There's a reason
Should've been welcome Matt
Gang Green's snub is way off Lein-art
The Jets were now on the clock after their weak bid to move up for Reggie Bush failed to tempt the Saints. Matt Leinart waited in the green room for his cell phone to ring, wanted his cell phone to ring, but it was D'Brickashaw Ferguson who was soon posing for pictures with Paul Tagliabue.
Leinart didn't have to wait as long as Dan Marino in 1983 or Brett Favre in 1991 or Aaron Rodgers last year, but one call from the Jets to Leinart would have taken care of both their needs: The Jets don't have a franchise quarterback and Leinart craved the big stage of New York.
Leinart's fall to the Cardinals at No. 10 after a career that included one Heisman Trophy, two national championships and nearly a third was humbling. But at least he has a team. The Jets still don't have a quarterback.
"We spent a lot of time with Matt. He's a good person, he's going to be a good player. He's very successful," Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum said. "We just felt as an organization that the best thing to do in the four spot was to take D'Brickashaw."
Ferguson will start at left tackle right away and probably stay there for the next 10 years. But the stubbornness of the Tannenbaum-Eric Mangini regime in sticking to the New England way of doing things - is Bill Belichick running their draft room by remote control? - by refusing to use a high pick on a quarterback made this an uneventful and forgettable day for the Jets.
Chad Pennington is trying to resurrect his career after his second shoulder surgery in eight months. Patrick Ramsey was twice benched by Joe Gibbs for Mark Brunell. Gibbs, who won three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks, doesn't make many mistakes at quarterback. And he gave up on Ramsey. The Jets also had Brooks Bollinger, but hardly made up for skipping Leinart when they took Oregon quarterback Kellen Clemens in the second round.
But the good thing is the Jets can now protect them from the blind side with Ferguson. And they made this a draft with a lot of star power by drafting another offensive lineman, center Nick Mangold, with their second first-round pick. They turned the John Abraham trade into a center.
So why did Leinart fall?
Arm strength. Too Hollywood. Accomplishments tainted because he played with so many great players. Not a great athlete. This, of course, overlooks the fact that he was 37-2 starting for Pete Carroll at Southern Cal. The Jets needed a face for the franchise and Leinart has the charisma.
Neither Bush nor Leinart went as high as they should. Bush has real issues with an agent and extortion and it's a mess Houston wanted no part of.
The Jets pass on a QB when they have the uber-shakey Pennington for a reason. He must have rubbed them the wrong way. Because it's not just the Jets. Green Bay, with Favre near retirement and always QB short Oakland also passed. Why? Leinart went 10th and the question is why. Why didn't Oakland take him? Why wasn't he taken over Vince Young. More than one team saw him and didn't like what they saw.
It may be another Dan Marino, but usually when teams shy away from a known player, there's something going on. There is usually an outside factor. With Bush, it's in the open. But when Oakland passes on a QB, you have to wonder why.
His agent and a GM say it was just football, but who knows. The guy won the Heisman and he goes 10th? Even if it was a red flag, it might be the kind of issue you don't discuss. It just seems off.
posted by Steve @ 1:33:00 PM