL experience. We saw last year on San Diego how much of a difference a good punter could make.