The Rumor Mill: Hunkering Down
Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com
Here’s a steaming portion of pre-draft
rumors and reports NFL team and agent reverse propaganga.
Tickling the Ivory — In the past week the Jets have brought in and considered making an offer to RFA running back Chris Ivory from the Saints. According to LaCanfora, the team is seriously considering the idea of bringing him in — a move which would cost the team their second rounder. Ivory is a player who has seen little time on the field in his career, but whose results are mouth-watering. Ivory started college at Washington State but was kicked off the team for infractions and ended up at Tiffin where a former special teams coach had landed. Ivory has had a tough road, but has proven himself a valuable player. Ivory has routinely shown that he’s a battering ram and that he’s extremely hard to bring down even when defenses are keying on him as he was used as a “closer back” in New Orleans. Earlier this offseason, Khaled Elsayed wrote for ESPN Insider that Ivory might not be a great fit for what the Saints do, but could be for someone else and that “he’s incredibly hard to bring down. Ivory has forced 57 missed tackles from a running position since entering the league, or one every 4.9 touches. This season, Adrian Peterson forced one every 5.4 touches.” Pairing a player like Ivory with Goodson might be a nice one-two punch; the brusing power back on one hand with the agile rocket powered open space runner on the other. Ivory is an interesting player who would fit Rex Ryan’s ideal of power runner, but seems to be a departure from the Johnathan Franklins and Christine Michaels they’ve been linked with, but more in the LeVeon Bell wheelhouse.
Shoddy Dee? — Mike Mayock stated on a con call this week that he doesn’t think Dee Milliner will be a top ten pick in the draft. Milliner is a good player, to be sure, but corners have a history of not going in the top ten in the draft and while there are teams with real need at the cornerback spot from 6-10, Milliner might not rate higher. Meanwhile, Tony Pauline is saying he believes the Browns are very focused on Milliner with that sixth pick. I know a lot less than Mike Mayock, but I think that Milliner will likely go in the top ten, but I could see how this revelation from Mayock might embolden the Bucs in their tete-a-tete with the Jets after seeing Milliner go as high as #2 in many a mock draft over the past few months. Pay close attention to what happens with the 6th pick … it might have major ramifications for how everything else plays out. The Jets last gasp might be the hope the Dolphins might be the last line of defense against Milliner being available to the Bucs at 13 as Miami is said to be interested in the corner.
Top Ranked Tackles — On the same call, Mayock stated that he doesn’t think that any of the top three tackles (Joeckl, Fisher, Johnson) will get to the 7th pick for the Cardinals. I’ve warmed to the idea of drafting a right tackle who could eventually succeed Brick on the left side and kicking Howard inside to help sort out the guard spot, and if one of the players (Fisher, Johnson) should happen to make it to nine, it’s going to be hard for the Jets to pass over them. That said, sounds like they might be long gone by the time it is the Jets turn to pick.
Mountaineer Duo — LaCanfora writes on CBS that should the Jets pull off a trade with the Bucs, many opposing execs believe the Jets could take Geno Smith and Tavon Austin with the 9th and 13th picks. While there was the news that Austin scored just a seven on his Wonderlic, that really isn’t a factor. It is an intriguing possibility, but seems unlikely that the Jets would do both. One of the big concerns with drafting a player like Austin is that it would be hard for him to succeed in a system that couldn’t support him. DeSean Jackson had the benefit of great talent around him, most notably at quarterback, but could the Jets put a system in place that would breed success for Austin in two years? Drafting Smith seems like it would certainly mitigate the issue since they would be so familiar … but it would be a big gamble for the Jets. Of course, the plan might be foiled by anyone drafting from 10-12, and it sounds like there’s a new contender for Austin’s services, the Vikings who might look for a partner to trade up to grab him.
What the What?!? — A weird and awkward story, but it sounds like two WR draft prospects trashed their hotel room at the Combine, and the details are a little disgusting. The two receivers have denied it, but it seems to be that every team knows the story at this point, and we’ll see how it affects their draft stock. Of the two, the Jets hosted local Rutgers prospect Mark Harrison, but it’s unknown if the Jets are/were at all interested in Hopkins.
Franklin Mint — Could Jonathan Franklin be the first RB off the board? There’s a buzz that he might supplant Eddie Lacy as the top overall RB and we’ve heard that the Jets are interested in him. Lacy certainly benefitted from that awesome Alabama line, and Franklin could fit the WCO well, but this seems like standard agent pre-draft maneuvering.