On The Defensive: Jets Again Forgo Offense In NFL First Round, But Idzik Backs Picks
The Jets drafted Alabama CB Dee Milliner and Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson with their two first-round NFL Draft picks Thursday night, and GM John Idzik said that the team's plan "was to adhere stricly to their draft board, and their haul entailed two of their four highest-rated players," according to Ben Shpigel of the N.Y. TIMES. The "evolving dynamic between" Idzik and Jets coach Rex Ryan will be "fascinating to watch as their relationship progresses, and for all of the concern about Ryan's shrinking influence within the organization and his potentially tenuous job status, it was obvious that he endorsed the picks." Idzik said that the decision to select Milliner was "unrelated to the recent departure" of CB Darrelle Revis to the Buccaneers. However, Shpigel notes it is "difficult to imagine the choice if Revis were around" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/26). ESPN N.Y.'s Rich Cimini noted this was the "fourth straight year the Jets picked a defensive player in the first round." It is "premature to rip Idzik for turning a blind eye to the offense -- still plenty of draft to go -- but this was a bit of a head-scratcher." Idzik admitted he was "tempted" to pick an offensive player. But he added, "You're not going to succumb to temptation." He said that Milliner and Richardson were "no-brainers because of their standing on the board." Although he acknowledged that they "gave some consideration to trading down from the 13th pick" (ESPNNY.com, 4/25). In New Jersey, Tara Sullivan writes it is "more clear than ever that the motivation behind the Revis trade was all about dumping an unwieldy salary, because the Jets wasted no time reminding us how highly they value a shutdown corner" (Bergen RECORD, 4/26).
TOO EARLY TO JUDGE: In Newark, Steve Politi writes Idzik "resisted the splashy move, and for that reason alone, Jets fans should feel good about" the new GM. The Jets "don't need flashy." Politi: "They need a foundation. They need a plan. They need a major talent infusion, from the top to bottom of this roster, and Idzik started that process Thursday night with two picks that only a scout could love" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 4/26). In N.Y., Mark Cannizzaro writes it would be "foolish ... to torch Idzik and the Jets for what they did until we find out how good Milliner and Richardson become and until we find out what else the Jets cull from this draft" (N.Y. POST, 4/26).