2006-05-05 / Obits

Jets, Giants Make 2006 NFL Draft Interesting

By Michael Avallone Sports Columnist

By Michael Avallone
Sports Columnist

It had the usual dramatic moments and surprises. The 2006 NFL Draft was force-fed to fans virtually everyday on ESPN for weeks so by the time the big day came, it was almost anti-climactic. While a lot of the local talk surrounded the Jets and whether they would take Matt Leinart (they didn't) or D'Brickashaw Ferguson (they did), the Giants had an interesting weekend in their own right. Here's a breakdown of both Big Blue and Gang Green's drafts....

New York Jets

Round 1 (4) - D'Brickashaw Ferguson, T, Virginia

The fans may have dreamed about Reggie Bush or Matt Leinart, but it was no secret that this was the guy the Jets wanted for quite some time. The Long Island native has the foot speed and quickness to deal with edge rushers, and also can pull and be the lead blocker on sweeps. The Jets also believe he has the personality and mentality to deal with the pressure of being a high draft pick on a large stage.

Round 1 (29) - Nick Mangold, C, Ohio State: Mangold is very similar to former Jet Kevin Mawae, a very intelligent center who also has the quickness to get out and act as a lead blocker on sweeps. He made all the offensive-line calls for the Buckeyes, much the way Mawae did when he was a Jet.

Round 2 (49) - Kellen Clemens, QB, Oregon: The Jets had traded down to the 53rd pick in the second round, but then traded back up to 49 to make sure they got Clemens. They were impressed with him ever since they worked him out earlier in April, and are convinced he is fully recovered from a broken left ankle that ended his senior season in late October. Much like Leinart, his arm strength has been questioned. The Jets like his intangibles and leadership qualities. Instead of sulking after his season-ending injury, he mentored his two replacements.

Round 3 (76) - Anthony Schlegel, LB, Ohio State: A bit of a surprising pick, he may have been a somewhat of a reach to be picked this early in the third round. Obviously, coach Eric Mangini is stockpiling linebackers as he switches to a 3-4 base defense. Schlegel is a hard hitter who is a very solid player between the tackles, but his suspect athleticism makes his ability to play in space a question mark.

Round 3 (97) - Eric Smith, SS, Michigan State: Smith is considered to be a very good tackler, but his coverage skills are questionable and he is not a playmaker. He is a very intelligent player with a terrific work ethic, and that plus his tackling ability would seem to make him an excellent candidate for the special teams.

Round 4 (103) - Brad Smith, WR, Missouri: Their first pick of Day 2 is potentially the Jets' most intriguing. Smith, a standout QB at Missouri who initially resisted a position change, certainly has strength and athleticism, though he doesn't possess the breakaway speed of a Vince Young. If he is able to learn the new position, he could provide the Jets with a lot of interesting options. Smith twice passed for over 2,000 yards and rushed for 1,000 in a season at Mizzou.

Round 4 (117) - Leon Washington, RB, Florida : It wasn't until the 117th pick that the Jets finally addressed their need for a running back. However, because of his lack of size, Washington doesn't project as an every-down running back. The positives are that he is well-built for his size and does have breakaway potential.

Round 5 (150) - Jason Pociask, TE, Wisconsin: Pociask could turn out to be a steal. He certainly isn't a game-breaking type of tight end, with only 12 receptions as a collegian, but scouts believe he has good hands and thus has upside as a receiver. He also is a very good run-blocker, but needs to be more aggressive when running with the ball himself.

Round 6 (189) - Drew Coleman, CB, TCU: Has excellent speed and also possesses the physicality of a much bigger player, but needs to work on his tackling. Also needs work on his coverage technique. He only played two seasons at TCU after transferring from a junior college, and also has had two knee injuries, so is more of a project at this point.

Round 7 (220) - Titus Adams, DT, Nebraska: Started in both his junior and senior seasons for the Cornhuskers, and was good as a run-stopper, both inside and outside, and excellent in pursuit. However, he is not a consistent pass rusher, with only 3 1/2 sacks in his four-year Nebraska career, so Titus will need to improve in that area as he likely would project as a defensive end in the Jets' 3-4 scheme.

New York Giants

Round 1 (32) - Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Boston College: Kiwanuka's grandfather, Benedicto, was Uganda's first prime minister, elected in 1961 and assassinated by the Idi Amin regime in 1972). Kiwanuka is a pure pass-rusher. On the surface, that isn't what the Giants needed, not with their two DEs having combined for 26 sacks last season. "You cannot have enough pass rushers," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "He was the best athlete on our board when we made the pick."

Round 2 (44) - Sinorice Moss, WR, Miami: He's small, but he's tough. That's the mantra the Giants will spin all summer. They'll also say he was the top-ranked wideout on their list. He has great speed and separation ability and should provide yet another deep threat for the offensively powerful Giants.

Round 3 (96) - Gerris Wilkinson, LB, Georgia Tech: He's a man with at least three positions - weak-side, middle and strong-side linebacker. He has played four positions in four years at Tech and will contribute on special teams. He might be the LB the team is looking for, someone who can be plugged in as needed.

Round 4 (124) - Barry Cofield, DT, Northwestern: Cofield was drafted for his defensive line versatility. He can play the traditional tackle position in a 4-3 defense and shift to end in the 3-4, which the Giants plan to employ to a greater extent this season. He was the Wildcats' right defensive tackle in 2004 and the left tackle last year. He started 36 of the 49 games in his career.

Round 4 (129) - Guy Whimper, T, East Carolina : He's a project and everyone involved readily admits it. "This kid is a great athlete," Giants personnel chief Jerry Reese said, "and he doesn't have a clue about how to play tackle. We think with his size, speed and athleticism we can make him a left tackle, and he is so athletically gifted he is going to help us on special teams, too."

Round 5 (158) - Charlie Peprah, S/CB, Alabama: Another player with versatility and athleticism, Peprah played cornerback his first two years with the Crimson Tide and then moved to safety. He is a strong hitter and has a knack for finding the ball. His grandfather, I.G. Achampong, was head of state of Ghana in West Africa in the 1970s.

Round 7 (232) - Gerrick McPhearson, CB, Maryland: Listed as one of the fastest CBs at the combine at 4.42 seconds in the 40, McPhearson had one interception in his four collegiate seasons. He can help on special teams as well.

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