The Forgotten Men: Evaluating the Other 2009 New York Jets' Draft Picks
With all the talk about Mark Sanchez (and for good reason) you would think the Jets just called it a draft after that number five selection.
In case you missed it, they did have two more picks. And the players they chose could be appearing on your television screen sooner rather than later.
GM Mike Tannenbaum orchestrated a trade to get his team to the top of the third round in order to select Iowa RB Shonn Greene. The New Jersey native had a disgusting (and I mean that in a good way) junior year in which he rushed for 1,850 yards and scored 20 touchdowns.
He also carried the ball 307 times and had a gaudy 6.0 yard average. Greene's finest game came against Wisconsin last October when he rushed for 217 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns.
Greene finished his career at Iowa with 2,228 yards rushing.
So how does he fit in?
Currently, the Jets have two running backs (Thomas Jones, Leon Washington) who are unhappy with their contract situation. If one of them somehow ends up holding out, Greene would be on deck for some significant playing time.
While that situation is unlikely, Greene's value to the Jets is most likely going to come in short yardage and goal line situations. His bulky 5'11", 235-pound frame will come in handy when the team needs to move the pile in crucial situations.
The knock on the former Iowa Hawkeye is his receiving skills. Luckily, he probably won't be called upon to catch the ball much and should have time to hone that craft as he learns under Jones and Washington.
Last season, at least early on (see Week Two vs. New England), the Jets were unable to convert some key goal line opportunities. With Greene in the mix it gives them their own Brandon Jacobs who will likely require two or three players to bring down.
Overall, we're going to see this third round draft pick involved in key plays in 2009. At first glance, Greene seems equipped to handle the load.
With the 20th pick in the sixth round (193rd overall) the Jets selected OG Matt Slauson from Nebraska.
When the pick came through I'm sure Jets fans let out a collective "Who?" And while it's not uncommon to ask that question that late in the draft, it is common for Gang Green to pick up an offensive lineman in the later rounds (Nate Garner last season and Jacob Bender in '07).
The 6'4", 316 pound former Cornhusker is in a great situation because he will get to pick the brains of Alan Faneca and Brandon Moore. He'll also get the guidance from one of the best offensive line coaches in the league—Bill Callahan.
While Slauson probably won't see much playing time in 2009, he could crack the starting lineup in 2010.
Alan Faneca will turn 33 this season and has a ton of miles on his tires. Damien Woody is also no spring chicken as he'll turn 32 in November—something I'm sure Tannenbaum had in mind when he chose Slauson.
As with any position, injuries could speed up the process. But for now, Slauson is in a seemingly ideal situation to develop into the Jets' guard of the future.
With Greene and Slauson, the Jets have two players they can slowly work into the lineup (Slauson more so) and who can learn from some excellent players in the process.
I'd say the future is bright for the two 2009 Jets' draft picks not named Mark Sanchez.
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