Enemy Intel: How'd the Jets do in the draft?

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Enemy Intel: How'd the Jets do in the draft?

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

Mike Tannenbaum has become one of the NFL's most aggressive and risk-welcoming general managers. Theballsy moves the Needham native has swung include dealing for Brett Favre, Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie. He also went way up in the first round in 2009 to draft Mark Sanchez, so his draft day adventurousness is proven as well. And Tannenbaum went aggressive again in this draft. Picking at 30, the Jets got the best player available for them in Temple DEDT Muhammad Wilkerson. The knock on him was that he played against a lower level of competition and is still raw, but the 6-foot-4, 315-pound Wikerson is just perfect in terms of athleticism, potential and frame to be a success in the Jets 3-4 scheme. Kenrick Ellis was the Jets' third-round pick and they got a talented, tough and competitive nose tackle who goes 6-5, 346. The reason he was there at 94? He's facing a felony assault charge after breaking the jaw and nose of a man last April. The story goes that Ellis was approached by this bat-wielding fella and it didn't turn out well for the bat-wielder. It goes to trial in July. Ellis was kicked out of South Carolina for reportedly failing drug tests. The Jets took running back Bilal Powell from Louisville with the 126th pick. He's a good one-cut runner and decent pass-catcher. His profile in Pro Football Weekly's Draft Preview begins, "Neglected academics, ran with the wrong crowd, and was stabbed after his sophomore season as a Florida prep before moving in with a coach's family and turning his life around."Their next two picks - wide receiver Jeremy Kerley from TCU and Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy - were less risky. Kerley's a good little slot guy who can do some return work. McElroy is a smart, tough, hard-working quarterback who is good depth but not starter material. Tannenbaum came back in the final round and drafted Colorado wideout Scotty McKnight, a longtime friend of Sanchez. SUMMARY:The Jets could wind up with absolutely nothing to show from the 2011 draft. Taking a semi-project, a guy who could end up in jail, and some roster-fillers? Yeesh. The Jets could also wind up hitting the mother lode if Wilkerson plays to his capability, Ellis doesn't go to jail, Kerley becomes a successor to Jerricho Cotchery and Powell steps in when LT steps out. The linchpins of this draft, though, are Wilkerson and Ellis. This is a defensive-oriented team and the Jets either set up their defensive line for the long haul or missed out big.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Belichick on Long's sack: One of the best defensive plays of the year

Belichick on Long's sack: One of the best defensive plays of the year

It came against a rookie quarterback. It came against an offense that averages a league-worst 15.0 points per game. It came against an offense that has fewer yards than any other. 

Still there are signs that Bill Belichick is pretty pleased with where his defense is after beating the Rams 26-10 on Sunday. One came on Wednesday when Patriots.com published its "Belichick Breakdown" for a closer look at a handful of plays from the team's most recent win.

Belichick called his team's third-and-eight stop with about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter "probably one of the best good, team defensive plays we've had all year."

The Patriots show a five-man front, but linebacker Kyle Van Noy feigns a rush only to drop into coverage.

"Van Noy in here does a good job on the rush," Belichick said, "and also on the coverage on the back. Just good team defense. Good pass coverage down the field. The quarterback really doesn't end up having a lot of time, but there's no one to throw it to right away."

Belichick noted that all four rushers -- Chris Long, Trey Flowers, Dont'a Hightower and Rob Ninkovich -- all are able to pressure Jared Goff on the play. Combined with strong coverage in the secondary, the Rams nver really had a chance.

Belichick said it looked like a "tidal wave" of defenders bearing down on the quarterback.

"Long wins here . . . on the inside spin," Belichick said, "and Trey Flowers and Hightower both win on the little twist game inside. Then that's Rob with good speed-to-power on [Rams tackle Rob] Havenstein on the outside. Four good rushers. Plus a fifth guy...Van Noy getting that two-for-one on the guard and the back.

"Good team defense. That's great to see. A lot of hard work an execution on the practice field to make that happen."

Harbaugh on Belichick: 'I feel like we have a good relationship'

Harbaugh on Belichick: 'I feel like we have a good relationship'

FOXBORO -- They sounded like a couple of old pals. 

First it was Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who spoke of Ravens coach John Harbaugh during a conference call like one of his favorite fellow lacrosse dads.

"John and I saw a game a couple of years ago, a [Johns] Hopkins vs. Maryland game," Belichick said, adding that Harbaugh's love for the sport is just starting to blossom. "Yeah, I think John is seeing the light."

Belichick added that the two might be closer if they weren't competing so often, both in-season on the field and for free agents in the offseason. 

"As you know, we get into a situation like we’re in now where they have a good team, we have a good team, we’re playing a big game on Monday night," Belichick said. "Both teams are going to do everything they can to compete as hard as they can on Monday night. That’s what it is and that’s what we all signed up for. We all know that’s a part of it.

"When we’re not going head-to-head, which isn’t very often because we compete against each other in the offseason, we compete against each other to build our team and so forth, it just puts things in a little bit of a different situation."

During his press conference with reporters on Wednesday, Harbaugh echoed Belichick's sentiments. Belichick was famously one of Harbaugh's biggest supporters earlier in his career, calling the Ravens on Harbaugh's behalf when the franchise was looking for a new head coach. And if only they weren't so frequently competing against each other, they might be even closer, Harbaugh indicated. 

"I feel like we have a good relationship," Harbaugh said. "Like you said, we're probably not socializing that much, but I don't know how many coaches really do. We're all so busy. I'll see him or any coach at the Combine or at the owner's meetings, and we have a chance to talk. It's always good. I have a ton of respect for him. I really like him as a person. I think he's a great coach -- greatest coach of this generation. He's earned that title.

"And I study him. I've always studied him. I've always studied coach Belichick from when I first met him when I was an assistant at the University of Cincinnati, and he came in and just was great to be around.  [We have a] similar background with the special teams and that sort of thing. All of that kind of goes out the window when you compete against one another. It's like anything else, you want to win. I'm sure he feels the same way."

The recent history between their respective franchises is rife with emotion: There was Baltimore's irate reaction to Belichick's unusual formations in the AFC Divisional Round two seasons ago; there was the Ravens' supposed involvement in sparking Deflategate; and there was Harbaugh's subsequent denial. But Belichick and Harbaugh made it sound on Wednesday as if all's good between them.